INTERNATIONALLY THE BIGGEST NAME IN REGGEA COME FROM OUTSIDE JAMAICA
THE biggest names in reggae internationally during 2011 were from…overseas.
Italian Alborosie and Gentleman from Germany, continued to make great strides while the American band, Rebelution, maintained a strong push for mainstream recognition.
The emergence of non-Jamaican reggae not only caught the attention of promoters on both sides of the Atlantic, but major publications such asBillboard magazine, which did an extensive feature on them.
Both Alborosie and Gentleman have had hit songs in Jamaica, but 2011 saw them concentrating on pushing their music in Europe where many a reggae act has made a name on the vibrant festival circuit.
Alborosie is still riding high on his Escape From Babylon To The Kingdom of Zion album which was released by VP Records in 2010. His European tour started in April and concluded in November.
Significantly, he was selected Best Reggae Act at the annual MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Awards in Scotland in October.
Gentleman also clocked significant road miles in 2011, promoting his Diversity album. He too raised his profile throughout Europe but is looking to crack the American market in 2012 on the Evolution Diversity tour, which kicks off in March.
Dates at famed venues like The Fillmore and House Of Blues are on the cards for Gentleman. He closes with a performance at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chile in late March. Rebelution, the quintet from Santa Barbara, California sustained its steady progress. Their debut album, Courage To Grow, was named iTunes’ Best Reggae Album of 2007, followed by Bright Side Of Life in 2009.
The band has cornered the college circuit in the US through relentless touring. Their third album, Peace Of Mind, is scheduled for a January release with a three-month tour expected to start that month.
Other non-Jamaican reggae acts that did well in 2011 were SOJA (Soldiers Of Jah Army) and the journeyman unit, John Brown’s Body.