Trinidad & Tobago is usually associated with hardcore and party-starting soca with artists like Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons. But reggae is growing on the islands, and has done so for a number of years. In the forefront are the likes of Queen Omega and Marlon Asher.
One of the latest additions to the Trinibagoan reggae scene is former calypso singer Excellent, and just like many other artists from the Caribbean she started her musical career singing in the church choir.
Her first official single Love Langue is put out via Trinidad-based label JahLight Records, and is a smooth and laidback tune with lots of lovers rock vibes. And more is to come from this talented and soulful singer.
JahLight Records has announced a remix of Love Language, yet another single plus a track on their upcoming Jehovah riddim. And early next the year they aim to release an EP with her. So stay tuned.
Yesterday I came home from a three week holiday in the beautiful islands of Trinidad & Tobago. To me, T&T were the islands of steel pan, calypso and soca. But I was wrong. Reggae is a strong force on the islands and soca is mainly played during carnival season, which starts in late December and usually ends in March. The rest of the time, it’s all about reggae.
Before I went I knew that Franz Job and I-Sasha were from T&T. When I met people in the villages I found out that Marlon Asher, Queen Omega and Jamelody also originate from T&T. As well as Khari Kill and Million Voices, and probably many more.
However, the reggae tunes that I heard during my visit were Jamaican productions. Most popular riddims at the time seemed to be City Life and Cardiac Bass. Two great riddims that I’ve also played a lot during 2010.
Out of all T&T reggae artists that I know of, Queen Omega has been the busiest with three album releases. She has recorded a lot with European producers such as Bost & Bim with whom she dropped the lethal Jah Dawta on the Soprano riddim.
Marlon Asher is probably the best know artist from T&T due to his hit song Ganja Farmer included on The Biggest Reggae One Drop Anthems 2006.
The only reggae artist from the smaller of the two islands – Tobago – seems to be Franz Job, who now resides in London. In 2009 he dropped the masterful Babylon is Dead album with notable songs Country and The Country Boy Song. He is set to release his sophomore album in 2011 and has also started working with UK mastermind Curtis Lynch.
If you’re curious about some Trinibagoan artists – check out ten suggestions below. Most of them are easy to find on iTunes. Seven of the tunes are complied in the Spotify playlist below.
Reggaemani’s T&T reggae
Marlon Asher – Ganja Farmer
I-Sasha – Who Jah Bless
I-Sasha & Million Voice – Heavy Burden
Queen Omega – Good Cannabis
Queen Omega – Last Days
Queen Omega – Jah Dawta
Franz Job – Country
Franz Job – The Country Boy Song
Khari Kill – Bird Pepper
Khari Kill – Mary Grandson