Protoje & The InDiggNation Live In Amsterdam – Ancient Future Tour 2015

About this time two years ago I was in Jamaica on the hunt to find Protoje’s then-new album The 8 Year Affair. Finding a Summer show on his island home wasn’t an option because Protoje and The InDiggNation were touring Europe. I’ve watched their busy tour schedules since, waiting patiently for a chance to catch a live show.

I finally got it at Amsterdam’s Melweg last week – on the tail end of their tour of the now-new third album Ancient Future (released in March this year) – and amongst the collective’s shows at venues and reggae festivals throughout Europe including Mighty Sounds, Lakesplash, Summerjam, Sunrise Reggae & Ska, One Love and Summer Vibration.

Protoje live at Melkweg, Amsterdam - July 2015

Protoje live at Melkweg

Was I satisfied with my long-awaited live Protoje and The InDiggNation experience? Most definitely and completely. They quenched my thirst for wicked contemporary roots reggae music – and today that’s not an easy thing to do.

I love the sounds, quality, essence and musicianship levels of old – and cringe when I hear bands all over the world doing those sounds and the artists who made them an injustice by unsuccessfully trying to replicate them and creating bad, bland reggae music in the process. But I also want reggae music that sounds fresh, unique, diversified and has an edge to it.

At their Amsterdam show (like on the albums) Protoje and The InDiggNation collective delivered all those sounds I crave from both the past and present, made every part of my being smile with joy instead of cringe – and demonstrated live what an all mighty justice they’re doing for Jamaican and worldwide reggae music. My one of only three passing thoughts at the gig (great live music takes you out of your head) was “I haven’t heard live reggae music this wicked since Sly & Robbie”.

Protoje live at Melkweg, Amsterdam - July 2015

The humble and gentle Protoje himself with his unique hip hop vocal flow that gets my body moving every time, is just one part of the goodness of the live experience. The others, equally as important and talented are their sound engineer Greg Morris plus the seven core members of the InDiggNation on stage with Protoje: Peter “Kongz” Samaru (drums) – Lamont “Monty” Savory and Kevin “Zuggu” Patterson (guitars) – Paris LaMont Dennis (keys & vocoder) – Danny Bassie (bass) – Shenae Wright and Keiko Smith (background vocals).

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At Melkweg the crowd got the extra-special treat of hearing the absolutely stunning live vocals of young Jamaican diva Sevana when she joined the group on stage for three songs – two from Ancient Future (‘Love Gone Cold’ & ‘Sudden Flight’) and her own first single (produced by Protoje) ‘Bit Too Shy’. Sevana’s presence took the show to new heights again.

Sevana + Protoje & The Indiggnation live at Melkweg, Amsterdam 2015

Sevana with Protoje & The InDiggNation at Melkweg

The heavenly vocals of Zuggu in place of Ky-Mani Marley on ‘Rasta Love’ were another highlight amongst the gig’s many.

The Indiggnation live concert at Melkweg, Amsterdam 2015

The second of those three passing thoughts was that Protoje and The InDiggNation seemed a wee bit tired. Totally expected given their relentless tour schedule – and it didn’t stop them from delivering a killer show that brought a whole lot of happiness to everyone there.

A few times during the set Protoje thanked the Amsterdam crowd for taking the time to come out and listen. My third and final thought in response was “Kind words, but seriously? Man, thank you all for bringing your music to us”.

Protoje live at Melkweg, Amsterdam - July 2015

Anyone with a thirst like mine for wickedly-diverse, fresh, unique contemporary reggae music with the qualities and essence of old, needs to find their own sublime live Protoje and the InDiggNation experience. I’ll take another one, and another, wherever and whenever I can. In the meantime we can all keep dancing to our beloved hard-copies (digital if you must) of Ancient Future, The 8 Year Affair and The 7 Year Itch.

Listen here to ‘Sudden Flight’ (featuring Sevana and Jesse Royal) and check out video footage below of Protoje and The InDiggNation performing ‘Protection’ and ‘Bubblin’ in Amsterdam (all three tracks from the new album Ancient Future, which you can buy here).


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Protoje & The Indiggnation – Jamaica’s Contemporary Reggae Revival

Many Jamaicans I spoke to in Jamaica recently reminisced to me about the good ole days of conscious roots reggae music. They also complained about the new generation of dancehall.  I think those Jamaicans would approve of Protoje and his band The Indiggnation.

Protoje-The Indiggnation-www.beaveronthebeats.com

Protoje’s 2013 album The 8 Year Affair, turned out to be the best contemporary reggae album I bought home with me from Jamaica.  This is the music I went to Jamaica looking for.

The 8 Year Affair (2013)

To my ears it is simply sweet, tasty reggae music – infused with some subtle elements of dub, hip hoppop, and even a violin on one track.

Protoje’s lyrics are of the conscious kind that those Jamaicans (and I) are looking for. One of the tracks is Reggae Revival – an ode to reggae music from those ‘good ole days’ featuring another great contemporary Jamaican artist Romain Virgo.

Protoje & Romain Virgo - Reggae Revival - www.beaveronthebeats.com

 

 

In these past weeks post Jamaica and Colombia, The 8 Year Affair has had the most listens out of my entire bag of new CDs. I love it to bits – and Protoje has gone on to my list of ‘must have live music experiences’.  You’ll probably feel the same if you’re into reggae.

Protoje - Kingston Be Wise - www.beaveronthebeats.com

Who Dem a Program - Protoje

Reggae fans in Europe in October and November can check out Protoje & The Indiggnation live on their Fall Tour.

Protoje - Music From My Heart Tour Poster - www.beaveronthebeats.com

If not in Europe, find Protoje & The Indiggnation live where you can – I will be.  In the meantime get hold of The 8 Year Affair and the previous Protoje album The 7 Year Itch.

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What You’ll Find @ Tuff Gong International Kingston

Tuff Gong International – Kingston, Jamaica.  Founded in 1965 by Mr Bob Marley himself.

Tuff Gong’s Kingston headquarters is a place Jamaican and international music artists can and do use as a complete one-stop shop for the recording and distribution of their music – CD’s and Vinyl. The Tuff Gong compound has a recording studio, mastering room, stamper room, pressing plant and rehearsal space.

Tuff Gong also has a record store.  I went there today to find current Jamaican music to buy.

After fruitless and disappointing searches at a few other record stores in Kingston this week, and knowing those same record stores go to Tuff Gong to buy, I thought my chances there would be good.

What I found at the Tuff Gong compound was this:

My mind boggling and my heart pumping fast at the thought of the incredible artistry that has graced the Tuff Gong compound, and how much music has been created there that I have loved my whole life.

Awesome, awesome, awesome antique and retro machines, furniture, instruments and other bits & bobs – my favourite part of the visit.

Lots of unique memorabilia.

Tuff Gong International - Kingston - Beaver on the Beats

Really friendly, helpful people and a whole lot of interesting characters – a visiting Jamaican bassist living in New York, involved with Tuff Gong from the start, with a lot to say about the disappointing lack of contemporary roots reggae to be found in Jamaica; and yes, even one of the Marley family.

A very sweet and knowledgeable guide named Ricky who innocently thought he needed  to explain to me it was James Brown in a photo.Tuff Gong International-Kingston-Beaver on the Beats

Character seeping from every wall, floor and roof space, and from each object within.

The coolest vintage recording studio ever.  No photos allowed inside – but trust me on this.

Tuff Gong International - Kingston - Beaver on the Beats

 What I found at the Tuff Gong Record Shop was this:

A whole lot of Bob Marley, Damian Marley, Julian Marley, Kymani Marley, Cedella Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley and Rita Marley CDs. Of course, and great – I found and bought 2 Cds I didn’t have.

A whole lot of CDs by different North American music artists (Tuff Gong is the Caribbean distributor for 3 major labels there).

And, disappointingly…

JUST ONE CD from a current Jamaican artist.

The 8 Year Affair (2013)

The 8 Year Affair (2013)

 

Protoje

I had wanted to find so much more Jamaican music in the Tuff Gong Record Store.  That old school bass player I met there understood, and shared my disappointment.

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