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Ijahman Levi in London

Ijahman Levi in London

Ijahman Levi in London

By on - Photos by Andrew Thompson - 1 comment

A ninety minute musical meditation cloaked in reverb and delay.

Ijahman Levi in London

“In other countries I entertain fans. Here I entertain friends, family and fans”. With these words roots reggae veteran Ijahman Levi appraised his London audience on one of the final nights of his European tour. Ironically Ijahman, who lived in the capital as an adolescent, performed before an unusually international turnout for the Hootananny, attracted by the man who joined Bob Marley as one of Island Records flagship reggae signings in the 1970s with the albums 'Haile I Hymn' and 'Are We A Warrior'.

Bob himself, who would have been 67 this February, was honoured by the songs Bob Marley (along with Peter Tosh, Burning Spear and Jacob Miller) and Armageddon Warriors (on the rhythm to his classic War). “Bredda Bob and I are still friends even though he is not here in the physical” said Levi, a fellow pupil of Joe Higgs, with a sense of serene sanctity that pervaded the entire set. Often, during instrumental breakdowns by his Roots band (featuring some agreeably un-metallic guitar leads from Stephen “Marley” Wright) the white-clad singer, with eyes tightly closed, clasped his hands together as if in prayer.

Although Chris Blackwell was rumoured to have insisted that Ijahman lengthen tracks such as Jah Heavy Load and Jah is No Secret so his debut album would match Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, all the material showcased had a lengthy, rambling feel. The music was rather late 80s in flavour with synthesised panpipes and brass, while the vocals were cloaked in reverb and delay via guest sound engineer and tour manager Bhakti of Buxna Agency. His clinical work at the desk gave an echoed impetus to opening PAs by red turbaned singer Ras IWhan and deejay Blessed Barak. Promoter Cecil Reuben’s own JahRevelation Muzik sound featured dubbier toasting than usual from Brother Culture and MC Trooper, buoyed by their nomination in the British Reggae Industry Awards.

“There are many ways to dance - not just with your feet but with your eyes and with your ears” Levi sermonised cryptically towards the end. And indeed, there was not much physical or verbal interaction, only silent swaying to a ninety minute musical meditation, without wild peaks and troughs. Yet even if this was a less boisterous night than recent big promotions at the Hootananny, it was received with consistent applause and without complaint by the enraptured crowd.

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Posted by iREK on 03.09.2012
It was a nice night with reggae master! THANK YOU Cecil !!!

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