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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Scottish-Canadian Led Reggae Band Ashara Set To Tour Across Scotland

Ashara will debut a joyful blend of Scottish folk, global roots and reggae this January.

Ashara, the brainchild of award-winning visionary Jason Wilson (Wilson & Swarbrick), will debut this January by touring across Scotland, with tracks that feature a mix of Scottish folk, global roots and reggae.

The tour includes dates in Bathgate, Perth, Ayr, Greenock and Glasgow (Celtic Connections Festival).

The group, which describe their sound as where Scotland meets Jamaica in Canada, features Jason Wilson on vocals, acoustic guitar and piano, alongside the legendary Jamaican-Canadian guitarist Carl Harvey (Toots & The Maytals), and Wilson band members, saxophonist Marcus Ali, vocalist Laurel Tubman, drummer Vince Reel and bassist Michael Shapinko.

Ashara also comes with a rotating cast of award-winning Scottish trad musicians, often including noted fiddler Jack Smedley (Rura), the great Highland piper Ali Hutton (Old Blind Dogs), feted accordionist John Somerville (Treacherous Orchestra), and the fabulous Scottish-based Jamaican songstress Subrina “iBrina” Ward, who has herself brought together the musical worlds of Scotland and Jamaica.

Jason Wilson is a two-time Juno-Awards nominee, Canadian Reggae Music Award winner and bestselling Scottish-Canadian Historian from Downsview, Ontario. He is the protégé of Studio One keyboardist Jackie Mittoo and has performed and recorded with UB40, Alanis Morissette, Sly & Robbie, Ron Sexsmith, Ernest Ranglin, Pee Wee Ellis and Dick Gaughan.

Born to Scottish parents, Jason was also one half of the successful Wilson & Swarbrick project with the late English folk icon Dave Swarbrick. An Adjunct-Professor of history, Wilson has eight books to his name, including the award-winning King Alpha's Song in a Strange Land: The Roots and Routes of Canadian Reggae (UBC Press, 2020).

His music has been described as, among other things, “Scottish-Reggae”, "Folk-Reggae" and even "Post-Reggae”. While none of these quite cover it, Wilson's sound is truly unique: where the reggae portion is freely brushed – not strictly detailed – allowing space on the canvass for wildly divergent inspirations such as Bach, Scottish Pibroch, folk-rock and bebop to peek through.

Jason Wilson said: “We’ve been working on putting together Ashara for a long time and I can’t wait to debut the project in Scotland this January to audiences across the country.

“Showcasing our work for the first time in Scotland feels like a perfect fit because our sound is so heavily influenced by Scottish folk and we have a rotating cast of award-winning Scottish trad musicians. I always thoroughly enjoy returning to the country to play for Scottish audiences and this time will be extra special.”

The eponymous album (Wheel Records/Proper Music Distribution) will be released in the spring of 2023, with lead single My Love Sings like a Lintie set for release on Friday 6th January 2023.

Ashara also artfully reimagines songs from the folk tradition such as My Love is like a Red Red Rose and Matty Groves, as well as numbers from the variety of canons with which these artists are associated including: 54-46 (That’s my Number), The Ballad of Jack McLaren and the 2021 Canadian reggae chart-topper Ready to Be Loved.


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