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    08 Aug 2020

    Keeping The Torch Lit for ‘Jamaican Music’: Lila Iké Performs At Grace JerkFest Featured

    Skipping her summer trip to Toronto due to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, songstress Lila Iké, like most of us, has had to acquaint herself with digital software apps to connect with the would-be audiences of the annual Grace JerkFest. Along with a set of other Reggae and Dancehall household names including Beenie Man (recently seen on the Verzuz soundclash series), Jah Cure, and some of Toronto’s local Caribbean-bred entertainers, Lila Iké’s online gig is set for this Saturday and Sunday evening.

    Telecommuting from a resort in Jamaica (a place with a reliable internet connection), Lila Iké finds a moment to have a quick chat about her upcoming show, how she’s dealing with quarantine life as a creative, and her debut EP, The Experience, which happens to be pushing a message speaking to the isolation and many of the issues that we’ve all had to be toughing out this year:

    “Solitude” is a song that is important for encouraging people to find gratification in spending time with themselves, especially now that, you know, we really don’t have a choice. The whole social distancing, quarantining, [the song is] just kinda taking away from people looking at it as being selfish or being weird if you like spending time by yourself. Personally I find, especially as an artist, when you have to talk to people all the time and interact with people all the time, personally, I need to declutter, and that’s how I do it: by spending a lot of time with myself.”

    With a musical tone and energy similar to Garnett Silk and Luciano, both of whom she shares the same home parish, Manchester, Jamaica, Lila Iké stays close to her roots, enjoying her performances of spiritually charged songs like “Thy Will” and noting their impact at festival, club, and concert venues:

    “So far, I really like performing “Thy Will” because it was done on a very big, old school reggae riddim, “Baltimore.” On stage when you have the bass and the drum and everybody coming together that song really sounds very powerful. I also really like performing “I Spy” because, you know, it gets you into a dancy-dancy vibes, and just a lot of energy. “Where I’m Coming From” is also another powerful song to sing because it means so much to me… “Biggest Fan” is not on the project but it’s my very first single. That’s a song [where] I spoke about my mother — my Mommy— and that’s also dear to me. So I’d say those are a couple of my favorite songs to perform.”

    Lila Iké’s lyrics often express the ideals of consciousness that built her musical identity. Born Alecia Grey, Lila combines an old nickname to the second half of her stage name Iké, Nigerian for “God is powerful” — a sentiment she adopts from a friend and holds on to across her entire catalogue.

    Though Lila has been quoted saying she isn’t open to working with just any artist, she expresses her desire to explore the versatility of her vocals and talent through other genres (or flavours, a term the singer considers more fitting when discussing different types of music) outside of Reggae/Dancehall: 

    “I don’t like being trapped in one thing. I can get up today and just feel inspired to sing something that sounds like a Soca song. Now is that going to discredit me as an artist because I’m not doing Reggae, because I’m from Jamaica — those are lots of things that I consider. So what I do personally I listen to a lot of music, all different genres. I really like Soul, I love Jazz, Afrobeat is also cool... I really like Grime music. I just realized that I like all sorts of music and so I don’t want to just be limited to creating One Drop Reggae music or whatever. I just like to say I’m making Jamaican music.”

    You can catch Lila Iké and others’ virtual performances at this weekend’s Jerkfest 2020. The festival will be running from 6-10pm on August 8th and 9th. Check out jerkfest.ca for more info and links to watch the shows, and to find links to order in with some of Toronto’s top-rated food vendors.

    Tremayne St.Kitts is a freelance creative writer, barber, and vocalist based in Toronto. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @tremaynecharlz

    20200413 ByBlacks Patreon

    Read 380 times Last modified on Sunday, 09 August 2020 09:57
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