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Friday, July 2, 2010

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AFRA: Starlight Reggae Fest

Special to The Japan Times

Perhaps no genre is better known for its permutations and subgenres than reggae. A roundup of related artists makes for one diverse dance hall and it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that one of The Starlight Reggae Festa's showcase acts is a beatboxer. Afra's roots may be less Jamaica's Trenchtown than Brooklyn, but his rhythmic range is wide enough to back legendary rapper DMC for an Adidas commercial, find a soft spot with Brazilian electro-pop band Bonde do Role and invite a full-length collaboration with glitch-hop mainstay Prefuse 73. Lately the Osaka native has been forgoing instruments to test the limits of two vocal cords and one mic with guest rappers such as Japanese ragga singer Rudebwoy Face. Fingers crossed there will be some on-the-fly collaborations with the other acts.

Also check out: Jamaican veterans Stone Love, dancehall diva Akane and Japan's own reggae godfather, the hilariously irreverent Rankin Taxi.

The setting: The main stage is akin to the camp site, but try not to get lost in the woods on your way back from the tree-ensconced Starlight Disco stage.

When/where: July 17-19, at Meiho Ski Resort in Gifu Prefecture. Tickets cost ¥14,000. Parking is ¥3,000 per vehicle and camping is free. For details, visit www.starlight-reggaefesta.com

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