No record deal from a major label? No problem for reggae artiste Jah Jah Yute who sells his CDs at flea markets in the United States (US) and also treats his buyers and prospective buyers to live performances. The sale of reggae and dancehall music has been trending downwards for years with sales tracker, Soundscan, reporting in 2009 that collectively reggae/dancehall music sold just 502,171 units for the first 10 months of the year. Sean Paul's Imperial Blaze album with sales of 70,917 was leading the way at the time. But unlike many reggae and dancehall artistes who wait in earnest for a record deal from a major label in the US to help them make an album and then sell it, New Jersey-based Jah Jah Yute has taken matters into his own hands.
The concept of the compilation Out of Many: 50 Years of Reggae Music is simple. 50 years ago, Jamaica won independence from the British-ruled West Indies Federation. Around that same time, popular music in Jamaica began solidifying into some of the many sounds we now think of as reggae. Out of Many tells those two stories in parallel, with one song selected to represent the sound of each year from 1962 to 2012.
Reggae band The Archives have just released their self-titled debut album with ESL Music. The Archives began when Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton began a quest to explore the roots of reggae music. He asked keyboard ace Darryl “D-Trane” Burke to put together a cover band that would introduce club goers to the rock steady hits and obscurities of the pre-reggae era. When the group began writing original material, Burke contacted players he knew that could bring a progressive vibe to the music. “Everyone in the band has recorded and toured internationally with acts like Eek-A-Mouse, Culture, Gregory Isaacs and The Abyssinians,” Burke explains.