Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
While reggae struggles to excite fans here in Jamaica, many musicians and entertainers across the world still see this land of wood and water as the reggae music Mecca; a place that still inspires creative genius all across the planet.
Thiecko is one such entertainer. A dreadlocked singer who lives in France but is from Senegal, Thiecko has been playing reggae music for more than 25 years. He arrived in the island recently to have his latest album mixed right here in the land of reggae.
"It is my dream come true to come to Jamaica because I love reggae music," he revealed.
"When I did my last album I said I would work on my next album in Jamaica."
Now he is here putting finishing touches on his latest album at Stephen Stanley's Recording Studio on Red Hills Road and working with some stalwarts of the genre like Bongo Herman, Danny 'Axeman' Thompson, Dean Frazer, Glen DaCosta, Alvin Haughton and Robbie Shakespeare.
Thiecko intends to have the album ready for release sometime in March this year.
The album, that has been titled Stand Tall, will have songs in five languages and is about happiness and strength, Thiecko said.
"This is the message because on this album I have this song named Mandela that is a tribute to Mandela, who spent 25 years in prison for South Africa to be free," he said.
In revealing why so many languages are featured, Thiecko explained that the album is being made to have universal appeal. He plans to promote it in France and in Africa, especially Senegal. "People in Senegal like real reggae," he said, revealing that Jamaican reggae artistes are very well loved in his home country.
Back in the 1990s Thiecko was a member of a band called Amandla, which means victory in Zulu that established a solid reputation in that country. He eventually left the band and migrated to France where, in 2003, he formed a group called the Taxi Bouss Band.
Bouss in Senegal means 'bush'. He got the name for the band when he first arrived in France and took a bus and everybody in it looked like they were going to a funeral, he said.
In Senegal, being on a bus is a communal affair where people share conversation and meals. The band, he said, was named as it was, to bring vibe.
Since he has been in Jamaica, Thiecko has spent most of him time in the studio working on his album, but last Tuesday night he got a chance to stretch his musical legs when he performed with Sophia Brown at a live concert at Kings Plaza. "They loved him," Brown said.
Thiecko, too, acknowledged that he enjoyed the occasion as much as the fans did. It was truly a dream come true.