Today, after a bit of a struggle at the gym, I came home feeling a little aged. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been a little cognisant of time passing–perhaps it’s January, perhaps it’s the -30 temperatures, perhaps it’s realizing that it’s been 15 years since the New York Times has been online and I remember life before the internet. Whatever it might be, it’s a crumby feeling.
But the great thing about Jamaican music is that it aint all teenage dream–it’s a bit of an all ages experience. In Sonjah Stanley-Niaah’s new book, Dancehall: From Slaveship to Ghetto due to be launched on January 31 at the University of the West Indies, she talks about the wide age range of dancehall patrons. In my experience, whether Weddy Weddy or West Kingston Jamboree, the dance doesn’t discriminate on the basis of age (I’ve previously described the lack of discrimination based on size). As long as you’re willing to look bored and watch dancecrews…
Rodigan is a living, breathing example of the ageless nature of reggae and dancehall, but DJ Derek is another example.
As the late, great, legendary Sugar Minott said to me in a 2004 interview:
If you have current songs you can’t be oldies. Oldies are people who’ve stopped singing and gone on to do other jobs and every now and then, people dig them up and say, “Let’s go do an oldies show.” And when they finish that night they go back to their jobs. But we don’t have no other jobs.