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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » ROOTS SINGER JOHNNY CLARKE SUPPORTS CONTEMPORARY DANCEHALL MUSIC!

ROOTS SINGER JOHNNY CLARKE SUPPORTS CONTEMPORARY DANCEHALL MUSIC!

 Johnny Clarke in performance at Rebel Salute in St Ann last weekend.—-

SEVERAL veteran artists have no time for contemporary dancehall. It’s too vulgar, they say.

But roots singer Johnny Clarke is not into bashing his younger counterparts. He says while some of their lyrics could be less explicit, they are merely expressing what is playing out in society.

“The youths are more educated and they are expressing themselves more.

“A lot more is happening now for them to sing about,” said the 60-year-old Clarke. “Back in the days, our main topics were on politics, poverty and Africa. There was no animosity among artists as we all lived like family.”

Clarke, known as the ‘hit machine’ during his heyday of the 1970s, is concerned about the dominance of technology in music.

“Decades ago, the music was more authentic but we had lots more work to do. We could do no patching up compared to now,” he reasoned. “Now all a producer has to do is just erase and repair. Now I can even sing my own harmonies.”

Johnny Clarke

Johnny Clarke

Last Friday, Clarke brought the house down at Rebel Salute. He was fresh off a two-week mini-tour of Brazil; he is scheduled to perform in France in March.

Clarke’s career started in the early 1970s, shortly after leaving Jamaica College. His first hit song, Everyday Wandering, produced by Rupie Edwards, was released in 1973.

He hit his stride mid-decade in tandem with producer Bunny Lee. Clarke helped define the Greenwich Farm sound with songs like None Shall Escape the Judgement, Move Outa Babylon, Rock With me Baby and African Roots.

— Simone Morgan

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