“It was great being around Buju as a youth. He was a man who was great and I and I loved the prestige and the seriousness of how Buju dealt with music and his career.”
Surely one of the most expressive and most intriguing Jamaican Rasta artists of the last decade has been Anthony Martin AKA Lutan Fyah. Born in Thompson Pen, St Catherine Parish, he played football at club level before pursuing a career in music in 1999. One of his earliest sources of encouragement was Buju Banton for whom he recorded his first cuts for Gargamel Records. He has since recorded twelve albums for a variety of producers, the latest being Philadelphian production house Philadub (‘Justice’), and Jamaican rhythm kings Kemar Flava McGregor (‘Music’) and John John (‘The King’s Son’). Angus Taylor snatched a quick post performance chat with the roots chanter while he was in Germany touring with France’s Dub Akom band.
How has your European tour been so far?
It is a great vibes you done know as usual. I love to perform for the people every time.
You’ve released four albums in the last two years. What keeps you working so hard?
Music is my life. So Lutan Fyah is always doing recordings every day. It’s like, for me, as you know, Jamaican artists are always touring and doing shows. Lutan Fyah is always in Jamaica and I have to do music so what I do is record. To keep myself consistent for the people.
What’s the next project you’re working on?
Well right I’m showing some more creative sides where I know I can do some more mature music. Some more Lutan sounds where I know it can stand out as signature - you know what I mean? I’m in the studio doing all of that. Yes I.
You used to be a footballer. Was it hard choosing between football and music?
Well there came a time where I had to just choose and it was great when I decided to choose. Because football was a totally different commitment from music and music was always a serious commitment. I mean music is for a lifetime whereas football is for a short time. And, as for me, I come through from a cultural background in which I would like to share this cultural vibe with the world. Lutan Fyah is a man who chose to use music as that forum and we have to put across this Rastafari message.
You’re known for the depth of your lyrics. What sorts of things inspire them?
Well lyrically, Lutan Fyah comes through by this (gestures around) – like being here with you and the vibe we share. We just sing about the vibes. So lyrics are easy but the music is melody you know? Lyrics are easy because we learn from people everyday and we read.
On stage you’ve been bigging up Jah Mason, your friend who helped you get started in your career. How important is having friends in a business like this?
It’s very important because each artist has a different experience and we are all in the same fraternity. So me and Jah Mason is like a brotherly vibes. We can share the musical expression plus we can share the experiences and learn from each other. So we always consistently keep in touch like that.
I think Rasta should just create more music, musically, and create more melodies within the new trends of music in a cultural way. So that these young people who buy and download music from the internet or have a collection of music can have our music, culturally in a modern form – easy for them to listen, easy to play or even party
How can a Rastaman survive in the music business with the iniquities and temptations that go on there?
That’s a good question. How can a Rastaman survive? You see the world today… the world needs a message of peace love and unity and really and truly that is what the Rasta music stands for. So, as for me and how I see it, I think Rasta should just create more music, musically, and create more melodies within the new trends of music in a cultural way. So that these young people who buy and download music from the internet or have a collection of music can have our music, culturally in a modern form – easy for them to listen, easy to play or even party.
Another person who helped you in your career is Buju Banton. Can you comment on his incarceration?
Well as for Buju and Lutan Fyah: it was great being around Buju as a youth. He was a man who was great - Buju was big you know? – and I and I loved the prestige and the seriousness of how Buju dealt with music and his career. But as for his incarceration: I know nothing much but I know Buju is in jail and been charged for drugs and ting. I don’t know the ins and the outs of the case and I wouldn’t even be able to comment or I’d be telling a lie. But we love Buju and I would love the earth or the universe or Jah or God to work it so that we could see forward Buju soon. I would be grateful.
I would love the earth or the universe or Jah or God to work it so that we could see Buju soon
Finally, what did you think of the World Cup and who did you support?
Well in Jamaica, Jamaicans support Brazil straight. Brazil was Jamaicans’ team when we never used to see the other teams. We loved the style and the flair. But when people started seeing other teams we started branching off you know? I love players from other teams but Brazil is my team. I love great players and I always see the greatest players before the world! (laughs) I saw Messi! I never saw Ronaldinho but I saw Messi and I saw Zidane before the world saw Zidane. I remember I told my friends and said, “Zidane, Zidane, Zidane” and they’d be like, “Eh? Who is Zidane? Rivaldo we see! We love Rivaldo!” Whereas Zidane, when they see him, they see the brain. Zidane had the brain!
Do you have a final message for your fans?
The final message for my fans is Give Thanks, first and foremost, for loving Lutan Fyah music. And you may not know Lutan Fyah but you love Lutan Fyah music so Give Thanks. I pray that I keep making positive and even better music for my fans to enjoy and be entertained and still get a message. Yes I.
By United Reggae