There are new sounds emanating from the world of Bahamian music. Traditional ‘Rake N Scrape’ rhythms created by goatskin drums, produce the Goombay and Junkanoo beats that form the foundation of the genre. When this rhythm is interwoven with sounds of a scraping saw and concertina, the end result is the most integral part of the story-telling nature of the music. In recent years Rake ‘N’ Scrape has undergone a contemporary transformation. New sounds have accompanied the old and has created a genre of Bahamian music that some Bahamians struggle to define, acknowledge or accept.
In one corner, there are ‘The Purists’. Those persons who pay homage to the authentic sounds of Rake ‘N’ Scrape music that can be heard in the recordings of iconic Bahamian entertainers Tony McKay Joseph Spence, Eddie Minnis, Ronnie Butler and their counterparts. This form of Bahamian music can still be seen and heard at Rake N Scrape and Heritage Festivals throughout the country. ‘The purists’ believe this music is our culture, it should be preserved and never tampered with.
In the opposite corner, exists ‘The Contemporaries’. Those persons who are of the opinion that Rake ‘N’ Scrape music requires a little something extra to make it more palatable to mass audiences, locally and internationally, to rise to the level of recognition and popularity attained by its Caribbean music counterparts – Jamaica’s Reggae and Trinidad’s Soca.
Dillon ‘DMAC’ McKenzie has found a way to bridge the divide between traditional and contemporary Bahamian music. His signature sound resonates with audiences of all ages throughout The Bahamas and around the world. Want proof? Witness the reaction of the crowd when the first few bars of his mega song, Bahamian favourite “Da Gaulin” begins to play at any event – feet stomp, hip gyrate, bodies sway to every beat and voices raise in unison to the lyrics. This Pastor’s son, former DJ, engineer, producer, musician, songwriter, singer and storyteller creates music for the masses and is known for high energy performances steeped in aspects of Bahamian tradition. Watch ‘D MAC’ move across the stage with finesse, blazing while ‘skullin da boat’, ‘mashin da roache’ and dancing ‘the conch style’, all celebratory Bahamian dances that have been passed down from generation to generation.
D Mac’s love for Bahamian Culture is the root of the D MAC Brand which is the hallmark for what he refers to as “The Bahamian Thing”. But what exactly is “the Bahamian thing”? It is a combination of the elements that have caused purists to assume the role of guardians and contemporaries to forge a path of innovation. It is the music of generations past – the drum beats, the scraping saw, partnered with new sounds that together form new rhythms – a combined force that captures the essence of both sides of the divide and has afforded D Mac the opportunity to perform his beloved Bahamian music internationally in front of audiences in Trinidad, Canada, Africa and The United States.
Granted, Bahamian music has evolved, however, D Mac’s music unites Bahamians young and old, and his trajectory inspires others to believe in value o Bahamian culture and viability of Bahamian music. New faces are now a part of the landscape and Dillon McKenzie’s sound has contributed to the rebirth of the genre.
A fierce, protective love for Bahamian music still exists in hearts of many Bahamians and ‘The Renaissance Man’ Dillon McKenzie has created a magical blueprint that effectively unites elements of traditional Rake ‘n’ Scrape Music with bold contemporary sounds.
Gatekeepers, you may rest easy. The culture is in part resting in D Mac’s capable hands.