Sun | Aug 9, 2020

Alborosie supports Black Lives Matter with new single - Gives song free to fans

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2020 | 12:00 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer

Sicily-born reggae guitarist, percussionist, and keyboardist Alborosie celebrated his birthday on Saturday, and he chose to give his fans a special gift. Listen to the Waves, his newest single, was made available for free download, even as ‘Puppa Albo’ – as he is affectionately called – sang “Happy birthday to me.”

Alborosie told The Gleaner that the message in the song is so important that he wants it to be heard by as many people as possible, and felt that one way to ensure that, was to make it easily available. Like many reggae artistes, he feels that conscious, evocative lyrics are sidelined by the music which is disposable and glorifies a negative type of bad man energy. “It is a challenge to be competitive and relevant,” was his take, but notes that his fire continues to burn.

The song, Waves, in which Alborosie chants “I study Malcolm X and I listen to Shango/I’m a reggae John Lennon/me nah follow no Rambo,” touches on current issues like Black Lives Matter and police brutality. “This is our contribution to that movement, because we all know the power of music to heal and to change,” he said. The video was posted to YouTube on Saturday and has amassed close to 46,000 views and loads of positive comments.

It opens with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States of America, which Alborosie says is “deliberately off key”. A team of emergency workers is seen wheeling a black man on a bed inside a hospital. It then cuts to a little black boy holding up a sign which reads ‘Black and Proud’, and then to another child, standing beside a police car, encircled in flames. “Support the Black Lives Matter cause. We are marching for freedom, we are singing for freedom, equal rights and justice; that what we have been saying from long time,” Alborosie says.

He hopes that the song will make a mark, but admits that it is still too early to tell. He was, however, quite upbeat about another single which he released during the coronavirus pandemic, Unprecedented Time. “I am really pleasantly surprised that it is doing so well. It is playing daily in England and in the Caribbean community,” he shared with The Gleaner.

Alborosie, who has been kept busy in his home studio during the coronavirus lockdown, is ready for another full-length album. He has had a few recent projects on VP Records’ Greensleeves imprint, including Dub For The Radicals – Alborosie Meets The Roots Radics. This entire set was engineered, produced and mixed by Alborosie, using vintage analogue gear, dub sirens, reel-to-reel tape, and live instrumentation from Alborosie and reggae icons, Roots Radics. His last album was released in 2018, the critically acclaimed Unbreakable: Alborosie Meets The Wailers United. “That album did well, and it is time for some new music for the people. Maybe the end of the year, or the latest, early next year,” he promised.