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Breathing Beats with Jah9

by Melissa Yeaw

Anomaly: Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. Janine became musician Jah9, the unexpected, the different. She uses this word, anomaly, to describe herself, and it fits her to a T.

Jah9 could be considered a reggae singer, but again, she goes beyond the expected. Her musical stylings are actually “dub and jazz.” Her music is strong, her voice soulful, penetrating, reaching into our bodies to get to the feeling of it. Her band, Dub Treatment uses heavy drum and bass, also engaging our bodies. Her lyrics go just as deep. Thus, in her own words, the Jamacian-born Jah9 creates her “medicine music,” a balm for the over-stimulation of our world, a way to “feel the music in your body and connect between the heart and the mind,” getting to a place of “peace and stillness.” Definitely more than a reggae singer…

Dub and jazz are musical genres Jah9 feels “give the user a lot of freedom to create and kind-of push the boundaries.” The art of dubbing is about reverberating and down-putting, creating echoes and a place for the music to breathe, isolating particular sounds, letting them resound. Jazz, on the other hand, was Jah9’s first experience with music, despite her Jamaican roots. Tracy Chapman, Billie Holiday, and especially Nina Simone are heavy influences, while gospel and African music were also her favorites growing up.

Her father was a minister of religion and her mother a social worker. They were very interested in Janine as a child and talked to her about the bigger ideas in life, such as psychology of the mind, philosophy, religion. She began reading at age three and writing her poetry at six. Jah9 says there “was a lot of discussion… if we had something we didn’t understand, we could talk to them about it, and if there was a conflict, we could resolve it.”

Her lyrics resonate, grapple with these larger issues, try to resolve conflicts. She wants the listener to experience, breathe, feel it in their bodies. In “Humble Mi” she writes “The truth set me free and encourages me/As it humble mi more and more…Ambition is the overkill but I am not its slave/so I take away to take a breath and fit how I behave.” Breathing figures prominently in all of Jah9’s work. In “The Great Threat to the Status Quo” she writes, “and womb is the function of man/we are not separate all emanating from the same divine plan/so persecution of the feminine/is the reason for the estate the world is in/ A spiritual woman is the greatest threat to the status quo/the fruits she will bare, the power she has access to…” Powerful words from a powerful performer. Her other songs deal with relationships between people, issues in the world, sometimes just feeling the music, and creating a “balance where people can get not just entertainment but an education or an opportunity to just feel something different,” she says.

She learned about the value of service from her parents. Growing up, she saw their joy in serving others, and “how much love they got from people because they were servants…So service was always a luxury to me; I could see the difference between when someone enters a place and when they leave and you’re a part of [that difference].” This is why she extends her connection to her audience through yoga and other spiritual practices. Jah9 is a certified yoga instructor trained in Kemetic, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Yin methods of yoga. The day after her concert, she will host “Yoga on Dub” also at Payomet, a morning featuring yoga with her band, “Dub Treatment,” allowing the music to “lift the vibration or tempo and then slow it down, using the music in a very intentional way.” Jah9 plans to use “breath work, deep stretch, eternal visualization, positive affirmation, and asana.”

She is a busy woman. She’s been touring Europe (she did this interview via WhatsApp from Rome, having just finished a concert in Modena and before that Toulouse, France) and plans to go to Africa. She has done yoga music wellness lifestyle retreats (some people call her a “lifestyle artist”) where participants gather for five or six days at a spa and do breath work, yoga, music, discuss herbs and herbal medicine, permaculture, food as medicine, and general wellness and well-being. She even makes her own jewelry.

Currently, she is finishing up her third studio album, due to be released the end of this year. Before she releases an album, she puts out a free download called “Night MM or Message Music.” She calls this a “sweetener for the pot,” and it will probably contain music mixed with words, maybe some breath work, maybe a few covers she has put together, maybe excerpts from books she is reading. It’s a “meditative vibe…,” she says. It will be available on her website or through YouTube.

When she performs at Payomet, she will be accompanied by her band Dub Treatment, which includes a drum, bass, keyboard, guitar, and an engineer. Her powerful presence will reach out and encourage the audience to feel the resonating beats and hear her deep introspective lyrics. No one will forget to breathe!

Jah9 performs with Dub Treatment at Payomet Performing Arts Center, 29 Old Dewline Rd., North Truro on Friday, June 28 at 8:30 p.m., and her “Yoga on Dub” is at Payomet Saturday, June 29 at 10:30 a.m. For tickets ($27 advance/$30 day of show for concert & $20 for yoga) and information, call 508.487.5400 or visit You can see more about Jah9 and listen to her music at


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Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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