Mark Anthony Myrie is Buju Banton, born on July 15th, he is the ninth of ten children. His mother, a higgler (street trader), is a direct descendent of the Maroons, a clan of fugitive slaves who banded together and tended off attacks from British colonial regiments, who wished to return them to slavery. Buju has travelled around the world but the highlight for him was his journey across Africa."Africa is one of the most beautiful places in creation. The people are nice, the food is great, wash your hair in the Nile. The first plant I see when I touch down was Tuna: I break piece and put it in my Tam to take back to Jamaica and plant it. My father use to make it up as a drink in Jamaica."
"Starting out as a Dancehall artist has been good to me, I have not stepped away from the dancehall but I have realised that there is a greater work to be done. "Inna Heights" is a continuation of where I left off with "'Til Shiloh" but it is a step further. In someways it is an autobiography, it is my life and how things are going and how things around evolve. It is important because more people out there identify with the issues, they find comfort in the words that I say - which is the truth. One day things will get better with passage of time. Music has taken on a meaningful role. I want to do something more than just sing. When I was doing dancehall, for two years I was just going around in circles, there was no-one who could write a song like I or a riddim like I. What was left for me to do ? I wanted something else, a musical growth to take me somewhere else in the music arena because I could always pick up my pen anywhere and write."
"The first music that turned me to reggae was "Promised land" by Dennis Brown. Every time I heard the bass line and the horns I would go crazy. I went out and bought a guitar and called the band together and while travelling on a bus to the country to hold a vibe, we started to play "Easy road" and I said to myself that is the type of music I want to make, and get satisfaction. I love Burning Spear, they are great but who is going to take the mantel ? Who is going to lead the nation with positives that reggae music posess ? The eighties has been an era where we shift from that. In Jamaica right now - no disrespect - it is I and Luciano that are the two artists that leave the island the most, to spread the blessed word. There's no doubt that I and the bredrin have a good works to do, but the more the merrier because this works is greater than me and him. We need help. The reggae music as a whole needs help because the youth love the music but what are they getting from it. I make music to enjoy myself but I must turn over the next page and make some music to edify myself."
The collaboration with Buju and Toots is a way in which Buju is cataloguing the history of reggae music on his album. Hence the representation of ska on his album with "54/46". And with King Stitt, that brought the mood of the sixties and style of the deejays that era.
"The person I would like to work with is Lee "Scratch" Perry. I have to have that influence in this lifetime as it's only one life. "Inna Heights" possesses 21 musical and magical influences and I wish that everyone should get the message that I and I have come with. It's not far fetched, it is simple - give reggae music a chance !"
London did give Reggae music a chance when Buju hit Brixton Academy as part of his UK tour. There was a sense of calm as the crowd waited in anticipation for the king. Buju, the spiritual one, had 'entered' the musical arena. Dressed in a white suit with red, green and gold sash, he gave the audience hits from his previous albums but it was "Destiny" and "African pride" that brought it all together. Buju had said that "Inna Heights" was a step further than "'Til Shiloh" and it seemed the audience had moved with him. Buju has the inspiration and the vision that will make his music legendary for the future generations, just the way he has planned it. That is HIS destiny.

Source: "Jet Star Reggae News", Issue 3. (Jan. 1998) Writer: Mandigo



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