VP RECORD HOT SHOT OF THE WEEK
VP Records Presents Songs for Reggae Lovers 3
No show: Vybz Kartel, Mavado concert cancelled
New York/Maryland: The on again, off again show headlined by Jamaican reggae artistes Vybz Kartel and Mavado scheduled to come off this weekend has officially been cancelled.
The revelation came from Prime Minister David Thompson who briefed the media on this development following a meeting held at Government headquarters yesterday afternoon, with the promoters of the show.
According to the Prime Minister: “I understand clearly what the original concept was for the show and also the rationale of them recruiting the services of these two reggae artistes and I believe that the organizers of the event were well meaning in their endeavours and I do not think they should be demonized.”
“It is clear that Barbadians feel extremely strongly about the matter and I am, in the elected sense, what we consider to be the highest representative of the views of the public and therefore I think that when we sat down that we came to a sensible position based on what is happening in society.
“That quest to do the right thing by Barbadians prompted my request for the meeting with the organizers of the proposed show and I am happy to announce that in deference to the expressed wishes and the anxieties of a very wide cross-section of Barbadians, that the organizers of the Mavado/Vybz Kartel show and Youth Forum have agreed to the revamping of initiatives resulting in the cancellation of this weekend’s activities.”
“I don’t feel in this particular instance people should be demonized for a well-intentioned effort that could have gone awry, but in circumstances where there is public concern and where the State needs to intervene to protect our young people we will do it,” he stated.
Prime Minister Thompson suggested that there may be scope to establish a protocol to address any similar matters that may arise in the future.
“I think that is something that we have to discuss otherwise arising out of this and so as to protect the entertainers, the promoters and the people who are to benefit from the show; we are to have a protocol.
“There are provisions even under the Treaty of Chaguaramas that would allow a Minister responsible for Immigration in the public interest, in the national interest, to restrict the entry of people. We have never invoked them – other countries have. In fact, some of the countries that were most critical of Barbados [and] our Freedom of Movement Policy have invoked those provisions. We have never done so, but obviously if we think a situation is going to get out of hand we are going to do it. Don’t leave here in any doubt; anything that has to be done to protect our children in this country will be done,” he stressed.
While commending the robust debate which was sparked across the island, the Prime Minister said that persons were mainly concerned with the idea of these artistes being portrayed as role models.
“We are not promoting them as role models. What you are really doing is using them where they have influence to help us in guiding our children in a particular way. Because let us not fool ourselves there are young people who listen to them, who don’t listen to me and don’t listen to you.”
“ …Therefore in our effort to have every sinew in our body straining to solve the challenges that we have in our society before they get worse, there are people we are going to have to bring on board, who sometimes on the face of it may not appear to be adding the kind of value that older people like myself may think they [should] add.”
Several high-ranking officials had denounced the staging of the show between the two dancehall artistes who have been blamed for sparking the contentious and violent Gully/Gaza feud in Jamaica. (JH)Source Barbados Advocate-
“We have to respect the decision of the Prime Minister” -Vybz Kartel Reacts to Cancellation of Barbados Unity Concert
“It is very unfortunate that the government in Barbados would cancel a show with two of the most influential Dancehall artists, especially a show promoting peace and unity amongst school children who take the whole Gaza/Gully phenomenon out of proportion. But we have to respect the decision of the Prime Minister — ultimately he has the well being of the nation at the center of his agenda. I am saddened that we could not perform for our anxious Barbadian fans that would have turned out in the thousands for this historic event.”-
Tax Department Targets Entertainment industry; among 50 high-profile delinquents, Elle stopped at airport unable to leave island
Toots Hibbert pulls ‘Reggay’ from ‘Streggay’
Toots Hibbert-By Mel Cooke
With the flourishing of roots music in the 1970s, capped off by Bob Marley and The Wailers’ unprecedented and yet unmatched success, somehow ‘reggae’ became a catch-all for all of Jamaica’s popular music. That is, until the dancehall surge and there was a need to distinguish the beat and its themes – and, for some, a desire to create some distance between ‘cultural’ reggae and ‘slack’ dancehall.
Toots and the Maytals recorded and released Do The Reggay in 1968 (recorded for producer Leslie Kong), the first song to use the name, though not the beat. Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert told The Sunday Gleaner that the word came to him in Trench Town, that cauldron of creativity along the Spanish Town Road corridor which many a ‘country boy’ took to urban dreams or despair.
‘Reggay’ word inventor
“I am the inventor of the word ‘reggay’. I have made 31 number-one records in Jamaica on vinyl, both on the JBC and RJR charts,” Hibbert said. He is quick to point out that the beat was popular, saying that “the music was playing in those days with some great musicians who play the rhythm. People use to call it boogie beat, pine top boogie and some other things”.
“Me and (fellow Maytals) Jerry and Rolly sitting down one Sunday morning or Tuesday morning in Trench Town. I have my four-string guitar. In Jamaica, we use the word streggay for the girls who don’t dress so good. People that don’t dress good we call streggay, the guy too. It think that word come from that vibe, which I did not think of it, it just come,” Hibbert said. “Nobody could come up with that word but me. I still remain as the man who coins the word reggay.”
Hibbert explained further: “I was just playing around – the word comes up. A girl come around, beautiful looking but doesn’t dress properly, and that word (streggay) comes up. It was not a plan thing. Is the Almighty say open your mouth and I will fill it with words.” However, he said that people do not respect the fact that he coined the term. “If I die now, maybe they will respect it and teach it. I am proud I am the only one who came up with this word ‘reggay’,” he said.
Hibbert emphasizes that the beat was there before the word, saying “the reggay was out there raising cane. I am a dancer. When I used to dance in May Pen – Coxsone, Duke Reid a keep clash – it was boogie beat, because I was so hot”.
He said that Do The Reggay went to number one and “it play night and day in Jamaica”.
However, he said: “A lot of people jealous of the word. I did not copyright the word.” And there is another aspect of his intellectual property affairs that Hibbert is very unhappy with. He said that many producers he worked with in Jamaica did not pay him. “There is no word which I can find now that is not of an angry spirit, thinking of all the people I work for in Jamaica. There is not a second I am not angry. I am happy that they could live to pay me and my family. And I wish them very long life so they could pay me. But some of them die and leave their families happy,” Hibbert said .Source Gleaner-
Four albums in the works-
Toots Hibbert, has been making his presence felt in the recording studio. He has a four of albums in the works, each with a different personality and sound. Flip and Twist, the first is slated for release in a few weeks, Toots describes it as “R&B and a little reggae”; next Toots, Rock, Reggae; then Toots Sings Gospel; and finally an acoustic set, recorded at Strawberry Hill for a BBC documentary.
“Today is not like first time. The more records you have out, the better. The more records that I have that make sense and give wisdom, knowledge and overstanding, you can release a lot of that,” Hibbert said. However, he said, “If the song don’t make good knowledge, wisdom and overstanding, it doesn’t suit you to release it. The negative cause too much problem, the killing and all that.”
Among the songs on Flip and Twist are Perfect Lover, the gospel Almighty Way, Maybe Yow, Daddy and Good Woman. The gospel set includes Oh for a Closer Walk with God and Got to Feel It, while the acoustic set contains some of the classics – Sweet and Dandy, Do The Reggay, Time Tough, 54-46, Monkey Man and Never Grow Old.
The albums are to be released on his D&F Music label, with Flip and Twist slated for digital distribution. In addition, it will be available in CD format when Toots is on tour, as well as in specialty stores. The acoustic album was a family affair, noted Hibbert, stating that his son was on bass and his daughter on harmony, with a percussionist rounding out the outfit for the night. He said the documentary is entitled Do The Reggay and “is the story of the artiste, the times and the development of the music”. Source: www.jamaica-Gleaner.com
BABYMAMA BRINGS REBEL TO COURT
Popular reggae artiste is now involved in a court battle with his former common-law wife for increased child support. Rebel, whose real name is Patrick Barrett, has been taken to court by his common-law-wife, Alicia Lawson.
It is reported that Tony Rebel is now paying approximately $88,000 monthly for the five children he has with Lawson. However, it is said that Lawson wants the amount increased to $128,000 monthly.
The kids that the two have together are said to range between 10 and 15 years old.
The matter came before the Supreme Court on March 16. The matter was adjourned on that date and is expected to return to court in June.
Rebel, came to prominence in 1989 with Fresh Vegetable. But his first release was the single Casino in 1988.
In 1992, he signed a deal with Columbia Records, who released Vibes of the Times the following year, and in 1994 he founded his own record label, Flames Productions. Throughout his career, he has done songs like Jah By My Side, Sweet Jamaica and Loyal Soldier. And yearly, he hosts Rebel Salute in St Elizabeth. Source: www.jamaica-star.com
His is one of the most distinctive voices in dancehall. The sing-jay, whose pairing with producer Jeremy Harding in 1997 brought forth his breakout hit, Heads High, has remained relevant over the past 13 years.
Today, surrounded by positive influences in the form of music veteran Mikie Bennett and his own Forever Blessed crew – Natel, the Jamaican Michael Jackson and Dancer Boricia – Mr Vegas seems to be in it for the long haul. “I will just keep doing music, and whatever happens, I just leave that to destiny,” he said.
Destiny has brought him face-to-face with a Mikie Bennett project, My Brother’s Keeper, which was borne out of the tragedy which struck Haiti on January 12. The song, though a direct response to the earthquake, speaks to a greater humanity where people are willing to go the extra mile for one another.
‘My brother’s keeper’
Written by Bennett, My Brother’s Keeper has Vegas as executive producer with vocals by himself along with Chevelle Franklyn, Natel, Bunny Rugs and Cherine Anderson, among others.
And even as his popular Gallis continues to receive great airplay, Mr Vegas has had the opportunity to lend his vocals to Bring It, the official International Cricket Council 20/20 song, along with Trinidad and Tobago’s Fay-Ann Lyons.
“I don’t know how much longer the people are Gonna accept me,” said the singer. “The motivation is there because I’m around people like Mikie Bennett and Natel, my co-manager Leslie Cooney, my kids. That’s my main motivation right now to continue.”
But there was a time in the not-too-distant past when zthe crooner was ready to pack it all up and walk away.
“I was just around the wrong people. At one point, I was really sick. I had acid reflux and pericarditis. I was in so much pain and I was just around people who cared little about my pain. I think it was more about the artiste and what he could bring to the table.”
The artiste goes on to tell of horrors involving him having to overdose on pain medication in order for the show to go on.
Then came deliverance in the form of I Am Blessed, a song with its hook coming straight from the walls of the church and one which appealed to every age demographic. It propelled him back to relevance and saw him enjoying the most popularity he has had since his breakout hit more than a decade earlier.
“I wanted to retire but because I Am Blessed came out, I had to be promoting it,” he said.” After all,” he added, “I still have a family to feed.”
Helping young artistes
He also has young artistes like Brown Sugar, who he has taken under his wings and hopes to guide to a successful career, which includes international marketability. “Sometimes I speak and I get in trouble,” he said, “but some people don t understands. They see a song ‘mashing up’ Weddy Weddy and Passa Passa and they don’t realize the song don’t even pass airport,” said Vegas, explaining that having clout on the international market is of utmost importance, as that is what brings income to the country.
Speaking to his presence on the global scene, Vegas, who left the island last Thursday to perform at an Indian parade in New York, said, “I am doing okay. It’s not the best because of the economic climate, but I can survive.” Source JamaicaGleaner.com-
Oku still rebelling against the system-
Back in the 1970s, when Black Power was the rage in Jamaica, it was cool to clench fists and wear an Afro. Many former radicals have mellowed, but not poet Oku Onuora who, at 58, retains the snarl of his firebrand youth.
Regarded by some as the father of dub poetry, Oonura is scheduled to appear on the Seh Sup’m poetry show today at the Village Café in St Andrew. Chatting with The Sunday Gleaner recently, he said he remains a committed revolutionary.”Nuthin’ has changed, ’cause wi still seeing the same ‘sufferation’ and oppression,” he said.
It has been some time since Onuora has performed, having taken a break from touring and recording. He does not believe his message has been lost to a generation caught up with dancehall feuds and iPods. “Some of my original work, wi talking ’bout tings like ‘Dread Times’ and ‘Pressure’, still relevant to the times,” he said. “People mus’ listen to our work all 100 years from now.”
Fiery, piercing tone
Onuora speaks in a fiery, piercing tone, like the inspirational warrior addressing his troops before battle. It has been 10 years since he toured and, typical of serious messengers like Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, shies from commercial recording.
A Movement is the title of his latest collection of recordings which will be available through the Internet later this year. According to Onuora, his writing has never been solely for recording. “I don’t get up an’ jus’ crunch out albums, I’m not what yuh call a current writer. I have to feel it before I record anything,” he explained.
Despite his inactivity, Onuora retains a strong fan base in Europe and the United States’ west coast where his 1984 effort, Pressure Drop, is hailed as one of the great protest albums. He remains a prolific writer, but said he turned his back on music when negative elements took over. “Mi neva like wha’ a gwaan, all of a sudden everybody did tun bad man. Mi nuh inna dat, me’s a revolutionary, mi come fi blow down oppression!” he exclaimed.
Mervyn Morris is a professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies and one of the Caribbean’s distinguished poets. He first met Onuora in the mid-1970s while he (Onuora) was incarcerated at the St Catherine District Prison for armed robbery.
Morris played an influential role in getting ECHO, Onuora’s first book of poems, published. He is not surprised at his achievements. “Oku has a lot of talent but that’s one thing, he’s always been concerned about social conditions and equality. He’s an activist with conviction,” Morris said.
Oku Onuora went through a phase of ‘badness’ in his youth. Born Orlando Wong in east Kingston, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1970 for armed robbery but was released in 1977 after vigorous lobbying by academics and human rights activists.
It was while in prison that Onuora’s passion for poetry and protest literature grew. He remembers reading Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver’s classic autobiography, Soul On Ice, and the writings of Malcolm X. He also followed the freedom movement in Africa, finding heroes in Mozambique’s Samora Machel and South African Steve Biko.
With a new name (Oku Nagba Ozala Onuora is his complete name which is Nigerian for everlasting fire or light which burns oppression), Onuora hit the ground running after his release from prison, performing at high-profile events.
The following year, he cut Reflections in Red for Bob Marley’s 56 Hope Road label, which some musicologists recognize as the first dub poetry song. Along with the pioneer Linton Kwesi Johnson in Britain, Mikey Smith and Mutabaruka, Oonura helped put the genre on the map.
Smith was killed in 1983, the alleged victim of mob violence, but Linton Kwesi Johnson and Mutabaruka have enjoyed enduring careers. Onuora is uncommitted about his plans to promote A Movement, but hopes to perform regularly at intimate events like Seh Sup’m. “Wi cyaan seh how much show wi going do, but wi coming to blaze!” Source: JamaicaGleaner.com