Writing about the Year In Reggae amidst all the loss and upheaval of the last twelve months wasn't easy given that a global pandemic has wreaked havoc with millions of people's lives, leaving them without jobs, homes and loved ones. There have been no live shows, tours or festivals and with the passing of one legend after another, it's truly felt like the end of an era. Despite all this music has remained a lifeline and comfort for so many of us these past twelve months and especially during lockdown. The outpouring of new music has never stopped and Echoes' Top 5 Reggae Albums Of The Year - led by Tarrus Riley's Healing - is typically strong as ever.
Elsewhere in this last issue of 2020 I talk to master drummer Sly Dunbar about he and Robbie's latest album Red Hills Road and write an account of Marley75; the Marley family's year-long celebrations which have taken a multitude of different guises including film, audio, illustration and performance.
The review section has albums from VP, Through The Roots, Soothsayers and Chardel Rhoden whilst Shaggy, Bounty Killer & Junior Reid's Raggamuffin Christmas heads Run The Track, which also has new releases by Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Tarrus Riley and Alborosie, whose song about human trafficking, Shadows After Dark, co-stars a galaxy of other well-known artists.