Tue | Jun 2, 2020

From mountainside to musical mission

Published:Sunday | March 6, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Yuri 'Ginegog' Stewart performs 'Here I Am' to much acclaim at last Saturday's staging of 'The Head Cornerstone'. - Contributed

Patrina Pink, Gleaner Writer

DALLAS CASTLE isn't known for much more than the rich vegetation of mountainsides. Though characterised by simple rural beauty, this sprawling St Andrew community at the heart of the Good Hope Mountain Range, may have birthed one of the most promising young reggae and dub poets of 2011 - Yuri 'Ginegog' Stewart.

Ginegog is fresh off organising the first year of 'The Head Cornerstone', a black history/live music event which created quite a buzz on the live music circuit.

The 25-year-old graduate of The University of the West Indies, Mona (where he studied history and literature), says that experience was preparation for his musical journey, since history enabled him to add context and background to his lyrics and studying literature has deepened his ability to weave a story.

Musical future

Now Ginegog is working on a musical future built on solid tracks and a core of supporters. He recently released a mixtape also called The Head Cornerstone. Ginegog says that this mixtape is dedicated to "the voiceless, the ghetto youths - the uncared for".

Though bred musically on artistes like Sizzla, Bob Marley and Buju Banton, his introduction to music came by way of family, since his brothers operated a sound system.

Dancehall was not his first love though - it was poetry, and he defines himself as a dub poet with a difference.

"My style bridges the gap between poetry and reggae music and passes dancehall on the way," says Ginegog while flashing one of his signature smiles.

He added, "More balance is needed in the music, its not changing how people think. Its not being a catalyst. I'm going to do that."

Ginegog achieves some balance as The Head Cornerstone is a thatch work of social issues, addressing everything from unemployment and the desperation associated with poverty to the dwindling spirituality in young people.

Perilous Days is a standout track and was produced by Adrian Locke from Truckback Records, as he says, "I have what people would call a money song, but the message still has a consciousness."

Ginegog is confident that success is around the bend and wants to record an official album soon. "Mi just feel like a my era ... me just feel it ... mi feel it."