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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Jah9 – Woman of ‘Good Music History’

There’s not enough female dub/reggae singers or songwriters in the spotlights of our musical history.

I only just realised that while listening to the debut album of Jamaica’s Jah9 – and in each and every track appreciating the jazzy, soulful and refreshingly feminine vocals of She Who Is Jah9: Janine Cunningham.

Jah9 - Janine Cunningham

There’s so much more to appreciate about the album New Name over and above the fact that Janine Cunningham has cemented a place for herself as a successful woman in the contemporary dub/reggae sphere – or as pioneer of  ‘Jazz on Dub’.

To begin there are the positive, socially and spiritually-conscious content of Jah9 lyrics  – and their poetic composition.  Old-school Jamaican roots reggae lovers (and any switched-on new ones) would approve and appreciate, certainly.

Also Janine Cunningham’s stellar vocal phrasing.

Ever so importantly, that those Jah9 vocals are combined with contemporary reggae and dub music that is refreshingly good quality in every way.

Finally there’s the fact that Janine Cunningham not only wrote the songs, but also co-arranged and produced alongside Rory Gilligan of dancehall sound system/label Stone Love.

Jah9 - New Name (2013)

Jah9 – New Name (2013)

Beyond all of that, Janine Cunningham deserves more respect because it seems that she does a decent job of living out in actions, the words she sings. Through her music and lyrics, as well as her human ways of being (check out youth NGO Manifesto Jamaica for example) I’d say Janine Jah9 Cunningham is contributing lots and lots of human and womanly and musical goodness to this world of ours.

That Jah9 goodness is of great benefit to me and the world – because as a human and a woman, it inspires me to try and contribute the same level of positivity to the world in which I live; and because it also means I have the lifelong pleasure of listening to Jah9 music.  You can too.

Check out these sample (dirty mp3) Jah9 tracks yourself and see if you agree that this female artist has earned her place in a spotlight of our ‘Good Music History’…

Jah9 - New Name (2013)

Jah9 – New Name (2013)

‘Intention’ – Jah9 – New Name

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‘Legitimate’ – Jah9 (feat. Protoje) – New Name

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Agreed?

You can buy yourself all the sounds written and recorded by Janine ‘Jah9’ Cunningham and Rory Gilligan on cd to have in your music collection forever after, through Dub Vendor – or better yet, get yourself to Jamaican shores (via Cuba 🙂 ) to find it.  I promise you that Caribbean trip will be filled with a whole lot of musical goodness.

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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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