Reggae wins big at Juno

By Kevin Jackson
Observer writer

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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Overdubbed: Sly & Robbie Meet Dubmatix won Canada's Juno Award for Reggae Recording of The Year at the annual awards last Saturday. Held in London, Ontario, the event saw reggae music receiving attention on the main stage.

“Exco Levi created history as the first reggae act to perform at the gala dinner. He was the last performer of the night and the category was the second-to-last one to be announced. This was definitely a good movement for reggae,” Carrie Mullings, chairperson for the Reggae category, told the Jamaica Observer.

Like the Grammy Awards, its American counterpart, the Juno reggae category has never received prime time recognition. Last year's Reggae Recording of The Year winner, Kirk Diamond, performed at another Juno event on Saturday.

“This year we saw a huge level of respect for reggae at the Junos,” Mullings added.

This was the second win for Dubmatix and his seventh nomination. He won in 2010 for Gonna Be Alright with Prince Blanco.

“Having the opportunity to be part of the Juno Awards is always a great opportunity to help reach new potential listeners, fans and media across Canada. Just to be nominated is an honour and to win was a complete surprise and unexpected,” Dubmatix told the Jamaica Observer.

The other nominees for Reggae Recording of The Year were Money Don't Grow Pon Trees by Blessed, Genesis by Chelsea Stewart, Narrative by Exco Levi, and Talk or No Talk by Kafinal featuring Queen Ifrica.

Dubmatix explained how the collaboration with reggae's most famous production team came about.

“It all started from a conversation I had with my label boss, Nicolai, of Echo Beach Records back in 2016 when I was in Hamburg, Germany. He mentioned that it was possible to work with tracks from Sly and Robbie. As a youth, Sly and Robbie were part of my daily listening as they have been one of the driving forces of music, not just reggae, but all types of music for over 40-plus years and helped define and shape so much music over these decades, that I jumped at the chance,” he said. “I used the drum and bass tracks and created and built brand tracks around them, keeping in mind all those years that Sly and Robbie pushed sonic and musical boundaries.”

Dubmatix brought in a number of musicians including his father, keyboardist Bill King, to shape and create the songs. Jamaican drummer Pablo Paul, guitarist Shane “Shaky” Forrest, Treson Alman, Jay Spaker, Grippa Hempolics, and The Heavyweights Brass Band (Chris Butcher, Paul Metcalfe and John Pittman), also contributed to 'Overdubbed'.

During his acceptance speech, Dubmatix paid homage to the pioneers of Jamaican music.

“Big up to the foundation producers, musicians and engineers of reggae that came to Toronto from Jamaica in the 1960s. All the foundation artistes that helped elevate the music that got me where I am today,” he said.


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