Marley’s ‘War’ inspires ‘Reggae Loves Unity’
New York-based Japanese producer, Eisaku ‘Selector A’ Yamaguchi, says the idea for his latest compilation, Reggae Loves Unity, came to life after vibing to a Bob Marley classic – War.
“That is what inspired me to do this compilation and to carefully select the artistes and songs for this album,” Yamaguchi told The Gleaner. “Reggae music is a vehicle and a medium of expression used to teach people. It is used as a protest, and also to spread peaceful messages to lead the people in the right direction. That is what Marley sang about in his song.”
Speaking of Marley, Yamaguchi recalls seeing the Reggae King perform on his first and only tour of Japan in 1979.
“I was fortunate to see the Gong perform live in Japan. It was magical! Those memories still linger in my mind like it was yesterday. That is what drew me to reggae and has made me an ambassador since,” he said.
Zoning in on his 11-track compilation album, Yamaguchi explained that all the artistes did songs which reflect the underlying themes of peace, love and unity, and this is something that he is hoping will reverberate in the hearts of all listeners. Among the songs are: Let Peace Reign, Tarrus Riley featuring Etana and Duane Stephenson; Peace Reign, Busy Signal; Brighter Day, Jah Cure; Living in Hope, Richie Spice; In this Time, Sizzla featuring Luciano, and United We Stand, Freddie McGregor featuring Marcia Griffiths.
“I hope listeners find that unity is one foundation to build our love, and instead of blaming governments in your countries, let’s find something what we can solve to make our community better. And, I hope the artistes make a global movement for unity,” he said.
He pointed out that although artistes are not politicians, and they really don’t have to sing about social issues, there are millions of reggae fans all over the world, for whom their statements on social issues can make a stronger impact than anything that any preacher or politician can say.
The producer shared with The Gleaner that age played a role when choosing all the artistes for the project.
“None of the artistes chosen were under the age of 35. Another criterion was that they must have toured worldwide and must have seen and experienced social problems through their activities,” he said.
Commenting on the tracks, Yamaguchi said, “Everybody knows what ‘unity’ means, but it depends on you, what unity will be like,” he shared.
Although he doesn’t live in Jamaica, he expressed concern about the high crime rate and emphasised that unity is something that can be created, starting in every small community.
“But the question is, who will be the person to gather all neighbours to make a mission statement for your community? That is you; whoever listen to Reggae Loves Unity will be encouraged to do so after listening to this album, and I strongly believe in the power of reggae music to make people stand up for changes,” he said.