Gabriel “Messenjah” Calcott has a direct line to some top reggae talent – 13 Jamaican artists have added their weight to the Christchurch DJ/producer’s latest project.
Calcott brings his Dubwize sound system to the Dux tomorrow night.
Alongside a live set featuring ultra-dreaded vocalist David “Snypa” Levi, he’ll spin the just-released 45s that feature such luminaries as Luciano, Mikey General, Jah Mason and Christini.
Tomorrow’s gig will also feature Reality Chant Sound, a DJ sound system Calcott developed with Christchurch DJ Nazarite and Dunedin DJ Jungle Fari.
Calcott says the Jamaicans each recorded vocals for the rhythm track to Country Living – a song from Snypa Levi’s album The Sojourner, released on Calcott’s Reality Chant label in May.
“I decided I wanted to hook up with some of my favourite Jamaican artists and work with them on the track,” he explains. “It’s a bit of a Jamaican concept, where a producer voices multiple versions with different artists.
“There are a few reasons for doing it. Often it’s because they’re looking for that one hit song but it’s also for DJs, who can spin different versions and mix up the vocals.”
While only six versions made the cut for the three 45s, Calcott plans to release a full-length Various Artists Showcase album next year. It’ll be one more step toward strengthening Kiwi ties with the home of reggae music.
“New Zealand reggae is still a bit behind the rest of the world as far as being aware of contemporary Jamaican music and its influence,” he says. “But our style is developing and I hope what I’m doing with Jamaican artists is going to create a bit more of that awareness about what’s happening around the world.”
Dubwize will step out as a live eight-piece band for the Parihaka Peace Festival in January and the I-Nation Festival in March, and an Australian tour to promote The Sojourner is lined up for February.
Calcott also hopes to bring Jamaican artist Natty King to these shores next year.
“It could only be a good thing to have more Jamaican artists come to NZ.”
Dubwize and the Reality Chant Sound System play the Dux tomorrow from 10pm