Written by Scott Brown
One of the “sub-genres” of reggae I’ve come to greatly appreciate is Island Reggae (most of which comes from Hawaii, but can also include a wide range of reggae music from a number of islands). Island reggae is melodic, mellow and invigorating – full of musical layers, beautiful two-part and three-part harmonies and tropical rhythms. Some of the most beautiful female reggae voices come from Hawaii, as I’ve discovered over the years.
One of the first Island Reggae groups I discovered was Natural Vibrations (aka Natty Vibes), from Hawaii. Their remake of “Don’t Dream It’s Over” blew my mind, and then I listened to “Come Around”, “Dancin’”, “Hot Like Fire” and “Irie Eyes” – and was immediately hooked. There are some amazing reggae acts that have come from Hawaii, including Fiji, Kapena, Anuhea, J Boog, Conscious Roots, The Green, BW, Marty Dread and many more.
Natural Vibrations sing “Hot Like Fire.”
A new Hawaiian artist I’ve come to really enjoy is Hirie. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful, and her debut album “Hirie” has several tracks that I find myself listening to time and time again (such as “Sensi Boy”, “Smile” and “Higher”).
Hirie sings “ Sensi Boy. “
Her song “Wiseman” pays homage to the great Robert Nesta Marley (“when the music hits, you feel no pain”), and is one of my favorite Hawaiian Reggae tracks I listen to.
Island Reggae is increasing in popularity all over the world, and I completely understand why. It’s just really great music, plain and simple – and social media (as well as a big shift to predominantly live concerts and global tours) has provided an excellent way to get the music out to the masses. This music style washes over the listener like a warm, tropical wave.
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