Buju calls for more mentorship in the music industry

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Buju calls for more mentorship in the music industry

Veteran reggae and dancehall artiste Buju Banton is calling for the development of more mentorship in the music industry and the wider society. According to Banton, it is the duty of those who have come before to transfer knowledge to the new generation to preserve the better parts of our cultural fabric.

“When I was coming up in the music industry at 19 years old, I used to buy Beres Hammond Guinness, and one day I said to him, ‘Why do you drink so much Guinness?’ and he said to me, ‘When I pass the harp that’s when the music gets sweet’. We want those kinds of tutoring and mentor-to-mentee again. We have too much bad man who have the wrong concept of what it means to be a man in our country, and also, the effeminization [sic] of our black men in Jamaica has taken full root. We have to make a concerted effort as a nation of people to right these wrongs. Not individually but collectively,” he said.

Banton, who is also widely known as ‘The Gargamel’, was speaking during the launch of the Intimate Jamaica Concert held last Thursday evening. The show is scheduled for January 1, 2023, in St Ann, and he and his long-time friend Beres Hammond will share the stage. With an extensive and popular catalogue of music and a myriad of life lessons to share, Banton says that for the time he has on earth, he wants to share all he has learnt with up-and-coming youths.

“I wah teach them (the next generation) wah the elders dem teach I. What they taught me, I want to pass it on to whoever I come around. I don’t have no one person that I give more knowledge than the other,” he shared.

This transfer of knowledge goes beyond just the music into real spaces where he hopes to guide young men to become better versions of themselves.

“I have two boys’ homes. One at Sunbeam and one at the Mount Olivet Boys Home, and in totality, I have 100 boys. One hundred man and my country is bent on killing off every young man over an independent opinion or a different way of doing things. There is nobody thinking ‘bout, how can we make this nation a better nation by being our brother’s keeper to keep them in their same position,” he said candidly.

“Many haven’t (visited a boys’ or girls’ home), and this is where we have to channel our energies. We want a better Jamaica, and it begins with us, the man on the street who is homeless. The woman on the street who is walking naked. Come out of your nice fancy car. She is you sister; she could have been your mom,” Banton continued.

Banton has had well over two decades of experience in the music industry. On March 16, 2019, he returned to the stage with Long Walk To Freedom concert, which was an especially historic moment as it was the first performance since his release from prison. Over 30,000 of his fans from around the globe turned up to the National Stadium to see Gargamel perform for the first time in nine years.

During his interviews at the media launch of Intimate Buju introduced his mentee Mitch, who is currently signed to the Gargamel music label. Mitch, whose real name is Roger Mitchell, has been in the industry for several years but is now being guided by the veteran as he advances in his own career.

“It’s more than a mentee; it is a brothership. I have known Buju for most of my musical career, beginning with ARP, and that is from around 1994, 1995. I have known him very early in his career as well. After the group, I was still around Buju till now. The greatest lesson I have learned is humility. You just continue and work on your craft. Hone it to the best way you can. When your time comes, then it is your time,” he said.

He said his most memorable moment was working on Banton’s Upside Down 2020 album.

“Collaborating with him on his previous album. We wrote a song called Beat Dem Bad on it, and it was the first time actually writing for his album, and that was memorable for me cause a Buju Banton that so yuh done know,” he revealed.

RawVue Music currently manages Mitch. For him, this year has been all about growth as an artiste.

“I must say that this year has been very creative; we have been in the studio a lot and creating new type of music, new type of sounds. We trying to change the dynamic in every way [and] form. Expect a lot, including a new album next year coming through the Gargamel.”