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Not only reggae legends are flocking to Israel, but also artists at the cutting edge of the genre's international scene. In their first visit to the country, England's Iration Steppas will be playing a pair of DJ sets showcasing their unique brand of electronic dub reggae and demonstrating how the music has transformed over the last three decades with the development of new technology.
Mark Iration - the DJ, vocalist and founding member of Iration Steppas - takes his inspiration from the spirit of the original roots reggae sound pioneered in 1970s Jamaica by bands like The Abyssinians and Black Uhuru, who performed at Tel Aviv's Barby Club last week. The Iration Steppas were born in the early 1990s through a musical partnership between Mark and fellow reggae enthusiast Dennis Rootical, which developed into the unique sound known as the Year 3000 style, owing to its futuristic digital approach. Their musical releases range from steady-paced dub to frenetic crossovers with techno and dance music - either way, heavy bass rhythms and synthesizers remain at the core of the Iration sound.
After touring the UK with their custom-built amps, sound effects units and towering speaker stacks for several years, Iration Steppas have earned themselves a reputation as one of the loudest reggae acts in that country's sound system scene. In Israel, they follow in the footsteps of other pioneering UK artists who have played to fans of the growing local reggae scene, including Aba-Shanti-I, The Disciples and London's Mad Professor, who completed a successful tour this past August. For DJ performances here, Mark Iration will leave his equipment at home and compress the Iration sound into dubplates and exclusive mixes from his own studio - combined with reggae classics from the 1970s to the present day. Support comes from local DJs Laroz and Turtle in Tel Aviv with Hectic Turtle warming up in Haifa. Before the Thursday night show, Mark will be holding a music workshop at the Tel Aviv Music School starting at 6 p.m.
Iration Steppas play Thursday at Levontin 7 in Tel Aviv and Friday (November 23) at City Hall in Haifa (11 p.m.). Tickets cost NIS 60-70 NIS. www.irationsteppas.co.uk
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