Dancehall reggae legend Barrington Levy performs tonight, June 7, at Dreamland in Oak Bluffs.
Mr. Levy’s particular style is a blend of old and new coming out of the transition occurring in reggae music as he began his rise to fame in the late 1970s. More traditional roots reggae featured mellower rhythms and a fiercely activist message. Listeners now wanted faster beats and a more dance-oriented style of music, which coincided with major developments in digital music technology. Enter Mr. Levy with his traditional roots rhythms and a harder dancehall edge.
To look at it another way consider the relationship between ragtime and jazz. Jazz took ragtime’s syncopated rhythms, sped them up and added a little spice. Mr. Levy did the same thing to roots reggae. There’s a choppy upbeat, peppy horn lines and a smooth lyrical flow.
But enough parsing the lineage. Time to get out on the floor and dance.
Mr. Levy will be accompanied by special guests Crooked Coast, a rock and reggae band hailing from Cape Cod.
Doors open at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets are available online.