LockDown Radio UK

Ginjah ‘Roots’

In 1999, Valentine Nakrumah Fraser caught the attention of ace reggae crooner Beres Hammond. Relishing the spiciness in the young artiste’s voice, the senior reggae balladeer also noted Fraiser’s craving for the popular Jamaican brew know as Ginger Beer. It was logically a short hop mentally for Hammond to name the young man Ginjah. “This is Valentine Nakrumah Fraser, an artiste called Ginjah, Mr Beres Hammond gave the name to me, Ginjah said, adding that he is representing black liberation, black consciousness, and the teachings of Haile Selassie I.

Having been invited to be a part of Hammond’s Harmony House label, Ginjah began in 2000 and by 2001, he was on a tour opening for Beres Hammond several shows stretching across the major Caribbean cities, leaving behind a trail of satisfied patrons begging for more. “it was never an easy task opening for a musical icon like Beres Hammond,” Ginjah Admitted. He Added: “But I went out there and did my best and met the challenge with full force.” As Expected, with good work, comes more work. So Ginjah went on touring with Beres Hammond throughout the world, inclusive of places like Europe, Canada, the United States and Japan.

Three years after the release of the Jungle Josh produced album “Urge To Love”, which mainly dealt with affairs of the heart, reggae singer Ginjah is back with his highly anticipated album entitled “Roots”. For his third full-length album the well talented, but still underrated Jamaican singer has teamed up with Stingray Records, one of the best production camps in the UK, known for its consistently arresting production style.

Although he has regularly shown his ability to deliver good romantic tunes, Ginjah is a true Roots artist, as he states in the album opener and title track “Roots”, which comes across a relicked classic riddim. So it’s a real good thing that his new album mostly consists of typical socially and spiritually conscious efforts. Next was the uplifting “Troubles Away”, which fully showcases the singer’s impressive vocal prowess. And then there’s “Great Son”, in fact the first track that really strikes a chord. It’s followed by the joyful sounding “Happy Life”, delivered in a soulful way over a groovin’ riddim. Alas, the opening part of this album, with only two tunes instantly having great appeal, isn’t fully convincing.

However, things get better with first the huge “Not One Man”, and then the awesome anti-violence piece called “Bad Chargie” and the truly outstanding “Do It”. Without doubt a strong part of the “Roots” album, which is rounded off with the entertaining “My Sound”. The lovers lament “I Love”, underpinned by a beautiful riddim, precedes the next worthwhile selections of this album, which starts with a massive tune called “Find A Place”, which is downright devastating. It’s followed by the spiritual offerings “We Need More Love” and “Jah Blessings”, which both are standouts. Then Ginjah returns to the romantic side of life, with in particular “My Queen” being an impressive piece.

This past Summer 2017 Ginjah has performed at Montreal’s States of the Caribbean Festival, Lu Lu Lounge in Toronto and appeared on Vibes 10 5.5 in Toronto with I-.Octane.