In the days when reggae music ruled the dance and radio airwaves it seemed as though people lived in peace with each other and the crime rate was not as out of control as it is today.
Violent and sexually charged dancehall and hip-hop now dominate the musical choices of the youth and the violence is playing out in the streets.
“Reggae music is being ignored by the mainstream in favour for what else is out there; to their own detriment ,” singer and exponent of the genre Levi Myaz declared.
“Radio and TV are not playing their part in airing positive music and when something happens they point the fingers to the youthman.”
The son of famed local singer Richard Nappy Mayers, Myaz grew up on his father’s music and reggae.
“Reggae was always the kind of music that a youth who wanted upliftment listened to.”
In an effort to bring reggae music back to the fore , Myaz has started a series of monthly concerts that he calls Escape. The concerts double as dance and features some local reggae artistes in a space that is not traditionally associated with rasta dance.
“I feel that it is my responsibility to bring back the positivity.
“This is my father’s legacy. He was a positive man and he was a good example by the way he lived.”
When people hear about rasta dance they usually tend to have a lot of negative thoughts about it. Mayz said it is quite contrary and that it is one of the safest because of the positive one love vibe. He also cleared up the misconception that rasta dance parties are for dreadlock-wearing folk or those who are rastafarians. The parties are for anyone who wants to hear good positive reggae music.”
In his international travel, Myaz has seen a different approach to the rasta dance.
“The venues are bigger, the ambience better and there are proper facilities for partygoers. That’s what I wanted to create so I took Escape to The Anchorage. Let people listen to positive music, sip something and look out at the water.”
The growing list of underground reggae artistes, he said, are equally grateful for a new space and opportunity to perform their songs, he said.
At last month’s concert performers included Marlon Asher, Mr Royal and Verseital. This month’s concert, which comes off on August 24, will feature Queen Omega, Myaz and Black Voice. In September, calypso singer Rootsman – who has found new fans in reggae – will be a part of the lineup.
He has plans to open up Escape to include new reggae DJs and singers very soon.
“It is unfortunate that these artistes are appreciated more overseas. We have a wealth of talent here that will let us fly the flag high out there.”
Myaz too has a following of his own in Europe and is now working on his first album – having released only singles in the past.
His upcoming album will feature uplifting and positive songs written by the singer. The album is currently being recorded in Germany but Myaz couldn’t yet say when it is due for release.
“I feel that when the Almighty blesses you with a talent you should create music that is positive.”
“My intention is to be a living example of positivity. “