Singer Lutan Fyah
is the epitome of perseverance.
After years of toil in the
dancehall where he built an
underground following, the
diminutive vocalist is on the
brink of a major breakthrough.
Lutan is keen to emulate Dennis
Brown and Garnet Silk, two of
the singers he grew up listening
to, by not only singing
hard‐hitting message songs, but
making commercial sounds that
will introduce him to the
"Getting that hit song is
important to every artiste. I
always sing as an artiste but
its time I start singing for the
radio," he said. At the start of
2009, San Francisco's 2B1
Records released Africa, a
double disc, 30‐song album by
the prolific singer. It includes
songs like De La Vega, Save the
Juvenile and Outa Line, which
are largely familiar to a sound
system audience around the
world. It was released three
years after Phantom War, an
impressive compilation of songs
distributed by Britain's
Recently, Lutan inked a
management deal with Prestige
Artists Entertainment, a
management and booking company
headed by Lukes Morgan,
guitarist for leading roots act
Morgan Heritage. "I don't see
Lutan as an average artiste.
What really grabs me about him
is his singjay‐style, melodies
and lyrical content" said Lukes.
commentator Mutabaruka says he
is taken with Lutan's stance to
sing from the heart despite the
material trappings of the music
business. "(The fact that he
said) We are going to call an
album Africa. Nothing else. That
is saying a lot," Muta said at
the Kingston launch for Africa.
Lutan Fyah was
born Anthony Martin in Portmore,
a sprawling housing community in
Jamaica's St. Catherine parish.
He has strong roots in Spanish
Town, once the capital of the
Caribbean country and stomping
ground for big names like
Lieutenant Stitchie, Papa San
and San's late brother Dirtsman.
In fact, Lutan remembers as a
youth listening to San and
Dirtsman performing at dances on
his grandfather's Black Iniverse
sound system in Thompson Pen, a
community in Spanish Town.
Watching them up‐close inspired
his career path. After giving up
a promising football career due
to persistent injury, Anthony
Martin morphed into Lutan Fyah.
Among his best‐known early songs
was There Is No Peace in Spanish
Town, a catchy take on The
Drifters' classic Spanish
Harlem, which dealt with gang
violence in Spanish Town.
Lutan says it is difficult to
escape the culture of crime that
has dominated the 'old capital'
for over 10 years. "Spanish Town
is a kind of garrison where
every man is a suspect. To keep
yourself with the vibes you have
to walk a chalk line," he said.
Through regular tours, Lutan
Fyah has made a name for himself
in Europe where there has long
been an appreciation for
roots‐reggae acts like Burning
Spear, Culture and the Mighty
Diamonds. But after nearly a
decade of looking in from the
underground, he is ready to
blaze a trail in the mainstream.
Listen to the Music of Lutan Fyah