Late September I found myself touring on the road with Japanese Reggae legend Papa U-Gee...thanks to the good people at Heavy Hong Kong. I had heard a few singles off Papa U-Gee's release CONNECTION, and enjoyed to vibe of the music singing "Connection important..." Being on the road and seeing an artist live is so different. Papa is a fairly quiet man but once you begin asking him questions he would be more than happy to share his thoughts and stories with you. Of course the emcee in me (chatterbox) had dozens of questions..."So you spent time in Cockburn Pen Jamaica? Me too! Tell me what was your experience like, who did you meet..." Papa U-Gee would smile and give his honest thoughts of what he believed he learned from his experience, and what he could share back to the world.
Once Papa touched the mic at the show, you knew you were dealing with a different sort of artist. I have been around enough rappers, DJs and coked out divas to start believing that you have to be really full of yourself to make it in this industry. Here was this humble man, that transformed into a special voice as soon as he was on stage - a voice that showed a style that was all his own and experience of how to have a crowd eating out the palm of your hand. Most importantly, a voice that reflects a truthful compassion to use Reggae music as a vehicle to spread love and positivity. Each song was in Japanese with only sprinklings of English sub-text, and yet the entirely Chinese & English speaking audience from Guangzhou to Shanghai was captured in the vibe. From the beginning of his set to the end, I shut my face and immersed myself in the show. The experience of understanding when you fall back into the role of a student when a true master at his craft is ready to share his talent. Connection, Important.
Post show, I would check out Papa U-Gee's merchandise and just as much care was put into the crafting of what you could take home to represent him as an artistry. A 45 with sunny yellow and green sticker in a white label so you know you have something very special, or the hand crafted batik "Papa U-Gee" Lion scarf? I respect artists that extend the care of their craft in all that they do. At the end of the tour, I asked Papa "You have never rocked Singapore?" He replied that he had always planned to but it never aligned. Connection, important.
Tour ends, I return to Singapura. I'm chewing on a toothpick in my kitchen, flipping through newspaper advertisings of Mariah Carey coming to Singapore. Uggh, so boring - big name, fame does not necessarily challenge the culture or spirit of the people. I thought of Papa U-Gee...I wanted to take a break in November and not bring any artists down. Bling! I get an email notification..."I can't wait for the next Singapura Dub Club." Screw it...[text text text*] "Papa U-Gee what you saying in November? Let's make this happen". Singapore for the first time, let's celebrate Japanese Reggae and good vibes. Connection...Important.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 30. SINGAPURA DUB CLUB @Artistry (17 Jalan Pinang)
FEAT PAPA U-GEE (Japan)
SELECTAS DJ Ken & Yooh the Vibration (R22, Japan) and Rumshot (Dub Skank'in Hifi)
PERFORMANCES with The Ragga Wacka Dancers, Masia One & The Irietones
HOSTED BY Miyo aka Black Cat
Doors 7pm $15 entry / $10 members
[Memberships can be purchased to the Singapura Dub Club for $35]
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SATURDAY NOV 29 *** Special Artist Meet and Greet
Papa U-Gee will be stopping by Straits Records (24A Bali Lane) for a Q&A and short acoustic set as a preview to Sunday's show. FREE entry (with priority given to Singapura Dub Club members) Doors 9pm.