Veterans recall their memories of Heroes Day and how their particular industries have developed over time.
I remember a Heroes Day show in the '90s. I was overseas performing with the Ski Beach Ballers Reggae Band in California and we got a great reception from the audience.
There were other artistes billed for the show, like Michigan and Smiley. But I got a good reception when I performed Whining Skill, which was a popular song in the US back then. I also got a good response for Dust a Sound Boy, but Whining Skill stole the show.
I think the local music industry has developed over the years in terms of awareness because people understand the concept of music more now. There is the Internet, which gives information and also, I think vocals have improved. That is why we have so many new reggae bands coming out at once.
In the '90s on Heroes Day, I had the number-one song in Jamaica, which was When I See You Smile. They had a funday at my school (New Day All Age) and I performed.
Then my management came to the school carrying a bike on a van and they presented the bike to me. It was my first bike and I was 14 years old, so I will never forget that Heroes Day. I felt real special because every other child had a bicycle but I had a bike and that was all because of music.
The music industry has developed in that we have new technology and the Internet, which allows us to keep track with what is taking place in other parts of the world.
With production, things are more digital and people can stay home and make music in their homes. But that also has a drawback because much time and effort is not put into some productions these days, because it's done on some home computer instead of a professional studio setting. I even hear songs on the radio that are not mixed or mastered.
I can't really recall a specific situation that took place on Heroes Day. But, over the years, we have seen progress in the music as it relates to how the genres evolve from each other while still maintaining some of their unique elements.
At some point, some felt that the youth lost their way, but I'm sure many people are also pleased to see the music that is being created by people like Chronixx, No Maddz, Kabaka Pyramid, Iba Mahr, Droop Lion, C-Sharp, and many others. It is also impressive to see the multiplicity of things that some of these youth are doing by mixing multiple elements of arts in one package, like poetry, acting, lyrics, music, etc. I even see them putting violin in our artform, and how they express themselves with metaphors without having to be explicitly raw is impressive as well.
One of my fondest memories of Heroes Day would be the Peter Tosh celebration. His birthday is the 19th of October, which is close to Heroes Weekend.
Over the years, Worrel King has put together a Peter Tosh tribute for free and the support and the show was really awesome. There were great performances from Luciano, Bushman, Limey Murry, and more. Tosh is a musical icon and it is no coincidence that he was born so close to Heroes Day because he is also a hero in the music industry.
What has stood out to me most for development is the move by a lot of young acts to keep reggae music alive after being sidelined for many years. The youth are very militant and serious about their music and it brings me back to the era of Luciano and Garnett Silk.
I remember a Heroes Day, we had a stageshow in Westmoreland and it rained and Ninja Man walked in the mud to the stage and by the time he was onstage, his entire clothes was covered in mud. He performed same way in his muddy clothes and did a freestyle about Westmoreland mud and the audience loved it.
For development, I think the music is growing. Some people think it's watered down, but I don't agree. I think the youth's interpretation of music is for their time in the same way we did in ours. They chose their own path and have taken the music to some of the places that we never did, so it's growing.