Big Mountain, the reggae band internationally known for its reggae remake of Peter Frampton’s “Ooh Baby, I Love Your Way”, is making big news in 2018.
The song that the whole world fell in love in 1994 and was part of the soundtrack for the hit movie ‘Reality Bites’, starring Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke, recently landed another big movie placement with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
“Ooh Baby I Love Your Way” has proven to be one of the most successful reggae releases in history, currently exceeding 3 million streams per month on Spotify and keeping Big Mountain busy touring the world year-round.
We talked to Quino McWhinney and he admits that for 15 years he did not charge anything for the copyright of the song, something that changed after the irruption of digital platforms.
“When the song was broadcast only by terrestrial radio, the benefits went to Peter. Thank God, our version survives the passage of time and continues to open doors”, conceded the singer.
“The song eclipsed everything, it was a blessing, but it also brought poison, it opened doors and closed many others, we are an activist band and the message is very important to us, but that song did not fit into the ‘reggae’ community, it is very ‘underground’”, explained the artist.
“I did not fit it in. I cut my dreadlocks and sabotaged my career,” Quino said.
The band reunited crafting a new track that reinvigorates the band’s roots in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and its commitment to using art as a tool for social justice. “Deportation Nation” is a dark and fierce roots reggae rebuke to the Trump administration’s immigration and border enforcement policy and a broader history of border militarization. It features the spoken word performance of Dr. John D. Marquez, an acclaimed author and professor of Ethnic Studies and Latin Studies at Northwestern University.
Márquez is a veteran activist against border militarization, police brutality, mass incarceration, and other injustices. He and Big Mountain frontman, Quino McWhinney, met in the mid 1990s as members of a grassroots organization that was addressing human rights abuses at the border. They have been artistic interlocutors ever since. As Quino explains, “We wanted to demonstrate to our undocumented immigrant sisters and brothers that the band Big Mountain stands in solidarity with their plight. We believe that all people have a right to travel far and wide to fulfill their dreams, especially when it comes to bettering their lives and the lives of their families”.
“Reggae tries to connect with our past in times when the president says we do not belong to this land, we must remind the youth that they should be proud of their roots and resist the forces that want you to forget who you are”.
The brothers Quino and James McWhinney, lead singers of the band, are Americans of Mexican heritage. Their maternal grandfather immigrated to the United States as a migrant farm worker.
In 1992, the band pioneered reggae in Spanish with the song “Llena mi Vida”. The reggae love ballad that would finish top 5 for airplay in Los Angeles city area. On Big Mountain’s following album, Unity, the song ‘Un Sensual Amor’ landed within the top 10 hits in Spain in 1994.
Growing up in San Diego and considering their family’s history, Quino and James were inherently attuned to the plight of Mexican immigrants. They witnessed, first hand, the steady militarization of the U.S. and Mexico border which had a profound effect on how they envisioned their role and work as musicians. Immigration, identity, and racial harmony are thus central themes across Big Mountain’s catalog. “Deportation Nation” is but their latest addition to this body of work.
The bands breakout album Unity, which featured the platinum single “Ooh Baby I Love Your Way,” also contained the roots rocker “Bordertown” with its defiant chorus, “Stolen Land, a nation built on slavery. A poor example of democracy”. As James simply explains “the political system is so stuck on oppressing… and Big Mountain is all about fighting against that”.
The ‘Deportation Nation’ music video “DEPORTATION NATION” by BIG MOUNTAIN (OFFICIAL VIDEO) was released on October 26th of this year. It was filmed by the border wall that separates Mexico from the U.S. The video was directed by award-winning Colombian filmmaker Juan Zapata, who’s currently in final stages of postproduction of a documentary on the band.
Please enjoy the song and video ‘Baby I Love Your Way in the following link: Baby I Love Your Way Video
Press release and media content courtesy of SGG Public Relations. Special thanks to Silvia Kal, Big Mountain for their assistance with this feature.