Large up to ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’!
Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
With Jamaica celebrating its 50th anniversary of Independence, and with the theme for the jubilee being ‘A Nation on a Mission’, legendary reggae band, Inner Circle, is also on a mission to save reggae.
Ian Lewis, a founding member of the band, told The Gleaner the band launched its ‘Save the Reggae Music’ campaign last year in an effort to restore the genre to former glory.
Lewis believes reggae has now been dominated by hip hop influences and, as such, needs to be restored.
“This campaign really was born out of travelling. We are slowly seeing that not a lot of young people are coming to reggae. Reggae used to bring spirituality and wholesomeness to the world, and we have started to lose that. We have a culture second to none, and we have to find a way to reach the youths,” Lewis said.
Lewis went on to say reggae bands were now finding it increasingly difficult to tour because white reggae bands dominate the genre.
Describing reggae as ‘the music which transcends the world’, Lewis believes that the spirituality in reggae music is now missing.
Crediting artistes such as Bob Marley, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe and others as reggae artistes who helped to pave the way for the genre, Lewis emphasised the need to spread the message of saving reggae music across the world by joining forces with other reggae bands all over.
Practising what it preaches, the group has released its latest single, This Is Reggae Music, which features Reggae Wave.
Reggae Wave is a combination of bands which include Jahfe, Fourth Dimension, The Revolvers, Mixed Culture, Spred the Dub, Stampede Movement, Roots Shakedown and Skafyah.
“We have to save reggae music, we can’t forsake our culture. To make a movement successful, we need people to work together from all over the world. The movement needs that spark. We need to bring back that international appeal to reggae music,” Lewis told The Gleaner.
By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston Observer
WITH over 40 years in the music under their belt, Inner Circle has just about seen and done it all. Recently, the band launched their latest, and arguably, most important, initiative.
Their dissatisfication with contemporary Jamaican music inspired the Saving The Reggae Music campaign.
Bass player and founding member Ian Lewis warns that “unless proper steps are taken, then we are going to lose the best thing that we ever had.”
Lewis says current reggae is too influenced by American hip hop. In light of this trend, the group is pushing their latest song, This Is Reggae Music, a cover of the Zap Pow band’s hit song from the early 1970s.
According to Lewis, the song is “very appropriate” to get the band’s message across.
“We think it is a key song to express to the world our sentiments,” he said, adding that an accompanying video will cement the quartet’s message.
Lewis believes Jamaican youth have lost touch with their culture, and foregners have noticed this.
“In America alone, there are over 400 white reggae bands, they are the ones enjoying nine months out of the year tours,” said Lewis.
Recently, Billboard Magazine did a feature on the rise of American bands like Rebelution and Groundation, who have made a name through constant touring.
Lewis hopes the Inner Circle mission will go viral and influence real change among Jamaican youth to get back to basics as far as reggae is concerned.
Formed in the early 1970s, Inner Circle retains three of its core. Lewis’ older brother, guitarist Roger, is another founding member while keyboardist Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey has been in the band for over 35 years.
Led by singer Jacob Miller, the band had a string of hit songs such as Tenement Yard and Everything is Great. Miller died in 1980, putting the brakes on Inner Circle’s career.
They made a remarkable comeback in 1993 with the big hit songs Sweat (A La La La La Long) and Bad Boys. They won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album the next year.
Read more: Jamaica Observer