Lutan Fyah Set For 33rd Edition of Reggae on the River

There is no roots reggae vibes no where in the world more than California, nuh [not] Jamaica, nuh Europe, nuh Africa. California is the hub for roots reggae music in the entire world. Reggae on the River is the number one reggae festival in the world.” said Lutan Fyah

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Reggae Artist Lutan Fyah

Anthony Martin, the Jamaican born rootsy reggae artist popularly known as Lutan Fyah sat down with CaribPress to hold a vibe and chat about his latest album titled, Music Never Dies. And shares his views on what is currently happening in the reggae-dancehall space and Jamaica. Lutan Fyah with his band, the Riddim Rebels are on the line-up for the 33rd annual Reggae on the River, ROTR at the French Camp, Garberville in California, starting August 3rd through August 6th.

In 1999, Lutan Fyah came on the music scene and since then have traveled extensively performing through out the world. This artist have a large discography which includes Dem No Know (2004); Time and Place (2005); Phatom War (2006); Health Lifestyle (2006); Justice (2009); Life of A King (2013); Get Rid A Di Wicked (2013) just to name a few on his ever growing music catalog. He is currently promoting his recently released album and plans to do songs from it on stage at this year’s festival.

Below is a short list with questions we asked the Bobo artist Lutan Fyah during our reasoning and let him give us his perspectives, Rasta wisdom and message of unity, love and justice. 

CaribPress, CPN: So you are going to be performing at this year Reggae on the River. Do you have any music that you are going to be performing that fans should listening for any newer works that you have?

Luton Fyah, LF: As you know we just debuted the new album, ‘Music Never Dies’ which debuted number eight on the Regge Billboard chart, I-Grade Records from out of St. Croix did that production. We’ve never performed these songs, this is the album that I will do a lot of the songs from at Reggae on the River.

CPN: You’ve played Reggae on the River before, what is unique about that experience coming from an artist point of view?

LF: Come on man that’s California. There is no roots reggae vibes no where in the world more than California, nuh [not] Jamaica, nuh Europe, nuh Africa. California is the hub for roots reggae music in the entire world. I do [traveled] the world and sing, California is the root base for reggae music, trust me. Reggae on the River is the number one reggae festival in the world. Because of the vibe that is shared, you see more cultural minded people who go to that show, more ganja vibes, more Rastaman, the show is like total roots and culture music, which I like and respect.

Lutan Fyah with Riddim Rebels band

Lutan Fyah with his Riddim Rebels band

CPN: What are some of the changes that you have seen throughout the years that are positive?

LF: Most youth try to do this thing more professionally on the business side, but musically its a bit dormant, we are not getting that authentic Reggae vibe from the music that is being made today from the younger generation, we’re just getting a good vibe. We are not getting an authentic roots base, music that is made by the original musicians, the pioneers of this Jamaica reggae music, you know. Just to me its a shade of the real.

CPN: Would you say that the face and the sound of reggae has made a change? And if so, would you say that change came around the 2000’s. Cause clearly there is a delineation when dancheall changed and then reggae changed and reggae went in a good direction in the ’90’s then in the 2000’s the face of reggae started to shift. In your opinion when did the change come and what is your opinion as an artist?

LF: Well to me the change came lyrically, musically it’s still there and the potential is there for us to create reggae music, the instrument but lyrically I think people normally see our reggae music as set apart from all other genres, for the upliftment of people, a music that has message, but nowadays I think people, nowadays are not getting much message from the Jamaican reggae artists. Its just a vibes, a sky melody. There is no root meaning to thought provoking songs, there’s no songs that people want to change tomorrow.

CPN: In that light do feel that artists who claim to be Rastafarian should adhere to a higher or different standard than artists that don’t and do you think that maybe some of the slackness that started to develop and be seen more widely, through the artists had something to do with that shift?

 LF: The standard that has originally set by Rastafari singers and players of instrument, I think it has been broken through the dancehall influence. Where there was a time when there was dancehall all over Jamaica, I think that was in the 90’s. From that dancehall vibe a lot of artists become Rases [Rastas] and start doing positive music and then that positive vibe, that dancehall vibe came over in the message of the Rastaman dem [them], so it was a vibe that become Reggae Dancehall. Its not roots reggae, its Reggae Dancehall. I think that’s where it got broken.

CPN: In that breakdown, it seems like it was a trickle down effect in the breakdown of the artists, it trickled on through to the fans. What do you think is the way to make a positive change and bring it back to, not just the vibe but the vibe that came with the message, and the feeling because somewhere in the creation of new genres of reggae music, the music has kind of gone through but the message is getting left behind?

LF: With that you see the new Rasta artist dem [them] from Jamaica, the Rases dem outside of Jamaica, they keep with the message, they keep doing the messages, keep doing powerful songs. But the Rases here in Jamaica that is up and coming, I don’t think their message is really touching and giving people that energy to move in a positive way. I think they’re just flowing some nice songs, just talking.

CPN: Do you think that good music is coming from other island is a challenge or an affront to Jamaican reggae artists or it is part of building a greater reggae community?

LF: I don’t think it is a challenge at all. Our vernacular slang is different from other islands, and our upbringing is different and our music is different. Our music come from our upbringing, so there is no challenge. All these Jamaican artists need to do is to stop hype up ourself, and come back to the root base. Come that way or stop act, get real, that’s all, get real.

CPN: You have a not for profit youth organization, that is the Youth Upliftment Foundation, what events do you have coming up that fans should know about, and support, what kind of works are you doing through that organization?

LF: What I am doing now with the Youth Upliftment Foundation is working to connect with my brothers and sisters in Africa where we can do collaborations with people from Africa, America and across the world so that we can unite, organize and centralize and get that one voice of unity so that we move and all can be heard one time and an all ever powerful sound. What’s happening in Jamaica is too limited and small and what you will understand about this Jamaica culture and society is that its a cronyism kind of thing and nepotism so that if you are not part of a group or connected set of people, you will never go through. So what we are doing in our organization is worldwide upliftment as part of a humanitarian body worldwide, so we are connecting in Kenya and in Ghana, in Gambia and Tanzania, we are going to set base with youths organizing and putting together efforts to connect with our brothers and sisters worldwide. Reggae music is going to be an integral part of this, where black people, white people, all people can be a part of it, not just the locks head, or the Rastas or the Christians, we are talking about all people on this effort. This is how I want to do my YUF.

Lutan Fyah performs this weekend at the ROTR. He will be amongst a slew of top tier reggae icons including two past members of the legendary Bob Marley and the I-threes, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt sharing the stage with the riddim masters Sly and Robbie; veteran Ken Boothe; Kabaka Pyramid; dancehall conscious artist Assassin aka Agent Sasco; and the hottest San Diego home-ground Psychedelic rock, reggae, punk rock headliner Slightly Stoopid plus a long list of reggae’s greatest songwriters, singers and musicians set to perform over this 4 days festival.

For ticket or more information about the festival visit reggaeontheriver.com

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