Above: Jimmy Cliff
Caribbean Journal is proud to name Jimmy Cliff as our 2012 Artist of the Year.
The award is a testament to Cliff’s enduring talent and his work on the recently-released Rebirth — in our opinion, the best reggae album of 2012.
But while it had been seven years since his previous album, Rebirth was not a return to form — to call it so would be disrespectful — rather, it was a reminder of why Cliff remains one of the legends of reggae music.
It was also a tribute to producer Tim Armstrong, one of the stars of the punk genre, who helped make Rebirth sound not like a new album, but a lost, decades-old album, somehow unearthed and dusted off in modern-day Jamaica.
But what truly brought Rebirth to the musical forefront this year was that it reminded us of something else: the message of reggae, and the ability of the genre to transcend mere musical notes.
As Cliff told Caribbean Journal in an interview earlier this year, “the main message is about reggae music reminding people of a music form that came on the came on the scene 40 years ago and made a big impact — the message that it carried was social and political.”
From the upbeat Reggae Music to the soulful Children’s Bread, it’s why we all listen to roots reggae — and why those of us who don’t — or have wandered astray — should.
Congratulations to you, Jimmy. And thanks for the reminder.