"Western Consciousness Lures Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Jamaica Observer (March 19, 2006)
By Basil Walters
The 2006 official launch of the annual stage show, Western Consciousness: A celebration of Good Over Evil, scheduled for the Pegasus Hotel on March 20, will be a salute to Lee "Scratch" Perry, the date coinciding with his birthday.
The legendary record producer and artist is the headliner for the 18th staging the roots reggae cultural festival to be held on Saturday, April 29, at the Llandilo Cultural Complex, Savannah-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
Winner of the 2003 Reggae Grammy for the album Jamaican ET, Perry, who officially resides in Switzerland and performs frequently overseas, especially in Europe, has not graced a local stage for over 30 years.
Asked in a recent interview, how he felt to be the headliner for this show after such a long absence from home, he replied, "It feel good for me to spread the good energy, because at that time when I was here it was ska music and rocksteady music and the people in Jamaica were not ready for my type of music yet, but now my type of music is on top. so I'm happy to be back here to perform my type of music."
So, what exactly is "his" type of music? How does Lee Perry now characterise his sound? "Blessings," he responded, before adding, "I'll be coming to Western Consciousness to bless my people who believe in God. I've been going around spreading the good joy and the good love with Jamaica's music.
I'm a teacher in the European centre, I'm a teacher in art and culture. And the things that I do, people want to do the same thing. They like to do the same thing that I do, and I teach them how to do it.They like the way I dress, the way I talk and the things that I talk about is freedom of speech and things like that."
Defining himself as a "spiritual fighter", the eccentric Perry, who performed in Europe a month ago, hinted further at what to expect from his performance. "I'm a spiritual fighter, I'll fight down things like corruption and things like that. And I take great pleasure in fighting against the heads of governments. I'm not in politics, I fight against politics with my songs and my music."
Speaking about his forthcoming album, called Panic Inna Babylon, he said "The heads of goverments panic, the American government panic, the German government panic, the English government panic, and the Council of Churches panic."
After Western Consciousness, Perry will be heading back to Switzerland, which he has called home for the past 18 years. "This is my home, but I return to my wife's home to be with my wife and my children.
It is not good for me to live here due to the job I've to do. I have to fight against evil forces, so it suits me to live in Switzerland because I'm going to fight against crime ministers and I'm going to fight against politicians with my music and I'm going to fight against evil forces," he said.
"I want to teach the people how close they are to God yet they don't know God. You must respect the earth also, because the earth make your flesh and you must respect water, because it runs in your blood and the fire that you cannot see is talking to you. Those are the gods we want the people to be talking about, not the god that is not coming," he added.
Asserting his immense popularity aboard, he noted "There is always a call for Lee 'Scratch' Perry somewhere. When people are bored they want to hear something from him. We were to do America, but the visa come too late... We recently toured France, Germany, England, and we're to tour Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Lee Perry also revealed that he is writing day and night, and the title of his autobiography, which could be out next year could be Exodus or The Reality.
He was already the subject of a biography, People Funny Boy (the title of one of his better known recordings), written by David Katz. A three-disc boxed set of the recordings he made at his famed Black Ark studio was relased under the title Arkology in 1997(Island Records).