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Reggae, Dancehall Musical Shipmates


Although largely marketed as a reggae cruise, the recently concluded 2017 Welcome to Jamrock event was given the stamp of approval by many on board the Independence of the Seas for including several dancehall artistes on the line- up. Commending the organisers, artistes, and patrons alike pointed out that reggae and dancehall are products of the Jamaican culture.

The cruise sailed Ft Lauderdale, USA, stopping in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay before returning to the US.

After his performance, Dre Island told The Gleaner those in charge of the cruise recognised that it would send a message of solidarity to book entertainers from both genres. The entertainer explained that artistes such as Popcaan, Spice, and Bounty Killer, who were also part of Wednesday night’s line-up, are seen globally as ‘Jamaican artistes’ and not necessarily as reggae or dancehall.

Birthed From Reggae

“You are your mother’s own child, and dancehall is birthed from reggae,” Dre Island said. “There is no separation between them, but in the world of classification and categorisation, they became separate for people to identify with something. Jamaican music, reggae or dancehall, is music from the garrison with one aim, and that is to make people feel good.”

The entertainer, who was not booked for the event, but was invited on stage by Popcaan said that should be testimony the genres as stronger together. “I just performed on a reggae cruise with a dancehall artiste, and it was one of the biggest things for me, and everyone was overwhelmed. So I could not stand here and tell you that a show as big as this should be either reggae or dancehall,” he said.

“I have respect for Spice, Popcaan, and Bounty Killer as ‘dancehall’ artistes. We loved the vibes they brought to the cruise and so did the crowd. So give thanks to the Marleys for this Welcome to Jamrock Cruise, that showcase, the best of Jamaican music.”

However, . Singer Luciano told The Gleaner that perhaps the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise was not the space for the energy of the dancehall entertainers. Stressing that he is in no way fighting against fellow entertainers, ‘The Messenjah’ said the message being preached by dancehall artistes would perhaps, be more suited to a ‘dancehall cruise’.

“Honestly, I just don’t know how to accept that in my being. Is like if you’re a vegetarian , you just have to be a vegetarian. You can’t be eating meat at the same time,” he explained. “So if you come out and say you want to keep the tradition of the great Bob Marley, you affi set a certain standard. Bob Marley wouldn’t accept some a dem thing deh weh me see certain artistes gwaan wid pan di stage.”

He encouraged the organisers to stay true to the standards set by reggae artistes by limiting the show to artistes of that genre if they are going to market the event as a reggae cruise. “Me know, and dem know, too, that in these times, we need to strengthen up di thing and take back the thing where it used to be, because a lot of our brothers and sisters have gone astray,” he said. “I have been working for years to keep the people on a spiritual path with my music and to see some young people come and a try to do something different, I cannot stand for it.”

Article by Shereita Grizzle




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