Michigan sticks to Roots


Michigan sticks to Roots

Observer writer

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Roots-reggae singer Papa Michigan said he is an advocate for the legalisation of ganja. His 2014 single, High Grade , is an ode to the health benefits of the plant.

He also feels he's an ideal act for Rastafari Rootz Fest scheduled for December 20 to December 22 at Long Bay Beach Park in Westmoreland.

“I have contributed to reggae from its inception and still continue, so it's only fitting that I perform on the show. I'm looking forward to it, because it's been a long time since I've performed in Negril,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Papa Michigan is billed to perform on the festival's opening night.

He plans to debut singles from his upcoming album set to be released on January 20.

“The album is titled Put Your Loving on Me, produced by myself and Pear Tree Production Limited and Dreghost from Bone Thugs and Harmony. It features a mixture of traditional roots-reggae and some contemporary songs; so I plan to perform maybe one or two,” he said.

The 13-track album will also feature a collaboration with Latin American group Alterta Kamarada.

Papa Michigan (given name Anthony Fairclough) started his musical journey in 1978 as part of the now-defunct duo Michigan and Smiley. The group is known for songs, including Rub a Dub Style, Nice Up the Dance, and The Ghetto Man.

The singer has no doubt he will be able to connect with a new demographic of listeners.

“A dem [younger generation] learn from we, enuh. I speak their language and they speak my language. So, I will definitely be able to get a response from the younger crowd,” he said.

According to the singer, his music has been featured in Little (2019), Yardie (2018), and the series The Runaway (2011).

Also slated to perform at Rastafari Rootz Fest are Chronixx, Jesse Royal, Richie Spice, Ken Boothe, Samory I, Warrior King, Ras Takura, Nature Ellis, Mystic Revealers, and Kumar Bent.

Rastafari Rootz Fest was established as part of aggressive lobbying in Jamaica for legalisation of ganja and its use by Rastafarians.

In February 2015, the Government passed a law that persons found in possession of two ounces of marijuana would not be prosecuted. Papa Michigan believes this is a small but significant step for Jamaica.

“Well, you know Jamaica is known for being behind time. So, of course, we have not fully legalised ganja, but at least something has started. It's not like the US or Canada where they have legalised it fully. But let us look at other countries that have not legalised it any at all,” he said.

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