Reggae lovers of the old-school, foundation genre lament that dance hall with its gun lyrics and slackness have overtaken the industry. At least they have Luciano to uphold the conscious lyrics he espoused since bursting on the scene with his breakthrough album Where There is Life in 1995.
Admirers of his work in the Cayman Islands get a precious chance to enjoy Jah Messenjahs unique style at the Lions Centre on March 23.
Luciano, 53, has emerged as an icon for roots reggae's survival in the digital dancehall era. His music is widely acclaimed for imparting sentiments of spiritual salvation, education and humanitarian upliftment.
The immensely prolific Luciano has made at least 40 albums. "I have so much music and messages, that I cannot be holding it inside of me," he declares. "From a management point of view, they would like to see me cooling out for a while but if a bird doesn't sing, tell me if that bird is happy?"
Music has run deeply throughout the Jamaica life. Born Jepther Washington McClymont on Oct. 20, 1964 in Davey Town, a small community in Mandeville, he was raised in the Adventist church and sang in the church choir. His father Arthur passed away when Luciano was 11. Arthur left behind a guitar he had built. Luciano started to learn to play, which I realised was showing love and respect to my father." His mother Sophie, who struggled to raise Luciano and his eight siblings, is also a gifted singer.
He moved to Kingston to further his musical career, working in various jobs to support himself trying to make an impression in an already crowded industry.
Luciano recorded for a few producers before teaming up with Freddie McGregor. "Shake It Up" (a cover version of Cheryl Lyn's hit) recorded for Freddie's Big Ship label became a number one hit in the UK in 1993 and was featured on Luciano's first release for VP Records "After All". Luciano has a huge fan base in the UK as a result.
Phillip "Fatis" Burrell of Xterminator Records took on the managerial role for Luciano and helped him release such hits as "Poor and Simple", "Chant Out" and "One Way Ticket" which has become an anthem. With the release of "Where There Is Life" for Island Records Jamaica Lucianos popularity spread with numbers such as "It's Me Again Jah", "Your World and Mine" and "Lord Give Me Strength".
Lucianos reputation rose with releases such as "The Messenger" and "Sweep Over My Soul", one of his finest recordings. The Messenger has continued to excel since then, his last album being Zion Awake.
His Cayman fans are really in for a treat.
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