When it comes to reggae in Canada, few bands do it better than Toronto’s The Human Rights. Since forming in 2007, the group has developed a distinctively modern, high energy sound that blends roots reggae with jazz, funk and R&B influences, courtesy of a blazing three-piece horn section and the soulful lead vocals of JUNO nominee Tréson.
The Human Rights has performed at major T.O. venues such as Roy Thomson Hall, the Sound Academy and Harbourfront Centre, as well as at various festivals and events across Canada. In addition, its songs have become anthems on reggae radio shows everywhere, and also can be heard on CBC Radio programs like Big City, Small World and Frequencies. Fans of the Trailer Park Boys will know the group for its version of the Trailer Park Boys theme song featured in the movie Don’t Legalize It.
On its latest (2021) release, Reggae Strong, The Human Rights comes as close as the band ever has to achieving a truly Canadian reggae sound. The album was recorded by producer and former band member Patric McGroarty, and mixed & mastered by renowned Canadian reggae artist Dubmatix, with assistance from Toronto’s Ras Yunchie, Caddy Cad, Isax, and Carol Brown. Reggae Strong captures the reggae feeling of Jamaica and the Caribbean, and fuses it with reflections on living the Canadian ‘rat race’. Standout songs include “Reggae Strong,” “Peace Gun” and “When She’s Gone.”
The Human Rights is very active in promoting positivity all over the country, and has teamed up with Amnesty International on projects as well. On the origins of the title track, band vocalist Frendlyness told Toronto Caribbean writer Michael Thomas: “It was just a feeling I was having at the time and what was going on, a feeling of weakness, but then I said Nuh man, Reggae Strong, Nuh ramp wid the thing. There is reggae with some negative message, but we check for the positive one.”