“As a kid I used to love singing more than deejaying”
The last few years have been unusually quiet for stentorian voiced Bobo Ashanti deejay Capleton. His most recent two albums, distributed by VP – early precursors of the trend for roots one drop longplayers by Jamaican dancehall artists – were in 2004 and 2010 respectively.
But this year Capleton was back in the news. There was the incident where he was pushed by a fan onstage in California – prompting speculation as to whether this was a protest against past anti-gay lyrics. Then he postponed his festival in Jamaica St Mary Mi Come From – his manager Claudette Kemp told the Jamaica Observer this was due to lack of sponsorship. The gap in his schedule resulted in him touring Europe in the summer for the first time in nearly a decade.
Angus Taylor was granted an unusual pre-show interview minutes before he was about to go on stage at Sardinia Reggae festival. There they discussed all the above topics and more…
You’re in Europe this summer because your annual St Mary Mi Come From festival is not taking place this year. How does it feel to be doing summer a bit differently?
Well it’s a joy because as you say I haven’t been here for like 8, 9 years for these festivals in Europe because of my festival in Jamaica. I took the opportunity because I’m changing the venue that I have currently to the original venue that it was before. So the original venue is called Clements Park in the heart of the city of Portmore there. It’s not going to be ready for the date of show so I took the opportunity to postpone the show to the next year to come to Europe and come and please my fans.
Your 2004 album Reign of Fire was mostly roots one drop and your 2010 album I Ternal Fire was fully one drop. Since that time a lot of artists from the dancehall have jumped on the trend like Mr Vegas and Busy Signal. Did you know you were starting a trend there?
Yeah, definitely, in a way. I’ve seen all these great icons and all these great pioneers – Bob Marley and the Wailers, Burning Spear, Culture, you name it. All of these great icons who spent their energy and their time in terms of promoting the roots side of the music. We grew on the roots and we travelled the world and we realised that it was the roots side. Yeah, people love dancehall because they love the jump, they love to wave, they love to hold the vibe and feel the energy and they get a chance to exercise. But at the end of the day they still gravitate more to the roots because they connect more spiritually and it’s good for the soul. The roots reggae is the heartbeat of the people and the function of the heart so as I said, we got the privilege from the icons and these pioneers so we are contributing 100% right now to the roots and the culture. Because this is what the people need and this is what the people feel. This is what keeps the people going and this what gives the people a sense of hope. This is what brings the message to the people. This is what brings the love and the joy and the happiness and the peace and the unity and the strength.
When is your next album coming and what kind of album will it be?
Straight roots and culture. I’m in the studio now working on it. We have some nice tracks and we are working with most of the top producers in Jamaica now.Read more…