RALLYING TO SAVE REGGAE MUSIC

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Frustrated with what they say is a distinct media bias toward dancehall music in Jamaica, a group of disgruntled musicians have formed an organisation to push for a level playing field.

Protest Now And Save Reggae (PNASR) is the name of the group which currently has 15 members, including president, Canute Parkes, a singer who also goes by the moniker Livebroadcast.

Drummer/songwriter Oniel 'Blunt' Walters is vice-president of the organisation, which also includes guitarists Andrew Simpson, Mitchum 'Khan' Chin and Lebert 'Gibby' Morrison, bassist Donald 'Axeman' Dennis and keyboardist Carol 'Bowie' McLaughlin.

Parkes said getting 'serious' Jamaican music back on local airwaves is one of the PNASR's primary objectives. That and rescuing reggae music.

"We want to see reggae risen from its fallen state and to do that we've started a movement that is going to get it back to an acceptable level," Parkes told The Gleaner.

The PNASR plan to release a song, Reggae Rescue From Freefall, to help push their point. It will be distributed to all local media and, based on response (airplay, etc), results will be sent to the Broadcasting Commission, the independent body that monitors airwave standards.

"Depending on the level of airplay the song gets, we will be in a position to test the integrity of the system," Parkes said.

McLaughlin, who has recorded with Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown and Ziggy Marley, says the PNASR should be a wake-up call for a dancehall-skewed media.

"We need a monitoring system that will diversify especially radio," said McLaughlin, who produces music for his Rusty Car label. "We're not knocking dancehall but there are people out there who would love to hear substantive sounds on radio," he added.

 

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