Protoje speaks for generation next
- Addresses radio programming, gov't support
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
At last Friday's launch of 'Bob Andy Unplugged', Diane Ellis of the Bob Andy Song Foundation and Junior Lincoln, who will produce the October 28 concert, emphasised the importance of connecting Andy's song with the nation's youth.
Some of those relative youngsters will perform at the event, slated for Jamaica College, among them Duane Stephenson, Tarrus Riley, Dwight Richards and Protoje. And Protoje gave his generation's perspective on matters of music, notably the issue of radio programming and the confidence of the generation ahead in the one coming up.
He said that he was fortunate to have grown up in a household where he was exposed to the music of Bob Andy and his contemporaries, but when he was asked to perform on 'Bob Andy Unplugged' he did some research - Internet style. Based on the catalogue he found, Protoje said, "I am honoured. The type of songwriter he is to me is a soul speaker. He writes with so much feeling."
However, Protoje also noted that Andy has fought for the rights to his music. "As writers in Jamaica, so many people have written so many songs and have not got the credit, it has been taken away. I really give credit to him," Protoje said, to applause.
Then, addressing the generation gap in music, Protoje said, "I have heard so long that reggae dead, we nuh have nuh hope." But, he pointed out, "Nobody from my generation had any radio shows 10, 15 years ago. The people who run radio need to look into what them feeding the youth. When I was 11 years old and turn on the radio, I didn't hear any Black Uhuru, Hugh Mundell and Bob Andy."
There was applause when Protoje said, "We have to highlight the programming. It's called radio programming for a reason."
He encouraged the older generation to do some probing before writing off the younger performers. "Go and investigate like how I had to investigate Mr Anderson's (Bob Andy's) work, like how I researched. As Mr Lincoln said, there is a uprising happening. We are really ready to learn from those who set this thing so we can even think about making a living from this thing," Protoje said.
Protoje also spoke to his generation, speaking about the 90-second song mentality. "We have to hear the song in its entirety," Protoje said, also addressing the need for an album culture.
He wrapped up by speaking to government, saying that support would be "greatly appreciated, not only after an artiste go up you run go behind them". Still, he said, "We are not depending on the government to help us."