Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Jimmy Cliff to reprise role in 'Harder They Come Pt 2'

Published:Sunday | March 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMDavina Henry
Jimmy Cliff takes time out from a recent rehearsal to speak with The Sunday Gleaner.
The Sunday Gleaner caught up with Jimmy Cliff, for a rare and exclusive interview, recently.
The Sunday Gleaner caught up with Jimmy Cliff, for a rare and exclusive interview, recently.

Forty-three years after playing the role of Ivanhoe 'Rhygin' Martin, in the iconic Jamaican crime film, The Harder They Come, legendary reggae artiste, Jimmy Cliff, is set to reprise the role in the upcoming sequel.

The film, famous for its reggae soundtrack, which is said to have 'brought reggae to the world', was enormously successful in Jamaica and also on the international market. The Harder They Come has possibly been the most influential Jamaican film and one of the most important films from the Caribbean.

In the film, which loosely chronicles the real-life Jamaican criminal, Cliff's character was last seen going down in a hail of bullets. Cliff explained to The Sunday Gleaner that through the magic of movies, Rhygin's character had survived.

"We saw my character got shot up and we assumed he must be dead, but we didn't see him buried. With the magic of movies, he was revitalised, served a number of years in prison, came out, and is currently pursuing his career again," Cliff explained.

The film, which will begin production later this year, will also feature Jimmy Cliff's vocals as he will be writing the soundtrack.

In the meantime, Cliff is also working on three new singles with iconic producer Winston 'Niney' Holness. Most notable is the Child Abuse single, written by Holness, with Cliff on vocals. The project's aim is to assist autistic children, as proceeds will go to the Jimmy Cliff Foundation and to autism schools in Jamaica.

"Niney and I know each other from a long way back. He's a man with a whole lot of ideas. He always throws out ideas at me, and any one that I gravitate towards, I do. He told me the concept of the song, and that's how we started. Autistic children are one of the areas that the Jimmy Cliff Foundation caters to," he said.

The other two tracks, Animal Kingdom and Best Life, are also to be released in the upcoming weeks, hopefully before he departs the island for a tour of South-east Asia.

"I have a great fan base all over the world. In 2014, I toured for about five to six months. This tour will take me to areas such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore," he said.


A Changing Music Industry


With new music on the horizon and an extensive catalogue in his repertoire, Cliff also shared his views on the changing music industry.

The most notable change for me is technology; it has made a big difference. It has made big changes, and I can't say all of it is positive. All the 'sound' in the world is like one, everything sounds the same. Before, you had this man creating a sound etc., but now, everybody is creating on a machine, so it is almost disposable. The good thing is social media. You can travel around the world in three minutes. Once upon a time, I only heard my music on the radio. Once upon a time, I only saw my favourite stars at the picture show. Once upon a time, I only saw my favourite show on the tv. But now, I get them all on the Internet. Video kill the radio, and now Internet kill them all," he said jokingly.

"I just don't wanna put out music just to put it out. I want to put out music with meaning, for it to connect with the people," Cliff said.