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Reggae fest returns with more zest



Mohalenyane Phakela

KHUBETSOANA’S Club 4Fordy will play host to the third edition of the Dancehall Summa Mashup on 28 November 2015, featuring a line up of local and South African artists.

The festival was launched by Ragga Vybz in 2013 with the objective of establishing dancehall and reggae music in Lesotho.

According the Ragga Vybz’s Selektah Che, this year they are collaborating with another reggae movement, Powertainment, from Rustenburg, South Africa.

“South Africa’s Bongo Riot, of the Saka Le Ena fame, will headline the festival along with Momo Dread and DJ Fanta Jozi,” he said in an interview with Xpress People this past week.

“They will share the 4Fordy stage with Jah Kongo, Badman, C-Jo, Sledge, Meloh, Gen Ap Zah zah Manga, Dancehall Addicts, Don Royal, Selekta Tesfa, Green Seed and Sensai Rankins among others.”

Narrating the genesis of Ragga Vybz, Selektah Che said it was formed in 2011 drawing inspiration from South Africa’s African Storm Sound fronted by Jah Seed from the popular Kwaito group Bongo Maffin.

“We were already jamming before 2011, but only thought of creating a movement in 2011 after seeing Africa Storm Sound perform at The Bassline in Johannesburg,” he said.

“We were only three back then, and our aim was not to make money or become popular, but to promote the reggae and dancehall lifestyle through music.”

It was difficult for the movement to gain social acceptance, Selektah Che recounted, “as reggae is often associated with deviant behaviour”.

“People assume that all fans of reggae and dancehall music smoke weed, but the situation has changed,” he said.

“They fail to understand that dancehall and reggae are mainstream music genres and that not everybody who likes the music smokes marijuana.”

Selektah Che said they started off by hosting dancehall and reggae sessions at Meloding Club in Maseru which developed a followership over time.

“The growing popularity of the sessions culminated in the inaugural Dancehall Summa Mashup at Victoria Poolside in 2013 which was headlined by South African dancehall artist, Momo Dread,” he said.

“The Ragga Vybz movement has grown in stature and performed last year at the renowned Jammin ‘N Ting festival in Ficksburg, South Africa.”

The group, Selektah Che said, had set for itself the lofty goal of featuring a Jamaican artist in next year’s edition of the festival.

“We are hoping to land a major artist from Jamaica in 2015’s Summa Mashup. We also intend to hold a “Kasi to Kasi” tour to promote dancehall and reggae around the country,” he said.

Ragga Vybz were the organisers of the show featuring acclaimed Jamaican reggae artist, Sizzla Kolanji, at Club 4Fordy in September. Selektah Che said they were able to pull it off because of the recognition they now have beyond Lesotho’s borders.

“Sizzla was only scheduled to perform at the Reggae Spring Jam in South Africa’s Maboneng Precinct, but was referred to us by Momo Dread,” he said.

“I could not believe my ears when I received the call from his team saying Sizzla wanted to come to Lesotho. His mission here was not to perform, but to tour the country since he intends to invest in the education system.

“However, we felt it would not be fair for him to leave without giving Basotho a taste of what he can do, so we convinced him to perform before leaving.”

Selektah Che said the reggae icon had been enthralled by the performances of local artists he shared the stage with during the show, and took particular note of Ragga Vybz’s Sensai Rankins.

“Sizzla was impressed by Sensai Rankins, and, as we speak, Rankins is in Johannesburg where he is finalising preparations for his trip to Jamaica to collaborate with the reggae legend,” he said.

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