Zim is home of reggae: Mr Mojo

HARARE - Zimbabwe will always be regarded as a premier destination for all leading reggae bands due to the country’s strong connection with Jamaica according to Mr Mojo of Morgan Heritage.

Mr Mojo was in the country this week to organise the reggae band’s first ever concert here which will be held in Harare at the end of December.

Morgan Heritage will join a growing list of Jamaican reggae and dancehall performers that have toured Zimbabwe in recent years.

This year alone Zimbabwe hosted Konshens, Charly Black, Busy Signal and Luciano while I-Octane and Morgan Heritage will sign out 2015.

Mr Mojo, whose real name is Memmalatel Morgan, said every Jamaican reggae act will always gravitate towards Zimbabwe due to Bob Marley’s historic and iconic concert held at Rufaro Stadium on Independence Day on April 18, 1980.

“Zimbabwe means a lot to us as Jamaicans because you embraced one of our biggest ambassadors in Bob Marley when you celebrated your independence,” Mr Mojo told the Daily News.

“It’s a concert that has resonated around the world in the reggae circles. People know of Bob Marley’s performance in Zimbabwe on Independence Day. It was a legendary performance.

“For us as reggae artistes, Zimbabwe is always a place we wanted to perform in one day in our career. To see the land that Bob Marley performed in.

“It was a great concert that we saw and the people were just super high energy, very very exciting. So we are looking  forward to have that bit of energy with the people of Zimbabwe like the great Robert Nesta Marley did 35 years ago.”

The Morgan Heritage Zimbabwe show comes at a time when reggae is making a strong comeback and reclaiming its number one spot thanks to the stagnation of dancehall.

A new breed of young reggae acts like Chronnix, Protoje, Iba Mahr, Raging Fire, Kabaka Pyramid and Jesse Royal  have emerged on the scene to complement the likes of Morgan Heritage, Capleton, Sizzla, Buju Banton, Anthony B and Lutan Fire.

“We embrace this reggae revolution that’s why Chronnix is on our album and the young generation of reggae ambassadors knows that we identify and acknowledge the work that they are doing,” said Mr Mojo on the resurgence reggae has made in the last couple of years.

“We want them to continue doing it. Just like there were people who came before us and set the trend.

“You know Melody Makers was before us; Third World was before us; Burning Spear was before us; Toots and The Maytals, Joseph Hill rest in peace. They all came before us.

“So now after us you see a Chronnix; you see a Raging Fire; you see a Kabaka Pyramid and there is a slew of others like Jesse Royal and we definitely applaud them for not taking the easy road.

“Nowadays everybody now is doing dancehall; you even have Zimdancehall. That’s how far dancehall has reached.

“People are recreating dancehall in other parts of the world like they have been doing reggae for years. So it’s very encouraging to know that the future of reggae music is in very good hands.”

Commenting on Zimdancehall, Mr Mojo said he was impressed with the way local acts are embracing Jamaican musicians but urged them to acknowledge whoever they are imitating.

“The energy in Zimdancehall is high just like in dancehall in Jamaica. I was watching the event that ZiFM did over the weekend and they were showing me a few of the artistes; it’s not fun but it is promising to see the way they study the dancehall artistes in Jamaica and replicate what they do and bring it to their people of Zimbabwe in their own dialect,” he said.

“That’s a good thing. As long as they pay homage to those they are copying or stealing it from it is cool; there is no problem.

“I would like to quote a great artiste after watching a documentary, he said ‘good artistes borrow but great artistes steal’.”

The Morgan Heritage Zimbabwe show tickets will be available on the group’s TickePal platform which will make them easily accessible for the show goers.

“We want to help optimise the entertainment experience. I understand that there are other several platforms available in this space but what makes this unique is that it makes it affordable to the event organisers,” said Mr Mojo.

“It also makes it very accessible to event goers by utilising the platform because the server we use is a cloud-based which is more stable. It can handle a lot more traffic, it won’t crash; the security features are on par with the other or even better than those available here in Zimbabwe.”

The group popularly known as the Royal Family of Reggae, is made up of veteran reggae singer Delroy Morgan’s five children: Peter “Peetah” Morgan, Una Morgan, Roy “Gramps” Morgan, Nakhamyah “Lukes” Morgan and Mr Mojo.

Morgan Heritage has maintained their status as one of the leading reggae bands since their formation in New York in 1994.

The group is currently touring the US, Europe and Africa to promote their new album; Strictly Roots, which came out in April this year.

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