Meet your Macka
New fans are being introduced to the combative lyrics and soaring vocals of a reggae music crusader
16 November, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
British reggae legend Macka B will play the Garage, Islington, on Saturday
HE is a musical crusader, a singing prophet who uses his talent to take stock of the world around him and share his views through rapid-fire lyricism and soaring vocals.
British reggae legend Macka B brings the London leg of his European tour to the Garage, Islington, on Saturday and, as fans will know, you can expect not just a rocking experience of hearing some of the finest reggae currently being made, but also an evening of inspiration.
The tour is called Health Is Wealth, and Macka B speaking about issues around veganism, animal welfare, health and the environment is not a new departure – he has always produced political music.
In the 1980s he provided a voice to such movements as campaigns against Apartheid, to commenting on Thatcherism.
Macka B – real name Christopher MacFarlane – grew up in Wolverhampton. His parents moved to the UK in the 1950s from Jamaica and friends of theirs ran sound systems playing mainly blues that inspired him as a child. He recalls hearing the Wolverhampton system Lord Barley playing next door to his family home – and knew it was something he wanted to learn more about. At school, he sang in choirs and played the violin, and then as a teenager became part of the burgeoning British sound system culture of the period.
He became interested in Rastafarianism and reggae music, citing people such as Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, U-Roy and Big Youth as inspirations. Added to this, he stopped eating meat aged 16 but still ate fish for a few more years before cutting out seafood as well as dairy products. And now, through Health is Wealth, we see the culmination of these two passions coming together.
The new album has come together with a large mix of producers working on various tracks. It gives the album a real flavour of the different styles Macka B has mastered, from the roots reggae feel of the title track, to more dancehall-inspired offerings.
It Macka’s second big album in two years. In 2016, his album Never Played a 45 introduced him to a new generation of fans, and he toured Asia on the back of its success.
New fans are being introduced to his combative lyrics, his beautiful harmonies, thumping basslines and soaring vocals. Earlier this year, his children suggested he start using social media to help spread his views on healthy eating – and the result, Wha Me Eat Wednesdays, has become a viral sensation as Macka B creates catchy lyrics focusing on a foodstuffs.
He records segments of him singing the virtues of a particular vegetable, mixing good humour with a serious message – and from this, a new range by Revolution Foods proudly boasts Macka B’s name. He was approached by the healthy eating brand to see if he wanted to collaborate, and now you can buy a bag of superfood grains like hemp seeds with his blessing.
Macka B plays the Garage on Saturday, November 18.