• Ragga & Dancehall

    Ago 19 2006, 7:03

    I've caught a bit of a bug lately, in that I've been maddly consuming just about all the & I can lay my mitts on.

    Don't get me wrong - I can understand why a lot of people would hate it, and there's a lot of parallels to hard rap which instantly turns a lot of people straight off it when I try to describe it. Admittedly I can't understand a lot of what is being said, but it's generally pretty upbeat and I just love its energy. There seems to be more humour to it than Rap. I dunno, less pretense, more basic primal fun.

    My first exposure to the genre was way back in '99 when I was a starving backpacker working my away to and fro across Canada for 12 months. I was working as a banquet waiter in the Westin Hotel in Calgary. We had this uptight supervisor who always seemed quite stressed and the rest of the staff were always pushing his buttons. I kinda liked him, because he had a pretty dry sense of humour and I always suspected there was quite a live-wire guy a few layers beneath the surface. One thing that made me suspect this more than anything was his choice of music he'd subject all us lowly wait staff to in the wee small hours of the morning over the function room PA system. It was kinda surreal at sometimes 2 or 3 in the morning, running around already tired from 4 or 5 hours work waiting tables, all the lights would come on after we wheeled out the last of the drunks and then we would all be at it hammer & tongs rolling tables in and out, tearing down and setting up temporary stages and the like. We only ever seemed to listen to about 3 or different CDs, but this one stuck in my mind. I asked the uptight boss at the time what the music was, and all I can remember was him saying something about “Dancehall” and a Soundtrack or similar.

    Due to my subsistence living at the time I never was in a position to track a copy down. My backpacking trip moved on from Calgary and the memory took a back seat for a while. Fast forward a about 3 years to 2002 or so, I am back in Perth teetering on the edge of a mortgage and settling into a nice body contoured rut professionally. Through the wonderful variety presented to me on one of our community radion stations RTR FM 92.1 and a Saturday evening RTR program called Jamdown Vershun, I rediscovered this little niche genre once again.

    To this day I still don’t know what that original CD was I originally enjoyed so much, and I doubt I ever will.
    So here I guess is a list of some artists that have stuck out for me in the genre since I have rediscovered it from some hit and miss accquisitions since;

    Sing A Song
    Up Town
    Mixing Board
    Seems Like
    zum zum

    arrgh.. there goes the best part of an hour wasted.