Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Toronto Reggae/dub Artist Dubmatix

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Toronto Reggae/dub Artist Dubmatix

Article excerpt

Early in the morning Oracabessa is a smorgasbord of sounds. The buses and route taxis of this Jamaican coastal town blast reggae, dancehall and ska music as they congregate at the crossroads. A roadside bar advertising jerk chicken and peppered shrimp plays the most recent dub tracks, accompanied by an enthusiastic game of dominos. A man sings Rastafarian lyrics as he rides by on his bike, his thick, black dreadlocks tied in a Jamaican flag bandana. Funky, reggae-inspired bass undoubtedly provides the soundtrack to life in this town. All over Jamaica, reggae and the genres it has influenced are not merely music to be enjoyed, but a point of national pride exemplified by the brightly coloured Bob Marley merchandise still worn by many Jamaicans.

Back in Canada, Toronto-based reggae/dub artist Dubmatix is also taken by the significant role music plays in Jamaican culture. The lyrics of his track "Senseless Killings" (vocals by Freddie McGregor) give a clue as to why reggae has enjoyed such a long life: Reggae has a long history of uniting and empowering Jamaica's lower classes by expressing their perspectives, and this message has resonated around the globe, spurring the popularity of the genre. Dubmatix explains that the common themes boil down to "freedom and getting back to the roots and the heritage of their ancestors--from Africa, or even just Jamaica." Like "Senseless Killings," much of the music is "about the rampant violence that comes from the oppression and lack of jobs, proper housing, education, and funding in their country."

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Dubmatix was introduced to many types of music at a young age--including the Toronto jazz scene by his pianist father--but it was reggae that attracted him to a career as an instrumentalist (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, melodica and percussion), producer and sound engineer. …

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