THOUGH it has a strong Jamaican connection, Panama is not known for producing many reggae artistes.
Singer Likle Mystic is determined to change that with Solvation, his debut album.
Recently, he told the Jamaica Observer that Solvation is a personal
statement he was unable to make while living in Jamaica.
hanging out at studios like Channel One for years without getting an
opportunity to record.
“Hardcore culture mi sing, maybe dat’s why mi always get a fight. From mi a youth mi protest against the system,” he said.
Mystic credits Shotta, a song he recorded in 2011, for introducing him
to reggae fans in Panama. It is one of the cuts on Solvation, which also
includes the title song, I’m Not a Criminal and Behold.
The St Andrew-born entertainer had all but given up on music by the
1990s. He followed the path of independent Jamaican retailers and headed
to Panama where according to him, “mi try a likkle buy and selling.”
Through frequent trips to the United States territory, he developed a
relationship with Rastafarians there and discovered that reggae had an
enthusiastic following in areas like the capital Panama City, and Colon,
where many Jamaicans settled while working on the Panama Canal in the
early 20th century.
He gradually revived his music career by performing at dances and
appearing as the ‘hometown’ act, opening for artistes like Capleton and
Anthony B when they made stops in Panama.
With the release of Shotta two years ago, Mystic said his base grew even
more. It gave Italy-based Ziggyblacks International Productions the
impetus to record a full album by the dreadlocked vocalist.
Born Leroy Hamilton in the community of Ackee Walk and raised in May
Pen, Clarendon, Likle Mystic says he was inspired by the roots-reggae
movement of the 1970s. However, he never got the chance to express his
“conscious message” professionally and threw in the towel until getting a
second crack through his Panamanian sojourn.
Solvation will be specifically marketed in Latin America, Africa and Europe.