Seani B on the Caribbean Acts to Watch in 2018


Claiming that 2017 was monumental for Caribbean music, The Voice’s Seani B says “racks up” a musical wish list for 2018. Here are excerpts:

[. . .] A BONAFIDE DANCEHALL RECORD IN THE NATIONAL CHART: It feels like we are close – really close – to smashing that glass ceiling that has been hovering above us for a little while. The new wave of artists seem much more savvy to the international potential that their music has, and it will be interesting to see which one of them breaks down the gates to greater prominence.

DANCEHALL KNOWING ITS WORTH: Often seen as ‘cool’, it is not unknown that the best elements of the music and culture have been taken and ‘adapted’ by the mainstream elements of pop culture. I feel really strongly that the Caribbean music fraternity wakes up and realises that this is an industry – a business – and needs to be handled as such. [. . .]

NON-SEASONAL SOCA: [. . .] Saying this, it is also the responsibility of soca producers and artists to ensure that the music being made can be released and played all year round – not just at carnival time. Artists like Bunji Garlin and Machel Montano have realised and appealed to a global market – it’s time that the rest of soca knows that this can be made and played 24/7, 365 days of the year.

LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE: [. . .] It’s now time for the larger stations to step up and give the right tracks the right chance to be nurtured, grown and celebrated.

BOUNTY/BEENIE MAKING A ‘BEST OF BOTH WORLDS’-STYLE ALBUM: [. . .] They have recently ended their long-running feud, and have recorded and performed together on numerous occasions – and I’m sure the world is more than ready for a duo-album. The excellent 1994 ‘Guns Out’ album, which features tracks from both artists, was more of a compilation of singles rather than a joint piece of work. Come on, Rodney and Moses – give the fans what they want and get in the studio!

THE CONTINUED PROGRESSION OF CARIBBEAN MUSIC MADE IN THE UK: There are a number of reasons for the elevation in the standards and consistency of Caribbean music made here in the UK. Firstly, I believe that even though, generationally, the youth of the UK are detached from their heritage, there is an invisible bond, which means that they feel closer than ever to their heritage.

You can see something similar with a new generation and the Afrobeats movements. Secondly, the understanding of the ‘sound’ of the islands means that the production values have elevated and now it is not considered to be a pale imitation.

Finally I think if you look at artists such as TriniBoi Joocie, E.Mak and Big Zeeks, Lisa Mercedez or Alicai Harley, I think you can see that they sprinkle the London flavour to their passion and love for the Caribbean sound. Carry on the good work, people! And finally…

A REGGAE FESTIVAL IN THE UK: As much as I love travelling around the world and sampling the delights that the various festivals have to offer, it would be amazing to have a festival right here at home that attracted all the top names and could fulfil the yearning that fans have for a high-quality attraction. [. . .]

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[Photo above: Alicai Harley, still from her video “Know Me”; see]

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