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Stuck in the '90s - Party promoters, artiste hail era as best in music

Published:Sunday | November 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Patrons dance the night away at a Mello Vibes party last year held at the New Mas Camp, National Stadium car park on Saturday, October 27. - File

Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

Ever so often a new '90s music party appears, adding to the many others that exist and also highlighting the love for that era of music. Headline Entertainment's managing director, Jerome Hamilton, said it was the era in which artistes like Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Baby Cham and Spragga Benz came to the forefront of dancehall music.

"So many of them came out in a short time, a span of a year, year and a half," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Hamilton, who also does work with another oldies party - Good Times, noted that it is not just the '90s that people enjoy, but also the eras before that.

"I would say the yesteryears are always the golden years. The mid '80s and mid '90s is what people consider the best dancehall time in terms of melodies. The '90s was a prolific time in our musical history," he said, noting that the 'golden era' is never the present era.

Promoter of oldies events Yesterday and Mello Vibes, Gyete Ghartey of GLK Entertainment, describes the '90s as "just one of the best eras of music."

He continued, "it was a dynamic time. The rhythms were more original, real hard-core dancehall beats and they just gave you a different vibe," he said.

Ghartey says it was the era in which most artistes had the ability to make women 'bruk out', unlike now where only a few have this ability.

While Mello Vibes is a '70s '80s and '90s event, he said persons usually want to hear more of the '90s music.

"At Mello Vibes we try to play '70s '80s and '90s and give them (patrons) equal attention. It cannot sound like Yesterday and we believe we should stick to the theme. Yesterday is high energy from the beginning. With Mello Vibes you enjoy yourself, but we give you different elements," he said.

Having started Mello Vibes and Yesterday over 10 years ago, Ghartey admits that many promoters have dabbled in the era.

"Over the years you find new people coming into this oldies thing, not all of them are successful. It has been happening ever since," he said.

"Eight years ago there were few of us in the market so people had something to look forward to. Now you find that they have at least one every end of month to go to, so they don't get a chance to miss it."

Meanwhile, Cleveland Browne from the legendary duo Steelie and Clevie, believes it is not just reggae and dancehall that people cling, but all genres.

"For persons who were party fans at that time, there is still some amount of nostalgia. They would have matured with the artistes of that time. Just like persons growing up in the '60s or '70s, that was their high point in entertainment," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

But according to Spragga Benz, who broke out in the decade with hits like A-1 Lover, Car Crash, Jack It Up and Hand Inna The Air, it is not just about nostalgia. Instead, he says it has a lot to do with the quality of the music.

"That ('90s) is really the last set of real creativity, production and talent. We did haffi create sound. Dem man deh (producers) neva just go inna computer and choose a sound," he said, noting that artistes sounded the same live and on record.

"People stick to the realness and the warmth of the music. The tape sound have a nicer, warmer sound to the ears. The digital sound stiffer," Spragga said.