Dancehall heavyweights Bounty Killer and Sizzla are now in promotional mode for the official release of their collaborative track, titled How Dem Fi Fight Reggae Music, on Breadback Productions’ Brighter Shade riddim.
The Brighter Shade riddim is a variation of Jackie Mittoo’s legendary Darker Shade riddim, which dates back to 1967 at Clement Cocksone Dodd’s Studio One, but which also drew from the instrumentals of British band The Beatles song, Norwegian Wood, which was released in 1965.
The Bounty-Sizzla collab, which according to the two deejays, will be released “right in time for Reggae Month”, is among several on the juggling riddim produced by Bread Back Productions’ Richard “Breadback” Bramwell, a longtime collaborator of Sizzla’s.
Several other veteran artists are also featured on the riddim, among them Beenie Man with Only Father God Knows, Louie Culture with Curfew, as well as Capleton, Natty King, Turbulence, U T Ras, whose song is titled Night and Day, and other singers.
Bounty Killer had previewed the song back in April 2022 following SOJA’s winning of the Grammy Awards, where he berated the government for stifling the music.
A few days ago Breadback, sought to explain on Instagram how he orchestrated Brighter Shade by extrapolating from Darker Shade, the legendary beat on which Bounty himself voiced his iconic Not Another Word.
“A brighter shade a the darker shade a black. So mi go back fi a real legendary old school riddim called the Darker Shade that was originally created in 1967 by Donat Roy Mitto, better know as Jackie Mittoo (who) was a Jamaican-Canadian keyboardist, song-writer and a musical director. He was also a member of the Skatalites and musical director of the studio one recording label,” he noted.“The origin of this riddim comes from a jazz riddim from way back. The darker shade run the place over the years if u check the history. Darker Shade also had a lot of hit songs. Hits songs from artiste like Barrington Levi, Coco T, Cutty Ranks, Dennis Brown, Early B, Echo Minott, Sugar Minnott, Franky Paul, Burning Spear, Alton Ellis, Bob Andy, Leroy Smart, Barnbas, jah screw, yellow man, nitty gritty, saba tooth ,Tony Curtis, Singing Melody, Lukie D, Sizzla, Capleton, Beenie, Bounty just to name a few.”
Breadback also reminded his followers that the remaking of older beats created by veteran producers, is nothing new to Reggae and Dancehall, Darker Shade having had numerous variations created by numerous Dancehall production houses. Among these are King Jammys, Shocking Vibes, Taxi, Penthouse, Techniques, and others.
“Jamaica is a place where u have a lot a different different producers who normally just beat over the same riddim but with a different vibration to it and mi can tell u a nuff artiste bus off a the darker shade,” he explained.
“Me, myself had this riddim over 10 years and a just now mi decided to work on it. So now mi a come with a Brighter Shade a the Darker Shade a black that was played by Danny Bassie from the fire house crew. The horns were play by Dean Frazer ,mixed by Bulby and the artwork by Venon Zion from Venezuela,” he added.
The producer also pointed out that the Darker Shade riddim, did not have its origins totally in Jamaica, but that creative production legends had made into a Reggae/Dancehall masterpiece.
“Coxsone Dodd the great musical legend mi nuh know wha u did a think and a meditate but u left us with whole heep a legacy. Darker shade originate from the Beatles – Norwegian wood (this bird has flown) in a 1967. History fi who never know,” he revealed.
Hundreds of Dancehall and Reggae songs have been recorded on numerous variations of Darker Shade.
In addition to Bounty Killer’s Not another Word, songs voiced on variations of Darker Shade include Warning by Capleton, Explain to the almighty by Sizzla, as well as Mobster, Pardon and By Gones by Beenie Man. Lady Saw also had three recordings on Darker Shade: Married Man, Heads of Government, and Man Inna Mi Life.
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