Many people are familiar with Reggaeton as the popular Latin form of reggae/dancehall music that started with the Steelie and Cleevie riddim before making its way from Panama to Puerto Rico then New York, but how many of you are aware of Latin Reggae?
As the conscious cultural form of Reggae music expands, people from all over the world are expressing themselves in their own language and their culture.
There are major festivals around the world that bear the name “Reggae” but the version done in Spanish has about 4 million followers in the US alone according to Edilberto “Eddy” Morillo, leader of the band Bachaco.
Eddy is also a music promoter in Miami and his festival, Miami Reggae Beach Fest takes place on Saturday, September 11. He will bring Latin Reggae singers from as far as Columbia to the beaches of Miami to play some roots rocking reggae in Spanish.
The Bachaco band has performed at over 300 concerts from Argentina to Canada sharing the stage with Stephen Marley and the Marley Brothers, Natiruts from Brazil, Israel Vibration, Toots & The Maytals, and other conscious reggae artists.
In this conversation with Eddy we talk about his unique style of reggae, his Miami Beach Reggae Festival and his plans to develop reggae music in latin culture.
Hey Eddy, Nice to meet you, tell me who are you?
Thanks for having me. I am the lead singer and founder of Bachaco music. It’s a Latin Reggae heavily influenced by Jamaican culture. I am from Venezuela and based out of Miami Florida. I founded the Miami Beach Reggae Fest with hopes of expanding the expanding reggae culture into the Latin community in Miami.
How did reggae music get to you?
I heard reggae for the first time in Spanish. When you are in Venezuela you hear mostly Spanish music. The band was King Shango from New York. The guy was Venezuelan but he was based in New York and they were a huge success in Venezuela. I was about 11 or 12 years old. There was also a reggae song that’s attached to a soap opera. At the same time I came across Bob Marley’s Legend album. My brother’s best friend had it and when I heard Marley and his horns and the arrangement and livelihood and the vibes it captured me. I started translating the music. It helped me change as a person a lot. I dug deeper and tried to learn more about the lifestyle and the culture.
What would you say the size of the latin reggae audience is?
In the US it’s about 3-4 million. When I was starting the promotion of the festival I was thinking people could come from LA, Boston etc. and the market research showed us it was around 3-4 million people.
Have you released an album?
The album is called Bachaco, it’s an 11 song album in 2010. We started in 2007. Almost half in English and half in Spanish. We kept evolving and became known as a live band.
Is the Latin Reggae Market different from the Reggaeton Market?
Absolutely. There are Reggaeton artists who do reggae music which is different from a Latin Reggae artist. A Latin reggae artist is an artist that has in his essence the reggae sound 100 percent. Reggeaton is more of a beat. I hear Farruko sing a song with the Marleys and it’s still Reggaeton although there is a reggae artist in it. In Latin America there are also top Reggae Bands.
There is Ska, Ska Rock and they are definitely not Reggaeton. Reggaeton is more bling bling and Latin Reggae is the more alternative side of the spectrum.
This is quite different. I like it. Have you thought of having more Jamaican acts on your show?
Of course, I was trying to have Empress Sativa but I will next time. Hopefully, we secure sponsorship to bring in more artists that are representing Jamaican culture. Miami has about 80 percent Spanish people and that’s at least 3-4 million, so it’s a huge market here and they all love reggae.
Eddy Big up and good luck with Miami Reggae Beach Fest.
Most definitely, thanks for having me.