Helsinki, Finland: Reggae Global Report Image

by Juha “ScandalBag” Kurkela

In my home country, Finland, the means to experience Jamaica and her culture are quite scarce. Fortunately, for me, a music lover and selector, the quality of music played at reggae/dancehall clubs in Finland has taken huge steps forward since the 90s, when the newest tunes you heard were often a couple of years old and when dub plates were non-existent.

Despite today's skillful selectors, killer dubs, the dancehall crowd being aware of the latest hits and classics, and Appleton in my party cup, I still feel that some crucial elements of dancehall are missing.

To cope with my "homesickness", I must use other remedies as well. Besides emailing and phoning friends in Jamaica, meeting my few Jamaican friends who reside in Finland, I cook every now and then - rice and peas, ackee and saltfish, red peas soup or other Jamaican delicacies, and of course, spend lots of time mixing latest the tunes or throw-back classics. 

I also keep myself updated with the news on Jamaica and Jamaican music by following Jamaican newspapers online, listening to Jamaican radio stations like Zip FM and downloading fresh mixtapes by Coppershot, Renaissance, Richie Ras and Zj Wahwa. I must also big up the websites that provide video clips of programs such as Smile Jamaica, Ian Boyne's 'Profile' and Winford Williams' 'Onstage', just to name a few.

However, the way I feel about this "artificial Jamaica" that I'm trying to create around me is pretty much the same as how selector Ricky Trooper brilliantly describes dancehall in Norman Stolzoff 's book, Wake the Town and Tell the People: "Dancehall ting now is a world to itself. Nobody can explain the dancehall.

Nobody. You just have to come and experience it. Dancehall in foreign is different than yard dance. You haffi come a Jamaica and come experience it."
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