Friday, 12 June 2009

Junglist Dancing at Rototom 2009

In 2009 the Junglist Alliance had the pleasure of organising the first ever ragga jungle line-up for Europe's largest reggae festival, Rototom Reggae Sunsplash in Italy.

The festival took place over 9 days at the start of July. Every day the main stage was graced by artists such as Beenie Man, Capleton, Buju Banton, Bunny Wailer and Anthony B. When the main stage finished, the huge dancehall tent opened up. Most nights it was controlled by some of the world's heaviest sounds including Bass Oddessy from Jamaica.

On 9th July, the Junglist Alliance showcased their UK ragga jungle lineup in the dancehall tent with Kenny Ken and The Ragga Twins joining the JA boys for a blistering 5 hours. Although the 500+ English ravers were well aware of jungle and how to enjoy it, the vast number of Italian and Slovenians in attendance had never seen proper, original jungle at a large scale event. The result was explosive.

Everyday of the festival, at 4pm, the dancehall arena (with its specially designed wooden floor) was used as a dance workshop where professional Jamaican choreographer crew, Sick 'n' Head, who taught all the latest dances to the European fans. We all went down every day to try and refine our 'gully skank' (impossible!) and to check out the girls learning moves like the 'tic-toc' dance.

We started the jungle event in the same arena at about midnight. The male dancer from Sik 'n' Head had been kipping on a sofa in the backstage chill area. He awoke to the sound of Kenny Ken tearing it up with Flinty Badman and Deman Rockers aka The Ragga Twins on the mic. He'd never heard jungle before but as a natural dancer, he was clearly drawn to the music's rhythm. Gradually he moved closer to the stage, Tim and myself were convinced that with some encouragement he would be persuaded to throw down some dance moves for the crowd. Eventually he could resist it no more, the video below captures this wonderful moment. Somehow, we were able to create a vaguely synchronised routine after the Sik 'n' Head dancer quickly copied my oafish 'Pek Step'. Big up to Nye (Mr. Meerkat) from Dubcentral for taking the vid.

Check out Sick 'n' Head performing the 'Chicken Head dance' back home in Jamaica!