Jah9 – New Name

March 4, 2013

The 1970s roots reggae era saw sporadic releases by female cultural artists that are among the finest examples of the subgenre. The extraordinary quality of 45s by Senya (Children of The Ghetto, Oh Jah Come Now, Roots Man), Joy White (Dread Out Deh, Check Your Daughter) and Fabian (Prophecy) is partially explained by the difficulty of getting recorded in a male-dominated reggae industry (“You should stay at home and mind the baby” sang Errol Dunkley on Be True To Your Man – their music had to be a battering ram no glass door could resist). Today, with her long awaited introductory album ‘New Name’, produced by Rory Gilligan from Stone Love, conscious poet and singer Jah9 summons the power of that age again.

Jah9 - New NameThe choir-singing introspective daughter of a preacher and social worker, Janine Cunningham experienced a spiritual, Afrocentric and artistic awakening while studying psychology at UWI. Like many of the Jamaican new wave, she came up through live music and performance poetry shows such as Bull Bay’s surf club Jamnesia, rather than chatting on a sound. ‘New Name’ follows some prodigious singles: the triumphant title track (with its Shaka-ready cascading horns and Addis – son of AugustusPablo’s melodica) and the militantly drummed, Africa-Unite-era-Bob-sounding Jungle (initially written for Third World’s Bunny Rugs, and featuring Janine’s musical mentor, Sheldon Bernard on flute).

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