Posts from — March 2010
MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS FOR STEELE AND MANDY WOODS FROM THE RMAA
The Reggae Music Achievement Awards (RMAA) will take place on Saturday June 12th at the Jamaican Canadian Centre in Toronto, Canada
Steele has been nominated in four categories of “Best Reggae Album/CD of the Year” for his latest release “The Man the Music”, “Artist of the Year”, “Male Vocalist of the Year”, and “Best Reggae Single of the Year”, for “Love Yourself First”, his duet with Mandy Woods at the 2010 Reggae Music Achievement Awards (RMAA).
Fellow label mate Mandy Woods has also received three nominations from the (RMAA) in the categories of “Best Female Vocalist of The Year”, “Best Single of The Year” for Take a Bow, and “Promising New Artist.”
Tarrus Riley Grabs RMAA Nomination Duane Stephenson Works with I Grade Records
Riley picked up a nomination for “International Reggae Artist” at the Reggae Music Achievement Awards RMAA which will be held in Toronto, Canada on June 12. Reggae singer and songwriter Tarrus Riley he copped the Cultural Artiste of the Year and he won the Best Cultural Artiste category at the Youth View Awards and At the Excellence in Music and Entertainment (EME).
Reggae singer, Duane Stephenson just completed his first Europe tour in some thirty cities across France, Belgium, London, Sweden, Spain, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Germany. He is finishing up work on his follow-up album to his ground-breaking debut, August Town, has also been working on a project with I-Grade Records, based in St Croix, the US Virgin Islands (VI).
A roots reggae compilation CD ‘Joyful Noise’ is already completed which features Duane’s single, Hard Times in on the compilation. According to the producers, Joyful Noise features an impressive roster of artistes who are all at the forefront of the conscious reggae movement from their respective lands — which may be considered the nerve centers of original conscious roots music in this time.
The Black Music Month, the 4th Annual Reggae Achievement Awards (RMAA) will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2010 at the Jamaican Canadian Association Ballroom in Toronto, Canada.
Tanya Mullings Nominated for the 2010 JUNO AWARD- Toronto
2010 Juno Awards announced a Tanya Mullings as a nominate for Reggae Recording of the Year. This years awards will be hosted in St. Johns, NL The 2010 celebrations in St. John’s will mark the 39th anniversary of the JUNO Awards. Watch the JUNO Awards Live April 18th on CTV.
TSHA T NOMINATED IN 2 CATERGORIES REGGAE MUSIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS 2010
Toronto-born artist Tasha T has been delighting audiences in Canada, the US and Jamaica Tasha T nominated for the prestigious Reggae Music Achievement Award (RMAA) 2010.
Spanner Banner Picks Up IRAWMA Nomination
Reggae artist Spanner Banner recently copped the EME award nomination for Biggest Come Back Artist of the Year. Banner picked up a nomination for the Most Improved Entertainer in the 29 International Reggae and World Music Awards.
Jamaican Music Producer Sues South Africa Telecommunications Company-
CaribWorldNews: US-based, Jamaica-born reggae pioneer Phillip Smart is suing a South African telecommunication for alleged copyright infringement. Phillip Smart has sued the MTN telecommunication company for allegedly adopting his sound recording in radio advertisements promoting the FIFA World Cup.
Smart, through his lawyer, Ntambirweki Kandeebe, filed the suit at the Commercial Court division on February 9, contending that his song was used without his authorization by MTN. Smart says he composed the song `Hot This Year` and registered its copyright in the U.S. and that MTN took his song and ran it with their advertisements for six months on radio without his permission.
He is seeking damages and licensing fees amounting for an unspecified amount from the telecom company. I spoke MTN has declined comment on the matter citing the ongoing lawsuit. MTN is a major communications company focused on the African continent.
Una Morgan Makes Break-Through Progress with New Solo Album
Una Morgan is the sole female of Reggae band Morgan Heritage. Her new solo debut album entitled ‘Just Me’, features collaborations with established and new names in the industry. On her album, she worked with producers and song writers, such as Stephen McGregor, Jimmy Cozier, producer “X”and Taj from the 90’s group The Boys. To work with rising stars such as Kiana India, ME, Una Morgan’s signature sound is a blend of Reggae, Dancehall, Pop, Hip Hop and Soul fused to be appropriately called Raggasoul. The Raggasoul songstress ‘Giving’, produced by Lenky ‘Diwali’ Marsden and Tribute to Haiti’ track produced by the great Handel Tucker, international producers on her debut
Una has recently signed to Gary George Inc. (GGI) and Rubikon Entertainment management companies to use their pooled wealth of resources for management and legal services to propel her development. Rubikon is a UK-based management and legal firm that provide management and legal & business affairs to a slew of prominent artistes and producers amongst other entities.
“Roll Out” – Bounty Killer and Bridgez – Jah Snowcone
Billboard chart topping producer Rohan ‘Jah Snowcone’ Fuller presents his latest single, “Roll Out” featuring Alliance Five Star General Bounty Killer and the new face of the Alliance, Reggae/R&B siren Bridgez. “Roll Out,” a club-banging ode to the authentic ballers that “roll like billionaires,” is guaranteed to be one of the summer’s radio smashes.
“Roll Out” is the first single on Snowcone’s brand new World End Riddim. Best known for producing Sean Paul’s #1 Billboard single “Temperature,” on the Applause Riddim –for which he received an ASCAP Pop Music Award — Snowcone has also produced the Rice & Peas, 7-11, Cheerful, and Landscape riddims. He has worked with everyone from Bounty Killer and Elephant Man to Wyclef, Salaam Remi and P. Diddy. “Roll Out” was mixed by famed engineer Gary ‘G Major’ Noble. TO “Roll Out” will be available on iTunes and other digital outlets on Thursday, April 8th.
Romain Virgo to sign with VP – VH1 to air ‘This Love’ Video
Romain Virgo ‘This Love’ music video airs on cable station VH1.According to his manager, Dawin Brown, they have been in negotiations with VP Records, as the company is about to sign the budding star.
Virgo said he was very excited about the development of his career. “Jah know a one of the greatest feeling. VH1 and MTV are world stations. I think it’s a good opportunity for the world to see who the true Romain Virgo is. I think it is a good way to bring me out there to the world,” he told THE STAR, noting that the video was done during his 2007 Digicel Rising Stars journey. He will shoot the video for ‘Who Feels It Knows It’ in Kingston and St Ann. The video, Virgo said, would “look at hard-working people in every environment.”
He is also working on a self-titled album that will be released in May through VP Records. Virgo said it would have songs such as ‘Caan Sleep’, ‘Murderer’ and several new tracks. For the album, there will also be a series of promotional shows. And, in the coming months, he will have shows in the US, Europe, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada and St Martin. “It will be a whole lot of work for the year,” said Virgo. Source: The Star.
Busy Signal Goes Universal-
President and CEO of Universal Music Group Distribution, Jim Urie, cannot get enough of Busy Signal’s cover of the Phil Collins hit ‘One More Night’. Urie was so impressed by the cover that he has added the single to his annual compilation album.
At the end of each year Urie releases a double CD album with his favorite songs from various genres and his 2009 compilation features ‘One More Night’ by ace dancehall deejay Busy Signal. “When I saw the album and saw the song listed, I couldn’t believe, the song really gone universal”, said Signal. The video for the single was released three weeks ago and has been receiving steady rotation on local TV stations. In addition, the song has been added to several charts both locally and overseas.
Signal is completing a two week stint in Trinidad where he performs at several events associated with the very popular Trinidad carnival and on Thursday February 18, Busy performs with Machel Montano at the highly publicized Beyonce concert. He returns to Jamaica to complete the finishing touches on his soon to be released album, before heading off on another successful tour. Source: Jukebox Productions.
Jamaica Music Museum’s collection grows but still no home
Though there has been steady donation of artifacts to the Jamaica Music Museum, no location or date have been identified for this proposed showplace of the country’s popular music history. Herbie Miller, director/curator of the project, gave few specifics during Sunday’s launch of the Jamaica Journal’s Special Music edition at the Devonshire Restaurant in Kingston.
“Given the state of affairs, I don’t think we are going to see a physical museum in the short term,” Miller told The Gleaner. “It all depends on funding from local and international agencies that fund the arts.”
Belly of the city
Miller was clear, however, on the museum’s location.” Definitely downtown, the music came out of the belly of the city and it must stay there,” he said.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Olivia Grange also spoke at the function. She said respected musicologist Dermot Hussey has committed most of his vast music collection to the museum.
The Hussey donation includes 6,000 albums, interviews he did with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, and Requiem to Don Drummond, a 1969 radio programme paying tribute to trombonist Don Drummond who died at the Bellevue asylum that year.
Hussey, who once hosted shows on the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Jamaica, is currently a disc jockey in Washington, DC, with satellite radio station Sirius FM.
Pieces on show
Other pieces of interest that will ultimately be on show are a cassette tape of Tosh jamming a blues song with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones at SIR Studios in New York City in 1977, and a copy of Escape From Babylon , American singer Martha Velez’s 1976 reggae album which was produced by Marley.
The latest issue of Jamaica Journal examines various facets of reggae, including its political and criminal links, a feature on controversial Singjay Buju Banton and the reggae scene in Switzerland.
Two men who played integral roles in early Jamaican music were present at the launch. Bassist Lloyd Brevette, a founding member of the legendary Skatalites band, and singer/songwriter Bob Andy.
March 30, 2010 No Comments
Saluting Jimmy Cliff
By Clyde McKenzie
Jamaican musical icon James Chambers (we know him as Jimmy Cliff) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a glittering ceremony in New York last week. Attorney- at-law Christopher Samuda, who along with his brother Milton and associate Dave McKenzie, was present for the historic occasion and reported that the response to Cliff’s performance of Many Rivers to Cross was simply surreal. The fact is that many Jamaicans do not understand the kind of impact that some of our Jamaican musical legends have on modern popular culture. We have to journey beyond our shores to secure a better understanding of this phenomenon. It is interesting to note that questions were being raised about the appropriateness of having Swedish pop sensation Abba (reputed at one time to be more important to the economy of their Scandinavian nation than car manufacturers Volvo). No questions were raised about Cliff’s eligibility, however; among the Rock cognoscenti he is the genuine article. The Jamaican Government had wisely awarded Cliff with the prestigious Order of Merit and the University of the West Indies has conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters on this distinguished Jamaican.
Cliff was instrumental in launching the career of the other Jamaican artiste who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — Robert Nesta Marley. It was Cliff who introduced Marley to the powers that be at Beverly’s Records (a label headed by Leslie Kong, now deceased). Marley recorded his first two singles, One Cup of Coffee and Judge Not for Kong. Marley would later leave Kong to record for Clement Dodd’s renowned Studio One Label. Interestingly, Chris Blackwell notes that it was the departure of Jimmy Cliff from Island Records which perhaps paved the way for the phenomenal international success of Marley. According to Blackwell, he had identified Cliff as a potential megastar and had already set the wheels in motion for realizing this objective. Cliff, however, left Island for a more lucrative deal and Blackwell would turn his attention to Marley. I believe a story about how the lives of these three great Jamaicans intersected has the makings of a great movie. Of course, we should point out that another important figure in this story is the great Ernie Ranglin, who not only served as Jimmy Cliff’s musical director but was the head of A&R for Island Records. Blackwell has often reminded his audience that My Boy Lollipop is his favorite song of all time. This is understandable given the fact that it laid the basis for the unimaginable success of Island with the subsequent accomplishments of such legendary artistes such as Marley and U2, to name but a few. It was Ranglin who produced and arranged My Boy Lollipop.
I had the great privilege (which I shared with Nadine Sutherland) of interviewing Jimmy Cliff late last year as part of the CPTC Breakfast with the Stars series. I trust the public will soon be able to get a chance to learn a little bit more about Cliff, who shared some little-known aspects of his life with a live studio audience in this interview. When Cliff was asked to name which emerging Jamaican artiste has caught his attention. He simply burst into song: “No bwoy can’t carry me roun’ no kawna and show me no banana.” Cliff was clearly referring to Queen Ifrica, whose father, Derrick Morgan, was intimately associated with his own career. Everything seems to be so connected.
Cliff made one of his greatest contributions to the spread of Jamaican popular culture through the film in The Harder They Come. The December 2000 edition of Entertainment Weekly lists the release of The Harder They Come in the United States among its One Hundred Greatest Moments in Rock History. The only other Jamaican-related entry was that of Kool Herc “creating hip hop”. Rolling Stone magazine named The Harder They Come as “the best soundtrack of all time”.
Bob Dylan described Cliff’s Vietnam as the “greatest protest song ever written”. It is worth noting that artistes are usually not very generous in their assessment of their peers and so Dylan’s fulsome praise of Cliff, who is not an American, is truly worthy of comment.
Bruce Springsteen recorded Trapped, which was included on the We are the World album. Trapped was written by Cliff and actually appeared on the B side of one of his recordings. According to the story, Springsteen was walking through an airport and heard the song and the rest, as they say, is history.
Cliff has an amazing story which, sadly, in all likelihood, will be told by others. Since The Harder They Come, we have not had much to show by way of success in the motion picture business. This is not to say we do not have the talent to create great movies. We have cinematographers who are well-trained. We have produced actors who have enjoyed international success, and we have fascinating stories. However, the upfront (sunk) costs for making movies are prohibitively high. The biggest constraint to the development of our motion picture industry is funding. Trevor Rhone managed to get funding for his movie One Love( which introduced Jamaica and the world to the remarkable talents of Cherine Anderson) from overseas. Some of the money was accessed through the British Council, which provides grant funding for motion picture ventures. We need to establish similar mechanisms to the British Council in Jamaica to provide funding for talented creators.
The fact is that while the costs of creating movies have fallen considerably (due to the advent of digital technology) they are still quite height. What is now happening is that in many instances moviemakers are now avoiding cinematic releases and going directly to DVD. In fact, some movies now have their cinematic releases after the DVDs have entered the market. Nigeria has spawned a massive motion picture industry through this direct-to-DVD approach. We can do the same in Jamaica. I was really thrilled to hear about the production of the movie Concrete Jungle by a group of Jamaican inner-city youngsters. Art serves the function of negotiating concerns. Through the process of creation the artiste seeks to gain control of his circumstances. The process of artistic production lends itself to empathy and role playing. If we are going to arrest the crime monster, which seems bent on destroying our nation, we should look to the art for solutions. Many prisons have been successfully utilizing art in their rehabilitation exercises. There is much that we can learn from this. Source JamaicaObserver.com
Re-empowering the Unsung Wailers – The importance of Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston to Marley’s ascendancy
Herbie Miller, Contributor
Reggae month (February), also the earth month of Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, is a vital period in which to highlight the effort of historians and commentators who attempt to redress misconceptions perpetuated by clever record company public relations and publicity personnel and other interest parties that distort reggae music’s reality, purposely or innocently.
The case of the original Wailers, who were primarily Bob Marley, Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh, but at times included Junior Braithwaite, Beverly Kelso, Cherry Green, Rita Marley and Constantine ‘Dream’ Walker, is a paramount and instructive case. It is a case, which, according to a Marley insider, without any apology, seeks to “position Bob in the public consciousness morning, noon and night”. What was implied is that this would be done without much, if any, mention of the others who have been part of the group.
Some time ago, on a Sunday morning, I listened to a popular radio DJ play an extended selection of old Wailers recordings. It was the beginning of the week that would mark Peter Tosh’s birthday. The DJ repeatedly referred to the selections as Bob Marley’s without acknowledging the others, even when Tosh or Livingston was obviously the lead singer. He did so on some selections in spite of the fact that Bob was clearly not present on some songs. After repeatedly doing so, I decided to call the radio station and point this out to the DJ and to also suggest that he dedicate the session to Peter Tosh since Tosh’s birthday was a few days coming in the middle of the week. He, in no uncertain manner, let me know he knew what he was doing and didn’t need my opinion. The DJ went back on the air and said: “A bredda just call and want to talk ’bout Peter Tosh. If him want to hear Peter Tosh, mek him go play him own Peter Tosh”.
This is the kind of mindset that is cultivated if Bob Marley continues to be positioned in the public consciousness at the expense of the other principal members of the original Wailers, the group which, in my opinion, is Jamaica’s finest.
For this treatise, I will concern myself with the importance of the Wailers’ primary three, Bob, Bunny and Peter, with only minimal mention of others.
In the early days of our popular music, Jamaica produced many outstanding harmony groups. Most notable among them were duets such as Higgs and Wilson and Alton and Eddie. Groups such as the Down Beats, Jiving Juniors and the Rhythm Aces paved the way for The Paragons, The Heptones, The Gaylads and The Wailers. All were outstanding groups that copied the styles of their favorite American counterparts, even covering their hits. Some as much as adopted the names of foreign groups or applied to it some slight adjustment. Many dressed in fashions similar to the ‘brothers’ up north and even twanged when they addressed audiences. Though outstanding and well received in the role of clone, many lacked originality – the ability to display any real authenticity or inventiveness. Indeed, the local recording industry began in earnest in order to fill the void caused by the unavailability of the type of doo-wop and rhythm and blues songs that were popular in Jamaica but on the wane in America.
The Wailers could have been just another outstanding group to gain popularity by shadowing an American model, in their case, The Impressions, if they had remained so focused. But with the exception of a number of covers, to which a distinctive Wailers ethos was employed – What’s New Pussycat, Sugar, Sugar, and Go Johnny Go, among them, and a variety of successful songs that resembled the late ’50s and ’60s- R&B and soul variety, it was clear to all with insight that this group’s promise was beyond cloning. In terms of identity, The Wailers were remarkably different from any other group before or after. They made successful hits in the American vein and like too many others, may have retarded their originality and stifled their authenticity had it not been for their individual and collective awareness to retain the individuality that comes with being home-grown.
As a group, they had a sense of mission and were conscious that their immense talent, especially that of their visionary lead singer and principal lyricist, Bob Marley, was too remarkable to waste on being copycats. Unlike the polished sound pursued by most Jamaican groups (The Maytals and Justin Hines are exceptions), The Wailers perfected a style that was both raw and elegant. It was built around Pentecostal shouts, chants, and a crying wail; a fusion of melancholy and hopefulness that was ultimately celebratory; a sound that moved beyond the sentimental and engaged the profound. In addition to The Skatalites and Don Drummond, for many of my generation, those of us who came of age during the 1960s, The Wailers simply made the most unbelievable and believable music. It was real, it was palpable and The Wailers were the voice of the people. In simple terms, they represented the rebellion against the false values that existed in a generally inequitable and divided society. They provided those of us at odds with the status quo an identity.
Marley was the group’s most adept songwriter, and rather than a sweet singer, he was more of a storyteller, a Griot, if you will. His voice was the perfect instrument to convey and emphasize the song’s message, and it blended with Livingston’s and Tosh’s to empathize with the ordinary person’s fears and aspirations. Using related themes, The Wailers linked songs thus creating a grand narrative, a sequence of compositions that connected like the chapters of a well-conceived, richly textured and dramatically nuanced work of literary art. And while few artistes, whose work has been imagined as social and political commentary, were as insightful, perceptive, and successful as The Wailers’, Bob’s writing and the group’s performances displayed neither simplistic notions of heritage nor brayed the sort of protest that was the dogma of lesser talent, most of whom have realized the shallowness of their vision as time passes.
Artistes with ambitions as social commentators had available to them situations in Jamaica that provided an extraordinary and complex range of resources. Inherent in the system were signifiers or themes that have always had an impact on great visionaries and leaders for social transformation. Society provided a scope of complex references and ambiguous interactions that revolved around questions of identity, humanity, collective dignity, the responsibility and accountability of the individual, the community and government, the elegant and the obnoxious, flaws and virtues, and the successes and failings of a plantation society system seeking change but in conflict with hegemony, deceptive and often corrupt politicians and law enforcers, pompous Europhiles, ambitious nationalists, and Afro-centric romantics weaved into a tapestry of social interaction weft together by the inevitability of destiny.
Collectively, The Wailers observed and understood these complexities. They wrote and performed songs that definitely were protests in form and meaning. However, sentimentality was unquestionably absent from their interpretation of bygone or present-day life. They effectively sculpted music through which the traditional and the modern were expressed as intricate imagery and meticulous gradations of intent, of colors and tone that are symbolic in character. Indeed, they provided a heightened awareness of responsibility, dignity and humanity that is historic, mythic and caustic.
During the decade of the 1960s to the early ’70s and at their socio-political best, radio stations, and especially middle-class Jamaicans, snubbed The Wailers. How short-sighted they were! The group, which served notice to the world when Chris Blackwell signed them to his Island label and released their first concept album, Catch a Fire in 1972, always sang protest or ‘culture music’ with an impeccably buoyant beat. They would celebrate, could lament, were melancholy, or, whenever it was appropriate, even sang pure pop, imbued at times by an affable innocence.
They were masterful at projection. With their skilful use of studio and stage, flawless diction, charismatic phrasing and keen ear for melody, plus their ability to impart the meaning of the lyrics in a song, The Wailers, like all great performers, were also able to make each fan feel as if they were the group’s personal focus.
Arguably, they had the most positive effect on reggae during its classic period. The Wailers were key in pioneering the internationalisation of the genre, which, since its inception, had assimilated all that had gone before. Studio owners and quasi producers had previously dominated the scene with musicians and singers dependent on their benevolence. By liberating themselves from established local studio identification and establishing their own label, The Wailers delivered the coup de grace that gave singers the independence and significance that were previously exclusive to producers. No longer merely vocalists associated with the stables of the studio owners, The Wailers paved the way for singers to take responsibility for what they record, reducing studio bosses to collaborators, hired producers or consigning them to oblivion. Like the most intense percussive-driven horn music of The Skatalites and its brilliant soloist Don Drummond, the music of The Wailers was/is a music of cathartic experience that somehow spiritually, emotionally and psychologically purified the angst of social degradation.
Marley wrote and achieved hits with Simmer Down, Rude Boy Ska and Jailhouse; while Tosh contributed I’m the Toughest, and Bunny offered I Stand Predominate, a body of work whose sentiments reflected social realities. Marley would further provide the group with substantial hits such as I’m Gonna Put it On, Bus Dem Shut, and Hypocrites in addition to Black Progress and Arise Blackman by Tosh, and Rolling Stone by Livingston that extended the theme.
The Wailers’ music characterized life’s myths and reality as art by its passionate enthusiasm and nuanced suggestiveness; excitement that had impact on their followers, by being staggeringly provocative, and because of its heroic impressiveness, which unfolded like the plots and dramatic text that defines theatrical quality. Their music was inspirational, bold, vibrant, and strikingly remarkable in form and effect. The Wailers were always synthesizing in each composition many different myths, metaphors and realities. They brought out the vulnerability and the agony of the poor with tunes like Hurting Inside, which also communicated the wailing cry of parent and child and also a haunting aura of hopelessness.
On Fussing and Fighting, the group asks, “Why is this fussing and fighting, why is this cheating and lying,” and offers advice: “We should really love each other in peace and harmony instead of fussing and fighting like we aint supposed to be.”
Not only are the lyrics and musical arrangements noteworthy of the overall meaning of these kinds of songs, but also notable were the forces that brought together these three singers with their unique characteristics, including their haunting melancholy, and sweet and sour quality.
Yet with all its hurt, the music was not about defeat. The opposite also abound. Small Axe expresses the defiance of the little people against the big man: “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down”.
The optimism, the hope and the possibilities conveyed by the music they made were also clearly evident. (Both musically and topically), their music (more so than any of their contemporaries,) was both more expansive and expressive than any of their contemporaries’, but that is inevitable, because The Wailers never patterned themselves on metropolitan references. Trench Town Rock, for example, is both lamenting the plight of West Kingston’s inner city and at the same time expressing the “grooving” good times, the humanity and the sense of defiance the marginalized can summon to balance the challenges of their existence. And in its delivery, not only is there a sense of the combative, but also a light-hearted playfulness that captures the dichotomy of ghetto or sufferer life.
Meanings and emotions
The Wailers’ music also demonstrated that some of the meanings and emotions that can be conveyed by being grounded in idiomatic forms could not be conveyed through sensibilities that are copies of another culture, in spite of sharing similar experiences. For instance, the myth of Mr Brown, a song about the sighting of a coffin running around town with two John Crows, one on either end, begins with a holler, perhaps to invoke the presence of spirits or the memory of an ancestor. It is shouted in a kind of yodel that would be out of place for an aggregation whose references are to Broadway or whose style is influenced by the smooth approach of an American soul group. That approach would lose the vernacular meaning of the song. And too many songs with social and political meaning that have become local hits had messages whose impact was lost on listeners because they lacked empathic intimacy. In the case of The Wailers, the energy, the emotional energy that comes from those expressions, is not lost. It captures and communicates the Jamaican capacity for optimism, resilience and vision. Although best known as artistes whose major works reverberated with socio-political imagery, The Wailers were also masters of the romantic ballad. They rendered chestnuts like the Junior Braithwaite lead It Hurts to be Alone, Smokey Robinson’s I Need You, with Bunny Livingston singing lead, and the perennial classic, I’m Still Waiting, which features Marley’s aching voice, all without betraying a hint of sentimentality or over-romanticizing. Later masterpieces would include the poetic brilliance of Sun is Shining, the herb influenced and metaphor-laden Kaya, while the touching mating call inherent in Guava Jelly and the playfully suggestive Stir it Up remains perhaps their most sensual and sexual pieces of creative verse.
The overall oeuvre of The Wailers’ music presents ideas that were unsentimental and complex – Jamaica is paradise but misery for those without the wherewithal; opportunities abound but not for the poor; rude boys are lawless but their benevolence benefits the community; folk culture is rich in metaphors, historic references and mystique but next to European culture it is viewed as quaint; blacks live in hopelessness but with optimism in abundance. The music of The Wailers, therefore, reflects the textural magnificence of life, simultaneously mirroring both sides of a world that inspired the motto ‘Out of Many One People’: the universe of the black, the Jew, the Chinese, Indian, Syrian, the mulatto, the Jamaican, white and the immigrant; the peasant, the farmer, the government and the governed; whether rich or poor, fisherman or preacher man, higgler or merchant, professional or manual laborer, this “out of many one” motley crew shaped this grand narrative that is Jamaican from which the Wailers – Bob, Bunny and Peter- composed a perceptive and insightfully splendid enough epic that makes their best work the kind of classics they have become, and them, the acknowledged masters that they are.
And so, contrary to popular belief as perpetrated by the messages of hired publicists serving the self-interest of his beneficiaries, Marley could not have done it alone. Tosh and Livingston were crucial to Marley’s success. The three were uncannily suited to each other in personality, attitude, talent and philosophy, even in difference.
Herbie Miller is the director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum at the Institute of Jamaica and is a cultural historian with specialized interest in slave culture, Caribbean identity and ethnomusicology. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Source Jamaica Gleaner.com
STORY OF THE SONG: Crown Prince puts ‘The Promised Land’ visit into song
It was recorded while the impact of a trip to Ethiopia, where the Shasamane community for repatriated persons is located, was fresh in Brown’s mind. Saxophonist Tony Greene said that it was recorded in England when Brown was on his way back from Ethiopia. The rhythm had been done by crack British outfit Aswad, who recorded the rhythm as ‘Dub Fire’ and also did Love Fire on the track. “Dennis Brown hears the rhythm and like it and they put him on it,” Greene tells The Sunday Gleaner. Brown also sings in The Promised Land: Then I said to myself give thanks for the Prophet Gad/For he gave I the teachings so I could see/the reality of my true being.
Sangie Davis says it came at about the same time he wrote Make Ends Meet for Brown and before he did the Inseparable album with Willie Lindo. It shows the influence of the Twelve Tribes of Israel group clearly and Davis pointed out that Brown often gave the standard Twelve Tribes of Israel greeting during his concerts.
He said Brown’s Ethiopia trip was solely a visit, not for a performance, and while he is not sure if it was the Crown Prince of Reggae’s first time in the country, it was his introduction to Shasamane. Naturally, then, the song had special meaning for him; Davis said “anybody who know Dennis know is a passion, The Promised Land.“ The Promised Land features a moving horn section and Greene said it was played originally by Michael ‘Bami’ Rose (saxophone), Vin Gordon (trombone) and Edward ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton. “The arrangement, especially the horns arrangement, is very unique. You have to sit down and work it out,” Greene said. And he said The Promised Land was generally played in the ‘sacred’ part of Brown’s live shows, along with Ababajani. Source Jamaica Gleaner.com
Celebrating 50 years of Jamaican popular music – Part 1
Edward Seaga, Gleaner Writer
The year 2010 can be deemed to be the 50th anniversary of Jamaican popular music. While a couple of recordings were composed before that date, notably by Laurel Aitken, there was little commercial thrust of any magnitude. It was in 1960 that Jamaican popular music became sufficiently energized to emerge as a promising cultural medium.
By 1960, Laurel Aitken, Theophilus Beckford and Jackie Edwards had already produced songs composed and performed previously but not recorded as hits until 1960:
- Theophilus Beckford
- Theophilus Beckford
Boogie in my bones
- Laurel Aitken
Tell me Darling
- Jackie Edwards
Oh Manny Oh! By Higgs and Wilson soon followed. It was the first hit produced on vinyl and this transformed record production from soft acetate-based records, which had limited life, to vinyl which was a durable material suitable for an industry. Manny Oh was my first record produced in my early years of promoting Jamaican music.
Yet none of these tunes could be said to have had an identifiable Jamaican signature. It was the emergence of the ska that produced the first Jamaican popular rhythm for music. The origin of ska is not clear but it is linked mostly to Clement Dodd’s Sir Coxsone studio, where Clement Johnson (Clue J) and Ernie Ranglin were searching for a rhythm.
Early recordings struck truly indigenous note as Eric Monty Morris led off with the folk tune Sammy Dead followed soon by the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty both set to the “riddim” of the ska beat. But it was baby-voiced Millie Small singing a cover of My Boy Lollipop in 1963 (original by Barbie Gaye) to the ska beat that gave Jamaican music its first big lift although it was not an original Jamaican tune. It was produced in London by Chris Blackwell and was a huge hit on the charts locally and overseas, selling seven million copies.
The ska was well received in London where it became known as the blue beat. The popularity in London linked back to Jamaica where, as a result of the acceptance in London, ska became accepted uptown in Jamaica. Previously, it was considered downtown music and was ignored in favor of foreign tunes.
The great instrumental band, The Skatalites, gave ska another big boost with their resounding hits of which Occupation was the most memorable. The band featured the great saxophonist Roland Alphanso.
By 1967, however, the Jamaican penchant for creativeness turned to a new rhythm, rocksteady. Hopeton Lewis was recording a song aptly called Take it easy and had to slow down the rhythm because he could not keep up with it. This slower rhythm became known as rocksteady.
Many new hit songs were produced in this period most notably Desmond Dekker’s triumphant hit Israelites which went to the top of the UK charts and nearly the top in America. Although Dekker was lamenting the hard life of the Jamaican peasantry (“get up in the morning slaving for breads),” equating it with the rough passage of Israelites in biblical lore, Jewish people in the United States associated the lyrics with their own lament, pushing the sales.
Dekker was also prominent in the rude-boy era of 1966/67 when gun violence erupted after a massive raid by the police on the criminal den Back-o-Wall. His 007/ Shanty Town (“dem a loot, dem a shoot, dem a wail a Shanty Town“) was a signature tune.
It was in this period that Derrick Morgan, Toots and Maytals and Jimmy Cliff flourished. Derrick Morgan’s clash with Prince Buster shows the versatility of the two artistes. Buster was offended that Morgan switched from Buster’s recording studio to Leslie Kong, another prominent studio. He chastised Morgan for the switch in a very sharp attack Black Head Chineman, only to find himself on the defense with an equally caustic response by Morgan, Blazing Fire. The tradition of clashes commenced here and mushroomed over later years where, in the dancehall period, it sometimes got out of control.
Toots Hibbert, lead singer of the Maytals, spent a short time in prison for possession of a small amount of ganja. He was given the number 5446 while incarcerated. On his release, he spared no time in producing one of the most popular hit tunes of Jamaican music, 54-46 That’s My Number.
But it was Jimmy Cliff, a perennial favorite through the years, who defined the late 1960s, to early 1970s. First, he performed the beautiful melody “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” a timeless, number-one hit internationally. In this same period, he not only produced one of the classic tunes of Jamaican music, The Harder They Come, but acted the lead role in Perry Henzell’s equally classic film by the same title. This lifted Jimmy Cliff’s status in the global perspective of Jamaican music to stardom.
At the juncture of the first and second decades after independence, a short but potent period of far-reaching change occurred, introducing dub and deejay. Dubbing was the result of an experiment by King Tubby, the master cutter for Duke Reid. Together with Coxsone, Duke Reid was the top producer of recordings in the early period of the emergence of Jamaican music. Tubby found that leaving out the vocals in certain sections of play allowing the beat and instruments to dominate created an ecstatic reaction by patrons when the vocals returned. With this discovery, dubbing was born.
Even greater creativity
But with even greater creativity, the vocal blanks on the dubs were creatively used for “toasting” the patrons with limericks, nursery rhyme phrasings, greetings, bravado and other lively chatter. The patrons loved it, and the deejay, as the operator was called, became an entry to the music scene. The first deejay hit was by King Stitt who recorded Fire Corner. Out of this emerged U-Roy (Ewart Beckford) who handled the sound for King Stitt. He achieved success with quick hits that ranked one, two and three on the chart at the same time, an unprecedented feat. These were:
Wear you to the Ball
Wake the Town
Rule the Nation
A most far-reaching development emerged from the experimentation with the recording process and playing of records at dances. A Jamaican living in New York, known as Cool Herc who operated a sound system there, discovered the deejay. He returned to New York where he introduced his find. It was an immediate hit and soon became an established part of dances. Later, this morphed into a related genre, rap, which has become dominant in the United States. From a seed planted in Jamaica, a mighty tree has grown.
Back in Jamaica, Bob Marley was becoming an international star. The reggae rhythm was now in vogue. Everything else faded, musical interests shifted. Reggae took the ascendancy worldwide.
The decade of the 1970s had other attractions: the prolific use of political songs befitting the political climate of the time. Better Must Come by Delroy Wilson, although written by the composer about his own condition, was quickly adopted by the Michael Manley campaign both as a slogan and a song for the 1972 general-election campaign to depict the general disposition of the people.
Dub and deejay music, although striking resonant chords with Jamaicans soon faded. Dennis Brown, a child prodigy from west Kingston, was growing up to become a dominant rising star in the early 1970s. He was a prolific composer and a performer who could fill the house and stop the show (No Man is an Island; West Bound Train; Revolution).
But reggae was yet to reach its peak. It was Bob Marley, now performing without the Wailers, who became the international star, successfully promoting reggae across the world. Bob became a global figure. He and other reggae stars sang and performed reggae on recordings in homes and live on stages worldwide, transforming it from ethnic to mainstream music. This was a phenomenal development for independent Jamaica. Edward Seaga is a former prime minister. He is now the pro-chancellor of UTech and a distinguished fellow at the UWI. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Source Jamaica Gleaner.com
March 24, 2010 4 Comments
VP RECORD HOT SHOT OF THE WEEK
VP Records Presents Introducing Romain Virgo
Jimmy Cliff Inducted in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Swedish pop group Abba, punk pioneers the Stooges, Jamaican reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, The Phil Collins led British band Genesis and The Hollies were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. More than 500 rock experts voted. The hall of fame is in Cleveland, Ohio.
Cliff songs and staring role in the movie “The Harder They Come” helped spread reggae far beyond Jamaica. He is only the second reggae musician to join the hall, following Bob Marley. “This was a new music form,” Mr. Cliff said, “with a new culture.” He was inducted by Wyclef Jean, the Haitian rapper, singer and songwriter from the Fugees. “When we saw Jimmy Cliff we saw ourselves,” Mr. Jean said.
Mr. Cliff listed rockers as his inspirations, and said joining the hall was “another stepping stone to higher heights.” His voice was clear and buoyant as he sang “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” “Many Rivers to Cross” and, with Mr. Jean, “The Harder They Come.”
Musicians Jimmy Cliff (left) and Wyclef Jean talk to the media in the press room at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, yesterday in New York. Cliff was one of the inductees of the 25th anniversary class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Jean was a presenter. (Photos: AP)
The inclusion of Abba raised eyebrows of fans questioning whether the light pop group — for all its mammoth and enduring popularity — qualifies as a rock band. “Nominating Abba to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is sort of like saying the best dessert you’ve ever tasted was a hostess cupcake,” Time magazine complained. But Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation CEO Joel Peresman said the collection “represents a great cross-section of artistes”.
Phil Collins also welcomed the range of artistes, saying “there seems to be more of a variety this year, from Abba, us, Jimmy Cliff: It seems to be a general cross section of music”.
Jimmy Cliff raises his trophy during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange saluted Jimmy Cliff induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and congratulated international reggae artiste and actor.
“Jimmy Cliff is most deserving of this prestigious award and this honor. He has produced excellent music over the years and has been a fine representative of Jamaica, bringing reggae music to the peoples of the world. “This award recognizes the impact reggae has had on the world and the invaluable role Jimmy Cliff has played in achieving that.” Congratulations Jimmy. The whole country is proud of you.”
Bounty Killer returns to court
Alliance leader Bounty Killer is expected to return to court on March 24th to face charges of illegal possession of firearm, assault at common law and unlawful wounding.
The deejay, whose real name is Rodney Basil Price, is accused of using a firearm to assault a cop during an altercation in New Kingston in September 2007.
It is alleged that on September 27, 2007, Bounty Killer and a group of men reportedly assaulted the complainant along St Lucia Avenue. It is further alleged that an off-duty policeman left a club and saw a number of vehicles blocking a section of the roadway. Several men, including Bounty Killer, and the late dancer David ‘Ice’ Smith, were allegedly at the scene. Another man, Callis Bowen, who is believed to be an ex-policeman, is also jointly charged with the deejay.
The policeman tried to get the men to move the vehicles but was reportedly assaulted and fired at. A report was made to the New Kingston Police and a file later sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who ruled that Price should be charged.
Killer, who has been at the forefront of dancehall for almost two decades, has had a checkered record with the law. He was recently freed of assault charges in a matter where he was accused of assaulting a female when the complainant decided she did not want to pursue the matter.
The deejay was charged with possession of ganja by police in the business and clubbing district of New Kingston last month, just days after he pleaded not guilty to drug charges in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court.
Lawyer decries treatment of jailed reggae singer
By ELAINE SILVESTRINI | The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 22, 2010
TAMPA – Grammy-nominated reggae singer Buju Banton is being treated “inhumanely” in the Pinellas County Jail as he awaits trial on federal drug charges, his lawyer said in a court filing.
Because he “had the audacity to share his food with another inmate,” Banton was placed Thursday in a maximum security wing where he is unable to prepare the vegetarian diet he requires for religious purposes, according to defense attorney David Oscar Markus.
Pinellas sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tom Nestor said Banton was disciplined because he was “using food as currency.” He said inmates are told such behavior is prohibited.
Nestor also said the jail does not have a maximum security wing, but that Banton is in an area known as “close custody,” which has increased monitoring.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was arrested in Miami in December and transferred in January to the Pinellas County Jail, which holds federal prisoners awaiting trial. He is being held without bail on charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting his co-defendants in possessing a firearm during the course of cocaine distribution.
Markus is asking a federal judge to release his client on bail. Failing that, Markus requested that Banton be moved to a “non-maximum security” wing.
He said Banton’s “mental and physical health has been rapidly deteriorating,” and that the transfer has hindered his ability to prepare for his April 19 trial.
Banton, who is from Jamaica, previously had been allowed to prepare his own food using items purchased in the commissary. He “is now in a maximum security wing for caring enough to offer food to another inmate who was hungry, and genuinely believing there was nothing wrong in doing so,” Markus wrote.
Markus said his client “is being punished for who he is.” He said the transfer decision was made by a corporal “who has had it out for Mr. Myrie during his entire stay.”
Markus’ court filing includes a modified quote from the novel “The Trial,” by Franz Kafka:
The “guiding principle [of the Pinellas county jail] is this: guilt is never to be doubted. Other courts cannot follow that principle, for they consist of several opinions and have higher courts to scrutinize them. This is not the case here.”
BUJU PUNISHED FOR SHARING FOOD – LAWYER SAYS HE IS BEING TARGETED BY WARDERS
An act of kindness by Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton while being detained in the Pinellas County Jail in Florida has resulted in him being confined in the maximum security wing of the penal institution and has contributed to him losing around 40 pounds, according to his lawyer David Markus.
That’s the claim included in an eight-page bond application filed to the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, on Sunday by Markus.
The court will hear Markus’ emergency application for bond on Friday. Markus said he hopes to have Buju returned to the non-maximum security unit or have him transferred to immigration custody.
Buju and two alleged co-conspirators have been in custody in the United States since last December when they were charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine and aiding and abetting the carrying of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime.
SHARED A MEAL
The lanky Rastafarian, who is a vegetarian, reportedly shared a meal with a fellow inmate, which is a violation, and was sent to the maximum security wing for at least 30 days. Markus said he was made aware of the situation on March 18.
Since being transferred, Markus said Buju, born Mark Myrie, has been unable to prepare his own meals and “has not been provided with a diet in accordance with his religious views”.
In the bond application, Markus also intimated that his client might be the victim of personal attacks by the warders.
“Mr Myrie has been moved from floor to floor in the jail without explanation and treated differently than the other inmates. The decision to place Mr Myrie in a maximum security wing weeks before his upcoming trial suggests that something else is going on,” said Markus in his application, which included a footnote naming a corporal “who has had it out for Mr Myrie during his entire stay”.
The attorney added that the violation was a minor one not fitting the punishment and that “in sum, Mr Myrie is now in a maximum security wing for caring enough to offer food to another inmate who was hungry and genuinely believing there was nothing wrong in doing so”.
Food and nutrition consultant Dr Heather Little-White said if Buju were not getting his desired meal, he could be losing an average of two pounds per week. This would result in his “mental frame not being as strong and he would become physically weak”.
“He would also have deficiencies in vitamins and minerals and would need to be examined by a doctor. Until proven guilty, his likes and dislikes should be taken into account,” said Little-White.
Markus said Buju’s transfer to maximum security has been affecting his client mentally and physically and, by extension, the legal team’s preparation for the start of his trial on April 19.
“For example, this week when counsel attempted to visit Mr Myrie, counsel was required to wait over two hours until he could see Mr Myrie,” he stated in his application.
In a radio interview yesterday, Markus said the delay was a ploy to derail his team from winning the trial but that he was “optimistic and we are going to fight this”.
Buju’s arrest in Florida in December came at the tail end of a troublesome year, which included a number of cancelled concerts in the USA brought on by gay rights groups and an out-of-court settlement with former common-law wife Lorna Strachan after she filed a suit in the Supreme Court against him. Source: www.jamaica-star.com
Jay Sean, Sean Paul collaboration featured on Now thats what I call Music
Club-banger Do You Remember by British pop star Jay Sean and Jamaican dancehall star, Sean Paul, will be featured on the 75th edition of the compilation series, Now That’s What I Call Music.
Do You Remember debuted in the Billboard top ten of its Hot 100 chart. A worldwide iTunes favorite, it stayed on the top ten charts as well. Born at the MTV Video Music Awards, the collaboration also features rap/hip-hop crunk king Lil’ Jon.
Also featured on Now 75th are chart-topping artistes such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Black Eyed Peas, Iyaz, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Owl City and Alicia Keys. Sean Paul said that he was “overjoyed” with the track being featured on Now That’s What I Call Music.
“… It was fun putting a yardie flavor on the song. The track and the video turned out well, the Grammy-winning artiste said. More than 30-million YouTube viewers have seen the video of the song and 11-million have listen on Jay Sean’s MySpace page.
Sean Paul 2009, album Imperial Blaze, nabbed a Grammy nomination, became the first dancehall album to top the Billboard Rap/Hip-Hop charts, and made Sean Paul the first Jamaican and dancehall artiste to do so. The album also debuted at #1 in Japan, was certified gold in France, and dominated charts in Europe and the Middle East. Source YardFlex
Ky-Mani Marley & Publisher Resolve depute; Begins City Book Tour
CaribWorldNews: Ky-Mani Marley MySpace page states that he has made amends with Dr. Farrah Gray of Farrah Gray Publishing over the final edit of his book and has kicked off his book tour. Marley had initially said Gray distorted his words through unauthorized captions and changes to the cover and original title. Marley book tour began in Atlanta on March 17th at a Barnes and Nobles. Gray and Marley will be going on a 27-city tour, both domestic and international.
Marley’s book, `Dear Dad: Where’s the Family in Our Family, Today?,` tells the story of an outcast son, born out of wedlock, who was abandoned financially by the Marley family after his father’s death. Forced to grow up in a poverty-subsumed corner of Miami, KY-Mani Marley found a way to his own stardom.
Marley had said he intended to share a story of redemption and healing and the bond of blood and a common name. Instead, he said he disagreed with the final product. A teaser on the bottom of the cover reads, “The Story the Marley Family Apparently Doesn’t Want You to Know” while the working title was “Dear Dad: The Marley Son Who Persevered From the Streets to Prominence.”
`My issue was with the subtitle only,` said Marley in a statement. `During the final edit of the book, I spoke with my sister, Cedella Marley, CEO of Tuff Gong Records, and I advised Dr. Farrah Gray that some changes had to be made (but) by the time I had the changes ready, it was the day of the printing, which would have obviously complicated the logistics, causing Farrah Gray Publishing damages and disruption. `
`Farrah Gray Publishing felt as if the subtitle was needed to explain the complexity of the situation. After my approaching Dr. Farrah Gray again and expressing my limited concerns, Farrah Gray Publishing has agreed to modify the subtitle on all new copies of `Dear Dad` and we are celebrating the resolution of this modification,` he added.
VP Records Junior Kelly Red Pond’ album on April 6, 2010 ‘
Rasta man, Junior Kelly is back with his fourth VP Records album ‘Red Pond’. The album features 15 new Junior Kelly tracks, with the majority of the production coming from the world famous Firehouse Crew. ‘Red Pond’ continues on his mission of uplifting the people and providing positive music content.
Mavado, Vybz Kartel concert still on in Barbados-
The show will go on. A report carried Sunday in the Barbados Nation newspaper stated that, despite suggestions from the police to cancel the event, the unity concert featuring the two Jamaican dancehall artists Mavado, Vybz Kartel will be held as scheduled on March 27.
The show is being staged by Jack Farrell, who has been named as joint promoter with the government-affiliated Barbados Youth Action Programme.
The Nation’s report quoted Farrell as saying that his group had hired “a number of reputable security officers, which include a number of former policemen”. The promoters, in reaction to word from Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin that he did not have the manpower to police the show, say they have also secured the services of a security firm to police the event.
According to the Nation, Farrell has called on the police chief to rethink his position of giving the thumbs down to the March 27 event.
Farrell last week is reported as saying that a cancellation of the show would mean a loss of more than $200,000 for his company.
“The reason why we had to bring these two men together is because the youth had this thing going too far.” Hamilton Lashley approached me and asked me if I could get these two men to come to Barbados and get them to go into the schools and let the youth know that this thing with Gully and Gaza is just a Jamaican thing and they were carrying it too far,” he said.
“That is why we are bringing the show to Barbados to show the people that what they are saying about the men (Vybz Kartel and Mavado) is not so right now and the men realized that they made mistakes,” the Saturday Sun reported. The police chief recently said he did not support the idea of bringing the two entertainers to Barbados for a show and urged the promoters to rethink their position.
Vybz Kartel studio closed
Vybz Kartel has upped the ante in the mushrooming battle over the closure of the Havendale, St. Andrew studio — which was shuttered by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation for zoning violations last week — by alleging that the McGregor’s, owners of the Big Ship recording studio, had somehow played a role in the studio’s closure.
“I heard from accurate sources that it was the “s— p—” Stephen McGregor and “bad mind” Freddie McGregor call dem police friend and dem friend in high places fi fight me studio but me want see if KSAC nah lock dung Freddie McGregor studio which is the same Havendale. Dem a gwaan like a dem alone have links inna high places,” Vybz Kartel said.
The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) closed the recording studio frequented by dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel in Havendale, St. Andrew last week. The studio was closed after a notice was served on Father Romie, the owner of the property. The police said no permit had been granted for the studio to be constructed in a residential area. The police and the KSAC have made periodic checks to see whether the owner had complied with the notice.
Freddie McGregor is a respected veteran of the music business whose career began at the age of seven. Known for hits such as “Big Ship”, “Push Comes to Shove”, and “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely”, he started the Big Ship label in 1984.
He later established the Big Ship Recording Studio, and he has produced many artists including Luciano and Mikey Spice. His son, Stephen, has won the producer of the year title two consecutive years running. It is highly unlikely that a shrewd businessman like Freddie McGregor would not have applied for a permit.
Etana scores big with August Town
Soulful Reggae singer Etana is riding high on the buzz of the song August Town produced by London-based producer, Curtis Lynch, on Inner City Lady Riddim for Necessary Mayhem Records..
August Town has found its way onto the Dub vendor (England’s Choice FM), Sound quake (Germany) and Riddim (Germany) Charts. In the fall, Etana went to England to promote August Town and other new music
Lisa Hyper to do remix with Foxy Brown and Ron Browz
Lisa Hyper just finished recording collaboration with Major Mackerel and have been approached by Platinum Camp and Daddy Biggs to do a remix of a single with Foxy Brown and Ron Browz
March 14, 2010 1 Comment
Cliff Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
RETURNS WITH MOST EXTENSIVE U.S. TOUR IN 20 YEARS
“It will be given to me but it is for all Jamaica, Caribbean and African people all of us. I am prepared for it and I am preparing for it the way I get ready to play my part in any performance” says Jimmy Cliff, singer/songwriter/ actor as he prepares for his induction tonight’s into the Elite Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York. Other inductees are musical giants ABBA, The Stooges, The Hollies and Genesis. Joel Peresman, president and chief executive officer of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said the inductees “have contributed tremendously to the music industry”. At tonight’s awards ceremony, all inductees will be performing music specially requested by the organization. Cliff told The Gleaner that he would be singing The Harder They Come, Many Rivers To Cross and You Can Get It If You Really Want. Wyclef Jean, Haitian singer/songwriter and social activist, will perform Cliff’s induction The ceremony will air live on Fuse TV.
Grammy-winning musician/actor/singer/songwriter/producer Jimmy Cliff returns to the world stage in 2010 with his fullest slate of activity in decades. On March 15, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York City. Jimmy Cliff is the only living musician to receive Jamaica’s Order of Merit, the country’s highest honor for achievement in the arts & sciences. In 2007, he was also honored with a doctorate from The University of the West Indies. Cliff will embark on his most extensive North American tour in over twenty years beginning June 11 at the Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.The tour will include stops at Bonnaroo’s main stage, Toronto’s Massey Hall, and the Hollywood Bowl. Jimmy Cliff is also putting the finishing touches on his first album of new material in six years, to be released later in 2010. He has collaborated with countless other legends including The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer and Annie Lennox. Bob Dylan has called Cliff’s “Vietnam” the best protest song he ever heard, and a short list of artists who have covered Cliff’s compositions ranges from Willie Nelson and Cher, to New Order and Fiona Apple
THE AMERICAN CINEMIQUE HONORS JAMAICA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL FILMKAKER
Perry Henzell has been called “the most important filmmaker to emerge from the Caribbean.” His landmark film “The Harder They Come” was responsible for introducing Reggae music to the world. With unique insight, visual sense and original thinking, he forever changed the way we look at things. Through his films, stage plays, and novels, the worldwide impact of his work continues to grow. The American Cinematheque salutes the memory of Perry Henzell with an evening dedicated to his feature films On Friday March 19th at the Egyptian Theater.
Following the success of THE HARDER THEY COME, Perry Henzell directed part two of his Jamaican trilogy, titled NO PLACE LIKE HOME. The trilogy’s the footage had been lost, it was found 30 years later and Henzell’s follow-up to his breakthrough classic can be seen on the big screen! The trilogy’s which follows New York producer Susan as she ventures into the Jamaican countryside in search of a runaway actress. After working on the film throughout the 1970s, Henzell’s follow-up to his breakthrough classic can be seen on the big screen! With music by Bob Marley & the Wailers, Toots & the Maytals and Peter Tosh and introducing Grace Jones and P.J. Soles.
Discussion in between films with Justine Henzell (Perry’s daughter), producer David Garonzik, P.J. Soles (actress), Arthur Gorson (director’s friend and producer), Roger Steffens (reggae historian) and special surprise guests.
Barbados shuts out dancehall-
A Barbados minister of education and human resource development, government, Ronald Jones has moved to shut out toxic Jamaican dancehall music from his country. He said the heavy diet of dancehall artistes performing in Barbados is overkill and doing more harm than good. “Barbados Vybz Kartel and Mavado can stay in Jamaica.” Barbados police commissioner denied the notorious Jamaican artistes permission to perform in the Caribbean nation. “As a country, we must say enough is enough,” the Barbados Nation quoted the minister as having said.
“This is Barbados. It must not go down the path of some other Caribbean societies. If reaching First-World status means we have to embrace all and sundry, then let us keep the status that we have,” Jones added, according to the Nation. The education minister argues the following without offering any definitive proof: that there was a linkage between dancehall music and some of the increasingly aggressive behaviour exhibited by young in Barbados, the music have made Barbadians loud, uncaring and uncharitable and also blames dancehall for Caribbean that refuse to welcome Barbadians anymore and for planes in the Caribbean that won’t transport Barbadians.
Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s minister of youth, sports and culture, responding to this latest saga in dancehall, said: “I am concerned and I have expressed concern about the content in some dancehall songs. I believe strongly in freedom of expression, but that comes with great responsibility. We can do without some of the lyrics, not only in dancehall recordings, but soca and hip hop too, and that is why we took steps to clean up the airwaves. This is an ongoing process.”
Rihanna Wants Agent Sasco to Be Her Rude Boy
Assassin a.k.a. Agent Sasco has had a great start for 2010, he and his Boardhouse crew have completed a remix of Rihanna’s “Rude Boy.” The remix has Rihanna singing on a reggae beat while Assassin brings the “Rude Boy” element to it.
THERE’S HOPE FOR REGGAE MUSIC, SAYS DUANE STEPHENSON
Duane Stephenson & Stan E Smith @ Club Crossroads Wash DC
Singer, Duane Stephenson, successful maiden three-week European tour with Tarrus Riley and I-Octane has him bursting with confidence about the future of Reggae music.
To emphasize his point he noted “Three people who had never toured before managed to fill venues night after night, despite freezing temperatures. We played to predominantly white audiences and they sang the songs word for word. In some places there were literally one or two Africans and then in France there were a few Jamaicans, but it was mainly white people who came out to support us. And we made sure to leave a positive and lasting impression on them.”
Duane’s debut cd album August Town did well both locally and overseas was surprised that fans knew his repertoire so well. He says his set comprised songs from the album, as well as two singles from his upcoming album, Black Gold and Sufferers Heights.
“We lived up to our word and delivered professional sets, we were on time and had no problems with promoters,” he explained, adding, “People deal with you according to how you deal with them.” The tour close was on Valentine’s Day with a sold-out concert. at the Brixton Academy in London featuring Lukey D, Bitty McLean, John Holt and Freddy Jackson. Adapted from Dancehallreggaeweseh.com
Mr. Vegas and Fay Ann Lyons sing ‘Bring It’
Dancehall maestro, Mr. Vegas, and soca queen, Fay Ann Lyons, have combined two of the Caribbean’s musical genres soca and dancehall on the ragga-soca track “Bring It; for the ICC World Twenty20 2010 Tournament. ICC WT20 WI 2010 Regional Marketing Manager, Ms. Michelle Gibson says,” This song makes you want to move, to dance. The lyrics, the melody – they are reflective of the essence of our lifestyle and cricketing passion in the West Indies. Partying and playing cricket go hand in hand. Music has always been an essential part of cricket matches in the Caribbean, whether it’s deejays or tuk bands or the unmistakable sound of the conch shell.”
GRAMPS TO COLLABORATE WITH MUSIQ SOULCHILD & ZIGGY MARLEY ON COUNTRY/R&B ALBUM
Reggae singer Gramps Morgan Reggae singer Gramps Morgan is very busy man after a whirlwind year in 2009. He launched a solo CD “Two Sides Of My Heart Vol 1.” for which he won the “Album of the Year” at the 2010 EME Awards in Jamaica. He’s currently in studios recording his next big project – a Country and R&B album tentatively titled “2 Sides Of My Heart Vol. 2″; a studio album with his brothers and sister from Morgan Heritage, h He’s also working with J Boog from Hawaii on his new album, is helping his dad Denroy Morgan (I’ll Do Anything For You) on a soon to be released autobiography and on a special project for Disney and looking forward to doing some stuff on the big screen which will be coming soon.
The Country and R&B CD “2 Sides Vol. 2″ promises to be an eclectic blend of R&B and Country songs. It will feature collaborations with R&B singer Musiq Soulchild and reggae superstar Ziggy Marley. Among the featured tracks that are already completed are “Delicate Balance,” “Jamaica” and “Better Man.” Tracks will be produced by Willie Lat from LA, Shannon Sanders and Blu Miller from Nashville. The disc will hit stores later this year. The project Gramps’ label Dada Son Entertainment will assume responsibility for he is open to a distribution deal with a major label.”
Saxophonist Cedric Brooks recovering but critical-
Saxophonist 67-year-old Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks, remains in critical condition but is recovering a “severe case of pneumonia which led to other complications” in Bronx Lebanon Hospital in New York City hospital after being in a coma for three weeks ago.
According to Brooks’ son Wayne his father was transferred on March 1 from its intensive care unit. “He was transferred to a different floor to better monitor his respiratory needs. Although he is now opening his eyes, his condition is still considered critical.” At the time of his illness, Brooks was scheduled to tour Asia and Australia with legendary ska band, The Skatalites. He has been a member of the band since 1998.
Wayne Brooks said his father was also heading a reunion of his Light of Saba band which recorded critically acclaimed albums during the 1970s.One of his first major assignments came in 1969 with a new act named Burning Spear on the song Door Peep. One year later, Brooks and trumpeter David Madden, another Alpha graduate, had a hit with the instrumental Money Maker.
Top acts to perform in Florida at To Haiti with Love
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Vice Mayor Lauderhill, Florida Dale Holness, businesses and community organizations has joined forces with international and local recording artistes to create To Haiti with A Concert for Life, Love Benefit Concert, a concert for life. This event will be held on March 28 at the Central Broward Regional Park. It will feature several musical genres including, kompa, reggae, R&B, hip-hop, soca, gospel and Latin. Scheduled to perform are Nadine Sutherland, Glen Washington, Singing Melody, Bar-bee, Abijah, Junior Tucker, Causion, King Banton, Tabou Combo, Nu Look, Jahnesta, Sweet Mickey, Sister Sledge, Donna Allen, Whodini, Special Ed, Twiggy, Maurice, Hope for Tomorrow, Sherell Rosegreen, DJ Griot and many more to be announced later. Proceeds from this concert will benefit Haitians affected by the devastating January 12 earthquake that destroyed Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and will be distributed by Food for the Poor, Minority Development & Empowerment, Inc and the Broward County Haiti Relief Task Force.
Gyptian’s career resurrected by Hold Yuh-
Gyptian is back on the musical radar with the Hold Yuh, which is currently heating up crossover radio stations US. Gyptian past chart-topping hit include Serious Times, minor hits like Mama Don’t Cry, I Can Feel Your Pain and Beautiful Lady. VP Records doing full promotion Hold Yuh is already in the top five on influential urban radio station NYC Hot 97 FM’s playlist. According to Cristy Barber, vice president for Marketing and Promotions at VP Records, the radio story for Hold Yuh has just begun. “The digital single is number two on I-tunes.
Award Winning Season for Dancehall’s Best-
Recording artistes Sean Paul took home the “International Artiste of the Year” & Favorite Local International Act award respectively. While Toots Hibbert and Denroy Morgan copped the Role Models of the Year. New dancehall’ sensation Ding Dong copped Song of the Year” &Collaboration of the Year w/singer Chevaughn for hit Holiday) Favorite Music Video and Favorite Male Dancer. Tifa, walked away with the Most Improved Artiste Award, “Favorite Female Artiste & DJ Young, also the Hot and Hype Female of the Year” award at the recently concluded Excellence in Music and Entertainment (EME) and the Youth View Awards ceremony. .
KY-MANI MARLEY’S RAW BOOK TAPES TO BE RELEASED BY FARRAH GRAY PUBLISHING
Family pressure to suppress the tell-all book Dear Dad: Where’s The Family In Our Family, Today? has been enormous and Ky-Mani Marley’s outright denial of his authored memoir has angered the publisher Farrah Gray Publishing Company. The publishing company was caught off-guard by the intensely negative reaction that the book must be halted, changed or not be published at all. Gray is releasing interview tapes to the media, which will reveal sharply expressive and intimate details of his life and Marley family members. “Dear Dad is currently ranked # 1 Reggae bestseller in the world and ranks in the top 10 celebrity memoirs, according to Amazon. Dr. Farrah Gray the publisher said “Ky-Mani’s interview with Jamaica’s The Gleaner newspaper and numerous other media outlets, including his public statements on his Facebook and MySpace pages, I feel his denials have thrown me and the publishing company under the bus. I didn’t write his book, I published it. This is his story; these are his words and now I have to prove it.”
MIGHTY DIAMONDS RECEIVE RAGGA MUFFINS FESTIVAL AWARD RECOGNITION
In honor of more than 40 years together as a vocal trio, the Mighty Diamonds received the Ragga Muffins Festival Award of Recognition on Feb. 21.2010.
In November, 2009, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke recognized the Mighty Diamonds with a Congressional Proclamation for their 40 years of hits and contributions to the music industry. In 2006 the Diamonds received a prestigious national award from then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for their artistic contribution to Jamaican culture.
The Mighty Diamonds was formed in Trench Town Jamaica in 1969.
They dominated the reggae landscape with hits such as “Pass the Kutchie,” “Right Time,” ” Back Whey” Tamarind Farm,” “Have Mercy” “Natural Natty,” “Them Never Love Poor Marcus” “Reggae Street” Africa and “Sweet Lady.”
Their breakthrough album “Right Time,” which generated hits such as “Africa,” “Have Mercy” “Natural Natty,” “Them Never Love Poor Marcus” elevated the group to star status in 1975. “Right Time” brought together the Jamaican musical elite such as Sly and Robby (drum and bass) and Ansell Collins (Keyboards). The reggae party album, “Pass the Kutchie,” has been sampled by everyone from Lauryn Hill to Michael Franti to Wyclef Jean.
The Mighty Diamonds have also released their latest single, “Special Lady,” a remake of Ray, Goodman and Brown’s 1980’s ballad, on their independent label, Street Corner Music. Critics Rave Over the Mikie Bennett-produced My Brother’s Keeper Producer Mikie Bennett has produced a song, an emotional tour de force called My Brother’s Keeper with an ensemble cast that includes Mr. Vegas, Natel, Bunny Rugs, Cherine Anderson, Ghost, Roslyn Williams, Chevelle Franklin, Nicky B and Singing Melody. “Although inspired by the tragedy in Haiti this song is a response to the reaction of a few who reacted negatively to us opening our hearts and our doors to those in need. This is an affirmation that we all are one,” producer Mikie Bennett said.
The song was written in one day and it took two weeks to be recorded at Grafton Studios because of the hectic schedules of all the artistes involved. “We were hoping to get Jimmy Cliff at one time because the song was partially inspired by one of his songs, We Are All One, but the major reason for doing the song was our reaction to the Haitians coming here, that was what really inspired it, that scared reaction that kinda surprised me, so this is a reaffirmation that they are our brothers and sisters. Bennett said Sean Paul benefits from collaboration Deejay Sean Paul has a 19 track mix tape, The Odyssey, and he is charting on the Hot 100 Billboard charts with Do You Remember featuring/ Lil Jon & British R&B singer Jay Sean. The song peaked at 10 on Hot 100 Billboard charts. The single is getting underground plays. It is featured on The Odyssey. Paul’s mix tape features released and unreleased tracks with artistes including Jigzag, Chi Chinching, Sean Kingston, Chris Brown.
Cherine Rocks Madison Square Garden
Cherine Anderson rocked back to back, sold out nights at the famed Madison Square Garden, her signature voice chanting “Come Down, Selector!” was heard in a surprising place; blasting from an intro on CNN’s morning show. As the hit song “Say Hey (I Love You)” rang out to start the day for countless viewers, it capped off an amazing weekend for Cherine in the Big Apple! There are very few things that could stop the determined Dancehall-Soul-stress from giving a memorable and energetic performance. Braving freezing temperatures and a snowstorm that dumped over 20 inches of snow in New York’s Central Park, Cherine came out blazing, bringing Jamaican sunshine and her Dancehall-Soul energy to two sold out performances at the famed Madison Square Garden. On the first night, Cherine took the stage like a storm and really got the crowd up and moving. Dressed in a classic custom made blazer of royal blue with neon orange accents, Cherine represented more than just Jamaica; she also represented New York by wearing the team colors of the New York Knicks. Backstage she was again rewarded with positive feedback for her performance including a compliment of “great performance” from Warner Music Group’s Vice Chairman, Lyor Cohen. On the second night, Anderson delighted the audience as she rushed onto the stage excitedly and started the show asking, “New York, yuh ready? Cause dis is a Dancehall-Soul ting”! Her entrance ignited many to stand up for what an impressive one hour set was filled with Dancehall-Soul-Rebel-Rocking goodness. The back to back Madison Square Garden performances were a first for both Cherine and Michael Franti & Spearhead. Cherine continues to make a statement with her powerful voice as well as her unbelievable onstage presence. As we spoke with her, it was clear that her first appearance inside Madison Square Garden really meant a lot to the up and coming starlet. “I really am in awe of this venue. There have been so many legends that have performed on this stage. I just get goose bumps being in this building.” Performing alongside Michael Franti & Spearhead, the onstage chemistry was a real delight for the fans in the arena. On this New York tour stop Cherine continued her movement of appreciating new fans and charming current fans as she took time to meet them and sign autographs. According to Cherine, “As the tour continues I am learning a lot of positive things which are only making me a better performer. I am enjoying meeting the many music fans throughout the tour and having a chance to thank them for their support.” Sizzla Kalonji Performs for Zimbabwe’s President Sizzla Kalonji was in Zimbabwe as an official guest to perform at The President’s Birthday Celebration and continued to Ghana to perform two shows on March 5th and 6th for The Independence Day Celebrations, while launching new album Crucial Times produced by Homer Harris which is number 5 on the Billboard Reggae Charts.
Sizzla as the official guest of the Zimbabwe government perform at an all night birthday gala organized for President Robert Mugabe, who will be 86, at the Bulawayo’ Trade Fair Grounds. It was hosted by the Director of Communications in the Information and Publicity Ministry, Retired Major Mutambudzi.
During his performance Sizzla was greeted by wild scenes as he appeared on stage under heavy police security. The Zimbabwe Times newspaper reports that wild scenes greeted his appearance on stage at 2:15 am. Ecstatic fans broke a human barricade that was formed by the police to have a closer look at the reggae star on stage. Suddenly, the police started beating the fans to control them. The commotion caused a brief stoppage of Sizzla’s performance. Kalonji came to the rescue of his Zimbabwe fans after they were beaten by riot police and soldiers.
He later pleaded with the police to stop the beatings. “Please, security, take it easy,” said the musician. “Please stop beating up my fans. All the security please, climb up on the stage.” Agitated fans responded by throwing missiles at the police and were only restrained after the reggae artiste appealed for calm. This reminiscence of Marley’s concert 30 years which was also broadcast live on national television1980, that country, then called Rhodesia, gained its independence from Britain and Bob Marley was invited to entertain. Marley’s Zimbabwe was penned for this occasion.
Sizzla like Marley who was the specially invited guest of the Mugabe government. Marley had to still a crowd in Zimbabwe. Marley presence reportedly caused such a stir that a riot broke out and only he could calm the crowds by staging a second concert.
Sizzla then continued on to Ghana to help celebrate 53-years of Independence by performing at two shows in Accra on March 5th at the Ohene Gyan Sport Stadium and March 6th the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
He launched his new album Crucial Times produced by Homer Harris on March 6 which happens to be Ghana’s Independence Day. Groomed by Mr. Homer Harris at a young age, he began to learn the skills and techniques necessary to be an excellent artist. Sizzla called himself Little One in the beginning of his career but because of his burning appetite for hot soup, Harris named him Sizzla because of the way he drank his sizzling soup like cold water. It also reflected his lyrical style and delivery.
Sizzla Kalonji has 21 albums that have made it onto the Billboards Top Reggae Albums music charts. He has also placed on numerous top ten and top 100 album of the year charts. He has received awards from IRAWMA, EME, MOBO, Vibe Magazine, Rolling Stone, Irie Fm, People Choice Awards, Digital Music Award Winner, Reggae Academy Awards, and has been nominated for the Grammys several times. Sizzla Kalonji continues to release music through his career showcasing the level of talent that exudes through his creativity.
March 7, 2010 7 Comments