Jabz, the artist who puts his island in music


The music, Jabari York, a.k.a Jabz, fell into it when he was little. He started the steelpan at the age of four years. Then performs almost ten years later at the concertgebouw in Amsterdam with his band Chrome Tone.“I am the first student from Sint Maarten to have obtained in 2015 the CXC (Caribbean eXamination Council, a musical exam, Editor's note). And with a triple A.” he announces proudly. Today, at age 19, he makes his living playing in hotels, weddings and for cultural events such as the Carnival.

“My father taught me everything. I want to be his equal and even surpass him” he says. His father, Isidore, is best known as the Mighty Dow, author of the Sint Maarten Rumba hit (1986). Jabz is also the nephew of drummer Fred York, an important artist on the island and the coach of the Pépites.

Jabz is one of four young talents that will perform on May 6th at the Loterie Farm. He agreed at the last minute to replace the young Enora, who withdrew on a short notice. “I was pretty excited when I got the call. This concert is another opportunity to show what I do as a singer” he says. Indeed, he will not go on stage to play the steelpan, but to sing.

He will perform his pop reggae song Island Kid, whose video, produced by Lunatik and released in January 2016, has nearly 10,000 views on YouTube and more than 100,000 on Facebook. “It seemed to me important to embrace the place where I was born and its culture, and include it in a song in order to expose it to the rest of the world”. He has not only written and composed, but also entirely produced and played all the instruments himself.

Singing is not a new passion. In 2012, he already came out as a winner of the Teen Times in the rap category with a text he had written and titled in reference to Obama: Yes I can. It is here that he meets Kenyo Baly, rising star of the soca in Sint Maarten and another Pépite. “Since then, we recorded a song together Good Vibes, which will be released later this year”. This title should be featured on his first EP, which will include between six and eight tracks already recorded in Cul de Sac on the French side. “Music has always been my project, that's all I really know how to do.” Until then, all his songs are available from the download platforms.


Photo credits: Therry Michel Basquiat




Fanny Fontan