France, Netherlands ‘ketch di riddim virtually’
French reggae artiste David Cairol could hardly contain his excitement as he spoke about reggae music and what the genre meant to him. The entertainer was speaking at a Gleaner Entertainment Forum earlier this week, when he revealed that in addition to sparking his desire to be an artiste, reggae music taught him English and world history.
It was against that background that Cairol decided last February that he had to be in Jamaica to celebrate the genre that had become so dear to him. Although unable to be physically present for the 2021 list of activities, Cairol said complete absence was not an option. The month-long celebration is being held under the theme ‘Come Ketch Di Riddim Virtually’.
“I grew up with reggae music so it was like something very special to come to Jamaica and experience reggae music and culture in the place it was birthed. It was like a dream because I went up on stage and went to the Dennis Brown show and was among legends. Reggae music taught me English, and most importantly history about the world, because we don’t learn these things from the books,” he said. “Reggae Month means a lot to me and so I thank the organisers for the good work you’re doing for reggae music. When I heard we were having it virtually, I knew I had to find a way to be a part of it.”
Big Market for Reggae
Cairol said that since France is a big market for reggae music, players in both countries should try and get the month to be observed there as well. “It would be great if we could set up something for Reggae Month in France like we did for the cultural exchange in schools. We would love that here,” he said.
Cairol visited Jamaica some two years ago and approached the Alliance Francaise with the idea to translate workshops he coordinates with children in France to Jamaica. Through the programme, he has conducted writing workshops with schools like St Georges College, Kingston College and Campion College.
Malida Henry, a reggae artiste from Holland, was also present at the virtual forum. She also shared her satisfaction with the Reggae Month celebrations continuing on the virtual stage. “I have never been to Reggae Month [celebrations] because I am from the Netherlands and so having Reggae Month like this, online, is better because now I can actually be a part of it,” she said. “This is a really good step. I think that in the future we should make sure that this is online and physical.”
Agreeing that the Reggae Month celebration has extended its reach via the virtual platform, Howard McIntosh, chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board, said the 2021 celebrations have been going well so far. He noted that the momentum locally has also been at some of the highest levels he has seen.
“There has been a great deal of support for the virtual reggae month celebrations. Can more be done? Absolutely. But I think that there has been a fair amount of momentum and discussion in relation to the reggae month activities,” he said.
“I am really one to encourage positives and looking forward to what’s happening and all that has been happening so far has been great.”