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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » CANADA-BASED REGGAE ARTIST EXCO LEVI TRYING TO PUSH THE GENRE TO THE FOREFRONT!

CANADA-BASED REGGAE ARTIST EXCO LEVI TRYING TO PUSH THE GENRE TO THE FOREFRONT!

Multiple Juno-winning performer, with local shows over the weekend, is working hard to raise commercial profile of a genre that ‘plays in every continent.’

You’d think with five Juno Awards to his credit, Exco Levi would be a household name by now.

After all, the 36-year-old Manchester, Jamaica native — who now calls Brampton home — has dominated the Juno Reggae Recording of the Year category for the better part of this decades, scoring wins for his songs “Bleaching Shop” (2012), “Storms of Life” (2013), “Strive” (2014), “Welcome to the King” (2015) and “Siren” (2017).

Exco Levy

Exco Levy

Levi has been a very visible ambassador for the genre popularized by the likes of Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff. He plays Monday at the Jambana One World Festival at the Markham Fairgrounds and then a free show at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sept. 1, and played Harbourfront’s Island Soul Festival Saturday.

Recently he been performing throughout Europe, in Dubai, and even in Zimbabwe and Malawi, yet he still is looking for mainstream acceptance.

“Most people in Canada consider reggae music as a niche market,” says Levi, born Wayne Levy. “This music plays in every continent, so I don’t understand why it’s considered a niche market. Even in this day, Bob Marley is still topping iTunes and all the major record online stores across the world. It’s not the No. 1 music in Canada, but you still have people all in Canada who appreciate it.

“I’m honoured to be a reggae ambassador here in Canada, bringing forward reggae music from back home in Jamaica.”

Levi says reggae just needs more mainstream media attention, adding that he’d love for a commercial radio station “to give us more highlight.” That concern was supposed to be addressed by Flow 93.5 back in 2001 when it debuted with Bob Marley’s “Roots, Rock, Reggae.” (The station has since been sold and rebranded as The Move.)

“Mainstream media mainly focuses on pop culture and pop music,” says Levi. “Therefore, we always get lost in the vault.”

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