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European reggae fraternity

Did you know that Germany is leading European reggae? Now a group from Leipzig is behind a collection of reggae from 20 European countries – and Jørg-1 from Tungtvann represents Norway.


Northern Norwegian rapper Jørgen «Jørg-1» Nordeng, best known from the hip-hop group Tungtvann, delivers the Norwegian contribution on Rodeo Europe. The album aims to showcase the best of the European reggae / dancehall scene, and is released by leading German record company Germaican Records.

After rapping Jørg-1 with Tungtvann in 2000, he has distinguished himself as one of the most knowledgeable reggae enthusiasts in Norway, and he has carried out intense missions in the form of concerts, DJ-ing and music journalism. Heavy water has become increasingly reggae-colored, while Jørg-1 has also worked on projects such as Busta Ofte, Raggabalder Riddim Rebels and reggae band Manna. Well the interest has resulted in the honorable attendance at Rodeo Europe, which brings together 20 of the best reggae / dancehall artists from 20 different European countries, and with lyrics in 18 different languages.

Unlike in hip hop, where rappers often demand exclusive rights to the productions they use, in Jamaica it is free for vocalists to indulge in the hottest instruments – called "riddims". The producers associated with Germaican Records have, like some of the very few non-Jamaican "riddim" producers, gained access to Jamaica, and earlier this fall they released the "Rodeo" rhythm, used in songs by dancehall stars such as Elephant Man, Mad Cobra, Degree and TOK After this success, they decided to unite Dancehall-Europa into one kingdom, and now the result comes in the form of the "riddim" album Rodeo Europe. In addition to Jørg-1, the following do their versions of the "rodeo" rhythm: The French ragga godfather Daddy Mory, Spanish Daddy Maza, German D-Flame, Swedish Jogi, Little Tasha from Denmark, Finnish MC Paarma, and Cool D & Stupid F from Estonia and artists from Serbia, Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria and England. Jørg-1 is both proud and happy.

- What does this participation mean for you personally?

- Personally, it means extremely much to me. When Håvard and I (Jenssen, Jørg-1's backup rapper in Tungtvann and partner in the DJ team Raggabalder, journ.anm.) Started buying vinyl singles with reggae at Summerjam in 2001 to play outside, it was especially a «riddim »Which stood out for us, with better productions and pressing than the rest:« Bitch »on Germaican Records. That was when we realized that Europeans could actually do this properly. Even then, Germaican's house producer, Pionear, worked with Elephant Man, Mr. Vegas and other Jamaica stars, and we're been blood fans ever since. So when they contacted us after hearing our dancehall song, "Insane", it was an incredible confirmation that we are in on something, says Jørg-1.

- It is probably a little difficult for Norwegians to get the words reggae and Germany to fit in the same sentence. What can you say about German reggae?

- The Germans are known for going in with skin and hair when they first have to do something, and in reggae they have always been in the lead. Summerjam in Cologne has been Europe's largest reggae festival since its inception in the early 80's, and there has always been an enormous amount of ska in the country. The Germaican gang started as the creative band Messer Banzani in Leipzig in old East Germany in the 80's. Unlike in France, for example, where reggae is linked to the African environment, reggae in Germany is more of an anti-racist thing, and many of the actors are white.

- The fact is that the best German reggae and dancehall artists enjoy great respect in Jamaica – and that Germany has now passed both England and France in the battle to have the most vital and innovative reggae scene outside the genre's home country?

- The German reggae artist Gentleman is the first European, and not least white, reggae artist to have gained a foothold in Jamaica. He lives there, and works exclusively with the largest players on the island. The first time he performed at Sting, Jamaica's largest reggae festival, the audience raised bottles on him, but he refused to give up. Now he enjoys full respect, and actually sells records there. The world championship in sound system business, World Clash, was won this year by the white sound system Sentinel from Stuttgart, and this is quite historical. Germaican were also the first to release their own "riddim" record on VP Records, and also got to participate in the prestigious Reggae Goldthe collector. Other German record labels, such as Kingstone and Pow Pow, have subsequently also been successful in Jamaica, so there is no doubt that Germany owns Europe when it comes to reggae today.

What happens to the record in Norway?

- With the exception of a concert at Blå last week, it is a bit uncertain what will happen. Christer Falck's C + C Records releases it in Norway, so it's probably up to him. Regardless, we send our song to radio and DJs, and we'll see how the response is. In any case, this is a niche release, and Norway is hardly the country Germaica will make money on.

- Can the participation on this compilation album mean that a German reggae / dancehall route can open up at venues in Germany, something similar to the Norwegian punk and rock band that has been around since the 90s?

- Hardly, but as a combination of Raggabalder DJing and mini-concert it might work? What this means in terms of career is difficult to say, but it will probably be easier to get in touch with artists from other countries, as we can now refer to this. And we clearly hope for further cooperation in one form or another. By the way, we are going to Malmö and Lund just over Christmas, but we are concentrating 100 percent on a new Tungtvann album and a new mixtape now, which will be released in April and February, respectively. Conquering the world with northern Norwegian poetry is probably an impossibility, no matter how you twist and turn it.

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