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Life Festival 2012

Life Festival 2012

Life Festival 2012

By on - Photos by Gerard McMahon - Comment

Reggae comes to life in Irieland!

Rootical Sound StackIreland’s proud reggae tradition marked yet another memorable occasion on the last (sweltering hot) weekend in May. Fronted by Iration Steppas (Mark Iration with Danman), the Disciples (Russ D. and Jonah Dan), Murray Man and Dubkasm - under the driving force of Rootical Jason’s sound stacks - the massive danced and pranced their way through a thoroughly enjoyable weekend by the lake in County Westmeath in middle Ireland.

Though the LIFE festival (in its seventh incarnation) is reknowned for its techno, trance, electro and psytrance stages, it is heartening to see that the legacy left by Bob Marley and his entourage (in Ireland) so many years ago persists. Earlier versions of this famous festival hosted Max Romeo, the Mad Professor, Johnny Clarke, Zion Train, Michael Prophet and many more. And so it was befitting that a host of indigenous reggae talent should supplement and assist the main performers this year, with Cian Finn, Dub Investigation, Worries Outernational, Madu and Brigadier JC amongst others leaving their indelible and promising marks on proceedings.

Rootical Jason, based in Galway in the west of Ireland, has been to the fore in maintaining reggae’s presence at this and numerous other festivals\sessions around the country for almost 20 years. Having worked with Jah Shaka, Gussie P., Earl 16, Brother Culture and many many more, his experience is invaluable in ensuring that the various strands all come together to (as Bob did say) ‘make it work’. The reputation of the mighty Rootical soundsystem continues to soar and will long outlive him.

LIFE Festival - Iration Steppas

Over the 3 day LIFE festival Rootical enabled the mighty Iration Steppas to trounce the house, with Danman, Murray Man and Cian Finn lacing the drum ‘n bass with some speciality vocals. Iration – dating back to 1990 - are amongst the top dubwise sound systems in the world and given their impact on ‘LIFE’ it’s easy to see why. For many the highlight of the weekend was Dubkasm’s Digistep’s extensive use of the saxophone (to mesmeric effect) on top of a host of schemingly selected sounds by D.J. Stryda, that included – to much acclaim - Joe Hill’s Culture. The Disciples also proved welcome guests at the festival. This crucial crew are powered by the passion of producer Russ D., who began by producing music for the legendary Jah Shaka and working on innumerable dubplates for the Shaka legend thereafter. Accompanied by MC Jonah Dan there was no stopping these Disciples from preaching the Gospel according to Jah. Iration SteppaFor others there was simply no substitute for Iration Steppas Mark in full fury via Black Uhuru, Peter Hunningale or whomever he chose to spin with Danman (famed for the ‘Wicked Haffi Run’ classic) leading the vocal charge. Periodically pumping the air whilst flicking furiously through a mass of discs, Iration sure knew how to keep all on their toes over a 3 hour set that culminated in a classic take of the ‘Dr. Who’ soundtrack. His claim to be at the ‘Vanguard of Dub’ was not up for debate at this session.

Though Ireland – like so many countries - may be having a spot of economic turbulence right now, it is proper and fitting that reggae should continue to sound out, enabling the punters and the ravers (as Bob did also say) ‘ to forget your troubles and dance’. And at this midlands festival that is exactly what the thousands did.

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