Music

Ijahman Levi breaks drought

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

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Roots singer Ijahman Levi, whose recording career flourished during the 1970s and 1980s, is working on his first studio album in 13 years. It is expected to be released in September by VPAL Music, said Donovan Williams, that company's general manager.

Williams did not give details about the set, but Ijahman Levi hinted that “every day is a new day. My music is part of mi livity”.

According to his discography, Ijahman Levi has not released a new collection of songs since Versatile Life in 2006. There was a five-year gap between that album and its predecessor, The Roots of Life.

VPAL Music, a subsidiary of VP Records, distributes Ijahman Levi's albums which is an extensive catalogue dating to 1978's Haile I Hymn (Chapter One).

He and Williams are long-time associates. Williams told the Jamaica Observer that Ijahman Levi's link with VPAL has enhanced the prolife of his music.

“The partnership with VPAL has allowed him to venture into catalogue development and content creation on platforms, especially in Europe,” said Williams.

Ijahman Levi was born Trevor Sutherland in Manchester in 1946. His career started as a teenager recording for producer Arthur “Duke” Reid, and continued when he migrated to the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s.

His early work in the UK was inspired by the American soul music movement of that period, but by the mid-1970s he accepted Rastafari, adopted an Afrocentric moniker, and released two well-received albums ( Haile I Hymn ( Chapter One and Are we A Warrior) for Island Records, which were produced by Geoffrey Chung.

His expansive collection allows Ijahman Levi to tour without new material. Last year, he performed in Africa, France and the Netherlands.

He is not concerned that many Jamaicans are unaware of his music.

“A Jah Rastafari will. A prophet is of no honour in his own land,” he said.


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