HE may be a leading light in the latest roots-reggae revival, but singer Iba Mahr believes the uplifting message he and his colleagues are pushing, is not getting air play in Jamaica.
During an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Iba Mahr, whose real name is Mario Greaves, expressed his concern about lack of airplay for roots music.
“I now see the music making a paradigm shift from roots and culture, not that it has died, but it just needs to be played more. Regardless of what is being played, the people need redemption songs, especially in these times of division and world crisis,” he said.
The Linstead-born entertainer’s Sound a Alarm made VP Records’ popular Strictly the Best compilation album in December. He has also recently released several songs including Let Jah Lead the Way, The Time is Now and She Cries.
The theme of his songs are a throwback to the 1970s when Jamaican artistes tackled social issues.
“I can only say that reggae music is a medium through which we connect and touch people in any situation, so I work to preserve its legacy,” he said.
Despite unsatisfactory airtime from local disc jockeys, Iba Mahr says the last two years have been good for him.
He has performed at Reggae Sumfest, Sting, Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, Western Consciousness and most recently, Rebel Salute.
Even though he was keen on music since his years at Charlemont High School, Iba Mahr says it was not until he completed sixth form at Dinthill Technical High School, and studies at the University of Technology that he began writing songs.
In 2008, singer Max Romeo produced and released his debut single
Had It And Lost It on his Charmax label. Shortly after, Phillip ‘Fattis’ Burrell of Xterminator Productions released his second single, Where You Are.
Iba Mahr has also worked with producers Donovan Germain, Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden and Roland McDermott, who is behind the well-received single Will I Wait.
He is currently putting final touches to his 14-track debut album, slated for release by April.