by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Utan Green is synonymous with the roots-reggae renaissance of the 1990’s. Along with Tony Rebel, Garnet Silk and Everton Blender, he was part of a cultural movement that revived Rastafarian themes in dancehall music.
Green is still recording. One of his latest songs is “A me She Want”, from the Stars Have to Shine compilation album released in June.
The song is a cover of Carlton and The Shoes’ 1968 hit, Love me Forever, which drives the set’s 13 songs. Stars Have to Shine is produced by Norman Owen, who appears as deejay Azee on A me She Want.
Having grown up listening to the original song on sound systems, Green said he was keen to put a fresh spin on one of reggae’s true classics.
“Dem song dey sing with plenty soul. It still relevant ’cause di world need love more than ever,” he said.
Green added that he didn’t try to do anything different from the original which was produced by Clement Dodd at Studio One.
Born in Kingston, Green moved to his mother’s home parish of Manchester in central Jamaica at age 14. He was exposed to Rastafarian beliefs and like-minded artists including Tony Rebel and Garnet Silk who were born there.
Their roots movement exploded in the 1990’s with Rebel and Silk, especially, becoming major stars. Silk died in an explosion at his mother’s home in December, 1994.
Green says his Rastafarian principles influence his recording policy.
“It cyaan be jus’ about money ’cause money nuh mek yuh comfortable. Real music mek yuh comfortable,” he reasoned.
The Stars Have to Shine compilation also features songs by Lone Ranger, Carlton Livingston, Pinchers and Torch.