7 Questions with Jah9

Photograph by Sabriya Simon
Port Antonio continues to be a destination of choice for artists and creatives alike. Not surprisingly, since Portland's serene ambiance and picturesque landscape lend themselves to the solitude and introspection that are so much a part of the creative process.

Janine "Jah9" Cunningham, Jazz-on-Dub creator and singer, is one such person. This self-proclaimed Portie-lover has been known to take her Portie respites religiously every Sunday. Here's more of what Jah9 had to say:
Prêt-à-Portie: What is your fondest Portie memory and/or location? 

Jah9: Long Bay beach when the tides are rough and I get tossed around like a washing machine... and Winnifred's on a Sunday morning when the vibe is peaceful and super chill and the I'm lazing around for hours.

Prêt-à-Portie: Given your many roles as singer, songwriter and activist how do you maintain your drive and focus? 

Jah9: Portie escapes are definitely a major part of what is required to defrag so the creative juices can flow.

Jah9 performs with members of the Omega Vibration team. Colin Porter Photograph
Prêt-à-Portie: What inspires you to create? 

Jah9: Life and my experiences (even vicariously), and my aspirations.

Prêt-à-Portie: Tell us about the "Jazz-on-Dub" genre. How did you come up with this sound?

Jah9: It's a mix of two of my favorite music forms...basically my Jazz vocals on Dub which is an open free form version of roots reggae. Just imagine Billie Holiday or Dinah Washington meets Jah Shaka or Mad Professor.

Prêt-à-Portie: What has been your biggest accomplishment creatively?

Jah9: For me that would be creating the concept of Omega Vibration (a theme-based all female artistic showcase featuring song, spoken word, dance, visual arts working together with live music) and bringing it to life on stage.

Photographs by Sabriya Simon
Prêt-à-Portie: Who are your favourite artistes/performers?

Jah9: Many many many... ranging from Sizzla, Tracey Chapman, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Joan Armatrading, Peter Tosh and the list goes on.

Prêt-à-Portie: What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about some of your current projects?

Jah9: What I can say is there's a two-album project in the pipeline, a series of community based initiatives, some major live music collaborative events with some of my colleagues. Also I want to do a few more Omega Vibrations, and the Manifesto Festival later this year to name a few... and thats all just for this year.
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