December 2019 – India’s largest celebration of reggae music and culture, Goa Sunsplash, who earlier announced legendary reggae singer Macka B, musical globetrotters The Turbans, first all-female reggae sound system in Australasia, Housewife’s Choice, Indian favourites like bass producer Su Real and reggae band Bombay Bassment and more, have returned with more exciting additions to its 2020 line-up.
The emphasis for Goa Sunsplash as a festival is to offer a holistic lifestyle and cultural experience that reflects the reggae ethos and help spread awareness of the principles that the reggae movement was founded upon. The only festival in India to focus exclusively on reggae and its sub-genres, the festival has been instrumental in bolstering the reach of the reggae community in India.
For the first time ever in India, two soundsystems – BFR Sound System and 10,000 Soundsystem – would go head-to-head in a showdown.
Both BFR Sound System and 10,000 Soundsystem are hand-built Jamaican-style soundsystems in India and have given the nascent reggae scene a much-needed fillip.
10,000 Lions will feature Reggae Rajahs, Cisco Kid, Sanyas-I, Jah Wine and Bee Wise alongside main operators Ninjahdread and Realoveution Hi Fly, while BFR Soundsystem will have at its helm Delhi Sultanate and Begum X – like always –along with English musician Rosie Turton, Mumbai-based rap collective Swadesi and Dopeadelicz and Dakta Dub.
The growing regional hip-hop movement in the country is also making its presence felt at Goa Sunsplash with two Mumbai-based crews, Swadesi and Dopeadelicz performing another set each. Outspoken and not afraid to fight for what they think is right – socially-conscious rap group Swadesi have been very vocal in their fight to save the Aarey forest while Dopeadelicz has – cheekily – made it their mission to ‘Legalise it’.
Joining Macka B and The Turbans at Goa Sunsplash will be one of the more soulful voices in reggae and one of its brighter stars, Sara Lugo. In her career, she has recorded several excellent productions with a variety of artists ranging from Jamaican stars like Lutan Fyah and Protoje to Indonesian singjay Ras Muhamad and Swiss-born chanter Cali P. At Goa Sunsplash, she will be joined by long-time collaborator and sought-after French DJ and producer, Supa Mana.
Also in Goa in January will be one of UK’s Soundsystem scene’s rising stars, Vixen Sound who began her musical journey selecting on local radio stations, progressing to FM stations and BBC slots and has since progressed to becoming a resident at Mungo’s Hi-Fi weekly Scottish club night as well as hand-selected to join team Sinai Sound System; the first-ever Soundsystem to appear on Boiler Room. Along with her would be present another Glaswegian, Tom Spirals who is the resident MC at the infamous Walk n Skank sessions in the Scottish city.
Other names include Kaztet D, a reggae/world beats DJ and activist from France, partly raised in Asia, based in Ho Chi Minh city; Bluejay Hankins better known as Washington’s own DJ Sticky, who has played on the playa of Burning Man to the tenement yards in Kingston to the Streets of Bangkok; Australian-based Englishman Adrian’s Wall who was inspired to build his own sound system after hearing Channel One at Notting Hill Carnival, before packing it up and shipping it over to Melbourne nearly a decade ago, where he is now considered a stalwart of the Melbourne Sound system scene and Bali-based DJ Strictly Blazin’ who mixes hip-hop with dancehall, Afrobeats, pop and soca.
In what should be a sweet homecoming of sorts, Petah Sunday, co-founder Bristol-based record label I-Tal Soup Records and the man who built the 10,000 Lions Sound System returns to India after four years, and joined by reggae veteran Danman;
It’s not just music that people have to look forward to.
Like last year, there will be a dancehall camp before the festival, followed by a showcase at Goa Sunsplash. The instructors for the dancehall camp with Smash Dem Crew are Dance Expressionz founders and well-known global ambassadors of dancehall culture, Orville Xpressionz (The Professor) and Shelly Xpressionz.
Dance Expressionz is the first dancehall institution in Jamaica and Orville Hall – also known as the dancehall professor – is considered to be one of the most knowledgeable dancehall teachers in the world.
In another first for India, at Goa Sunsplash 2020 there will be a dancehall battle and competition at the camp. While Orville will lead a workshop on Jamaican dance, Shelley will teach participants the importance of female energy in dancehall.
Another highlight of the weekend will be dub yoga offered by dancehall instructor and yogini Jahnavi Sheriff and Dakta Dub.
A variety of culinary options would be available for attendees from Baba’s Tropical Kitchen serving Jamaican staples like jerk chicken and goat curry to pizzas, Indian-style thalis and food by a Goan-favourite, Sublime. For those on dry January, there would be a bar serving smoothies and kombucha.
In the new year, the festival organisers would get together villagers and visitors to clean up the Mandrem village and then commission an installation with the trash to be made at the festival. Goa Sunsplash 2020 will also go drastic on plastic by banning plastic bottles and making available free drinking water. Attendees will have to buy a reusable cup at entry, and use that through the weekend and beyond.
When: January 10,11 and 12
Timings: 12 noon to 10 pm, everyday
Where: Riva Beach Resort, Mandrem, Goa, India
Genres: Reggae/ Dub/ Dancehall/ World Music