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Cookie is Hooked on Reggae

Cookie is Hooked on Reggae

This is the fourth of a 10-part series looking at the impact of dancehall/reggae culture around the world.

SWISS singjay Cookie The Herbalist has earned his stripes by working the European reggae circuit for over a decade.

Eager to make a name in the music's birthplace, he was in Jamaica last month doing the studio rounds.

"Certain people know my tunes but I'm trying to get a name in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Jamaica is the heartbeat of reggae," he said in his best patois.

The diminutive Cookie was born in Switzerland to an Italian father and Swiss mother. He lives in the city of Biel, Switzerland, where most of his recordings are done.

It is where his two albums, Like a Tree and Stand Tall, were recorded, and released in 2010 and 2012 respectively. The latter hears Cookie working with acts like Sophia Squire, Prezident Brown, Sizzla and Luciano.

Cookie The Herbalist moved to Italy as an infant. He returned to Switzerland at age eight.

According to him, the reggae scene in both countries is vibrant.

"Switzerland has many, many sound systems, the culture is growing there every year which is nice. In italy, people in cities like Milan are big into dancehall," he explained.

Born Stefano Raschi, Cookie The Herbalist says his love for reggae stemmed from his parents' diverse album collection. It included the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

His first major recording was the mixtape Little Lion and His Radio. In 2008, he released the EP Good Weed which was followed by his debut album, Like Tree.

The latter contains the songs A Girl Like You, done with journeyman singer Squier, and Move On, which he says were well-received in Switzerland and Germany.

Stand Tall, produced mainly by top Swiss dancehall/reggae personality 'Maxrubadub', is Cookie The Herbalist's biggest project to date.

He expects to release his third album this year.

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