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Monday, August 31, 2009

Abajonai in his video premier "No Weak Heart"

Abajonai has always had an interest in music and rebel music is what he chants.

His songs, like his name, are heavenly and mystical.

"Is more like rebel music, making my people know more about their black selves, more of cultural vibration, more like a Nyabinghi chant," said the Bobo Shanti Rastafarian.

Reggae Legend battles for Life

Wycliffe ‘Steely’ Johnson, of Steely and Clevie fame, is in critical condition at a New York hospital but the music fraternity has been praying for his recovery.
“We want to keep a positive mind,” Clevie Brownie, the other half of the dancehall pioneering duo. “The chance of his survival is slim.”

Johnson is suffering from pneumonia having recovered from kidney complications in December, said Brownie, who has been in contact via phone and saw him in July.
“When I left him in New York he was bouncing back and recovering, then he got pneumonia and it took him down. bad, bad, bad,” Brownie relayed, adding that family and friends have been praying.

Steely started his career as the original keyboard player with the Roots Radix Band which backed Gregory Isaacs, Bunny Wailer and numerous other artistes both on tour and in the recording studio, and also played on a number of hit recordings for various producers in the 70s. Steely also played on a large number of hit recordings for various artistes.

Noted as the pioneers of dancehall, but certainly not limited to this genre, Steely and Clevie have worked together for 30 years with domestic and international artistes of many styles with great success.

Steely and Clevie first worked together in 1974 at Harry J’s Studio working on songs produced by Augustus Pablo. During the 80s, Steely and Clevie was employed as session musicians for King Jammy’s, Bobby Digital, Techniques, Redman International, Music Works and Penthouse labels and others.

Clevie started his musical journey as a member of the noted Browne musical family, beginning as lead singer of the Browne Bunch’s 1972 debut single We’ve Got A Good Thing Going. He was inspired by the professionalism of the group’s producer Geoffrey Chung (a leading producer of his era) who would pay as much attention to the business as he would the production of music.

Steely and Clevie say they contributed to three-quarters of top dancehall songs in the 80s. Their influence, however, continues today having worked with No Doubt, Sean Paul, Elephant Man, and others.

Clevie is the immediate past chairman of the Recording Industry Association of Jamaica where he now sits on the board. He also serves on the boards of Jamaica Music Society, Jamaica Signature Beats and serves on the Reggae Academy steering committee.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bob Marley the Reggae King's whips

Brian Bonitto, Editor - Overseas Publications

When Bob Marley and the Wailers released Babylon By Bus in 1978 - a live album recorded in Paris - the reggae superstar was depicting how he and the group travelled while on tour.

But in Jamaica, there were other vehicles that played an important role in the Reggae king's sojourn.

Former manager Allan 'Skill' Cole said that during the time of his association with Marley, the singer had different vehicles throughout various stages of his career.

"Him never fussy," Cole said, "but he had owned a couple of vehicles."

Cole, who had met the St Ann-born Marley in Trench Town during the early 1960s, was a football prodigy and represented Jamaica age 15. He later became a trusted friend and manager of the reggae icon.

"In the '70s ... about '70-'71, Bob had a Ford Escort," said the former national representative. "When him sell that, he bought a [Ford] Capri," he continued.

The former Santos, Real Mona and Boys' Town player explained that those two cars were the workhorses.

"The Escort and the Capri, dem two cars deh did the work ... we sold records from them in the early years," he said.

Cole, a former coach of Arnett Gardens and Port Morant United football clubs, said when Marley's financial standing improved, so too did the calibre of cars he owned.

"He bought a VW Sport ... then in '74 he bought the BMW," he said.

Marley's former manager explained that the luxury car was previously owned by a fellow musician and bought through a dealer.

"It was Pluto Shervington's BMW," he said. "We bought it through Claude Levy, who also had the franchise for Peugeot at that time."

Cole said he was the one who prompted Marley to purchase the BMW as it was in keeping with his superstar status.

reluctant to drive

"At first, Bob did reluctant to drive it ... I had it for the first couple days," he said. The former manager recounted that Marley had concerns.

"At that time, Rastas were still pushing handcarts," he said, so Cole had to convince Marley that "those days were gone".

"I then threw the keys to him," he said.

The former Kingston College and Vere Technical schoolboy footballer said on his return from Africa, Marley had added to his fleet by acquiring a VW van.

"That's the one down a Culture Yard in Trench Town," he said. That vehicle, Cole explained, was oftentimes used to pick up the Marley kids and used to carry out everyday chores.

At the Marley's Hope Road address — now home of the Marley Museum — the singer's Land Rover is still on display.

"Bob got this around 1976," said Paul Kelly, operations manager at Bob Marley Museum. "He mostly used this to make his country run to St Ann."

Kelly said that the Land Rover took the place of the VW as the utility vehicle for chores and pickups.

The operations manager recalled that in the early 2000s several visitors from Land Rover manufacturing company in England offered to buy Bob's Land Rover. "But we couldn't sell it ... it's priceless," he said.

Marley died May 11, 1981, after injuring his toe while playing football.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


The nominations in the Reggae Category of the 2009 MOBO Awards has been recently announced. Here are the nominees for this year's "Best Reggae" MOBO Award



Friday, August 28, 2009

Buju Banton, has U.S. tour canceled by promoters

After months of organized protest, both AEG Live/Goldenvoice (the company that produces festivals like Coachella All Points West, and Bumbershoot) and Live Nation (the massive concert promoters behind 360 deals with Jay-Z, Madonna and U2) announced last night that they have canceled their respective concerts with Banton, who was scheduled to perform in major markets across the country through October.
Says L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean in a formal statement: “I hope this victory sends a deafeningly loud message to other promoters and concert venues that singers who glorify violence against LGBT people, or any group of people, should never be welcomed. It shouldn’t be necessary for us to pressure promoters to do the right thing; people like Banton should never have been booked in the first place.”

What do you think, Music Mixers? Should concert promoters be responsible for determining what constitutes untenable hate speech when it comes to booking artists? Would it make any difference if Banton were not keeping”Boom Boom Bye” in his set list in recent concerts?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ras Penco for Irie Jamboree plus more new music

Reggae sensation Ras Penco has enjoyed a tremendous run this year, first hitting number one in Jamaica with his single “Thousand Miles,” and will cap off the summer on an even higher note with exciting performances, a new hit single in hand and a video shoot in the works.The culture crooner is preparing to return for his second bout at New York’s reggae summer staple Irie Jamboree, put on by Irie Jam Radio 93.5 FM in the New York Tri-State region, on Sunday, September 6.”It feels good to return to Irie Jamboree because I’m coming back on a different level,” reveals the young star. “More people are familiar with my single now and know who Ras Penco is. It’s going to be good to come to New York and perform for all the people who will come out for the big Labor Day celebration.

Directly after Irie Jamboree, Penco will head to Los Angeles to shoot the video for his new hit single, the romantic pop ballad “Be By My Side.” The video is sure to propel the tune even more, as it is already receiving airplay in Jamaica. ”It’s a wonderful feeling to be doing my second video,” smiles Penco. “I’m still holding the vibe of ‘Thousand Miles,’ and want to give the people that same energy and sentiment. It’s going to be even better.” Penco’s video for “Thousand Miles” continues to enjoy rotation in and out of the Caribbean, including on BETj and VH1 Soul. With the crossover sound of “Be By My Side” and the Hollywood-based production team at the helm of the upcoming video, he’s sure to have another major hit on his hands.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Love's Contagious Video by Tarrus Riley

Brand New Video from Tarrus Riley "Love's Contagious"

Fund raiser For Slain Reggae Singer’s Daughter

FT. LAUDERDALE - A fund raiser for slain 15 year old Nekitta Hamilton, daugher of Reggae singer Thriller U of the group LUST will be held on Saturday, August 29, 2009 from 12 noon to 6 pm at Top Hop Gardens, located at 4340 North State Rd. 7 (441 South of Commercial Bl.) Ft Lauderdale.

Nekitta was killed last week at a home in Miramar along with Faith Bisasor, 49, and her son Davion Bishop, 15.

Thriller U flew to South Florida from Jamaica upon learning of his daughter's death and on Wednesday and made a tearful plea for anyone with information to come forward.

WAVS 1170 will be doing a “live broadcast” on location from Top Hop Gardens on Saturday, August 29th with Rich Davis from 12pm to 2pm and with Luther Mack from 4pm to 6pm to garner the community’s support to raise money for the funeral of Nekitta.

Several top reggae performers will be “live” on location to offer their support, from Professor Nuts who is scheduled to perform that evening, to Thriller U, Kymani Marley, Glen Washington, Code Red Band, Freddie McGregor, Mikey Spice, Screwdriver, Michael Russell and many others.

In a effort to raise funds there will be food on sale and a cash bar with $3 drinks. Plus there will be CD giveaways compliments of Joe Fraser Records, VP Records, and Kymani Marley T-shirts compliments of Warrior Productions. You can also win tickets to Beres Hammond in concert in Palm Beach Labor Day weekend and enjoy the music and a good game of dominoes

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reggae Star Serani Rocks S.O.B.'s

Serani/Jah Bami/B-Wils
Monday, August 24

Last night's Jamrock Magazine party was more a celebration of island culture than a show. Hosted by publisher David "Squeeze" Annaki with help from BET's Jeanille Bonterre, the event featured performances by Serani, Jah Bami, and B-Wils; Ticketweb said DJ Gravy would be on the turntables, but we got resident S.O.B.'s DJs instead. We survived, despite a bout of Asher Roth, typical headliner lateness, and some late-breaking homophobia.

Around 10:30, the overly endearing Bonterre introduced B-Wils, a Trinidadian artist recently signed to Jive Records. His newness to the stage was visible as he attempted to engage the crowd, finally resorting to the sure-thing "If you're from Trinidad, make some noise! We repping Trinidad tonight!" Then a familiar beat kicked in -- Asher Roth's "I Love College" -- and the rapper proceeded to perform his own version, "College Is Overrated," to little enthusiasm. Overheard: "Yo, why this guy doing this white-boy ish?"
Up next was Jah Bami, a Caribbean TV personality (think Carson Daly in his TRL years) turned reggae artist. He won the crowd over with odes to love and life on the island, which apparently frequently involves sexy ladies dancing on him. The dance floor was a tight squeeze, the women wining against their men, the men yelling at the stage, an unbelievable gang of cameramen crammed up front.

Anticipation for Serani was high, but like every rap or reggae show, the headliner wasn't "ready to take the stage just yet." Luckily, Bonterre's quick save turned into one of the night's highlights: She brought a Jamaican lady from Queens, an NYC native from Harlem, and a Trinidadian to the stage for an impromptu dance-off. The Trini won, receiving 1,000 Jamaican dollars in return for her bhangra-infused wining. When asked what she would do with the prize, she jokingly responded, "I'll use it wipe my bottom."

Finally, and without introduction, the familiar intro to Serani's "No Games" blared over the speakers as the Kingston native climbed onstage. The unified voice of the audience almost drowned out the singer, his fans singing along word for word. The Deseca artist (best known for co-producing Sean Paul's "We Be Burnin'" and Tony Matterhorn's "Dutty Wine") plowed through a small set of new tracks, including a version of "She Loves Me" featuring a cameo from the girl in the video. His performance ended with some sort of motivational speech about "making dollar" that seemed to last longer than the music did.

The show closed with a hip-hop and dancehall set by DJ Paul Michael while several dancers challenged each other on the floor

Monday, August 24, 2009

Black Prophet, the reggae prophet with a prophecy

The name prophet is synonymous with people who preach the word of God. They are believed to be people ordained by God to deliver special messages to their people.

In the Ghanaian music arena there is one such prophet, Black Prophet who delivers his message through reggae music.

Ghana has seen a lot of reggae musicians who have raised the nation's flag on international scene and notable among them are Rocky Dawuni, Shasha Marley and Black Prophet.

Black Prophet, born Kenneth Wilberforce Zonto Bossman in 1977 in Accra, has been in the reggae music industry for some years now.

In an interview with Joy FM's DJ Black on the Open House Party entertainment show on Saturday, Black Prophet recalled a landmark achievement in his music career some years ago when the famous Shaba Ranks came to Ghana.

He recounted a situation where he personally confronted the music star with one of his songs which impressed Shaba Ranks. In appreciation, Shaba gave him a very nice footwear.

In the early stages of his music career, Black Prophet managed the ‘Acoustic Boys’ where they played for Makola market women for money. He also performed at major functions and beaches.

As time passed, the Acoustic Boys metamorphosed into Vibration Boys and then to the Vibration Kings releasing their first recording in 1996 titled Captivity.

Black Prophet now manages a band in Europe called Thunder Strike which performs at major vanues in Europe. He has toured various parts of the world with major reggae artistes like Rita Marley, Pliers, Don Carlos, Yellowman, Steel Pulse, Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, Buju Banton & Dean Fraser.

The reggae prophet made his debut in 1998 with his album called Chains. He and the Thunder Strike’s current album ‘Prophecy’ contains eight new tracks and four from their first album. Some of the songs are Hot and Cold which features Sway, Good feeling featuring 2 face and Natural resources.

He also did some recordings at the famous Tuff Gong studio which is currently being managed by Dean Fraser one of the world’s best producers.

The Tuff Gong studio is very synonymous with legendary reggae legends like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, the Marley brothers and Sizzla and a host of others.

His ‘Natural resources’ track, he explained focuses on politicians who misappropriate the country's resources to the detriment the poor.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Courtney John Hits MTV

Just three months since his sophmore album release “Made In Jamaica”, Courtney John is breaking boundaries and records in the music business.

Two weeks after a blistering globe hopping album premier, his 50’s themed black and white HD video has hit MTV.

The single “Lucky Man”, has already topped the AOL Reggae Charts and is making its way through europe and UK on its own high powered electricity.

Locally the Video and the single is in heavy rotation, and rumours within the international community has poised the video as the International Reggae Video & Single of the year.

Shot on location at the historic Ward Theatre and monumental CPTC complex, the video was directed by the award win ning team of Ras Tingle and Danielle Delsume of TD Films.

Hasidic star Matisyahu saving reggae with new disc

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It's not easy being a big celebrity in a close-knit Orthodox Jewish community.

Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu, who achieved unlikely pop success in 2005 with the single "King Without a Crown," tries to live a simple life with his young family in Crown Heights, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

His two sons go to school across the road, the kosher pizza shop is around the corner, and he walks to temple three times a day. It sounds fairly idyllic, not unlike a "shtetl," the Yiddish term for a small Jewish town or village.

But Matisyahu can blend in only so far with his traditional full beard and dark suit. People often ask him for money, or accuse him of setting a bad example if he happens to be praying while not wearing his hat and jacket.

"I do get a lot of crap," Matisyahu, 30, -- whose real name is Matthew Miller -- said with resignation during a recent interview in his tour bus.

"It's the Jewish way. They don't care. There's no space. There aren't those typical sensitivities to people. Some people are (sensitive), but you get a lot of people who have no sense of boundary and are pushy."

The old Matisyahu tried to be accommodating, fearful of being labeled an arrogant celebrity. He is slowly learning to push back when people test his patience, but realizes the attention is the price you pay for your riches and fame.

"It's what you sign up for," he said. "When famous people are pissed off about all this stuff, it's like, 'What did you expect? Don't tell me you didn't want the fame a little bit.'"


But the nosy neighbors are being replaced by cheering crowds for the foreseeable future as Matisyahu hits the road to promote his third album, "Light," due in stores on August 25.

He hopes the Sony Music release will establish him as a career artist rather than consign him to one-hit-wonder status. "King Without a Crown," a rap-style treatise about submitting to God in daily life, won heavy airplay on rock and top-40 radio stations in 2005. It was a rare feat for a reggae song, or for any song so avowedly religious.

Apart from late reggae pioneer Bob Marley, his various offspring, and the British band UB40, reggae never gained much traction in the United States. And Hasidic Jews were not exactly noted practitioners. Matisyahu sees himself as a savior

of the genre.

"Reggae music, in a lot of ways, got really stagnant," he said. "You see a lot of the reggae bands play today and it's the same horn patches on keyboards that they've been playing for 15 years, and not in a retro-cool kind of way. It's totally nauseating to me.

"We're taking elements of reggae music, but totally crossing over into different genres and blending different things."

Indeed, he says that is how reggae developed in the first place, when Marley blended rock 'n' roll and ska. The concert video for "King Without a Crown" shows the extent of the new culture clash: There he is stalking the stage, the tassels of his tallit katan undershirt visible under his black jacket. His fedora comes off when he dives into the crowd but is quickly replaced by a yarmulke.

Matisyahu was not always so observant. He was raised in a moderately religious family, and dropped out of high school to join the hordes of pot-smoking fans who follow the jam-band Phish from concert to concert. When he signed up for college, he became intrigued by Orthodox Judaism and eventually immersed himself in deep study of the Torah.

The next stop on his unusual journey: reggae music, without the requisite marijuana, of course. Indeed, his songs often warn about the perils of getting high.

He released his debut album in 2004, "Shake off the Dust ... Arise," and built a following with his energetic shows. In 2006, he received a Grammy nomination for the follow-up, "Youth," from which "King Without a Crown" was drawn. He lost -- perhaps inevitably -- to Ziggy Marley, Bob's eldest son.

Even though the new album is called "Light," Matisyahu taps into darker subjects, like death and suffering.

"You get to a certain point where you realize it's not eternal, you're not going to be around forever," he said. "You start to deal with that concept and what it means. For me, what it's meant, in terms of putting a positive spin on this, is just an appreciation of life."

As he sings in the track "I Will be Light," we have got "one tiny moment in time ... to shine." And few musicians stick out as much as Matisyahu.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

True to reggae's spiritual roots

Concert tomorrow puts Rastafarianism back at the centre of the music

At age 59, Marcia Griffiths says most people would call her brand of reggae "old school," but she's quick to add that "it's the good school. Bob Marley's work will never go in vain."

Torontonians will be treated to three of the genre's best-loved performers at the inaugural Reggae Giants concert tomorrow at Polson Pier's Sound Academy. Headlining that list is Griffiths, who made her name as a member of the I-Threes, the backing group for Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Joining Griffiths will be fellow Jamaicans John Holt – who's also a Rastafarian – and Ken Boothe. Tomorrow's show joins the Mirvish stage musical The Harder They Come, based on the 1972 film that helped put reggae – and Rastafarianism – on the map, and Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae, a recent documentary about the genre's origins, as examples of how reggae and Rasta have been inseparable for more than four decades.

Griffiths says reggae artists have a duty to use music to educate, uplift and unite the world, adding that some still don't understand the responsibility they have. "If you are chosen to do this work, then you must contribute in a positive way," she says. "If you're in it for any other reason, then you will fall by the wayside."

Gramps Morgan, 35, agrees. As a member of renowned reggae group Morgan Heritage, he notes that reggae music grew out of the suffering experienced by impoverished Jamaicans during the tumultuous 1970s, when it was the only medium to express their grievances.

"Because of the spiritual consciousness of the Rastaman, he started using reggae as a musical ministry," Morgan says. "That's why reggae became the Rastaman's gospel music."

But as the genre evolved through the late 1990s, it spawned a host of multi-talented singers, songwriters and producers like Sizzla Kalonji and Capleton. They made their names as socially conscious lyricists but also crossed over into the lucrative dance hall scene known for its faster rhythms and lyrics that tend to favour sex and gangsterism over religion.

Renowned Jamaican deejay Buju Banton, 36, says he "came through the doorways of dance hall" in the 1990s. Even though he later turned to reggae, he says he won't turn his back on his roots. "That's why I continue to do both genres of music," he says.

The Star caught up with Buju in New York, where he was touring in support of his latest roots rock/reggae album, Rasta Got Soul, which is a far cry from some of his more controversial work.

"I'm not contradicting anything," Buju says of the change. "I refuse to get stuck on one level. Therefore, I must fluctuate and the music must grow."

That sentiment is not shared by everyone. Jamaican music icon Leroy Sibbles says that kind of inconsistency led him to cut off his dread- locks in the mid-1990s after wearing dreads for religious reasons in the 1970s and '80s while living in Toronto.

"I was one of the original Rastas," he says. "All the time I was living in Canada, I was a Rasta. There are too many false Rastas out there. That's why I cut off my locks."

Some artists were just posing and not showcasing Rastafarian teachings through their music, he says. "There was all kind of mockery. I couldn't be of a thing like that."

Sibbles says some up-and-coming artists are now wearing dreadlocks and Rastafarian garments as a front to garner more attention or the acquire the coveted tag of a socially conscious artist.

"As soon as some youngsters start to do music, they feel like they have to Ras, and they don't know nothing of Rastafari."

Those artists usually become the one-hit wonders because their music is not lyrically fortified to survive, he says. "I've watch all of the fads come and go while the real thing stands up and continue."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2nd Annual Ottawa Reggae Festival

Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, takes on a Red Yellow and Green transformation with the staging of the 2nd annual Ottawa Reggae Festival! Live from Le Breton Flats located in Downtown Ottawa, and beside Canada’s War Museum, the festival will span 3 days and will host more than 30 performers from Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico and the US.
The festival’s headliner, Shaggy, said “it’s been a few years since I’ve been to Canada. I’m really looking forward to performing for my Canadian fans!” Featuring artists Tanya Stephens, Pressure, Baby Cham, and Shurwayne Winchester, all artists have expressed that they are looking forward to entertaining Canada’s large Reggae, Dancehall and Soca community.
“There’s a little something for everyone,” said Festival President Benjamin Williams, “and front stage accommodations in the Heineken VIP Lounge for patrons with disabilities shows that we are looking forward to seeing everybody!”
In keeping with their commitment to fostering and promoting Canadian talent, the festival also features award winning Ras Lee & Roots from Ottawa, Auresia from Montreal and Juno Award winner Humble from Toronto, among others.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In a Time of Daggers, a Reggae Artist Shows a Benign Side

Sean Paul stands alone among Jamaican dancehall reggae stars: a relevant figure on the American pop landscape, instantly recognizable beyond his home country and genre. He’s the most prominent reggae star on these shores since Shaggy, for better and worse.

Josh Haner/The New York Times
The Jamaican star Sean Paul celebrating the release of his fourth album, “Imperial Blaze,” at a party at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea on Tuesday night.

And for certain, crossover success has its miseries: in Sean Paul’s case, the ignominious distinction of being (almost certainly) the first reggae artist to namecheck Pilates, previously the terrain of Madonna (who rapped about it in an ungainly fashion) and Kanye West (who did so with humor and flair).

There it is, that unlikely reference, on “She Want Me,” from Sean Paul’s fourth album, “Imperial Blaze” (VP/Atlantic), which was released on Tuesday. “She want me fi bend up her body just like Pilates,” he raps. “She call me the dagger daddy.”

Daggering, a sexually explicit dance style that has generated a firestorm of controversy in Jamaica in the past year, wasn’t on display at all during Sean Paul’s album-release concert at the Highline Ballroom on Tuesday night. In recent years the benign Sean Paul has always won out over his tougher instincts, last seen with any regularity in the years before his 2002 breakthrough hit, “Gimme the Light.”

To his credit, though, no Pilates was on display either. Instead Sean Paul, flanked by as many as six muscular female dancers, bopping on and off stage in ever changing formations, showed his boredom with his role atop dancehall’s crossover heap. At the beginning of his set, he did a brief run of early songs, including the limber “Deport Them”: it was the happiest he seemed all night. He dispensed with his latest single, “So Fine,” early on, and appeared uninterested in his best-known records — “Like Glue,” “I’m Still in Love With You,” “We Be Burnin,’ ” “Get Busy.”

On “Imperial Blaze” — produced largely by Stephen McGregor, known as Di Genius, one of Jamaica’s most promising young talents — Sean Paul has almost completely abandoned his grimier side in favor of sung melodies and soft subject matter. He’s always been far more interesting rhythmically than lyrically, but here his tendency to overenunciate, an accommodation that makes him more palatable to foreign ears, holds him back.

Still, even though “Imperial Blaze” is an album of compromises, they’re happy ones — this space is his turf now. At the Highline, during an overlong version of his 2006 hit “Temperature,” one of his dimmest songs and also one of his handful to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the music switched for a few bars to “Calabria,” originally by the megaclub dance-music producer Rune RK. The reggae-inflected version of that song featuring Natasja Saad was a minor hit in the United States and in Europe, but in this country it has a more mainstream identity, best known for its use in a Target commercial.

A jarring intrusion? Not at all. Sean Paul sounded right at home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gramps Morgan 12,000 Copies Sold 1st Week

Continuing his mission to "heal the world through music", Gramps Morgan will join Buju Banton on his Rasta Got Soul, U.S. Tour 2009. The 6 week stint kicks off on September 12th at the Trocardero in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and hits cities and states including: Portland, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Chicago, California, Texas, New Mexico, Florida as well as North and South Carolina. About the tour, Gramps commented:

"I am so happy to reach this point, to be able to represent the album I worked on for so many months. It's a great challenge and I also feel blessed to be on the road with Buju! He's a great performer - it comes right from the heart and I can relate to that as there is no other way for either of us to do music ."

A magical combination, Gramps and Buju have collaborated in the past on their smash hit single 'The 23rd Psalm' and again for the follow up 'Power of Prayer' featured on Gramps Morgan's solo debut-album 2 Sides of My Heart Vol. 1. In support of the album Gramps also heads to Europe for a promotional tour in the UK; more TBA.

Meanwhile, Dada Son Entertainment is also pleased to announce that 2 Sides of My Heart Vol. 1, sold 12,000 copies in its first week. A subsidiary of the Morgan family's Gedion Music, CEO, Roy "Gramps" Morgan, had this to say about the success thus far:

"I'm so happy that people are getting a chance to share some good music. That's really what's most important to me as I know this album will have a affect on most people that listen to it." The world-wide release on August 4th followed Gramps' memorable, solo-debut performance in Toronto, Caribana weekend.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Production is held up on Bob Marley's new film "Bob Marley"

Marley a new documentary about the iconic Jamaican reggae singer, just can’t keep a director attached. Last May, Martin Scorsese dropped out of the project sighting a “scheduling conflict”. Today, The New York Post’s Page Six is reporting that Jonathan Demme, the director that took over for Scorsese, has also left the film, which is scheduled for a February 6th, 2010 release date (what would have been the singer’s 65th birthday).

The reason for Demme’s departure stems from producer Steve Bing not being happy with the first round of editing the director turned in. At this time, it’s unclear if Demme’s departure will affect the film’s planned release date. The documentary has been authorized by the Marley family, and son Ziggy Marley expressed that he was “very excited” when Demme came onto the unfinished project.

Eek-A-Mouse caps off Hot Summer Nights free concert series in Vail

August 17, 2009 — He stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and his stage name comes from a racehorse upon which he frequently bet and lost money. He is also one of Jamaica’s premier reggae stars and one of the early artists to be described as a “singjay.”

And, Ripton Joseph Hylton, better known as Eek-A-Mouse, will help bring down the curtain on summer in the Vail Valley with the season ending free show of Bud Light Hot Summer Nights August 18 at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

Eek-A-Mouse began his foray into reggae music as a college student, releasing two roots reggae singles under his own name. The singles were produced by his mathematics tutor, Mr. Dehaney, and showed a heavy influence from Pablo Moses. He officially became Eek-A-Mouse in 1979.
“I was singing when I was a child,” said Eek-A-Mouse, remembering his hand-to-mouth beginning’s in Kingston’s notorious Trench Town ghetto. “Then the kids got interested and sometimes I would sing them songs. Sometimes, there would be little concerts going on in school and I would participate. But I knew I was gonna be a singer soon.”

His diverse list of early musical influences reads like a Who’s Who of the varied styles that would eventually color his inventive lyricism and instrumentation.

“I loved Nat King Cole, Marty Robbins, Cab Calloway, Patsy Cline,” said Mouse, “all different singers. Sam Cooke and the Beatles…and stuff like that. And then I came up with my own original style.”

That style included elements of “sing-jaying," an early form of toasting mixed with funky vocal gymnastics and effects. His contribution to the genre was a percussive, nasally vocal style and a talent for using his voice as a musical instrument.

By the end of 1980, he linked up with producer Henry “Juno” Lawes, the duo experiencing big hits in 1981 with the likes of “Virgin Girl” and a re-cut “Wa-Do-Dem”. That same year, Eek-A-Mouse was the star of the Reggae Sunsplash Festival, cheering audiences still mourning the death of reggae icon Bob Marley.

The second half of the 80’s saw Eek-A-Mouse targeting the U.S. with his first American release, “Assassinator” in 1985. He also traveled to the UK to record “The King and I”, an effort that played to the rock crossover audience he had begun to appeal to.

His prominence continued into the 90’s courtesy of 1991’s “U-Neek” album, which continued his rock-oriented style, including a cover of Led Zeppelin’s D’Yer Maker, and from which the hit single You’re The One I Need was taken.

More than a quarter century of recording, global touring and enough years in residency in the suburbs of Irvine to justify an accent heavy on California-isms have hardly changed the dancehall godfather’s husky Kingston patois.

While a couple of decades removed from the Jamaican dancehall scene that solidified his reputation as one of the genre’s most irreverent and oft-copied toasters, The Mouse, as he is fond of calling himself, hardly feels his career has peaked.

Oh, and by the way, when the racehorse he drew his name from finally won, Eek-A-Mouse of course, had refused to back it.

The final 2009 Bud Light Hot Summer Nights free concert gets under way at 6:30 p.m. and the gates of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater open at 5:30 p.m. The last Bud Light Hot Summer Nights free concert, featuring Eek-A-Mouse, is presented by Pazzo’s Pizza, with this week’s Bud Light Post Party also hosted at Pazzo’s.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Gregroy Isaacs US-Tour cancelled! Please read the following statement by Isaacs' manager Copeland Forbes:

Greetings !

I got back to Jamaica from overseas on wednesday nite late and went online to check my email and I was bombarred with emails from all over the US in regards to Gregory Isaacs that he was in a coma, I was shocked to learn of such a thing so I was with him up to last Sunday August 2nd finalising details for his upcoming tour of the US which starts August 9th at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

None of what I read on the internet about him being in a coma was true as he's been under medical attention for the foot swelling that had occured since May 25 and I have been in touch with him on a daily basis. He was in London undergoing some medical tests as he was suffering from some kind of swelling of his legs which resulted in the first tour been cancelled and some dates postponed and rescheduled as the doctor then had recomended that he should stay off his feet for at least six weeks hence the cancelation of the the May 26 thru June 23 tour.

Yesterday I went to see him to give him an update on the upcoming tour and to tell him of the rumours that had been circulated that he's in a coma but when I got to his house I was greeted with some sad news that he's been suffering from some severe chest pains which resulted in him been advised by his doctors not to do any travelling at this time as his chest pains are affecting his lungs and his breathing abilities which if not given immediate treatment could lead to very serious consequences,

His doctors advised him against travelling as he MUST be attended to NOW hence the upcoming tour which was scheduled to start August 9th in Los Angeles will have to be cancelled until further notice from his doctors. Please inform all promoters,bus company,Travel agents,backing bands Quinto Sol(west coast) and Ruff Stuff/ Statement (east coast) and all entities associated with the" Brand New Me" North American tour about the cancelation of the tour unil further notice from his doctors.

One Love

Jah Guide

Copeland Forbes (Gregory Isaacs manager)

Gramps Morgan Rocks Reggae World

Sales Soar on Solo Debut Album During US Tour With John Legend and India.Arie

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- While Gramps Morgan joins John Legend and India.Aria on stage at the Mann Center of the Performing Arts in Philadelphia August 15th then at the Metropolis in Montreal on August 17th, and again on August 18th at the Casino in Rama, Ontario, Canada, his new debut solo album, 2 Sides of My Heart, will be topping reggae charts worldwide, with more than 12,000 CDs sold the first week of release alone.

"This is a double CD adult contemporary dance thing, with one side a lovers rock roots and the other side expressing different kinds of music inside me. My mission is to heal the world with music," said Gramps.

The 10th of 30 children of reggae icon Denroy Morgan, Gramps is a true creation of bloodroots reggae. After releasing ten albums with his legendary family band, Morgan Heritage, Gramps decided to express his individual style with a solo album through his label, Dada Son, in association with Real Management Music. Morgan Heritage is a powerful musical force that he will continue to perform and record with.

"My father came to America from Jamaica with just $100 and made sure all 30 kids learned pure love and service to others. His lessons are still at the heart of my music," Gramps added.

"Wash the Tears" was the first hit single from the album, followed by "One in a Million." Also released is a remix of his super-hot hit duet with India.Arie, "Therapy." Watch for the next big release, a soulful energetic anthem, "Don't Cry for Jamaica," to hit radio soon.

Following right on the heels of the mega-successful US concert tour with Legend and Arie, Gramps joins reggae superstar Buju Banton for a 36-city US tour beginning September 12th at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. A magical combination, Gramps and Buju collaborated in the past on their smash hit single, "The 23rd Psalm," and again for the follow up, "Power of Prayer," featured on 2 Sides of My Heart.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

NEW VIDEO: Fly High by Shaggy feat. Gary "Nesta" Pine

NEW MUSIC: Love's Contagious by Tarrus Riley

Bembe Squad Splits

The Bembe Squad, which started the hugely popular Bembe Thursdays at Weekenz, Constant Spring Road, has split.Bembe Thursdays enjoyed a successful first year after it was launched in early 2007, but has seen waning support over the last several months.

The Bembe Squad comprises selectors Razz and Biggy, Jigsy, Rolex , Penny Bling and founder Richie Feelings. Due to the poor attendance, there is internal conflict with the squad members.

“It’s been a while now since the squad is breaking up. Only that people never hear about it, because it was not publicised,” a source, who wished not to be named.

Richie Feelings added that all the members are seeing eye to eye. “Everybody still good. And everybody benefits from Bembe, but everyone is trying their own individual thing,” he said.

He added that due to the poor economic condition, things have slowed down significantly and that competing parties are luring away some of their patrons.

“There is a recession now and people always take on to new attraction. Things running slow now. If a man decide to leave the group, it’s his own decision,” he added.

iTunes launches a special reggae promotion

If you're a lover of classic reggae straight from the islands, and is one of those people whose always on the lookout for rare collectibles. then check this out:

From Aug. 4 through Aug. 17, iTunes will be running The Island 50th Anniversary Reggae promotion which will feature special offers for fans. As part of the promotion, the online music retailer's offering some older, out-of-print reggae albums, compilations and tracks that were previously unavailable in any form for the last 30 years. The new selection also includes Bob Marley & The Wailers album I Know A Place.

The I Know A Place EP offers five tracks from Bob Marley & The Wailers that were recorded with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. Fans can download "Who Colt The Game" that was previously only released on the bonus disc that accompanied the U.K. edition of One Love and has been out of print since. "Punk Reggae Party" (Jamaican 12" version) can also be found.

Other music added includes six songs from the Congoes, Zap Pow and others, plus 10 out-of-print albums. Previously unavailable digitally, music from the Heptones, Wailing Souls, George Faith, Sugar Minott, Augustus Pablo and Justin Hinds & The Dominoes can also be found in the new additions.

The new additions are part of the 50th anniversay celebration of Island Records, which was started by British producers in Jamaica. It was based in England for many years, but is now owned by Universal Music Group and is operated in the United States through The Island Def Jam Music Group and in the UK through Island Records Group.

Kartel responds to Queen Ifrica

Dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel says Queen Ifrica is a hypocrite for having a problem with his song 'Virginity'.

In a release Vybz Kartel bashed Queen Ifrica for what she said about his song in a story published earlier this week.

In the story 'Ifrica disapproves of Virginity', published in the Wednesday STAR, Queen Ifrica said: "Mi hear Kartel with a song name Virginity weh mi nuh too like. The fact that him a talk bout a likkle girl weh him tek her virginity. Him a talk bout two drop a blood pon her frock and madda ago beat her fi dat. Mi nuh hear no big woman weh a mek dem talk deh. Mi nuh too waan talk bout it (Kartel's song), fi promote it neither."

However, Vybz Kartel said the song is about him and a girl reminiscing about their teenage years, and not of an older man seducing an underage girl.

He further stated: "They think they are the police force of morality when they're just hypocrites. If you, Ifrica, don't like my song, so what? The fans love it. Queen Ifrica and others like her are all hypocrites and acting like they are paragons of virtue."

Kartel said in the release: "People should understand their perspective of the issue and ignore everything else, but they don't offer the same to other artistes."

He said the music he creates was not intended for other artistes to critique, as they are for his fans.

"The ladies love it bad, bad," he said.

Friday, August 7, 2009

King and Queen by Richie Spice and Allison Hinds

This is another great production from Jay Wills. This song was said to be in dedication of President Obama and his wife Michelle Obama.

Warning: Adult Content - Major Lazer "Pon di Floor"

Learn the latest and craziest dancehall moves. This video features Skerrit Boy who was featured in a Tru TV program showing how crazy the Dancehall gets at times. Enjoy!