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(South Florida) Gargamel Music, Inc. announce that top federal criminal defense attorney, David Oscar Markus, has officially been retained to defend four-time Grammy-nominated Reggae icon, Buju Banton, against the drug charges currently being levied against him by the United States government.

Prestigious attorney resource guide, Chambers and Partners, says David Oscar Markus “is a man who gets consistently great results… When he walks into a room the US Attorney’s office winces as he puts them to the test every step of the way.” The National Law Review says, “David is a reincarnation of the old time great criminal defense attorneys.”

Held without bail Will Cut No Deal-TAMPA – Buju Banton was transferred to a jail facility in Tampa by US Marshalls. He appeared in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida on Janauary7th 2010 and is being held without bail on drug charges while his lawyer fights to remove a detainer placed on his client by immigration officials.

The 36 year old singer pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he conspired to buy five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer in Sarasota last month. U.S. Magistrate Anthony Porcelli ordered Banton held without bail after defense attorney David Oscar Markus said he would not oppose the government’s request that Banton be detained. Banton’s real name is Mark Myrie.

The attorney explained that there was no sense in seeking bail since immigration authorities have placed a detainer on Banton, who is in the United States on an entertainer visa.

Markus legal strategy is to fight to have the detainer lifted and then seek bail on the criminal charges. He told reporters at a bail hearing in Tampa federal court for the singer, born Mark Anthony Myrie that his client will fight the charges and will not enter into any plea deal with prosecutors. “We will be going to trial,” Markus said. “He did not commit the crimes he’s charged with,” he said. “He was not in any conspiracy.” Buju’s trial is set for  March

Markus also decried the immigration detainer, saying, “There should be a presumption of innocence. Instead there is a presumption of guilt in immigration.” He said there is “no question” his client would be allowed to post bail if not for the detainer.

The criminal case is set for a status conference in February and tentatively set for a March trial. Although cases often don’t go to trial so quickly, Markus said he would push for the case to proceed swiftly. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Banton contacted a confidential informant about a possible cocaine purchase. The next day, Banton and other men met with the informant at Sarasota’s La Tropicana de Havana restaurant, where the DEA and local police had set up surveillance.

Eventually, the group went to a warehouse to make the cocaine deal, according to an affidavit. Authorities had outfitted the warehouse with audio and video recording devices. Full Story CaribWorldNews & The Tampa Tribune (Elaine Silvestrin)

More News Buju back on Billboard-

Buju Banton Grammy nominated album, Rasta Got Soul has re-entered Billboard charts following his recent arrest in the US, sales of  Rasta Got Soul, have continued to increase in the four weeks since his incarceration. Banton’s was the second highest jumper this week on Billboard Reggae Charts. The album re-entered the chart at #15 the charts due to its increased sales over the previous week. Soul was second to Soja’s Born in Babylon, which was top jump of the week.

Meanwhile a documentary-style music video for new single “Optimistic Soul” will begin circulating in the coming weeks.

Following his December 10 arrest in Florida, Banton’s online presence skyrocketed and he became the second most popular reggae artiste, behind Bob Marley. Prior to his arrest, Banton was less popular than many of his peers, but his trend data from US-based search engine Google had risen so fast that between December 13 to 18 he was twice as popular as Shaggy, four times more popular than Vybz Kartel and six times more popular than Sizzla and Mavado. On New Year’s Eve, Banton’s presence had waned but he still was more popular than Mavado and Sizzla, and is tied with Damian Marley.

Sean Paul/Jay Sean Do You Remember back in Billboard Top Ten

Do You Remember, the collaboration by British-born pop star Jay Sean and Jamaican dancehall superstar Sean Paul has made its way into the Billboard Top Ten. The video w/Sean Paul and Jay Sean also features, Hip-Hop crunk king Lil’ Jon.

Sean Paul put his dancehall flair on the track after meeting up with Jay Sean at the MTV Video Music Awards. Do You Remember blaze Billboard Hot 100 and iTunes Top 100 charts. Sean Paul said of the songs success “I knew it was a song that would have life.”  The song continues to do well on four other Billboard charts, at #13 on the Pop Songs chart, #14 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart, #9 on the Digital Songs charts and #18 on the Radio Songs chart.

Imperial Blaze Paul 4album is up for his 3rd Grammy nomination (2009) Sean Paul is the first Jamaican artiste to top the Billboard Rap Charts. Imperial Blaze reportedly broke records in Japan, Europe, and the Middle East.

Sean Paul: Reggae Artiste of the Year and the Decade

Billboard Magazine named Sean Paul as the reggae artiste of the year(2009) and decade ahead of Matisyahu and Bob Marley & the Wailers for second and third respectively for 2009. listed his two other Atlantic Records albums, Dutty Rock and The Trinity as top reggae albums of the era. Artiste of the year based on chart data from Billboard, the US based Music Company. Billboard stated that the top reggae artiste of the decade ranking was based on an artiste’s chart performance. During the year Sean Paul hit # 1 on the charts and sold slightly more copies than Matisyahu, however neither artiste surpassed 80,000 units in the US market

Toots, Denroy Morgan Named EME Role Model Honorees

The 2010 staging of the Excellence In Music and Entertainment (EME) Awards will unfold on Thursday February 4, at the Gardens at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. The Award of ‘Role Model of the Year’ will be bestowed on Toots Hibbert and Denroy Morgan Yard Flex

Vybz Kartel Grabs Seven EME nominations

Website one876entertainment report: Jamaican DJ Vybz Kartel grabbed seven nominations in 2010 Excellence In Music and Entertainment awards. Last year he won Male DJ of the Year, and Songwriter/Lyricist of the Year.

Producer Coppershot is nominated for ‘Producer of the year’ at the Excellence In Music and Entertainment Awards (EME) and for ‘Sound of the year’ at the Youth View Award Youthview Awards.

Ex Gaza Dj Lisa Hype picked up two EME nominations this year in the Female DJ of the Year and Best New Female Artiste of the Year.

Ras Penco nabbed two EME Awards nominations for 2009 in the Best New Artiste Male and the prestigious Reggae Song of the Year category.

Singjay Black Queen hits #20 on RE TV reggae charts

Singjay Black Queen single her You Say is #20 on the RE TV top 20 reggae charts this week. The sing jay has also earned a nomination in the Sing jay of the Year title alongside heavyweights such as D’Angel and Queen Ifrica. The song is also in the top ten of the Jamaica Music Countdown charts.

Singer Rihanna Turns Author

New York: Grammy-winning Barbadian singer, Rihanna, is adding author to her resume. The singer is set to release her first 144-page book in June 29, 2010, titled “Last Girl on Earth.” Rihanna and the artistic director for her upcoming tour, Simon Henwood, wrote the hard cover book. CaribWorldNews,


Four Caribbean Prime Ministers and Jamaica’s Olympic and World Athletic Champion Usain Bolt are to be honored at The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies annual gala fundraising event in the New York City on January 28. The honorees include the Prime Minister’s David Thompson of Barbados, Dean Barrow of Belize, Tillman Thomas of Grenada’s and Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago’s. All four will be presented with the Legacy Awards at the annual fundraising gala this month.

The prestigious Legacy Awards are conferred on notable individuals who represent high levels of achievement within their respective fields of industry and enterprise,”  Usain Bolt, the Jamaican-born triple Olympic and World Athletic Champion, will be presented with a special award ‘in honor of his record-breaking performance in the recent Olympics and World Championships.

The other categories are Caribbean Luminary, The Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Award, and The University of the West Indies Bob Marley Award.

Next year’s recipient of the University of the West Indies Bob Marley Award is Emmy Award winner Spike Lee, an African American. “This honor is granted to individuals whose contribution to the advancement of arts and culture transcends boundaries of race, color, creed and geographies, uniting people throughout the world in a spirit that embodies the essence of the music and lyrics of the Hon Robert Nesta Marley, OM,” the foundation said.

Dr Edison O. Jackson, a former president of Medgar Evers College, a Brooklyn-based Black college at the City University of New York, will be presented with the foundation’s Special Award. The foundation said Jackson, who headed Medgar Evers College for two decades, is ‘being honored for his exemplary leadership and innovation in the field of education.’ AFUWI said Bolt, the Jamaican-born triple Olympic and World Athletic Champion, will be presented with a special award ‘in honor of his record-breaking performance in the recent Olympics and World Championships.’ NEW YORK, CMC

Sean Kingston in Kingston for Coke Zero Concert

International recording artiste Sean Kingston will make his premier in Jamaica’s capital Kingston; perform at the Cable and Wireless Golf Academy, as Coke Zero presents Sean Kingston in Concert.

The singer manager Chris Hardy says Kingston will make an indelible splash on the at show where he is ready to share the stage with the sweet Coke Zero artistes, Chino, and D’Angel also Etana, Tifa, Laden, Alaine, Tessanne Chin, Elephant Man, Ding Dong and Demarco.

His sophomore studio 14-track album, Tomorrow released in September with rhythmic and infectious hit singles like Suicidal, Take You There, and Beautiful Girls, features collaboration with some of the biggest names in music today, including rapper Lil’ Wayne, Senegalese superstar Akon, Haitian recording artiste and producer Wyclef Jean and Pop princess Gwen Stefani.

“I wanted to be different, and I wanted to do something that was new,” Sean Kingston said, adding that “It’s definitely not something that you’d hear on the radio every day, I wanted to go a little big left with it so that’s why it’s called Tomorrow. The songs on it aren’t songs that people would expect from Sean Kingston”

Bass Odyssey wipes out Sound Trooper to take 2010 Guinness Sounds of Greatness title

Bass Odyssey beat Sound Trooper to win the Guinness Sounds of Greatness 2010 title and a $1 million first prize..

Calypso icon “Black Stalin” daughter abducted by kidnappers, escapes

Keina Caliste, 32, the daughter of calypso icon Leroy “Black Stalin” Caliste was the first person to be kidnapped in Trinidad for the New Year. She was grabbed on Sunday night as she arrived home from steel pan practice t TCL Skiffle Bunch pan yard on Coffee Street, San Fernando.  Caliste escaped kidnappers by jumping out of a moving car in Pleasantville, off San Fernando. Her mother Patsy said Keina she just arrived home in her silver Nissan Almera car, upon opening the gate, a car pulled up behind her two men, one of whom was armed with a gun, alighted, grabbed her, and bundled her into the back seat of her own car and sped off.

“They drove her all around San Fernando and they took everything she had on her, including …her bank card, her identification card, money.”“ she ask them to take the car and put her out” They refused. She opened the door and jumped out. She ran to a house where a woman assisted her. They then called the police.

According to her mother Keina was very traumatized and was resting at their Turton Street, Cross Crossing, San Fernando, home. “We had to give her tablets to calm down. She doesn’t even know herself.” Adapted CaribbeanFever.Com


NEW YORK, NY, Grammy-winning pop sensation, Beyonce planed performance in Trinidad on a February 18 at the Queen’s Park Oval Savannah in Port of Spain courtesy of Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago the island’s telecommunications company is receiving pushback from Communications Workers Union.  The reported cost of staging the concert $10m is the reason for the pushback.

Communications Workers Union, President Joseph Remy, criticized the sponsors Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago, a state entity, for what he described as “lavish expenditure” in the context of the current global economic slowdown. Additionally, he called the move to stage the concert “contemptuous” in context of the bitter multi-million dollar battle the trade union and TSTT have been engaged in over the salaries of TSTT workers over the last months. It is waste of taxpayers’ money and we are questioning the whole backdrop of the genesis of this concert.”

Beyonce recently performed for $2 million fee for a private New Year concert for the son of one time Libyan dictator and now President Muammar Gaddafi at the Nikki Beach club on the Caribbean island of St Barts. Beyoncé’s standard appearance fee per concert is US$1 million (TT$ 6.3 million).

Taxpayers, trade unionists and artistes are now questioning whether the entertainer’s upcoming concert, for which the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) is to spend a minimum of about $10 million to stage, is worth it after all.

According to the president of the Communications Workers Union Joseph Remy, TSTT has informed the trade union that $5 million has already been spent by the company on the upcoming concert. He revealed that senior TSTT officials have also said that, excluding the costs of building infrastructure for the event, the total cost of paying Beyoncé’s appearance fee and promoting the event will cross $10 million.

Remy added, “We are going to write to the Government calling on them to call the company into account for this type of expenditure, especially now when we are having economic troubles and we are lavishing this money on Beyonce. We are in 2010 and we still have employees working on 2005 salaries.” He queried why the company was investing significant sums in a non-core business.

The planned concert also came under fire from Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organization executive member Karega Mandela who noted its timing in the middle of the Carnival season. “I have no problem with Beyonce, but if you are using State funds in the middle of the Carnival celebrations I think it is gross disrespect,” Mandela said. “It is not a private person doing this, State funds are being used.” Adapted CaribbeanFever.Com

Shaggy and Friends was a success

This year’s Shaggy and Friends concert, held on Saturday night on the lawns of Jamaica House, was a sold-out affair; with host Shaggy declaring that “every ticket has been sold”. According to him, even up until midnight, persons were going to the Jamaica Pegasus ticket office looking for tickets.

The organizers totally transformed the grounds of Jamaica House. Then it was Showtime. The man himself did three sets rocking favorites from his repertoire including Bonafide, Angel, Summertime and Sexy Lady.

The 15-minute maximum cameo by each artist entertained the capacity audience. From veteran acts such as Toots, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Machel Montano, Joe, and Boyz II Men, Chevaughn and Ding Dong they struck responsive chords with the audience.

The standout act of the night according to published reports was Cham. Cham seized the moment and executed his set brilliantly and had the full support of the crowd.

Mykal ‘Grammy’ Rose, opening lines of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner into Solidarity and closing with the recent hit, Police and Thief, he was able to connect with his audience and was well-appreciated. So too did Queen Ifrica, gave her a signature performance — chanting her way in the consciousness of the crowd.

Toots was the consummate showman he gave an all-inclusive performance of 54-46 that rocked the house. The younger members of the audience, many of whom were seeing him for the first time, were captivated by his performance.  Alaine, Ce’Cile and Sanchez, gave credible accounts of themselves.

Dancehall was well represented. TOK was first up sung and deejay on the Footprints, Drop Leaf, and Guardian Angel riddims Beenie Man’ signature chant “Zagga Zow” echoed through the speakers as ‘The Doctor’ whipped the audience into a frenzy. He performed hit after hit, danced, pranced before he brought on his newest sidekick, six years old Baby Trish.

The sole soca star Machel Montano, was extremely appreciated by the audience. He called on Shaggy as they “toro toro” the Jamaica House audience.

Shaggy to share the stage with three R&B acts.  Boyz II Men the boys from Philly had the females ‘on bended knees’. Their performance brought the audience alive at 2:00 am, as they delivered Waters Run Dry, Make Love to you, So Hard to Say Goodbye, and ultimately, End of the Road. Joe gave the ladies what they needed, delivering I Wanna Know and Things Your Man Won’t Do. His rendition of Marley’s Redemption Song was a nice touch. Again, it was the younger audience members present who were able to fully absorb Mario Winans’ set.

With his third and final set it was Shaggy who was scheduled to bring the curtains down, however, what would transpire would cast a shadow on an excellent evening of entertainment for a great cause. Bounty Killer had a Kanye West moment where he, as he has so often done in the past, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. He delivered an inappropriate homophobic diatribe.

Bounty Killer Apologizes

The controversial dancehall deejay, Rodney “Bounty Killer” Pryce, clearly anticipating a backlash to anti-gay tirade issued the following statement of apology:

“After nearly 20 years at the top of the Jamaican music industry I have been involved in many battles — sometimes with fellow artists, sometimes with outside forces and sometimes with the state and its politicians. I’ve learnt to choose my battles wisely and the grounds upon which to fight them.

“I’ve also learnt when to admit I didn’t choose my ground wisely and Saturday night’s Shaggy & Friends’ show was one of those occasions.

“With so many politicians and members of the upper echelons of corporate Jamaica present, an audience I rarely get the ears of, I got caught up in the moment while expressing myself. I now realise it was inappropriate and extend my apologies to Shaggy, his sponsors, benefactors and all in attendance who were offended by my performance.

“Alliance made a pledge to donate $250,000 to the cause, and we will follow through on that promise and continue to support Shaggy and answer his call whenever he reaches out.”

One Caribbean Radio Moves to 97.9 FM HD2

New York: New York City entrepreneur, Guyanese national Edmond Braithwaite is taking his One Caribbean Radio to the 97.9 FM HD2 platforms.  The company insists it is a `giant and courageous leap into the technologically advanced radio spectrum, by broadcasting on the latest platform since FM began 50 years ago. `

OCR 97.9 FM HD2 is now broadcasting to the New York Tri-state region via a pioneering Caribbean broadcasting effort.

One Caribbean Radio, an entity of One Caribbean Media Inc., was launched in October, 2007, on 620 AM, under the `Caribbean Weekend` banner, broadcasting from Friday night to Sunday night, for a total of 36 hours. In October 2008, OCR expanded its broadcast schedule to a seven day format on 740 AM.

This programming included news, information, features, and music, health segments and lives, in-studio, community-targeted interviews during our morning and afternoon drive times.

In September, 2009, OCR launched its 7-day, 24-hour programming on 97.9 FM HD2, and added to its format, national and international, live and caller-driven programs, which feature Caribbean, International and Community leaders and organizations. A futuristic program rollout is expected later this month. For more visit www.onecaribbeanradio.com. CaribWorldNews,

Jah Cure and Keri Hilson team up for World Cry

THE friendship forged between reggae singer Jah Cure and R&B/hip hop singer Keri Hilson at the 2009 staging of Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, has resulted in a collaboration titled World Cry. The song was written and produced by Mostdevotedmusicanalive better known as Pooh Bear.

Pooh Bear aka Jason Boyd has written and produced songs for Chris Brown’s I Can Transform Ya, 112’s Peaches and Cream and Usher’s Caught Up. Jah Cure suggested the inclusion of Hilson on the World Cry recording. “I didn’t think about putting Keri on the track, it was Jah Cure’s idea to have her. The end result is quite good. I think it’s a modern day We are the World record,” Pooh Bear said in an interview at Shaggy’s Big Yard studio in Kingston, recently.

Jah Cure said “She is a fan of mine and I met her at Reggae Sumfest, when she wanted to take picture with me. We exchanged numbers and we talk on blackberry messenger every day. She said she always wanted to do a song with me,” Cure explained.

Jah Cure is coming off a successful 2009 with the album The Universal Cure. He topped the charts with two popular singles You’ll Never Find and Call On Me, which featured American R&B singer Phylisia.

Keri Hilson won the Soul Train and BET Award for Best New Artiste. She is up for two Grammys in the 2010 Grammy Awards. Her debut solo album In a Perfect World has sold double platinum her Billboard hits include Slow Dance, Turnin Me On, and Knock You Down. She recently hit the Top ten on the Billboard R&B chart alongside R Kelly on the collaborative single Number One Observer.

Rock band Metallica votes for dancehall

Rock band Metallica listed dancehall music amongst its 25 Best Songs of the Decade in a poll commissioned by US based magazine Rolling Stone. The band’s votes included songs by Sean Paul and Damian Marley, according to ballots on the magazine’s website.

Drummer Lars Ulrich voted Sean Paul’s Get Busy at # 21. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett voted Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock as #10. The results disclosed the musical diversity of the band formed in 1981 with record sales over 100 million and awards including nine Grammys.

Rolling Stone magazine’s assistant managing editor, Jonathan Ringen also voted for Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock at # 14 and Sean Paul’s Like Glue at # 19.

Metallica and Ringen formed part of 100 artistes, journalists and insiders who voted. The final list ranked Welcome to Jamrock at #100 but no other dancehall/reggae artiste made the list.

Gays shifted focus from Beenie Man & Buju to Eminem

Eminem has agreed to censor his lyrics in order to avoid anti-gay protests in the UK.Ppromoters for the 2010 Wireless Festival were concerned that gay rights groups like OutRage! could protest the concert due to Slim being on the bill.

According to the Evening Standard, OutRage! said they won’t picket the concert if Slim doesn’t perform lyrics that inspire hatred against gay people. Per Wireless spokesman, David Allison, Em agreed to the censorship after being guaranteed that there won’t be any protest.

OutRage! has lead boycotts against dance hall artists Beanie Man and Buju Banton in the past and never gave them the option of no protest if the agreed to not do homophobic lyric. In fact the Gay community, relentlessly harassed Banton despite the fact that he removed the one antigay song from his live show. The song was recorded more than 15 years ago.   The protests lead to their UK tours being shut down for their use of homophobic lyrics. Em’s lyrics have angered gay rights groups in the past. He responded by performing “Stan” with Elton John at the 2001 Grammy Awards. The 2010 Wireless Festival featuring Eminem is scheduled to take place at London’s Hyde Park this coming July. BET. Com


KINGSTON, JA (Ms. RAINE INC.): Portmore Empire Leader Vybz Kartel has officially announced that the Portmore Empire is parting ways with Dancehall deejay Lisa Hype. Kartel issues the following statement:

Lisa Hype is no longer a part of the Portmore Empire. The members of the Empire have unanimously agreed to end our professional relationship especially in light of certain ‘developments’ that have come to our attention regarding her overall conduct, conduct that is not consistent with the decorum expected of a member of the Portmore Empire. She is an incredible artist and we wish for her all the best in her future endeavors, but Lisa Hype will not play a future role in the Empire, as she no longer fits in with our organizational goals as we move forward in 2010.

This announcement comes on the heels of a very controversial video that was widely publicized on YouTube involving both Lisa Hype and Vybz Kartel. Hype also did a stand out performance at the 2009 staging of Sting. Source Caribbean fever.com

Full line-up New Sponsor for Rebel Salute 2010 announced

The official launch of Pepsi Rebel Salute 2010 took place in Kingston, Jamaica. Tony Rebel, head Flames Productions announced the full line-up for the event’s 17th staging on Saturday, January 16, at the Port Kaiser Sports Club in St Elizabeth.

Using the popular songs by the artists announced as performing Rebel used Rally Round the Flag, for London-based group Steel Pulse, the opening line of Police and Thieves for Junior Murvin, ‘Inna Dis Ya Time’ Ronnie Davis of the The Itals (member singer David Isaacs died December 28th). DJ Assassin morphed into Sasco, and Lady Saw into Marion Hall. Also on the line-up are Freddie McGregor, Gramps Morgan, Bugle, Singing Melody, Jah Mason, Richie Spice, Alaine, Leroy Gibbons, C Sharp, Queen Ifrica, Tarrus Riley, Etana, Capleton, Hezron, Pinchers, Romain Virgo, Noddy Virtue, Bugle, Ras Penco, I-Wayne, Gramps Morgan (from Morgan Heritage), Jah Mason, Stevie Face, Anthony Malvo, I-Octane, I-Wayne, Daddy U-Roy, General Trees and Peter Metro. Rebel said that these are deejays that did not make the society influence them, but “them influence society”.

He also talked about the festival’s title for 2010. This is the first year of a three-year title sponsorship deal with Pepsi. Denise Dixon, marketing manager for Pepsi-Cola Jamaica Ltd, said it as “an alignment of two great brands, that’s why it is Pepsi Rebel Salute 2010.”  She further pointed out   that “Pepsi-Cola understands the Rebel Salute vision, to showcase the best of reggae and dancehall music and show the world that this is a place of excellent entertainment, good music and great vibes. Dixon also pointed out that on the night of the show Pepsi will show its full range of products, among them Tropicana juice and its Essential water brand.

Recognizing the widespread support from home and abroad for this musical product, Tony Rebel, also defended the theme around which the product is built.

He highlighted the decline in the sales of music, mentioned the fact that a lot of artistes are being barred from entering certain countries and decried the fact “A long time we a warn and tell the people dem sey, the precedence weh Bob Marley and the original people dem set abroad…all over the world, we fi make sure we maintain that.” This was an obvious slap at both the mediocrity and decadent of some aspects of dancehall culture.

Rebel railed to more applause as he added: “You can’t preach violence in music and expect the people of Germany to accept it. Because Hitler already show them what violence is? You cannot teach the French and the Americans about sex. A dem mek it. He reminded them that the world loved Jamaican musical culture because …when they’re going through hardship and terrible times we gave them hope ‘don’t worry about a ting’.

He bemoaned artist lack of confidence and leadership their genre saying “sometimes we’re trying to follow some people who were already following us. We set the trend with Daddy U Roy and the hip hop generation tek wi ting… we behave as if we are following them. He agreed that ‘merging and combining’ the genre was good…but don’t leave ‘di original, di foundation’.

Minister of Agriculture Dr Christopher Tufton — the cultural fiesta takes place in his constituency- stressed critical role of music has to play and, that leadership going against grain when the grain is going in the wrong direction. He commended “Rebel Salute as that type of leadership. He said Rebel Salute has maintained a position that is clearly based on a conviction of what is right, despite the trends, despite what else is happening in the society. And we need that type of leadership in today’s Jamaica to move us forward.”

Linton Kwesi Johnson give public lecture on reggae

Poet, political activist, and performer Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ), gave an illustrated lecture on African Consciousness in Reggae Music on January 3 pm at Villa Ronai, in Jamaica. LKJ has the distinction of being one of only three living poets to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics. That collection is entitled Mi Revalueshanary Fren.

Hosted by the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Global Reggae Studies Centre. Born in Jamaica, LKJ migrated to the UK when he was eleven years old. As a teenager, he joined the British Black Panther Movement which decidedly shaped his political consciousness. He found his voice as a poet and performed with Rasta Love, a group of upful poets and drummers. In a 2008 interview, LKJ emphatically declared that “writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon”.

Hosted by the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Global Reggae Studies Centre Dr Carol Cooper is a professor of literary and cultural studies; the international conference documented the impact of reggae on every continent. n his signature hat and glasses, the internationally acclaimed spoken word performer, in a different role, was no less commanding and spell-binding in his insightful interpretation and analysis of the African centred lyrical content of foundation reggae.

“Fire,” declared the veteran dub poet, “is clearly still a potent metaphor of retribution in Rasta discourse. Like Marley’s Slave Driver, songs like Peter Tosh’s 400 Years, Burning Spear’s Old Marcus Garvey, Bob Andy’s I’ve Got to Go Back Home, are not just expressions of African Consciousness, they also critique post-colonel Jamaica.”

Having treated the large audience at the Old Stony Hill Road venue to all of the above mentioned musical treasures plus a few others of the same calibre, with assistance from Mutabaruka at the control, the celebrated poet explained that the African-centerness in roots reggae is also reflected in the moniker by which some artistes are known.

“Sometimes expressions of African consciousness in reggae take the form of naming. For example, groups give themselves names like the Abbysinnians, the Ethiopians, Burning Spear, Queen Ifrica, Mutabaruka, Sizzla Kolonje,” noted the Jamaican born entertainer based in Britain also known as LKJ.

“Some songs lament the loss of identity,” he goes on. “In the song Give I Fi I Name, Pablo Moses demands of the coloniser the return of his original African name and he does so with humour.”

There was a tremendous outburst of laughter when he quipped ” A couple of lines I particularly like from that song state: ‘When I reached Ethiopia I feel embarrassed after telling I idrens I name Morris.”

Continuing his music lesson, LKJ went on to explain further; “Similarly during the ska era Lord Brynor in Congo War treated the theme of loss of name with irony. Africa becomes iconic and takes on a Utopian dimension in some reggae songs. The group Third World for example, mythologised Africa in their song Tribal War as a place where there was an absence of tribal conflict. The Abbysinnians in their song Sattamassagana described Africa as a place where there is no night only day. Bunny Wailer’s Dreamland is perhaps the best example of African consciousness as Utopia in reggae.”

The event, which also saw performances from one of the foundation dub poetess Jean Binta Breeze who also is now living in England, Joan Andrea Hutchinson who read from her latest book Kin Teet Kibba Heart Bun, Robert Graham and a cameo appearance from Ras Tukura, marked the launch of the Global Reggae Studies Centre.

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