Jamaican reggae artiste Junior Kelly is currently enjoying popularity on the South American continent.
In a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer Kelly, who is best known for tracks such as Love So Nice, Receive and Missing You, noted that while he has not been a mainstay on the local stage show circuit, it is the countries throughout South America which are enjoying his music at this time.
“This country is not big enough for us as reggae artistes to tour as there are only 14 parishes. I'm glad the the music has spread outside our borders. Happy that it was the Diaspora who spread the music first. Europe was leading for several years but South America has taken over. I work from Mexico to Chile all the way, that how I tour South America.”
Kelly atrributes this growth in popularity and appeal for reggae music in South America to the rise of reggaeton which is a music style that originated in Puerto Rico during the late 1990s. It is influenced by hip hop and Latin American and Caribbean music. Vocals include rapping and singing, typically in Spanish. Reggaeton is regarded as one of the most popular music genres in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and in countries including Puerto Rico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela. Over the past decade, the genre has seen increased popularity across the predominantly Spanish-speaking continent of South America.
“Regggaeton has helped in turning the focus on our music. South Americans are asking themselves where did this music come from because it is not originally theirs. When they check the source of it they realise it is rooted in reggae.
Also the appreciation that Brazillians have for our music has really helped to push it on that continent. Brazillians love our music. We share some similarlities with Brazil. They have a dish which is just like our rice and peas, so there is that shared culture. Being the largest body of black people outside Africa, our music has a lure, a level of appreciation and a capacity for people to latch on to it in these countries where English is not spoken. Some of the places where I go I can't believe I'm there. I just have to keep my cool. I like going to new places and build a market. I like how it set for me right now. I'm always writing and creating new stuff , always pushing the boundaries which every artiste should do. There is nothing wrong with experimentation; great things can happen. Most great things come from experiments,” said Kelly.
In the meantime the artiste is completing his latest album which should hit the streets later this year.