LKJ after the interview performing at the IRIE-Festival in Germany, Dortmund.
(Photos: Klaus Ludes)

linton kwesi johnson - reggae

"I think Reggae is very important, because it critizices what is going on in the world."
"Like all other popular forms of music,- Reggae,- a lot of it is about boy-girl relationship. You know, just like in rock music they sing songs about love, about,- 'girl I love you', 'boy you treat me bad' and this kind 'a thing. A lot of it is like that."
Listen to LKJ! (190 K)

"Of course, Reggae is also known for its social conscience. It's also known as a music which offers some commentary about what is happening in the world. It's also known as a protest form of music."
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"You know, we should not stereotype reggae music and say reggae music is just about message or just about protest. It's a pop form just like any other pop form of which social commentary is a very important aspect."
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"So what do YOU want to do? Writing love songs or spreading messages...?"
"I don't want to spread messages and I don't want to write love songs. I write my poetry and the music is there as a vehicle to take it to a wider audience. The puplic must decide what is the nature of the kind of reggae music I make. "
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"I don't like to put labels on it, because sometimes these labels are not very helpful. I even have some difficulty with the term 'Dub Poetry' myself. Because it was coined in a different context to really describe the art of the reggae DJ - not to describe what I am doing."
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"Do you think Reggae can be spread more?"
"I suspect the only parts of the world where Reggae might still need to be spread are those parts of the world which are a little bit backward. Like some parts of Central and Eastern Europe and Arabia and those societies where people don't have so much freedoms. Like, some parts of the Middle East and so on. But even in the former Soviet Union, in Russia, people know reggae music."
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"What is interesting is that Jamaicans no longer have a monopoly on reggae music. Interesting to see the development of the Samba Reggae in Brazil. It's interesting to go to Japan and hear Japanese Raggamuffin' DJ's doing Dancehall in Japanese! So,- I think Reggae is a world music."
Listen to LKJ! (217 K)

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CLICK NEXT INTERVIEW TOPIC!

RASTAFARI
"Rastafari was an important antidote to 400 years of colonial brainwashing!"

BLACK AND WHITE RELATIONSHIP
"Love transcends race, colour and class..."

LKJ ABOUT REGGAE
"I don't want to spread messages and I don't want to write love songs!"

LKJ AT THE BLACK PANTHERS
"My worst personal experience of racism was when I was beaten..."

FEMALE SUPPRESSION
"Circumcision of women is a barbaric and backward thing!"

JAMAICAN NATIONAL LANGUAGE
"The term 'Patois' is unhelpful!"

DEFINING THE TERM 'DUB'
"Let's say it's the art of deconstruction."

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