Saturday, April 23, 2016 | 10:12 AM
INDIO, United States (AFP) – As a crowd dominated by young Americans swayed under the hot California sun, Chronixx roused them with his relentlessly positive explanation of reggae.
"Reggae music is good for the spirit. It is good for the heart," the Jamaican singer declared in his ever-mellow voice at the Coachella festival.
At 23, Chronixx is at the forefront of what some music industry players consider to be a revival of reggae, which became a global mass movement starting in the 1970s under legends such as Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs and Pete Tosh, but which had been overtaken in its Jamaican birthplace by the more aggressive dancehall genre.
Chronixx – whose father Chronicle is a dancehall singer – started off as a producer and offers a modern musical update to the classic reggae sound, with a dash of soul in his voice and harmonies, while the rhythms show a love of hip-hop. But Chronixx sees himself firmly in the tradition of roots reggae, believing his music is an integral part of the Rastafarian faith.
"Reggae music is a music that was born out of a spiritual awakening in Jamaica," Chronixx told AFP at Coachella, which runs for two consecutive weekends with identical line-ups.
"It has that spiritual element within it. It is part of us trying to be innovative and be creative and have reverence in the spirit that gave us this music," he said.
In contrast to dancehall, which so often is driven by machismo, Chronixx sings of personal uplift and non-violence. He has little interest in partying.
"If I were you, I would sell my gun / And buy a burning machine / Bootleg every Chronixx CD," he sings on one song to a beat influenced by electronic dance music.
"Tell the rich man – a foreigner and the politician / Ghetto youths don't need more guns and no more ammunition / We need a change in we tradition / We need some other things like computer," he sings.
Another track, "Smile Jamaica", personifies the island nation as a woman in a strikingly good-natured love song. more