General Levy gives us the rundown on what we can expect from his upcoming Australian visit
26.02.2020

General Levy gives us the rundown on what we can expect from his upcoming Australian visit

Words by Tammy Walters

Adelaide’s favourite four-day world music, arts and dance celebration, WOMADelaide, returns in March with a stellar selection of artists and entertainment.

The legendary, eight-time award-winning Ziggy Marley will head the global party flying the flag for his Jamaican family. Those representing the rich Australian landscape are rapper/social commentator Briggs, the contagious fusion of The Cat Empire, the brightly coloured supergroup Dyson Stringer Cloher as well as Eurovision superstar Kate Miller-Heidke.

Los Amigos Invisibles will be doing Venezuela proud and you can find Finland in Tuuletar. Bill Callahan and The Blind Boys of Alabama will be making the flight across from the US, while Minyo Crusaders are jetting in from Japan.

Taiwanese dance collective B. DANCE will be also showcasing their Floating Flowers contemporary performance, and Destyn Maloya will give you a taste of Maloyan dance music all the way from the French Reunion Islands.

In the UK corner is the esteemed General Levy, who has been revered in the urban music scene for thirty years. The underground DJ, who has worked with the likes of Shaggy, is gearing up for the long flight to Australia, less than 18 months after his 2018 Clean Heart Incredible tour, and is ready to start the party.

“Oh man, it’s like moving into a plane for 24 hours. It’s like another planet but it’s well worth it because the people in Australia are really beautiful,” laughs Levy.

“I’m going to bring all of my artillery as General. I’ll be bringing all of my music that I have been doing over the years as well as new stuff and future stuff coming out. I’ve been to Australia before and the shows really went off so we’re making it bigger.

“We’ll go drum and bass with reggae vibes for you, I’m bringing the UK flavour for you … We just use music, words, power and positive vibes to get the people. It’s like a story, my show – there’s a start and middle and an end.

“It’s a multicultural festival and we’re representing urban culture to an extent. We’ve kept our rawness and are bringing our raw edge to the performance which you might not get out of a mainstream show. It’s undiluted.”

Weaving his way through classics ‘The General’, ‘Champagne Body’ and ‘Diamonds & Pearls’ in an event full of world sounds, Levy will bring his infectious blend of jungle, ragga, calypso and drum and bass with nods to Caribbean influence. Levy’s music shines a light on a UK underground urban scene that’s largely unfamiliar to Australia.

“When we [started playing music], we did it using a lot of Jamaican Patois. The reason why UK lads from the urban scene and my corner used that was because we didn’t want to be understood by the mainstream media or the average person on the street.

“So we used the Caribbean Patois as a disguise or a secret weapon in school, but now UK kids use English slang. We wanted to stay away from sounding English,” Levy explains.

“We still want to maintain that culture though. It’s like you have a child and they want to walk on their own now and there is that natural disconnect. But as long as they still draw reference to that Caribbean culture, they still have to keep that link because it was a rich culture and a strong influence on music.

“But I’ve created my own world with my music and I’ve been blessed that the public seem to like it and tune into my world. It’s my release really, and my therapy and the rest of the world are welcome to the party.”

General Levy hits WOMADelaide on Friday March 6. Check out womadelaide.com.au for the full program and tickets. He’ll also perform at The Corner on Saturday March 7 with tix via cornerhotel.com.