Wed | Apr 26, 2017

Chronixx stirs memories of 'Jakes'

Published:Sunday | January 18, 2015 | 1:00 AM

Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer

Inner Circle's keyboard player, Bernard 'Touter' Harvey, says Chronixx has the work ethic of the band's late lead singer Jacob Miller, who was killed in a car crash in Kingston 35 years ago.

Chronixx, who is featured on News Carrying Dread, the remake of the classic Tenement Yard done by Inner Circle with Miller on lead vocals, was recently listed by Billboard as one of reggae music's top-selling artistes.

"Chronixx reminds us of Jacob because of his sincerity and commitment to the music. He is just so sincere and focused on what he is doing and we value that," Touter said.

According to Harvey, in a time where materialism and vanity have led many youth onto a negative path. Chronixx stands out as an "odd" youth, yet a true product of reggae.

"To see a young person with the type of dedication that Chronixx has is rare in music right now - and not just for the reggae genre. We have worked with a lot of foreign artistes and rap artistes and they were more about the party and having fun, so Chronixx is really rare," Harvey said.

Illustrating why he believes that Chronixx behaves similarly to Miller, Harvey told The Sunday Gleaner a tale of working through illness.

"When we made the movie Rockers, Jakes (Jacob Miller) had a 105° fever, and when the director said action, nobody could tell the difference. Chronixx has a similar work ethic and mentality. When we were filming the video for Tenement Yard, I noticed he was up early and busy with the director, trying to get things done," he said.

Harvey said Inner Circle and Jacob Miller's legacy have been subdued by many Jamaicans. However, with the reggae revival movement, the youth have begun to research Inner Circle's work and are now realising the musical power wielded in the 1970s.

The People's Singer

Jacob Miller, he said, was labelled "the people's singer" during his prime and could only be rivalled by Bob Marley in the '70s.

"For a long time, nobody has seen of heard of Jacob Miller in Jamaica. However, people have covered our songs so much that even when we perform them, people have accused us of singing the songs of other artistes. But Jacob Miller is now being researched by the youth, as you can see, with Fantan Mojah and Chronixx. In the '70s, we released consistent hit records and could only be rivalled by Bob Marley," Harvey said.

The musician also commented on the state of Jamaican music, saying that some of the youth have become followers rather than being trendsetters. Harvey said hip hop/rap came out of 1970s dancehall, the sound pioneered by I-Roy, U-Roy and King Stitt. However, because many Jamaican youth are unaware of their musical history, they tend to follow a foreign culture without understanding the power of their own.

"Every genre has an off-shoot and eventually becomes pop music. In the '70s, we created roots and culture and the world came to Jamaica to see what we created. However, since the '90s, we began to adopt hip hop and rap. And this is not a disrespect to that genre. But it is an off-shoot of Jamaican music that was brought to the US by people of the Jamaican diaspora ... People like I-Roy, U-Roy and King Stitt were pioneers of this style of music," Harvey said.

The musician says Jamaican music still has a lot to offer to the world. However, it must be authentic and positive, because foreigners will not be attracted to what they already have in their culture.

The official music video for the Tenement Yard remake featuring Chronixx, Inner Circle and Jacob Miller was recently released officially and can be viewed on YouTube.com.