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Jovi Rockwell explores the sound of patriotism

Published:Tuesday | August 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

If there's one thing that is missing from Jamaica's music it is definitely not the show of patriotism. Ska, reggae and dancehall music are the doors to the spiritual era that each dominate, and the patriotism of the artistes from each genre is one of the keys to their success. At least, that is what reggae-dancehall artiste Jovi Rockwell believes.

"Jamaica is a proud nation and often times, musicians express how they feel about their country in song in a positive, uplifting way," Rockwell told The Gleaner.

She added, "Having seen how much our culture has inspired others around the world throughout my travels, I felt it was time to touch on patriotism and see what little old me can do."

In her new single (yet to be released) titled Jamaica, Rockwell explores the love for her country from the perspective of Italian composer T.A. Valli, who wrote the orchestral hit Gaimaica (which is translated as Jamaica). It was recorded by singer-songwriter Robertino Loreti, among other Italian artistes, in 1962, when he was only 12 years old - in the same year Jamaica gained its independence.


Immediate inspiration


Los Angeles-based producer and sound engineer Michael 'Prince Fatty' Pelanconi introduced Rockwell to the song, and she was immediately inspired.

"Prince Fatty thought it fitting to do a reggae remake of the intricate big band sound, using live Jamaican musicians in one go," explains Rockwell.

One of the veteran musicians featured on the reggae musical composition of Giamaica is Winston Horseman Williams, a frequent musical compatriot of Prince Fatty. This will not be the first time Rockwell has put her own flavour to song of a veteran artiste, having gained popularity with the cover of Errol Dunkley's You're Gonna Need Me. However, the singer explained that this time around, it was completely different, and more challenging, because the original is not of any genre she is familiar with.

"First of all, I don't speak Italian. It was like vocal boot camp having to translate and write lyrics, or more of a poem, where I put all my feelings into it; then, the recording process was tough," she said. "The words flowed just like the tears that accompanied them; it felt special instantly."

The chorus is part of the original, and Jovi Rockwell maintains the tonality of the word 'Jamaica' similar to that of Loreti's.

"I have always felt that love for my country, and have always wanted to put it into song. If I had the opportunity to meet Loreti, I would want to know what inspired his need to do a patriotic song at that age, a song he still performs at 80 years old," she said.