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Sizzla on Japan tour

In April, Sizzla will become the first reggae act in some time to tour the Land of the Rising Sun.He is scheduled to do 13 shows in major cities such as Yokohama, Osaka, Okinawa, and Hiroshima. In the 1980s, Japan was the new frontier for Jamaican music. Although Bob Marley toured there in 1979, it was not until the next decade that Japanese warmed to Jamaican pop culture through shows like Japansplash.According to, Sizzla kicks off the Everlasting tour on April 25 at Vibes, a venue in Ibaraki. The following day he is at Duckbill in Kagoshima.Sizzla will also perform in Fukuoka, Yokohama, Sapporo, and Toyama in April. In may, he has dates confirmed for Osaka, Kobe, Okinawa, Tobishama, Kyoto, Shibuya and historical Hiroshima, where the tour closes on May 7.Japan became a stomping ground for Jamaican artistes and musicians during the 1980s. Many of them appeared on Japansplash, the massive version of Reggae Sunsplash promoted by Tachyon, a Tokyo-based company.All the big names in dancehall/reggae performed in Japan during the 1980s, led by Sugar Minott, who is largely credited with introducing sound system culture to that country. His trendsetting move led to dancehall music taking off among Japanese youth and inspiring the birth of home-grown 'sounds' like Mighty Crown and artistes such as Naki.Japan was still a fertile area for reggae artistes during the 1990s. Dennis Brown, Freddie McGregor, Yami Bolo, Augustus Pablo, Garnet Silk, and Shabba Ranks were some of the major acts who performed there. While artistessuch as Anthony B and Etana have performed in Japan in recent years, there has been steady decline in reggae tours to the country.

Skeritt Bwoy finds success

Twelve years ago when he became a born-again Christian, former dancer-turned-singer Skeritt Bwoy never imagined that a gospel song that he recorded would end up charting on the iTunes Electronic charts.

The song, Jesus Party, recently peaked at number five on the iTunes Electronic Songs chart, while its accompanying album Jesus Party, Vol 1, peaked at number one on the iTunes Electronic Albums chart.

The success of both the song and album is due in part to a Jesus Party Challenge that Clarendon-based dancer Zorro aka Drip King created. The challenge has gone viral on social media with hundreds of individuals around the world participating in the challenge.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer, Skeritt Bwoy explained his transition to gospel music:

"When I became a Christian, I went back to school to learn how to create a new style of Christian music, because Christian music at the time sounded dated to my ears. However, when I graduated from music production school I had nowhere to celebrate with this type of music. I remember telling myself if I were a sinner, I would have places and music to choose between. From there, I decided that I wanted to make it possible for Christians to have music and a place to celebrate every day. That's when the Holy Spirit gave me the hook for the song."

He was in the midst of touring with Major Lazer, when he decided to give his life to Christ.

"I accepted and applied to Jesus Christ as my personal saviour in November 2011. It was more of a logical decision. I decided to drop everything, cancelled all upcoming shows with Major Lazer and gave promoters back their deposits, stopped cursing, stopped fornicating and even stopped listening to secular music a few years later. I gave it all up and would gladly do it again, because nothing is worth more than God," said Skeritt Bwoy.

Having toured many countries in his career, he hopes to make a similar impact with gospel.

"I have toured more than 50 countries so far and I hope to make an even more significant and wholesome impact on the world with this electronic gospel album Jesus Party Vol 1 and 2," Skeritt Bwoy reasoned.

Skeritt Bwoy was born in Antigua and has resided in Bronx, New York, for several years. He became famous for his dance choreography and skills which he showcased at several dancehall events in New York. He was prominently featured in the Major Lazer and Vybz Kartel video Pon Di Floor, which charted on Billboard.

He is quite upbeat about the latest turn of events.

"When the Jesus Party Challenge was created, dancers who some may not consider Christians started doing the challenge. My hope is that this can be an open door to invite the world to a more fun relationship with Jesus."

Skeritt Bwoy, whose real name is Dale Richardson, is presently studying at Alliance University in New York City in pursuit of a Master of Divinity, focusing on church development.

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