From Kingston to Havana

The project, which has Havana Meets Kingston as a working title, was conceived by Jake Savona, an Australian who has worked with a number of Jamaican artistes since 2004.

The musicians – renowned drum-and-bass team of Sly and Robbie, guitarist Winston ‘Bo Pee’ Bowen, percussionist Bongo Herman and singer Leroy Sibbles — are scheduled to record with Cuban musicians over 10 days.

Savona told the Jamaica Observer that the project is inspired by the Buena Vista Social Club, the 1996 album/documentary about a traditional Cuban band which had been playing and recording in Havana since the 1940s.

“I want to make a foundation and modern record, something like a Buena VistaDancehall Club. It’s going to be Jamaican music with a lot of Spanish voices,” said Savona.

He added that the Cuban musicians will contribute horns and percussion. Once the tracks are laid, Savona plans to record Jamaican artistes on them.

He has already earmarked neo-roots acts Kabaka Pyramid and Jesse Royal, as well as Sizzla, as potential participants.

Thirty-nine year-old Savona, who is from Melbourne, said he has long been fascinated by Jamaican music. Since his maiden visit to the country 11 years ago, he has produced songs by several artistes, including veterans Alton Ellis, Big Youth and The Congos, plus Sizzla and Anthony B.

Savona produced Born a King, Sizzla’s 2014 album.


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