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Seani B runs down the Caribbean acts to watch in 2018

MISSED: Buju Banton

WHAT A difference a year makes. I can clearly remember sitting down this time last year, getting ready to put pen to paper for the very first ‘This Is BrukOut’ column for these pages.

It’s a role and responsibility that I take very seriously, and I appreciate all of your feedback, comments and well wishes throughout 2017. I hope to make this page even bigger and better in 2018 and beyond!

With all these thoughts in my mind, it is only right and proper that I share my hopes and dreams for this year. We don’t do resolutions, we do revolution! Let’s make these things (and many more) happen. With that said, here’s what I’m waiting for in 2018...

THE RELEASE OF BUJU BANTON

‘Gargamel’ is scheduled for release on December 8 this year, after being found guilty of drug trafficking in June 2011. Now 44 years of age, the Grammy Award winner’s release is eagerly anticipated, and it’s amazing to think of the potential impact that his return can have.

A BONAFIDE DANCEHALL RECORD IN THE NATIONAL CHART

It feels like we are close – really close – to smashing that glass ceiling that has been hovering above us for a little while. The new wave of artists seem much more savvy to the international potential that their music has, and it will be interesting to see which one of them breaks down the gates to greater prominence.

DANCEHALL KNOWING ITS WORTH

Often seen as ‘cool’, it is not unknown that the best elements of the music and culture have been taken and ‘adapted’ by the mainstream elements of pop culture. I feel really strongly that the Caribbean music fraternity wakes up and realises that this is an industry – a business – and needs to be handled as such.

I have seen countless examples of people who have stepped in and treated the music and culture with disrespect, but ultimately, they have been al- lowed to by those who are in it. This has to stop.


SOCA STAR: TriniBoi Joocie

NON-SEASONAL SOCA

It is one of my personal aims and goals to get rid of corny phrases which are associated with soca. “Sound of the sunshine”, “Surefire hit at Carnival” and similar cringeworthy sayings have got to stop.

Saying this, it is also the responsibility of soca producers and artists to ensure that the music being made can be released and played all year round – not just at carnival time. Artists like Bunji Garlin and Machel Montano have realised and appealed to a global market – it’s time that the rest of soca knows that this can be made and played 24/7, 365 days of the year.

LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE

We’ve never got a fair crack of the whip when it comes to radio, but with so many new and exciting platforms coming to the fore it is important that reggae gets a fair shot at being heard. We have applauded the work that outlets such as Spotify are doing, and the community and grassroots radio stations across the UK have held the business together for many years.

It’s now time for the larger stations to step up and give the right tracks the right chance to be nurtured, grown and celebrated.

BOUNTY/BEENIE MAKING A ‘BEST OF BOTH WORLDS’-STYLE ALBUM

Two artists who have ruled the roost for more than two decades and still manage to command the respect and attention of dancehall fans worldwide.


LINK UP: Beenie Man and Bounty Killer

They have recently ended their long-running feud, and have recorded and performed together on numerous occasions – and I’m sure the world is more than ready for a duo-album.

The excellent 1994 ‘Guns Out’ album, which features tracks from both artists, was more of a compilation of singles rather than a joint piece of work . Come on, Rodney and Moses – give the fans what they want and get in the studio!

THE CONTINUED PROGRESSION OF CARIBBEAN MUSIC MADE IN THE UK

There are a number of reasons for the elevation in the standards and consistency of Caribbean music made here in the UK. Firstly, I believe that even though, generationally, the youth of the UK are detached from their heritage, there is an invisible bond which means that they feel closer than ever to their heritage.

You can see something similar with a new generation and the Afrobeats movements. Secondly, the understanding of the ‘sound’ of the islands means that the production values have elevated and now it is not considered to be a pale imitation.

Finally I think if you look at artists such as TriniBoi Joocie, E.Mak and Big Zeeks, Lisa Mercedez or Alicai Harley, I think you can see that they sprinkle the London flavour to their passion and love for the Caribbean sound. Carry on the good work, people!


SHINING STAR: Jamaican-born Lisa Mercedez brings the sound of London to her music

And finally...

A REGGAE FESTIVAL IN THE UK

As much as I love travelling around the world and sampling the delights that the various festivals have to offer, it would be amazing to have a festival right here at home that attracted all the top names and could fulfil the yearning that fans have for a high-quality attraction.

Work needs to be done on the side of the artists and their demands, the promoters and their promises, and the venues and the opportunities they give.

So, there you have it from me – a list of requests for the forthcoming months. Let’s hope we can make these, and many more, happen.

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