Reggae Train


Alexandra Simon (Caribbean Life) says, “Think of ‘Soul Train’ with Caribbean music and you get the genius of the new and hopeful dance show, ‘Internatio­nal Reggae Train.’” The show’s pilot episode was shot in Manhattan on January 17, 2017. Simon explains that although the show borrows a portion of its name from the classic dance show “Soul Train,” “Internatio­nal Reggae Train” is branching off from the soul and rhythm and blues music that made the 35-year running show popular, to bring reggae and other popular music forms that sprung from it, according to creator Donovan Helsop. Simon writes:

“‘Internatio­nal Reggae Train’ is a show that will include live music and dancing to that music which is essentially reggae–based,” said Helsop. “Our intention as the show expands is to include all genres of music, which will include afropop, reggaeton, soca, and hip-hop of course — quite a few of these genres came out of reggae and most of them have a dancehall beat.”

The show’s format will follow the common dance show routine with new and popular songs being danced to by an audience of dancers, a weekly artist performance and interview, with the show concluding with a reggae train.

At the first day of filming more than 100 dancers from all over the city came to perform their best moves to popular dancehall and reggae songs, with international reggae pop star Shaggy as the special music guest, said Helsop. “We had in the room well over 150 people and that might be an evolutionary aspect to it — because our audience will be our dancers,” he said. “Then you have godfather of great artists Shaggy, who is a major pop star with dancehall background.”

Also part of the pilot were artists, Luciano and Toots and Maytals to name a few, and popular dancehall choreographer Blacka Di Danca. And at the forefront of the show is widely-known Jamaican record producer Wayne Jobson, who Helsop says is the perfect choice for a host on a show celebrating reggae and its origins.

“Wayne Jobson’s family were specifically involved in Bob Marley being as big as he is,” he said. “They were an integral foundation in Bob Marley’s worldwide popularity, and he is the host and who we have on board — we have a stellar lineup.”

The show does not have a target audience other than people who are lovers of dance and reggae music, said Helsop. He said while the show will begin centered on reggae, he knows that the show will reach an international appeal based on reggae’s popularity and its diverse audience of fans. [. . .]

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