The doors swung open at Montreal’s first House of Reggae last week and nothing is left to the imagination. Don’t ask what genre of Reggae you’ll find there because you’ll find it all- lover’s rock, dancehall rooth culture, mento, ska, soul reggae, roots, rock steady, well, you get the picture. and the list is long, each with its own history, its own versions, social and spiritual.
It’s not simply music, as you’ll soon discover, but a world philosophy. And it’s all behind the doors that lead you inside the House of Reggae, located on Sainte Denis near De Maissoneuve Boulevard.
“It’s all here,” said owner and also Producer of the Montreal International Reggae Festival. “There is something for every reggae fan.”
Small, roomy and cozy you listen to reggae inside or, weather permitting, take it out on the terrace out back. With an eccentric mahogany and live bamboo décor and variety of Caribbean beverages and food specialties, the Houe of Reggae become something new amongsl Montreal’s vast variety of resto-bars and lounges.
A stage can handle at five piece band, like Les Racines de Nord, who kicked off the open house last week.
“We’ve been renovating since we took it over last July,” Brumeanu said. “We needed to bring a reggae atmosphere and put a few things into place before we went public.”
Last Saturday’s crowd reached over 150 and listened to Montreal’s La Racine de Nord perform.
While the name itself, House of Reggae, is common in many North American cities, Brumeanu intends to franchise the name to other locations in the Montreal Area. “We know about the House of Jazz, House of the Blues,” he said. “Those clubs have all been franchised and The House of Reggae I intend to franchise in other parts of Canada.”
Brumeanu will not disclose their locations but he intends to remain owner of the next two before he begins the process of franchising others.
Even with the cold temperatures that closed the terrace many were content that a reggae house had come to the city. Rebbeca Dawnings, 32, grew up listening to her father’s reggae records, and thought the idea of an all reggae club fits Montreal. “We have a festival every summer here so it seems logical that something like this would grow from that.”
How can it be, that reggae music is so popular still? “Right from the start, the music attracts pure hearts and worshippers of Jah throughout the whole planet,” said Montreal born Christian Dubois, who travels around North America attending reggae festivals. Dubois is really absorbing everything he’s listening to. “Good thing I’m promoting the good vibes with Reggae,” he said. “The world still needs reggae. Sure certain aspects of reggae has been commercialized, but you can’t turn off its message of peace and unity.”
You can find the House of Reggae at 1693A Saint-Denis.