by: Jarret Lovell
Delivering the keynote address at the February opening ceremony of the 2010 International Reggae Conference in Kingston, Jamaica's Culture Minister Olivia Babsy Grange noted that, with the rise of the Internet and the ease of international travel, "all audiences" of reggae music are "global audiences." Moreover, she predicted that if current trends in music continue, "Jamaica and reggae could no longer be synonymous."
Although Jamaica has recently made the news more for its ghetto violence than its roots music or dancehall beat, it's hard to imagine a time when the Caribbean island is not dominating the Reggae music charts. Then again...
Meet Alborosie (Born Alberto D'Ascloa): Reggae's white-Italian recording artist who - as the founding member of a reggae band called Reggae National Ticket - already had record sales exceeding 200,000 units before he completed his teenage years. But Sicily could not keep him, so he soon quit his band, got rid of all of his possessions, and moved to Jamaica where he immersed himself in the culture and was able to quickly make a name for himself as a solo artist. His self-penned singles “Herbalist” and “Kingston Town” released in 2008 did well in Jamaica and in the UK with strong radio support. He released “Call On Jah” and “Rastafari Anthem” in late 2008 and collaborated with some of the island’s biggest artists including Luciano, Michael Rose, Morgan Heritage, Ky-Mani Marley, and most recently with Etana.
So maybe Culture Minister Grange needn't worry about Jamaica losing its grip on reggae, for it took Alborosie to escape his "Italian Babylon" - as he calls it - and become part of Jamaica to find his voice, success and happiness. KUCI listeners can catch Alborosie promoting his new album Escape from Babylon at the Detroit Bar on June 15! Tune in to the The Dread Zone (Mondays 6-8pm) and Positive Vibrations (Fridays 2-4pm) for your chance to win tickets. And listen to the Dread Zone Monday June 14 to catch an interview with Alborosie.