By: Lesandra Scott
As a university student in Boston in the 80’s, Grenadian Eugene Gittens, who is fondly known as “Igene”
by his fellow Jamaican musicians, played a pioneering role in the promotion of reggae music in the city of Boston.
Eugene Gittens played the keyboard with the local Jamaican roots reggae band, ‘Zion Initation’. The band backed up artistes like Fred Locks, Gregory Isaacs and others when they toured Boston. He would later form the ‘Healin of the Nations’ reggae band whose debut album, “Love is the Answer” became a Top-Ten album in Boston and received critical acclaim from music writers like Steve Morse (Boston Globe) and Stephen Davis of Reggae Bloodlines and Bob Marley’s fame.
To commemorate the history of Reggae music in Boston, ‘Cultures of Soul Records’, a Boston Record
company, released in 2019 a musical compilation entitled “Take Us Home – Boston Roots Reggae from
1979 to 1988”. The compilation features Gittens’ work with Zion Initation: “Think About It”, “Conquering Lion” and “Got To Love Jah Jah”, and three of his original songs with the band “Healin’ of the Nations: “Love is the Answer”, “Without Your Love” and “Nations Unite” (Peace Across The Land).
In recent times Gittens has produced songs locally in Grenada for Josh Berkeley, Thamara (Songbird) St. Bernard, A#keem, Sheereen Brizan, Glaze (Exodus Zion), Kevin Peterkin, Jonathan Francis, Cryave and others.
Songs from ‘Take Us Home – Boston Roots Reggae from 1979 to1988’ can be heard below.
Artiste Thamara ‘Songbird’ St. Bernard and Producer, Eugene Gittens, are illuminating Grenada’s position on “the map”. The duo’s song, “I’ve Got You” sang by Thamara and produced by Eugene on the ‘Proper Ting’ riddim, has been played on popular UK radio show, BBC Radio 1Xtra.
Facebook and Instagram Live streams have been popping up with popular and well-liked DJs keeping the torch of ‘feel good in this crappy time’ ablaze. This trend, however, may not appeal to everyone. So here is a list of songs from some talented Grenada’s artistes that reflect the mood of the time.