Dancehall fans, here he is, the original Mr. “Gangalee” himself— Mr. “I wanna be free from all chains and all bangles and rope/Free from all bars and all borders and dope/Free to praise the Lord because mi naw praise the Pope/So mind how yuh a wash yuh face wid Babylon soap/I was born to be free ‘cause mi a ole gangalee/Gangalee and who have eyes they will see.” (taken from the hit song “Gangalee.”)
He’s also known as DJ Louie Culture, as that is the name he entered the music business with, but ever since he scored with his big hit, Dancehall fans, home and abroad, have branded him “Mr. Gangalee.” He’s very proud to wear this title, not only because he made it popular, but more so, because his belief in the concept of the word “gangalee” has been his main driving force to success.
Now, before driving you all nuts, here’s the history of the word and the man called Gangalee. Follow mi! “Gangalee” is an old Jamaican rural term for an unruly, uncontrollable, bad person. As old people would say, “A soon cool yuh ‘cause yuh a gwan like yuh a gangalee.”
Well, Louie Culture, who was born in rural Portland (Windsor Forest to be exact), on May 9, 1968, took that old rural term and gave it a new meaning and lease on life in 1993. To Louie, a “gangalee” is a freedom fighter. One who fights for and never gives up on his beliefs, and what he wants and dreams of, no matter what the circumstances, obstacles or difficulties may be. Even if it means going or fighting the battle alone, with God by your side.
Louie Culture, born Lewin Brown, started out DJing while still at school in Portland. He took the name of his mentor Bobby Culture and fused it with his pet name “Louie,” to come up with the name Louie Culture. Like his mentor, Louie DJayed a lot of Cultural tunes. His first recording was “Rat a Bother Me” (with fellow DJ and friend Waynie Ranking) for producer Red Man in 1986.
The song was a flop. Waynie Ranking got fed up and migrated, so Louie then teamed up with the singer called Positive. They recorded a few songs together, but they too were unsuccessful. Positive
thought what was happening was negative, so he also migrated, leaving Louie alone, hanging on to his dreams of becoming a DJ.
Louie Culture decided there and then that he was going to make it on his own. He was now determined to go “through the hills and valleys” to the mountain top of the music industry. After recording some songs for Colin Fatta, Louie met DJ Terror Fabulous. Terror introduced him to the “Mad House” crew. That’s when his career took off.
He recorded and scored with songs “Live and Learn” (with Wayne Wonder), “Excellent,” “Bogus Badge,” “Revolution Song,” “No Gal” (on the Pepperseed rhythm), and then the monster hit and titeltrack “Gangalee”, that gave him his first LP, produced by Stone Love (Released 1994/ Available at: VP Music Group).
Louie is very happy about his growing success, and he thanks Jah for making his dream become a reality.
He remembers when he used to go to producers with reality tunes, and they’d tell him, “Them sound good man, but give me gal tune or gun lyrics.” So, what he did as a gangalee was to give the producers what they wanted until they had to take “whey mi want to give them, and that is Culture.”
Louie, a Rastafarian, is glad to see that Culture songs are now on the upswing; but he’s a little concerned about the sincerity of the many DJs who are recording songs based on the Rastafarian belief. “‘Nuff man a say things them don’t know ‘bout because them want to be under the light,” he explained. “A lot of them will soon have to stand up and be counted, then we’ll know who sincere from who wearing ‘the Bogus Badge.’”
He’s also aware that some Dancehall fans have been mis-interpreting the word “gangalee.”
“When mi go abroad, some man a say, ‘Whoah, mi a gangalee,’ meaning a badman thing, so, mi haffi go pon stage [and] show them how I interpret it. But them still hold fi them view.”
Mr. Gangalee made his debut appearance at Sunsplash in 1994, where he performed a great set. Here is a story about Louie and Sunsplash that he shared with us:”A great feeling and a great experience. The only thing I never like is how they put me on so late when the people dem weary.”
Louie’s big songs in the late 90s are “Don’t Get Weary Gangalee,” “They Lied” and “Ole Before Them Young.” From early 2000 and the following years Louie Culture continued to mash up the
dancehalls with songs like „Grap your lass and come“ feat. Mickey Spice & „Scandalina“ for Digital B Records.
In 2004 Louie Culture released his second album entitled „The
Uprising“ (Available at: VP Music Group).
The titeltrack of this album was a next massive hit thru out Jamaica, the US and Europe. He toured the album extensivly together with Freddy McGregor on a 5 weeks europe-tour followed by individual shows in the US.
Over the years Louie Culture has performed countless shows in Jamaica, Japan, the US, Canada, UK, Europe and all over the Caribbean.
Since early 2009 Louie „Gangalee“ Culture is working on his 3rd album for his own new established label „Gangalee Music“. He plan to adress a few new topics with this album – „expect lyrics about my views of the world today, critics I wanted to verbalise for a while now… and nuff more me haffi teach the youth dem“… he says with a smile…
First singles from the album are „Concrete Jungle Rock“ (for german based label „Silly Walks“), „What a World“ (for 96 Degree Records) and „Prayer for Jamaica“ (for his own label „Gangalee Music“).
Edited by riinah on 9 Nov 2009, 15:34
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