Caribbean Entertainment News

Written & compiled by Stan Evan Smith, Music Editor

Silver Spring/New York City:


Empress Tasha T has a passion for singing

From as far back as she remember Tasha T has always had a passion for singing, She saw herself being like the reggae icons she so admires like the late Bob Marley and Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths. Although she didn’t have any idea how it would all come about, she knew one day she would live her dreams so she continued honing her craft by performing on community events. At age 14 she got her first chance to put her voice on record, however, that did not turn out the success she wanted it to…but unfazed she continued the task of making inroads into the music business.

Tasha T describes herself as roots and culture singer and teased that there are time she will also do a little deejaying depending on the mood. But when it comes on to negative and gangsta lyrics she is definitely not into that. As she says, “reggae music is positive, uplifting and music of love. I don’t contribute to any kind of negative lyrics I stay far from that.”

With that kind of stance it’s no wonder her work has been recognized by the Canadian Reggae Music Awards as in 1999 she won Best New Comer Female, and in 2000-1-2- and 8 she copped the award for Best Female DJ. In 2007 she won Best Female DJ at the Reggae Music Achievement Awards and picked up a Juno nomination in 2000 for Best Reggae Recording.

This female singer is definitely going places working with produces such as Rohan Dwyer, Sidney Mills, Syl Gordon, Mikey Bennett, Sly & Robbie and Smokey Robinson.

Tasha has recorded songs such as Win or Lose a cover of Phyllis Dillon’s hit, No More War, I Forgive You, Rectify, Hold Me and Old Fashion Love remix with Mr Cooper.

The Canadian based artistes has performed on stages in Jamaica, Canada and in the States to great response from the audience and why not the singer definitely has her own style and knows how to use it to engage her fans, ensuring they enjoy themselves.

The artiste is now working with Steve Golding and she says it’s a very good working relationship. A mother of two Tasha is now enhancing her career by taking a business management course while she looks ahead to the future. As she told yardflex, “I’m getting there; I’ve been in the business for 19 years and working with George Golding as my manager. I see myself getting a higher rank. Working with George is the best thing that ever happened to my career. I see me going places very soon it’s just a matter of time, for my time to shine.” Yardflex

Oscar B, Alison Hinds, Beenie Man for Carnival Time

Thousands of revelers from all over are set to converge at the fabulous seaside Richmond Estate in Priory, St Ann, on Easter Sunday to unleash their collective energy in a fun-filled rag waving soca jumping frenzy called Carnival Time.

This soca explosion kicks off the irrepressible Alison Hinds and the Grammy winning entertainer Beenie Man. Not to be outdone, soca prince Oscar B, the spirit of Trinidad, Gail-Ann, as well as local favourites One Third, emerging talents Macho Kid and Nicky Dillon, are all promising show-stomping performances.


Bacchanal 2009 will be raised to a whole new high this Friday when Digicel brings ‘Midnight in Paris’ to Mas Camp. Digicel triples the treat for patrons inside the New Kingston Mas Camp where Destra Garcia will perform in Jamaica for the first time in 2009 along with Denise Belfon.

Patrons can expect to be captivated by a Parisian atmosphere when the telecommunications giant transforms the Digicel booth into Moulin Rouge Central. Picture this! Cannes-Cannes girls to greet you throughout the night, the most romantic tower in the world right before our eyes – the Eiffel Tower, a melting pot of exciting activities from Mimes to Caricature Artistes and for the first time patrons who dare can try the Tarot Card reader – all at the Digicel booth while at the same time jumping to the bigger better beat of Trinibagonian soca divas.

Destra’s involvement in Bacchanal 2009 is part of Digicel’s continued commitment to the growth of soca music and carnival festivities in the region. The artiste is one of the great exports of Trinidad and Tobago and has unleashed a barrage of hits on soca fans since her debut. Not to be left is the ‘Soca-Dancehall Queen’ Denise Belfon; who is ready to release her high energy, complex, exotic, and highly controversial on-stage performance, powered by husky and sultry vocals.

Crews have converged on the venue since Monday taking it through a metamorphosis. On Friday night patrons can expect prizes and surprises running the gamut of what Digicel has to offer.

“As we enter into our ninth week of Bacchanal, we wanted to turn up the heat for our patrons to ensure that they continue to have a great time at Mas Camp. Backed by popular demand from our customers, Digicel will be bringing back all past activities since the beginning of the season, culminating in a grand Midnight in Paris affair at Mas Camp. It will certainly be a bigger, better night for all”, commented Shelly-Ann Curran, Senior Sponsorship Manager at Digicel. Bacchanal 2009’s Midnight in Paris will definitely be a treat and patrons will not be disappointed. (Headline Entertainment)

We’re thrilled to welcome Serani – Universal Republic

Dancehall star Serani recently inked a worldwide deal with Universal Republic records and is currently working on his debut album for a summer release. Avery Lipman, Co-President of Universal Republic, sent out the label’s endorsement of the deal today (March 31): “Serani is a brilliant producer and musician whose vision as an artist positions him as a groundbreaking musical force with worldwide mainstream appeal,” says Lipman. “We’re thrilled to welcome him into the Universal Republic family as we work closely with his great management team to expand his formidable presence as a reggae artist, influential collaborator, and multi-talented trailblazer in his own right.”


“Do radio deejays contribute to the state of popular Jamaican music?”  That’s the question being posed at the next community forum and panel discussion hosted by the Coalition to Preserve Reggae music (CPR), in association with ZYNC TV NEW YORK LINKZ and People of Black Heritage. The forum takes place on Thursday, April 16th in the auditorium at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 777 East 222nd Street, corner of Barnes Avenue in the Bronx from 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Legendary Reggae Drummer Larry McDonald Releases First Solo Album ‘Drumquestra’ Of 40-Year Career

New York, NY. (Top40 Charts/ Shore Fire Media) –  Jamaican percussion master and legendary reggae sideman Larry McDonald will release his album ‘Drumquestra,’ the first solo record of his four-decade career, on June 2 via MCPR Music. The album was produced by Sidney Mills (Sly and Robbie, Steel Pulse).

‘Drumquestra’ is a wonderfully unabashed drum album: 15 tracks of reggae, dub and world music featuring Larry McDonald and his drum orchestra playing over 20 different percussive instruments.

Songs like “Drumquestra” and “Mento In 3” showcase the primal elements of ancient melodies and rhythms that have shaped modern music. If you think that the tribal “Drumquestra” sounds like it was recorded in a jungle, you’d be right: Larry, his drum orchestra, and dueling scat vocalists Anjali and Richie Paray recorded the song in the Green Grotto caves at Runaway Bay on Jamaica’s north coast.

The album is song-driven as well, featuring Toots Hibbert (Toots and The Maytals) along with Ras Tesfa, Shaza, Dollarman and Mutabaruka on reggae, dub and dance-infused tracks. The first single, “Head Over Heels,” is a dance-hall slow burner with Dollarman on vocals; McDonald and his drummers bring the dense reggae beat front and center with congas and marimba.
Larry McDonald has worked with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Bad Brains, Gil Scott-Heron and many more luminaries in his 40-year career. He is also a founding member of NYC-based bands The Rocksteady 7 and Dub Is A Weapon.

Listen to “Head Over Heels” and more songs from the album here:

Int’l Community Service Award for Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph

A acclaimed veteran of film, television and the Broadway stage Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, will awarded the International Community Service Award by Team Jamaica Bickle at the Penn Relays later this month.

Ralph along with her husband State Senator Vincent Hughes and local business leader Brian Grant will receive the award on April 16 from 6:30 pm at a reception set for the PECO Energy Company in Philadelphia, PA.

Ralph and Hughes will receive their award for their leadership in fighting against the spread of HIV and AIDS globally. Grant will be awarded because of his leadership in increasing business and trade between the Greater Philadelphia region and the Caribbean.

The prestigious International Community Service Award was created in 2004 to recognize those whose humanitarian and business interests have a major impact in the international community.  Other recipients of the award have included, Dwight Evans, Jannie Blackwell, Kenny Gamble, Dr. Walter P. Lomax, and Honorary Consul Stanley Straughter.
Now in its 15th year, Team Jamaica Bickle is a volunteer group that provides over 1,200 hot meals per day, hotel assistance, ground transportation, and hospitality services for the 400 plus participating athletes and coaches from Jamaica and the Caribbean at the Penn Relays.

Many of the participating athletes and schools lack the financial resources to pay for all their expenses – hence the creation of Team Jamaica Bickle.  Several now famous Olympians are alumni of Team Jamaica Bickle most notably the world’s fastest man and woman, Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell.

Many of these athletes compete at the Penn Relays in order to win track/academic scholarships to the United States,` says Philadelphia Chair Barbara Wilson, `It’s as if they are running to improve their lives and they are.(Adapted from: CaribWorldNews)

Ky-Mani Walk Of Fame, April 10, 2009, Lauderhill, Florida

Richard J. Kaplan Mayor of City of Lauderhill was the Honorary Guest Speaker at the Reggae Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 10, 2009. The Black Tie Fundraising event held at the Inverrary Vacation Resort Hotel, in Lauder Hill, Florida. This fundraising event for the Bob Marley School for the Arts Institute Community Radio Station FREE-I RADIO in Falmouth, Jamaica. Falmouth and Lauderhill is Sister Cities.

Ky-Mani Marley, a son of Falmouth, will join his brother Ziggy, Third World, Barrington Levy, Culture, Tony Rebel, Charlie Chaplin, King Yellowman, Cynthia Schloss, Bongo Herman, U-Roy, Half Pint, Josey Wales, Ranking Joe, Selector Jah Screw, and Inspector Willie and Joe Higgs on the Reggae Walk of Fame.

Mayor Kaplan spoke on the Lauderhill Delegation Sister City visit to Falmouth and the Falmouth Delegation Sister City visit to Lauderhill June 20, 2009. The Lauderhill Delegation will visit many sites while there including the Bob Marley School for the Arts Institute Reggae Walk of Fame, William “Usain Bolt” Knibb Memorial High School, Joe James Arts Gallery, Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium, Outameni Experience and the Offices of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Tourism.

The Bob Marley School for the Arts Institute is dedicated to help make a difference in the community and is committed to providing the tools needed for success. The Bob Marley School for the Arts Institute is also committed to the public and private sectors of the community their goal is to provide avenues to meet the needs through workforce training and human resource development programs. Adapted from

Nas and Damian Marley to unveil new songs

Few rappers have had a more divisive career than Nas. Other than his instantly canonized 1994 debut, Illmatic, each of his ensuing eight efforts has either been regarded as a startling return to form, or yet another failure to reach his precocious zenith.* But even those who haven’t cared since Clinton’s first term must have been intrigued by the news of Distant Relative, his collaboration with Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, slated for an early June release.

The performance will be accompanied by a Q&A, where the pair will answer questions about their new album and discuss their humanitarian work. Earlier this year, Nas told MTV News, “We tryin’ to build some schools in Africa… and trying to build empowerment. The record is all about the ‘hood and Africa.” While an official label announcement has yet to be made, most media speculation has pointed toward the release of Distant Relative coming from Island Def Jam, the label for which Nas currently records (Marley is signed to Universal).

Nas and Marley have worked together before, on Road to Zion, the second single from Marley’s breakthrough third album, the Grammy Award-winning Welcome to Jamrock. Though the pairing of the metaphysical Queensbridge rapper and the offspring of Jamaican music royalty seems odd on paper, the pair shared an avowed ardor for both illicit herbal substances and progressive politics. Last year, Nas’ Untitled featured searing sermons aimed at the U.S. government and the nation’s racial inequalities. Like his father, Bob, Marley’s oeuvre has drawn heavily upon the bleak poverty of the Trenchtown ghettos.

While his father made his name in the more traditional roots reggae, the youngest singing Marley (elder siblings Ziggy, Julian, Stephen and Ky-Mani also sing professionally), has carved out a niche with his “toasting” style, a strain of reggae that borrows heavily from both dancehall and hip-hop. Accordingly, some of Marley’s finest work has come in collaboration with rappers, including guest appearances on albums from B-Real, Redman and Method Man, and Snoop Dogg.Adapted from The LA Times

Crack in SA reggae star, Lucky Dube murder case,

On Thursday the South African court jailed three men for life for the murder of international reggae star Lucky Dube, the SAPA news agency reported.

The Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday found Sifiso Mhlanga, Mbuti Mabe and Julius Gxowa guilty of gunning down the world acclaimed singer during a botched hijacking in October 2007.

“The sentence won’t heal me, but we are happy they were arrested and that the law took its course,” said Dube’s wife Zanele who cried uncontrollably after the sentencing, SAPA reported. The award-winning South African singer was dropping off his teenage son at a relative’s home when gunmen shot him three times at close range.

Dube, 43, who recorded in Zulu, English and Afrikaans, was one of the first to play reggae in his homeland and was widely admired abroad. The musician’s killing provoked worldwide condemnation and renewed domestic calls for the restoration of the death penalty in a bid to stem one of the world’s highest murder rates. Dube recorded more than 20 albums in a career spanning two decades and was regarded as one of the first artistes to introduce reggae in South Africa. Yardflex

Superb performances at Reggae in Symphony

From traditional folk, to gospel and the newly-created Marley Symphony Number One, Reggae in Symphony on Sunday at the Broward Centre of the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, lived up to its promise as an evening of classic fusion of genres accompanied by smooth, silky orchestral sounds.

Following an impressive debut last year, three reggae stalwarts as the main attraction, graced the stage on what was also an evening of elegance. Reggae songstress Marcia Griffiths was awesome in her set that defined the quality of the entire concert on which Bob Andy gave a superb performance before a dynamic closing appearance from promoter, lovers’ rock crooner Freddie McGregor.

All three performances were embellished by guest appearances from Twiggy formerly of Penthouse whose amazing rendition of Jamaica’s National Anthem with support from noted saxophonist, Dean Fraser, gave the event a riveting start; and Tarrus Riley’s surprise inclusion during which he gave a regal performance of She’s Royal. The performers were accompanied by Lloyd Parks and We the People Band as well as the Reggae Strings Orchestra (members of which were drawn from the Florida Symphony and Grand Opera) under the direction of noted Jamaican maestro Jon Williams. Harmonies were ably provided by Marcia Griffiths’ son, Chad, Yashemabeth the daughter Freddie McGregor, and Keisha Patterson.

A special feature this year was an overture written by Williams. “This year Freddie approached me and said that he wanted the strings (orchestra) to do something by itself. So we developed a piece, Marley Symphony Number One…I think it should propel reggae music to another level, and I’m really looking forward to the effects that it will have on those listening to it,” Jon Williams told the Observer shortly before the start of the show.

It certainly didn’t disappoint. This overture comprises a melodious string of the maestro’s classics with strings including Exodus and Redemption Song. Officially, Lloyd Parks on vocals never sounded as mellow as his soulful take of Until. Dean Fraser started off in a similar fashion but in a more spiritual vain with Amazing Grace to rousing applause before upping the tempo with some bluesy improvisation on Linstead Market.

Emcee Winston Barnes was more than vindicated when introducing the next performer he said, “ladies and gentlemen I make no apology whatsoever in calling this lady a queen.”

It was a majestic looking Marcia Griffiths who stepped out in all her glory to give what was a memorable performance. Reggae in Symphony was now at its peak. And it couldn’t get better than she taking us on her Dreamland on strings (even though sometimes overpowered by We the People’s the drum and bass) until we feel her Fire Burning (hotter than hot) to the point where she showed off her deejaying prowess. She then demonstrated that she was not a veteran of 45 years for nothing, tipped her hat to one of her inspirators, Nancy Wilson on How Glad I Am. The empress of the stage kept on getting stronger and stronger with songs like Melody Life, Bob Marley’s Who the cap Fit, Could This Be Love, and No No No which brought her scintillating set to a climax. Everyone was singing and dancing with her until she invited Bob Andy with whom she performed Young, Gifted and Black.

Taking over from the incomparable Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy had to dig deep into his reservoir of well-known reggae timeless recordings but of course, it was I’ve Got to Go Back Home with which he brought the house down towards the end of his engaging performance spliced with some light-hearted banter. One of Jamaica’s finest songwriters kept the excitement at a high by executing some fancy legwork in a way that mesmerised the audience.

All that was left at this stage was the man behind it all, dubbed ‘The Reggae Ambassador’, Freddie McGregor, to put the lid on one of reggae’s finest events in recent times. He sent the intoxicated fans home sailing on the strains of his Big Ship. They were further comforted while dancing to If You Want to Go (if you must Go, if you want to stay, you must stay), When Push Come to Shove, So Many People Want to See Me Stop Loving You, To Be Poor Is A Crime, Prophecy, Somewhere, many more, but not before invoking a sing-along session with his rendition of his favourite gospel song, What Have Done, after which came Let Him Try, Loving Pauper and I Was Born A Winner. Observer

Luciano declares innocence – Artiste speaks out at press conference

International reggae artiste Jepther ‘Luciano’ McClymont is embattled, as he came armed with his attorney-at-law, Delano Franklyn, yesterday, as the artiste spoke out for the first time at a press conference, held at the Hilton Kingston hotel.

The singer was linked to harbouring a wanted man, who was engaged in a fierce shoot-out with police on March 25 at a house belonging to Luciano. At the press conference, Luciano read a statement and answered questions in the presence of his lawyers, with the hope of clearing the air.

Gruesome and deadly

Luciano’s statement reads: “On Wednesday, March 25 2009, a most unfortunate and regrettable incident took place at one of my properties. In search of a person, three policemen were shot and injured and the person killed. I totally abhor such a gruesome and deadly act that occurred at my place (21 Westminster Crescent), which is revered as a holy sanctuary. I extend my deepest sympathies to all the families connected (to) and deeply affected by this tragedy.”

Luciano, who is known for songs like It’s Me Again Jah and Lord Give Strength, was accused of harbouring a notorious killer, Andrew Senior. However, the singer, who displayed a calm persona throughout the press conference, boldly refuted any rumours linking him to the case.

“However, there are a few points which have surfaced in the press that I would like to address,” he said. “I have never employed nor have I had any security detail around me. I have never hired anyone to ‘watch my head back’ as have been reported. At no point in time did I know that anyone visiting my home/studio had with him or her, an illegal firearm or ammunition. I have never in all my years in or outside of the music fraternity, knowingly harboured anyone involved in, or wanted by the security forces for crime committed in or out of Jamaica.”

Meanwhile, attorney-at-law Delano Franklyn expressed full confidence in his client. Franklyn, a former minister of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, believes Luciano’s statement, which wasn’t debated after, was enough to remove any doubts.

“I’ll read that as an indication, that my client has comprehensively responded to issues and concerns out there, that there is indeed none to be asked by the press,” he said.

“And I would wish that those persons from where they hail, would know of such ‘hear say’ and ‘su su’, and in light of the statement read by our client, would probably ask for further clarification. If no such questions are forthcoming then I would only assume that the issues are now crystal clear,” he added.

Questions of whether the singer could be able to perform at shows that were booked ahead of date were also put to rest. “I can understand the anxiety and concern of the promoters and other persons who are involved in these promotional arrangements. My lawyers have informed me, that the allegations against me ought not to prevent me from being able to fulfill these obligations,” Luciano said. (Star)

Reggae Singer Jackie Brown Hospitalized In New York

Jackie Brown who is known for hits such as ‘Send Me The Pillow’ and ‘Miss Hard To Get’ is recovering in a New York hospital after undergoing surgery to remove one of his toes.  Jackie had previously had heart bypass surgery and due to complications stemming from that surgery he developed blocked veins which led to this recent surgery.  Jackie hopes to be released soon and is thankful for the prayers and well wishes being extended to him.


Digicel and Dancehall Artiste Issued School Supplies to Children of Majesty Gardens

Kingston, Jamaica – Wednesday, March 18, 2009: Digicel, Jamaica’s Bigger, Better Network in collaboration with one of Jamaica’s top dancehall artistes, Bounty Killa, distributed school supplies to the children in Majesty Gardens, the community where he was born. The day’s event also included a video shoot for two of his current singles in rotation, ‘They Don’t Know’ produced by Shane Brown and ‘Corruption’, produced by Esco and the video was directed by Ras Tingle.

Shelly Ann Curran, Senior Sponsorship Manager at Digicel Jamaica commented; “We were approached by Bounty’s agent, Sharon Burke from Solid Agency about this initiative and we had to jump on board to lend our support to this worthy cause. This idea ties closely with the Y Files campaign which Digicel supports as a Jamaican corporate citizen, sending out messages in partnership with the media condemning violence against our youth. Our nation’s children need guidance and we want to be involved in any positive project that will help to steer them in the right direction and ultimately secure a better future for them. We were happy to have been a part of this initiative with Bounty”.

Digicel representatives joined Bounty Killa on location in Majesty Gardens to distribute school bags, exercise books, water bottles and footballs to the children who came out to watch the staging of his videos which condemns corruption and violence in the inner-city communities.

“Bounty has changed his direction in music as he has realized that he has a great level of influence on our nation’s youth and today proved as one of the many different things he has planned to help make a difference in the lives of his young fans. There are plans to remix and re-launch his very popular Book Book Book song of the early 90s along with a video. This song will be used as a medium of change as we take it on tour in schools island wide”, commented Sharon Burke, Bounty’s Management.

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  • I have had that oppinion for years, but don’t hold your breath, there are too many people making too much money involved in the ‘war against drugs’. Billy G.

  • Nixon and Agnew and the Silent (Moral) Majority were big on law and order and waging war on drugs. That’s when I recall this control freak mentality began (as well as the money-making Prevention industry). Al in the name of the flag, moral decency, and apple pie etcetera. Now drugs cross party lines. Remember Dubya doing all that blow?

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