In celebrating his 40th anniversary in the business of deejaying indigenous Jamaican music, David Rodigan visited the island, performing at Dubwise alongside King Jammy and Yaadcore on the weekend. As customary, he also took the opportunity to link up with local entertainers, to be featured in his upcoming BBC 1Xtra feature.
Last year, he visited with young artistes like Lila Ike and Blvk H3ro. He also had sessions with social-media personality-turned-singer Bella Blair and In.Digg.Nation artiste Sevana.
“I’m particularly impressed with Bella Blair and Sevana and a group called Persons of Interest,” Rodigan told The Gleaner.
However, if Rodigan was to zone in on one figure, immediately responding to the question, ‘Who is new and interesting on the Rock?’, his response: “Romain Virgo and people like that, they’re young and they’re still fresh. But in terms of brand new talent, I would immediately say Sevana.”
The veteran British deejay also hooked up with Shuga.
“She did a great session with us, and with Christopher Martin,” he said.
On Sound Clashes
“[Dancehall] is not really my scene anymore. Dancehall, for me, was ’90s and the early 2000s. I can’t keep up with the new dancehall, I’m afraid. I stay true to the music which I’ve always loved, which is reggae,” Rodigan told The Gleaner.
In 1997, David Rodigan recalls facing off with the iconic sound system, Kilamanjaro, in a clash that went on for four hours.
“I think sound clashing isn’t what it used to be because it’s too hype, and it’s not the way I perform. So I only occasionally do clashes now, because I’m not in the hype thing,” he said.
“The music needs to play for a minute, or two minutes – now they play everything for 30 seconds. I’m not cutting dubs to play them for 30 seconds and say pull up. If the artiste has gone through the trouble of making a song, the least I can do, as a deejay, is allow the song to play.”
Still, the dancehall and reggae cultures – birthed from the same soundscape – continue to present themselves intersectionally.
The decor of last Saturday’s edition of Dubwise, featuring Rodigan, pioneer dancehall producer and selector King Jammy and Yaadcore, was provided by Maxine Walters, collector of Jamaican dancehall signage. Plastered on the walls, trees and columns of the West Kings House Road venue, some of the signs dated back more than a decade and others mere months ago.
As for selectors taking up the mantle in the decades to come, Rodigan said, “Yaadcore is following in the traditions and the heritage. The new young selectors have to bear in mind that it’s not all about hype and going nuts. It’s about playing the music, allowing the music to breathe and continually reflecting on the heritage.”