Green, red and yellow. These are the colours that cross your mind when you think of reggae. Between rock ’n’ roll, house and hip-hop, the capital sometimes slips into reggae tunes, songs that have been slowly regaining popularity over the past six months. Acts such as Reggae Rajahs, Delhi Sultanate and several DJs are now increasingly playing sub-genres of rasta music that originated in the late 1960s in Jamaica.
That’s why it’s easy to understand why so many popular night spots in the city want to salute the cult reggae musician Bob Marley on his birthday. This weekend, watch documentaries, listen to jam sessions, check out DJs performing and paint graffiti as several artists pay tribute to Marley.
Friday night saw the Reggae Rajahs open for Graeme Hamilton (of the UB40 fame) at Ai: The Love Hotel. Reggae Rajahs were formed last year when Mohammed S. Abood aka DJ MoCity started a group on Facebook called Reggae India (RI).
Abood recalls how things fell into place. “When I started out, I wasn’t sure if people would be interested in reggae. But the online group said it all. RI has over 800 members now,” he says. Abood and his group are planning to screen a documentary on Marley, “so that fans get a clear picture of the genre”. They are also handing out free CDs. Thanks to the online community, Abood says, reggae artists from other parts of the world as well as local RJs are getting in touch with them for the music.
While things are still at a nascent stage, Delhi-based band Skavengers are ready with two original songs that will hit the live circuit soon. Skavengers is an off-shoot of a popular genre-hopping act from Delhi, Emperor Minge. Places such as Ai: The Love Hotel, The Living Room, Café Morrison are hosting frequent gigs by these artists.
Parikrama bassist Chintan Kalra will make his debut this Sunday with his Reggae act called The Live Band. Kalra feels that reggae provides a good alternative to rock lovers.
“People need an alternative to the heady rock and electronica scene… and reggae with its peaceful vibe is perfect. So far the reggae gigs have been sporadic but now we can see the support growing.”
So this weekend, keep your eyes and ears open for the rasta beat.