Jah9’s forthcoming UK tour may be her first, but the roots reggae artist, yogi and follower of Rastafari has already cultivated a committed following in Britain. Alongside the likes of Chronixx, Proteje and Sevana, she has ensured that love and spirituality remain primary themes in contemporary reggae music – her warmth, positivity and unique voice carrying her compelling message. The Jamaican artist performs live at Band on the Wall on Tuesday 20th November, alongside The Dub Treatment and support DJ Katbrownsugar – bringing her mystical, spiritually-informed music to Manchester for the first time. Ahead of the show, here are five fiery tracks which chart to young musicians’ career so far.
Jah9 – New Name
Jah9’s first LP was produced by Rory Stonelove, who notably assisted Samory I with the production of his outstanding record, Black Gold. Her debut’s title track, containing melodica tones and ultra-slique horns, has one of those melodies that becomes classic in an instant. On the cut, Jah9 sings of the tribulation we as humans face, as well as expressing her spiritual stance, referring to King Ras Tafari and the power of the trinity.
Jah9 – Steamers a Bubble
With a flow not dissimilar to Eek-a-Mouse’s Ganja Smuggling, Jah9 riffs on top of the Apartment riddim — a Channel One instrumental laid down by the Roots Radics Band in the early eighties — to form Steamers a Bubble. She sings of her experience at the St Andrew Park compound, a place of many gatherings for jam sessions and spiritual teaching, which spawned the Inna Di Yard documentary series.
Jah 9 – Hardcore remix ft. Chronixx
Following its initial release on her album 9, Jah9 and Chronixx combined to rework Hardcore, their voices melding beautifully throughout this spiritual cut. The track’s video, shot predominantly in São Paulo, captures the energy and positivity of each artist, each bringing refreshing R&B vocal chops to the track.
Jah 9 – Spiritual Woman Dub
Mad Professor’s distinctive, digital dub stamp is all over the Ariwa founder’s collaboration with Jah9. A full album remix of her previous studio record 9, its outstanding second track Spiritual Woman Dub flips Greatest Threat to the Status Quo from a brooding album closer into a cosmic, robust dub riddim, focussing on the Jah9 phrase ‘a spiritual woman is the greatest threat to the status quo’, as well as the powerful backbeat.
Jah9 – Love Has Found I
Jah9’s recent material has furthered broadened her sound palette, with flute, a chorus of voices and elements of US R&B taking her sound further from the roots reggae style that defined her early recordings. Love Has Found I captures an impassioned performance from the maturing vocalist, who draws connections between earthly love and her spiritual beliefs.