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Reggae and Dancehall on Decline in Germany

German music production duo Silly Walks Discotheque, which is popular for tunes such as ‘Smile Jamaica’ by Chronixx, say the booming reggae and dancehall scene that existed in the European country up to the 2000s has been on the decline.

Oliver Schrader, half of the pair that is currently celebrating its 10-year anniversary of being a digital label imprint, told The Star that the fall-off is largely due to what he is describing as a clear uncoupling of the genres.

“Unfortunately, before the pandemic, the reggae and dancehall scene has been going down a bit. The two genres separated from each other, so then there was a reggae scene and a dancehall scene, and they both were getting smaller. But the music has developed that way. Until the end of the ’90s and early 2000s, all the big artistes, they would do both reggae and dancehall. It parted more and more, so the scene got more divided, and trap-dancehall is not popular over here at all. The artiste scene is kind of at a low point right now, as well. But people still love reggae,” he revealed.

Silly Walks Discotheque became more popular in the Jamaican music sphere after 2013, but they have been around since 1991 when they were just a sound system out of the city of Hamburg, hoping to add to the reggae and dancehall community that existed in Germany at the time.

“We started the sound system because we fell in love with reggae and there wasn’t much reggae around except for those bands in the ’70s. At that time there was not a lot of dancehall really or any of the alternative stuff. During that time, I began learning more and more about the culture and wanted to share it. Because I could not play an instrument, I had to DJ and the rest is history,” Schrader shared. The duo is also responsible for Romain Virgo’s single ‘Soul Provider’ on the ‘Brighter Days’ rhythm.

Despite what is happening with reggae and dancehall music in Germany, this summer, Silly Walks Discotheque hopes to bring back some more authentic music juggling that the genres were popular for in hopes of enlivening the space.

“We want to do some more juggling work because we think that is something that has been missing from reggae. The problem has been that the monetization of the music is now going through streaming. [But] streaming does not support juggling. Once you put out four songs on a rhythm, you end up only being able to push one at a time. But the culture is kind of drying out once you don’t do it, so we have to find a balance,” said Schrader.

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