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Reggae roots



Toronto dancehall frontman Fredlocks salutes the reggae soldiers

Who: Fredlocks Asher

Where : Boot Pub

When : Monday, Nov. 17

Maybe you can’t pin down the last time you heard reggae music on the radio, but according to dancehall reggae master Fredlocks Asher, it’s almost a guarantee that if you’ve listened to contemporary music lately, you’ve heard some reggae.

"Almost everything in the music industry right now has been borrowed from reggae," he emphasizes in a very non-emphatic laid-back reggae voice. "Everything from heavy drum ’n’ bass, everything in hip-hop. Hip-hop is like the American version of Jamaican dancehall. Reggae is the foundation."

He’ll be presenting that foundation – an authentic show of true dancehall jungle roots reggae – at the Boot Pub this Monday. The show is billed as a solo effort for Fredlocks (a nickname combining his given name of Frederick with a nod to his dredlocks). But more accurately, it’s a performance by an incomplete lineup of the Toronto-based collective Selassie I Power, which includes the other brothers Asher, Ruben and Uncle Dropsi, who tag each other off on bass and vocals. True to dancehall form, the show also includes special guest MCs E-Spliff and Twyla Disney from Vancouver rap group VBC.

Maintaining an ambitious touring schedule and currently working on a second solo album to be released under the title Race — The Final Frontier , Fredlocks has been busy in the past months. Contrary to what one might think, the dancehall reggae life is not just one constant chill-out session.

With the tremendous international success of artist Sean Paul, dancehall is the hottest sound currently floating across mainstream radio airwaves, adding an edge to recent R&B offerings by divas Beyonce and Blu Cantrell.

While undeniably pleased to see someone of his musical persuasion succeed, Fredlocks is taking pop culture’s obsession with dancehall mostly in stride.

"There are always different reggae soldiers that pick up the torch at different times, you know?" he comments. "Right now Sean Paul has the torch."

Should the current dancehall reggae it-boy’s star burn out, Fredlocks isn’t worried. He knows the music will go on, find a new modern incarnation, and continue to sell the world over.

"The way I see it is, reggae’s always conquered before," he assures. "The music is always good, it’s always been good. Dancehall has already conquered."

Fredlocks, along with members of Selassie I Power and guest MCs E-Spliff and Twyla Disney conquer the Boot Pub at this week’s Monday Madness live music event. Call 604-932-3338 for more information.