Here’s our main Reggae line up for this year’s Boomtown, bringing everyone from pioneers such as Toots & The Maytals or U-Roy & Big Youth to the latest generation of Roots Reggae revivalists from all over the globe, especially Jamaica who are represented more than ever before this year! Many people will already know Protoje, but here’s a few of the other young Jamaicans who will be representing this year.
I caught these guys at their sold out Jazz Cafe show last year (alongside Stick Figure who are also performing this year) and it was one of the best live shows of last year. Having proved themselves as one of this generation’s most exciting new Reggae acts with their albums ‘Destiny’ and ‘Judgement Day: Music For The Rebels’ their latest offering ‘Everlasting’ has taken them to even greater heights, including a Grammy nomination (though the Grammy was actually won by Ziggy Marley, who also joins us this year).
Probably the strongest challenger to Raging Fyah for the best reggae album of last year is Jah9’s sophomore album ‘9’ (shout out to VP Records for releasing both of these!), she’s also a powerful performer and one of the highlights of Shamabla for me last year. I first heard her via Rodigan a few years back with her track Jungle, but she’s just kept getting stronger and stronger since.
With tracks like Modern Day Judas and the Damian Marley produced Cool & Deadly, Jesse is well placed to follow Protoje and Chronixx across the great reggae divide into a wider audience, so I was devastated to hear that my birthday party fell at the same time as his first ever show in Bristol last year. Thankfully he agreed to come and perform a few tracks afterwards and showed that he has the performance skills to back up the great songs he’s putting out.
I first came across Iba Mahr through his Sting 2014 performance (how I had missed his massive Diamond Sox track before that is beyond me). Despite the nature of Sting, that year definitely belonged to the Roots artists and despite his gentle singing style, Iba Mahr stood out as having a serious fire in his belly. I have no doubt that his will be one of the stand out shows at the Lion’s Den.
For me the stand out artist on BBC 1Xtra’s Jamaican Freshman’s Freestyle Special last year and then he dropped one of my favourite tunes of 2016 with Move Ya Feet. Runkus is no newbie to the game, as the son of Determine (a great 90s dancehall artist whose Kette Drum track with Beenie Man is an all time classic) he has performed with his dad from an early age, however in the past year or so he has really started to come into his own.
Born in Jamaica but currently based in the UK, I feel Randy is often criminally over looked given his killer output. Tracks like Sound The Alarm and Wake The Town are up there with the best of them and he’s proved diversity through strong Roots, Lovers Rock, Dancehall and even Hip-hop tracks (check his mixtape riding 90s Hip-hop instrumentals). He also features on Mista Savonna’s ‘Havanna Merets Kingston’ album, I posted their new video here the other day.
Suns Of Dub
Ras Jammy and Addis Pablo (son of the legendary Augustus Pablo), are producing some incredible riddims at the moment and are bringing Dub to a whole new generation through their work with the likes of Major Lazer. I really can’t wait to hear their productions through the massive Lion’s Den speakers. It’s going to be a bone shaker.