The politically-charged track was presented to her fans on May 23, the third anniversary of what the singer calls the “Tivoli Garden Holocaust.” That date will also be her birthday. Recently she recalled her whereabouts on that fateful day in 2010, evoking the scene from her vantage point at Gabre Selassie’s Kingston Dub Club.
“Standing in the hills looking down on T.G., burning,” she began. “Sizzla’s voice echoed through the big speakers, chanting appropriately for the ghetto youths.” With the mood thus set, she described her own emotion. “And I wept bitterly as the current moved through I womb. Watching helplessly in disbelief and despair as the nation turned in on itself.”
These contributing factors inspired the message and delivery of ‘Tension,’ as Jah9 had finished penning the lyrics for the song before the violence quelled days later.
The work is produced in collaboration with I Grade Records and is part of the album, Songbird Riddim – the first installment of a riddim series by the production collective known as Zion I Kings. The album is officially available via digital and physical outlets including iTunes, VP Reggae Distribution and Ernie B’s Reggae Distribution.
“I discovered Jah9′s music online and was immediately struck by her powerful word sound and unique melodies, particularly on the track ‘New Name,’” said Laurent ‘Tippy I’ Alfred, producer, founder and CEO for I Grade Records.“‘Tension’ is the most intense song on the Songbird Riddim album, and it captures emotions and energies that you don’t often find in music. Hearing about the inspiration behind the song made me appreciate her art even more.”
I Grade Records, based in St. Croix, USVI, has released twenty-six albums since its founding in 2001, including nine albums with the groundbreaking deep roots band, Midnite, as well as several notable debut albums by artists such as Dezarie and Niyorah.