Wed | Sep 18, 2019

Reggae singer thanks Miss Lou

Published:Thursday | September 12, 2019 | 12:19 AMSade Gardner/Gleaner Writer
Aza Lineage
Miss Lou
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Her endorsement of Jamaican Creole is not the only thing for which the late cultural ambassador Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley is remembered. The esteemed folklorist is also revered for her literary pieces, like the poem Dutty Tough, which delineates the struggles that accompany life, despite signs of hope or advancement.

In a remembrance post recently, reggae singer Aza Lineage referenced the poem, and thanked Miss Lou for paving the way for unapologetic self-expression, which she embraces as a creative.

“When you go on certain platforms, you are forced to speak a certain way, because you get to reach more people, as not everyone understands the dialect; but to express yourself in your native language is an honour, so I am thankful for everything that she did,” Lineage told The Gleaner.

Lineage, who is based in Hermitage, Greater August Town, is among many Jamaicans who are pleased with the efforts being made to honour Miss Lou, the latest development being the renaming of Gordon Town Square. This initiative follows a statue erected last year in August Town, a place Miss Lou called home for several years, before migrating to Canada with her family. She died in 2006 at 86 years old, and was interred at the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

“It is long overdue and very welldeserved. She is a queen and someone so many of us really admire,” Lineage said. “Miss Lou brought the Jamaican dialect and language to the forefront and showed the world that this is how we express ourselves, at a time when it was considered bad to speak Patois. She has inspired us on a subconscious level cause we grow up on her, so the influence will always be there.”

Making her mark in Europe

Lineage brought her own expression to Europe this summer, a first-time experience for the singer and one which she described as inspirational. Performing across countries like Switzerland, France and Germany, Lineage said she was exposed to the impact of reggae music and Jamaican culture.

“We opened Summer Jam in Germany with Riddim Magazine, which was a big thing there, and we also did Sunrise Festival. In all, we did about ten shows,” she said. “It was a really good run and I felt inspired just seeing how people from that side really love and appreciate the culture, and how they will take the culture and make a lifestyle out of it. They will take one song and use it as a philosophy and live their life like that, so it was really inspiring and different, definitely something you would have to get used to. One thing is for sure, the thing that everyone has in common is reggae, everybody loves reggae.”

Since making her musical debut four years ago, Lineage (given name Dana Bernard) has proven herself to be one to watch in 2019. With singles like Sound System, Plant Up the Herbs, Roots Radics and Royal Offspring, she attributes the growing interest in her brand to hard work.

She is currently in studio with King Jammys and has new music in the pipeline.

“I’ve been in the streets trying to make my presence felt and I’ve been getting on different platforms to let people see and experience the talent,” she said. “I also have a strong team and the media has been showing me love. We’ve done so much work but there is still more work to be done, so I will continue to put in the work and through my passion and love for music continue to reach more people,” she said.