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  • Writer's pictureRiddimStyle Staff Writer

Rototom Sunsplash Live From Benicassim

With a 27-year history, one of Europe's longest-running reggae festivals has grown dramatically since its arrival in Benicàssim in 2010, and with that expansion has come a greater commitment to musical quality, enhancing its special status. Rototom Sunsplash: Live From Benicàssim is a collection of 27 outstanding performances by some of the most incredible acts to ever grace the main stage, with artists hailing from Jamaica, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Italy, France, New Zealand, and other countries, emphasizing the festival's international composition.

Disc One begins with the icons of roots reggae that have always formed a major presence on the main stage as the biggest draw for Rototom's core audience. British reggae stalwarts Steel Pulse and Misty In Roots contrast with Jamaican heavyweights such as Horace Andy, Max Romeo, and the poetic Pablo Moses, while stadium giants Third World and Inner Circle aim for the populist vein, with 'First Lady of Reggae' Marcia Griffiths dipping into her ska origins. There are also fine performances by Rasta Renaissance pioneer Luciano and reggae's present saviour, Chronixx, to remind that roots reggae continues to evolve.

Disc Two shifts to some of the biggest names of the dancehall era, including the evergreen Beres Hammond, rebel upstart Anthony B, the lovelorn humour of Junior Kelly and dancehall diva Tanya Stephens, as well as a rough-and-ready performance from Bobodread sing-jay, Turbulence.

Moving into the territory of the 'Reggae Revival' that has transformed the Jamaican soundscape during the last fifteen years, we have the hip-hop/nu roots of Kabaka Pyramid. Up-tempo social commentary from Protoje and Romain Virgo, the 'jazz on dub' hybrid of songstress Jah9, as well as the bridge-building styles of Alborosie, the Italian reggae star.

Shifting to the international sphere on Disc Three, we get the masterful reggae/rock/jazz blend of New Zealand's mighty Fat Freddy's Drop, the environmental reggae activism of California's Groundation, peaceful vibes from Italy's Mellow Mood and a harmonic ode to art, nature and music from Spain's Emeterians. Additionally, there is a heady infusion of ragga, rap, rock, and North African elements from France's Dub Inc.

An enthralling mix of Catalan, African and South American genres from the Barcelona-based Macaco, before Californian blues-rocker Ben Harper closes things off with a super-emotive take on reggae and Latin rock with the help of his Innocent Criminals.


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