Perhaps I should start this pos y saying that am a Christian. I know am not perfect but if I was there would be no need for Christ . . . would there? I love reggae; Yaani, there is a way that reggae music makes me feel like it is just the thing for me.
Like this mornig, when I woke up and was on company transport surfing the channels looking for something to inspire my day.
Tried a few songs and until I landed on Serve Jah, by Luciano. So I did some back grounds on him and also on other inspirational reggae artists. The fist thing that came to my mind was the Old school hit by Morgan heritage. Don’t haffi Dread that have the line. ‘This is not a dreadlocks things, it’s a divine conception of the heart’. Actually I think I should put on some dreadlocks! But no … when the heart is rightly conscious there is no need for dreadlocks.
There’s a widespread belief that ‘conscious’ reggae had its heyday in the 1970s and barely survived the death of Bob Marley. Whereas it’s true that bump ‘n’ grind dancehall and ragga did take over in the ’80s and ’90s, just as cocaine took over from weed as the Jamaican drug of choice, there were a handful of artists who managed to keep singing and writing songs about society, race, identity and spirituality whilst all around just chatted about guns and gals.
One of these artistes was Lucky Dube who died violently in the hands of thugs in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville on the evening of 18 October 2007. His music against racism in South Africa inspired millions of people around the globe.
With the release of his first heart-wrenchingly soulful hit ‘It’s Me Again Jah’ in 1995, 30 year old Jephter McClymount , an upholsterer from Manchester parish, JA, became Luciano, redeemer of the reggae massive and the Moses who would lead reggae back to the land of the conscious. His success wasn’t entirely ‘overnight’. It rarely is. Luciano had already spent several years struggling to gain a foothold in the ruff ‘n’ tuff showbiz world of Kingston, but once he made his mark, hits followed in quick succession: ‘Lord Give Me Strength’, ‘Your World and Mine’ and ‘Heaven Help Us All’.
Island Records released his records internationally and his fame became worldwide. Luciano’s soulful, spiritual voice and musical approach seem to answer a deep need in reggae fans who haven’t found the sustenance they need in the new era of gunshot dancehall music. A succession of successful albums and a collaboration with Senegalese sensation Baaba Maal set Luciano apart from your average latter day reggae star. Live, with help from the legendary Firehouse Band, Luciano exudes the spiritual and joyous intensity of a latter day Bob Marley. So don’t fear, conscious reggae’s still ridin’ high Luciano style!
At a recent concert in Nairobi [October 3, 2008] The ‘Jah Messenger’, as he has christened himself, got onto the stage and proceeded to deliver his message to an extremely anticipating crowd. Luciano should have been a priest as all his songs were inspiring and encouraging. He talked in the language best understood by hustlers, which many related to.
His message was crystal clear, “No matter what you go through, don’t give up; mighty Jah will see you through,” he said. Among the songs he performed were ‘Woman of Israel’ and the song that saw him gain popularity in Kenya ‘It’s Me Again Jah’.