Community·MUSIC

Reggae Royalty Jah'Mila delivers uplifting appeal to Rise

Growing up in a family where music was paramount, performing became an inseparable part of her life. From a young age, Jah-Mila developed a deep respect for the role played by artists in their communities. She sang with top reggae acts like Groundation, Black Uhuru and the Wailers, before leaving Kingston for Halifax and forming her own band.

Final chapter of The Story and the Song ends with positive message of Rebirth

Jah'Mila records new track Rise for The Story and the Song 2021. (Courtesy of artist)

Halifax's Jah'Mila is reggae royalty – she's the daughter of legendary roots reggae guitarist Earl Chinna Smith, a key player in Kingston, Jamaica's reggae scene. Growing up in a family where music was paramount, performance became an inseparable part of her life. From a young age, Jah'Mila developed a deep respect for the role played by artists in their communities.

As her own career progressed, she went on to sing with some of the same reggae acts her father had played with years earlier, groups like Black Uhuru and the Wailers. Eventually, after a decade's worth of trips to visit her mother in Halifax, she decided to stay, and formed her own band. 

And so when the pandemic hit, she quickly grasped how badly it would shake the very foundation of artistic communities, both on the East Coast and around the world. She witnessed her artist friends and band mates struggling simply to maintain their livelihood.

But she also saw a silver lining; an opportunity for the entire creative community to come together, adapt, learn and grow. It's an opportunity for rebirth. "If we work together, we can rise again. We just have to believe that it is possible," she says.

"I would like to encourage all musicians and artists to continue holding the faith, to continue creating quality music and quality art, because it is these things that future generations will look back and remember… all the amazing energy and passion you put into your art will live on forever, so I encourage artists to continue to stay the course."

It's a positive message, one that Rise, the new track she wrote for The Story and the Song - Rebirth, delivers with an uplifting reggae groove, blended with notes of jazz, R&B and soul. 

 "I'm praying for a rebirth. Give us a second chance," she sings. Without a doubt, it's a sentiment shared by the entire East Coast artistic community.

Joining Jah'Mila on the Story and the Song - Rebirth are: Wolf Castle, Jenn Grant, Les Chanterelles, Mary Beth Carty, Meaghan Blanchard and Paul Murphy. 

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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