We talk to rising star I-Maa-Ra about his journey as an indie reggae artist in Jamaica.
I-Maa-Ra is featured as a top indie reggae artist on the Reverbnation platform.
Born Courtney Mark Anthony Stewart, in Roaring River, St Thomas, Jamaica, he started on his musical journey in the mid-1980s, toasting on Studio 4 Sound System in his hometown. After migrating to Kingston I-Maa-Ra began his recording career.
“I awake from the darkness of hate, break the slate to recreate someone great. Not too early not too late, I degenerate to regenerate, within, lies my fate.” Poetic expression from I-Maa-Ra, singer, songwriter, poet, and recording artiste.
The legendary Channel 1 Recording Studio was where he recorded his first single. Produced by Horace Tapper the song ‘Iron Bar” was recorded on the Top Rick record label, owned by Horace Tapper. I-Maa-Ra recorded a few singles under the name Senator Gary. Among them was “They are Dangerous,” done on the Beacon record label.
Characterized with the ability to “degenerate to regenerate” he changed his name to ‘I-Mara’, meaning “Solid and Firm’. This dynamic performing artiste is now called I-Maa-Ra, meaning “I see the Light”.
In 1992 I-Maa-Ra was awarded a scholarship to attend The Cultural Training Centre, now called the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. At the then School of Music, he studied- Caribbean Latin American Jazz, specializing in Vocal and Ear Training.
I-Maa-Ra worked on Jamaica’s North Coast in the hotel circuit for a while after which he linked up with the group Abbasani managed by Milton Boothe, owner of Roots Rock Muzik. He became the group’s lead vocalist.
Under the name I-Mara, he released albums: "Let I Go," "Life’s Journey," and "Don’t Take It Personal." He also released several singles to include, 'Cramp & Paralyse the Heathen,' 'Babylon Ba Bye,' and 'Caan Cope.' He also did several music videos.
I-Mara has so far worked with such big names as Dean Fraser, Ibo Cooper, Barry O'Hare, and Mikey Bennett. I-Maa-Ra once sat on the board of directors of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and is also a social advocate and motivational speaker in schools and colleges across the island. Meanwhile, I-Mara continues to perform across the island of Jamaica.
An avid reader and prolific writer, always seeking to improve his craft, I-Maa-Ra continues to record and write poems. Having gone through a spiritual transformation, I-Maa-Ra is now ready to unleash his full and true potential, energized and enlightened.
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