Friday, January 27, 2012

African Storm - Bringing the music home.

I visited a Reggae Dancehall session tonight in Jo'burg;-)
Thanks to Nick for hooking me up on the guest list at the Bassline night club in town to go and listen to a sound system called African Storm which is run by a very old friend of mine DJ Admiral & his partner former Bongo Maffin band member Jahseed.

I jumped at the chance to attend a reggae session in Africa and I realised that, reggae and ragga were alive in Johannesburg. In fact, it's thriving and has a huge following cutting across all classes and races, who on a regular basis converge on this venue to hear this music played by African Storm as they spin ragga tunes.

Often also called dance hall music, ragga is different from reggae in distinct ways. Ragga is the more popular version of reggae, particularly among the youth since it is mainly for dancing in a club (hall) as opposed to reggae, which is mainly for the listening experience for its inspirational messages of freedom, consciousness and its melodies. Dancehall or ragga is more of a DJ-ing concept, with artists spinning songs of a certain rhythm.

When I arrived at the Bassline, around 11pm I was met by Andy at the door and we went inside and chatted for a while the place was already packed and full of energy with loads of youths with Dreadlocks and performing their version of the famous "Rastaman Skank". Andy's set started about 12:00 so we went backstage and he introduced me to his crew and then got on stage to begin his set.

I stood looking out towards the crowd taking in the ambience and just generally watching the crowd dance and enjoy the music....I slowly zoned out to the hypnotic rythms being played. 

Then suddenly I heard a slightly high pitched Keyboard string resonate out and the crowd also recognised it.......they went crazy!!! 

"Singing don't worry, bout a thing" Bob Marley;-) followed by "Buffalo Soldier" as a wave of hysteria shot through the crowd and they cheered even louder!!! I was amazed and then it totally exploded as the Admiral dropped the classic "One Love" as the crowd joined together and sang the chorus and waving their arms in the air.

Although I was brought up on Reggae and Bob in general as my Mother loves him and would encourage my younger Brother, Sister and I to dance in the front room as the sound of Bob bellowed out of the speakers. I have never heard a Bob Marley tune played at a dance but, it was a real joy to see that crowd go mad for it and I felt especially proud being part Jamaican especially when I heard One love and I felt finally that the music had come home.

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Just passing through and enjoying life. I use this blog to keep hold of my thoughts & opinions. In general anything that interest me.