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Raging Fyah - Blazing a Reggae Trail

Kumar Bent and Delroy 'Pele' Hamilton the rhythm and bass of Raging Fyah

Jamaica’s live music scene has been heating up. The ferment is in part being driven by the renaissance of live bands that have once again become prominent on the island’s music scene and the band Raging Fyah has been a piece of kindling keeping the blaze going. Raging Fyah embodies that revolutionary aesthetic which is such an essential part of roots reggae.

In August 2011 Raging Fire launched their debut album Judgement Day which secured their position as serious rising reggae stars and helped to clinch their already rising fan base. The reggae band returned to Jamaica in September after completing a their first two month tour of Europe over the summer, another important step in their rising career, proving that they may well be here for the long haul. Now they are looking toward more live performances on the island, as well as creating new music for their sophomore album.

Like many of the bands currently populating the live band scene which is once again bubbling with an infusion of new blood, Raging Fyah comprises mainly graduates of the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts. The reggae band officially formed in 2006 as a trio featuring band leader and bass guitarist Delroy ‘Pele’ Hamilton, Demar Gayle (keyboards) and Anthony Watson (drums). Later, Courtland White (guitar), Kumar Bent (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) and Mahlon Moving (Engineer) would join.

Anthony WatsonThe band members point out that the increase in bands playing live music commendable.
“It’s a positive moment among the young artists,” says Watson. Bent agrees with this assessment explaining that live music can only increase the general quality of the music being produced.

“It’s a good feeling because playing the music is something personal,” Bent says. With the emotional intensity that he gives off during performance this statement comes as no surprise.

The European tour which took the band through France, Germany, England, Spain and Slovakia only served to further fuel their interest in strengthening their music, and carving their insignia into the larger reggae landscape. The tour saw them playing some of Europe’s major reggae festivals including Reggae Jam (Bersenbrük) and Rototom Sunsplash (Barcelona) bringing them before audiences of thousands. They quickly explain that the more intimate gigs which are their staple in Jamaica, however, will not see them lessening in their commitment to the music.

“We love to perform, so once we’re there, we’re there,” Watson enthuses, with a huge smile.

“We treat each show as the same,” Hamilton explains. “A Could a two people, we give the same level of performance,” he said.

Demar GayleOf course, live play and radio play are very different animals. The band is careful in answering queries  on the radio response they have received, deftly stepping around the ever present issue of pay for play. Instead they focus on the positive response they have received which includes being in rotation on Irie FM.

“Everything can only get better,” Hamilton says diplomatically, “but so far so good.”

Raging Fyah got much of its live music performance by promoting its own show Wicky Wacky Sundays in Bull Bay. The seaside concerts provided a space for the band to develop their repertoire and strengthen their fan. It also provided a stage for other rising talents to do the same. However, the show went on break before the summer and has not yet been resumed. The band did not indicate if and or when it would return.

According to Raging Fyah their immediate outlook is to generate more tours, develop new music videos and new music. Their recent performances suggest that their fire continues to blaze and they are a light that is worth watching.