It’s hard to believe, but just a few years ago you would have been struggling to find venues in Kingston where you could hear roots reggae live. Everything has changed, due to an undeniable groundswell of new musicians and rooted fans – there are now âlive sessionsâ almost every night of the week. Here, a guide to the best reggae and dub roots venues in Kingston, and when to go.
7B Skyline Drive
Located on Skyline Drive, with one of the most striking views in Kingston, Dub Club is the zero point for fans of dub, roots and reggae. Settle in for some fierce vinyl juggling by revered “selector” (DJ) Gabre Selassie of Rockers Sound Station – the party actually takes place at his home – and other devotees and locals. The Dub Club offers a full bar, savory vegetarian options and delicious blends of fresh juices.
Tivoli Gardens, 63 Spanish Town Road
Kingston’s new spot, Inner City Dub, is for the âDubiteâ that lies dormant in all of us. Weekly selectors release the vinyl while guest singers like Jah9 and Iba Mahr are invited to take the mic. The show takes place in a large outdoor space in Tivoli Gardens and is presented by I-Nation Music and The Welding Shop Family. Expect authentic and welcoming vibes; Red Stripe and Appleton on tap; and locals stopping by bicycle, motorbike and on foot.
22 Drewsbury Avenue, Barbacane
Sankofa Sessions is a hybrid music and art show where visual artists create new works on location while resident DJ Iset Sankofa live mixes an ever-changing menu of dub, Afrobeat, South African jazz and of Afro-Brazilian music. Most Tuesdays there is also live percussion from local musicians, such as Shaun “Bugsy” Anderson. The party is somewhat of a creative incubator for locals and travelers alike, and participation is encouraged.
Bridge over the Sea, 20 Barbican Road
Dubwise is a weekly night where Yaadcore, one of Jamaica’s top young breeders, the DJ behind the mixtape series and radio show “Reggae Aroma” and a key figure in Reggae Revival, delivers an authentic program from the roots. and riddims. Expect guest artists like the legendary Max Romeo to pass by, and keep an eye on Yaadcore’s Facebook page for occasional US sessions in Miami and New York.
Vegetarian Meals on Wheels, Regal Plaza