Articles on this Page
- 01/30/12--20:43: _Little Roy: "Bongo ...
- 01/30/12--21:46: _Royal Video and the...
- 03/04/12--21:30: _Bob Marley Document...
- 03/04/12--22:31: _Music Nice! A Regga...
- 03/12/12--23:10: _NPR, Jamaican Women...
- 04/07/12--22:49: _Man Free: Doc Revea...
- 04/20/12--22:23: _Marley: Roots of th...
- 04/28/12--21:59: _Big Dance Inna LA W...
- 04/28/12--22:30: _Ziggy Marley Q&A + ...
- 05/13/12--22:44: _3 The Hard Way: Cut...
- 06/17/12--20:13: _The Dub Reel: Denni...
- 06/17/12--22:15: _Well Red: Recent Bo...
- 08/02/12--22:56: _Celebrating Jamaica 50
- 08/22/12--22:06: _Mr. Vegas & Friends...
- 09/17/12--23:28: _Songs Like Sand, Ri...
- 09/19/12--22:10: _Go Play With A Fall...
- 09/22/12--10:02: _A.K.A. Koxx: The So...
- 09/22/12--20:10: _Big Dub Weekend In NYC
- 09/23/12--20:55: _Joseph Hill: Man of...
- 10/17/12--22:46: _Reggae Tech
- 01/30/12--20:43: Little Roy: "Bongo Nyah" Live w/Adrian Sherwood
- 01/30/12--21:46: Royal Video and the Sounds of Freedom
- 03/04/12--21:30: Bob Marley Documentary for April
- 03/04/12--22:31: Music Nice! A Reggae Update
- 03/12/12--23:10: NPR, Jamaican Women and Chicken Pills
- 04/07/12--22:49: Man Free: Doc Reveals Jamaican Wisdom
- 04/20/12--22:23: Marley: Roots of the Legend
- 04/28/12--21:59: Big Dance Inna LA With Digi Legends
- 04/28/12--22:30: Ziggy Marley Q&A + Music
- 05/13/12--22:44: 3 The Hard Way: Cutty, Vegas and Kabaka
- 06/17/12--20:13: The Dub Reel: Dennis Bovell Makes It Run
- 06/17/12--22:15: Well Red: Recent Books About Jamaica
- 08/02/12--22:56: Celebrating Jamaica 50
- 08/22/12--22:06: Mr. Vegas & Friends For Triumphant "Sweet Jamaica" Video
- 09/17/12--23:28: Songs Like Sand, Riddim Like Dirt
- 09/19/12--22:10: Go Play With A Fall Reggae Sampler
- 09/22/12--10:02: A.K.A. Koxx: The Soon-To-Be-Known Artist
- 09/22/12--20:10: Big Dub Weekend In NYC
- 09/23/12--20:55: Joseph Hill: Man of Culture
- 10/17/12--22:46: Reggae Tech
- For their next release, "Jah No Partial," Major Lazer, the future-dancehall project of Philly producer Diplo, takes it back, in a sense, to the roots, sampling a vintage 1970s Johnny Osbourne acapella and pasting it to an original UK-style jungle riddim. Watch the "making of" video below.
- Producer Dubmatix is back again with new music and free production loops for the studio heads. Download free bass, drum and sound effect loops here at his Reggae Loops page
(100 Limit Download Per Loop). And preview "Dirty Dubstep" his new dubstep loop set for producers. Dubmatix has a new album out soon featuring U-Roy, Luciano, Earl Zero and Tenor Fly.
- More Spiritual is the new riddim from the Green Lion crew, featuring big tunes from Mr. Williamz, Million Stylez, YT, Kabaka Pyramid and more. The set is based on the Henry "Junjo" Lawes classic production of "Ganja Smuggling" recorded at Channel One studios in Jamaica in 1981. Get the promo mix here.
- Singer and musician Stewart Wilson has linked with Mixing Lab's Clive Hunt for his great new single "Three Kings." Backed by the Love Culture band, the track is fresh modern roots with a solid message. Download "Three Kings."
Little Roy singing his classic "Bongo Nyah" in Brazil with On-U Sounds' Adrian Sherwood on the board! This is a rasta anthem, as well as one of Jamaica's most beloved songs.
Jesse Royal, a singer from the Xterminator Records camp, keeps the memory of recently departed producer Philip "Fatis" Burrell fresh with the release of his new video "One Eye Open."
The track, recorded on the Danger In Your Face riddim, is one of Burrell's final productions before his untimely passing. The video was shot in Kingston, Jamaica by Royal Ras Production and directed/editted by Samo 'Kush-I' Johnson. Watch it below at the end of this post.
Freedom Shines is the excellent new riddim set from Jamaica's Truckback camp. An interpretation of Roy Richards' dearly beloved instrumental track ("Freedom Blues"), Truckback producers Steve and Adrian Locke invited some of reggae's finest talent to record on the new version.
The riddim also pays homage to earlier dancehall licks of the instrumental popular during the late-80s and '90s. The Locke brothers chose the historic melody to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence, coming up August 6, 2012.
In a press release Steve Locke commented that Freedom Shines riddim is one way for Jamaica's older and younger generations to come together through the music. "Going into the project, we wanted to use the power of music to unite Jamaica. Freedom Shines brings together the old and the new -- everything old is new again!" Adrian Locke adds, "Tarrus, Gyptian, Busy, Warrior and Turbulence loved the idea of reintroducing a classic with a special spin on it." Follow @truckbackrecord on Twitter.
Produced and recorded in 1974 by Niney The Observer Turntable Club is the first Jamaican recording of live reggae music. A taste of the creative atmosphere in Kingston clubs at the time, the set features live performances from Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson, Big Youth backed by the Soul Syndicate band.
The songs were mixed by King Tubby at his renowned studio on Dromilly Avenue and mastered in London at The Beatles’ Apple Studio on Saville Row. The new CD collection includes an interview with Turntable club owner Winston “Merritone” Blake.
Catch rising dancehall artist Konshens when he rolls through California in March. His recent singles “Good Girl Gone Bad” and “The Realest Song” are still getting lots of club and radio spins internationally. Konshens' strong, distinctive voice and thought-provoking lyrical content has made him a go-to artists for producers and labels like Jam II, Jukeboxx and Maximum Sound. There are still a few bookings left for the tour. Interested promoters can contact RudeGal Entertainment for more information.
Jesse Royal – One Eye Open (Official Video) Xterminator Productions
Saturday April 28, San Francisco's venerable Club Dread, one of the city's oldest continually running reggae events series, present their annual sound clash. This installment features the clash's '05 winner, Jamaica and Florida-based Killaface Sound Station, plus locals Guerrilla Takeover and Seven Star sound from LA. Plan for a big night of dubplates and crowd participation -- but please, no bias! The event takes place at the Rock-It Room, 406 Clement Street in San Francisco.
Canadian bassist, producer and esteemed dubologist Ryan Moore brings his Twilight Circus Dub Sound System to San Francisco on Sunday April 15 at Dub Mission @ the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, San Francisco. Moore has recorded with Luciano, Michael Rose, Ranking Joe and Lutan Fyah to name just a few, and has pioneered his own unique, psychedelic roots-dub sound. Low frequencies will be well represented as day turns to twlight, and dub rules them all.
The good bredrin at Soul of the Lion brought a new I-Grade Records release to our attention. African music act Nazarenes new single "Food" features great brass and a rich, melodic compositional style that recalls greats like Aswad or Morgan Heritage. According to the press site, the track “Food” features production by the Zion I Kings collective, along with guitar work from Ras Abijah and an expert mix by Leroy “Phatta” Pollinger at Anchor Studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Hear a preview on Soundcloud. The album Meditation drops April 10.
Romain's rises again: 22 year-old Jamaican singer and Rising Stars talent show winner Romain Virgo is living up to his potential with another solid single. "I Know Better" is a message tune about the perils of the gun and gang lifestyle. Check the track out here, and for bookings or more information, hail up Rude Gal promotions for more info.
Big up to Kabaka for the link on an excellent new roots band, Pentateuch from Kingston, Jamaica. Like Rootz Underground, Ras Ites or Groundation, they represent the next generation of reggae acts that keep the traditional sound fresh and meaningful. Check their video for "Black Face" below and get more info at their Reverb Nation page.
In Jamaica we talked with twenty-one year old Raquel Jones who was cast in an independent film called “Chicken Pills,”by Jamaica born playwright, Storm. The film is about two teenage girls. One is getting more attention from the boys in the class. The other character, Lisa, is having self esteem problems so she turns to the chicken pills.“Here in Jamaica it’s pressure on teenage girls and women. We do stuff that increases these physical appearances, getting our bodies to look a certain way.”
Jamaica is on the world stage as never before. It's athletes, musicians and political struggles make the headlines and inspire both scrutiny and fascination around the world. With Jamaica's 50th year of independence celebrated this August, it's a perfect moment to examine the soul and culture of this inspired island.
Man Free, a new feature documentary by Kinsey Beck, depicts the wisdom and insights of everyday Jamaicans. The film examines the social fabric of Jamaica as told by ordinary people in their own words. Read more about the characters and synopsis in United Reggae's preview here. And check more about the film below. Man Free is available on DVD, Bluray and soon via digital download from the Man Free website.
From the Man Free website:
Man Free by Kinsey Beck takes a look into the lives of everyday people in the beautiful country of Jamaica. Told through the people themselves, the film takes a glimpse into the lives of people young and old as they fight politics, crime, drugs and more. From the colorful and spirited taxi driver called Master Blaster to the young woman in her twenties running her own bakery, Man Free sheds a light on real life in Jamaica. It's not all reggae and good times. It's a land full of conflict and struggle and a yearning for a better life. But through all the hardships, you come to realize Jamaicans are truly people of grace.Man Free trailer:
The following is a piece I originally posted on Magnifier.
Kevin McDonald's officially sanctioned documentary offers a fresh look at Bob Marley's complex and masterful legacy.
Bob the rebel, writing inspiring songs about freedom and justice for the oppressed. Bob the lover, courting women with songs and charisma. Bob the rocker, mixing it up with punks in London and the Rolling Stones in Kingston. Bob the Rasta, smoking chalice pipes and being tutored by Rasta elders. Bob the icon in death, revered by Hopi indians in America's Grand Canyon, island peoples in the Pacific and throngs of African, Asian and European fans. Released on April 20, Marley (Magnolia Pictures, Rated PG), a documentary directed by Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland), offers the most comprehensive look yet at Robert Nesta Marley, O.M., in a two hour-plus treatment.
Watch the film now on Google Play; the superb soundtrack album is also available for purchase on Play.
Marley has the distinction of being the only official Marley family-sanctioned documentary, and was produced with cooperation from Ziggy Marley and wife Rita. The film examines Bob's personal background and music while charting his legacy through extensive interviews with subjects including colleague Bunny Wailer, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and children Cedella, Ziggy and Stephen.
In his early years, Marley endured scorn from both white and black society in Jamaica as the child of a white British father and black Jamaican mother. But Marley found his place in music and released dozens of albums, including 1977's Exodus, hailed by Time Magazine as Best Album of the 20th Century. The doc features restored archival images, never-before-seen film and interviews, depicting Marley's rise from poverty in Trenchtown to global fame and untimely death from cancer at age 36. A cultural icon adorned on t-shirts, apparel, soft drinks and even earbud headphones, Bob Marley became a third world superstar and hero to poor people while also finding success with mainstream audiences.
Yet, despite all the accolades, the reticent singer was a mystery to many. In a statement, director Macdornald says, "[I was] just trying to be a detective and uncover the truth about his life and the truth about his character." The film does this masterfully, unraveling Marley's complexities and contradictions, while beautifully putting Bob the Legend in context. Watch it now, and check out the chock-full-of-exclusives soundtrack on Google Play.
Carl Meeks ("Weh Dem Fah") and Screechy Dan will join New York sound crew Deadly Dragon and Dub Club LA residents for a night focused on great '80s and '90s dancehall sounds.
Carl Meeks' distinctive vocals and scorching singles on Sunset, Redman and Photographer labels is complemented by his recent reemergence on new digi imprint Tuff Scout. Screechy Dan hyped up the New York scene in the mid-90s with tracks alongside Shaggy, Baja Jedd and others, frequently rocking on both dancehall and hip-hop rhythms.
The Dub Club is a weekly DJ and live reggae music club taking place Wednesdays at the Echoplex in Echo Park district in Los Angeles.
Ziggy Marley made a brief stop through the Bay Area recently to promote the release of the new feature-length Marley documentary film.
ForwardEver was invited to moderate a Q&A with Ziggy; you can watch the video for it here.
David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley -- Bob Marley’s oldest son -- is executive producer of the new documentary on his father's life, directed by Kevin Mcdonald.
During our interview we touched on the new album, which was co-produced by Don Was (Miles Davis, B-52s), and his recording with late great hip-hop MC (of Jamaican heritage) Heavy D. Marley also spoke about his role in shaping the new movie and shared some memories of his famous father.
Ziggy Marley performs "Love Is My Religion" and "Is This Love"
Veteran DJ Cutty Ranks is back, and sounding strong as ever. His new song and video for "Full Blast" is a classic Cutty reflection on the state of crime and violence in Jamaica. The track features a well-built one-drop beat, which sees the formerly ragga-centric artist embracing reggae's traditional roots sound. He has a few other tracks that presage a new album dropping soon; get a taste of his new material here.
Speaking of veterans, Mr. Vegas releases an ambitious 2-CD set titled Sweet Jamaica (MV Music/VP Records) on May 29. The album is a well-timed run-up to Jamaica's 50th independence celebrations in August, as well as the London Olympics (July-August), an event that also shines a positive light on the island. Judging by advance press materials, it's going to be a great album, and the acrobatic and aerobic new video for "Bruk It Down" is already causing a stir.
As the press release explains:
2012 is a milestone year not only for Jamaica, but also for international Jamaican reggae dancehall artist Clifford Smith, aka Mr Vegas (“I Am Blessed” “Heads High”). In the spirit of togetherness, Mr Vegas’s new album, ‘Sweet Jamaica’, set to release May 29 in digital and hard copy, unites reggae and dancehall in an unprecedented double-disc set. From 15 tracks of real roots reggae to 16 more of electrifying dancehall, ‘Sweet Jamaica’ is not only a complete listening experience, it’s a visual one too, just check the cover and album art done in retro event poster style. Including guest spots by Grammy winner Shaggy, roots standard bearer Luciano, the ‘General’ Josie Wales, Nadine Sutherland, sax maestro Dean Fraser and pop sensation Jovi Rockwell, the album presents a seamless mix of up-to-the-time dancehall foundation one drop hits and unreleased original interpretations of reggae classics (“Sweet & Dandy”, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”) and more.And lastly, Kabaka Pyramid's video for "Free From Chains" is out now. Catch it below and subscribe to his YouTube channel too!
On July 9, UK label Pressure Sounds will release a retrospective of dub recordings made between 1978 and 1986 by British producer, arranger and bassist Dennis Bovell. Bovell was a member of the London reggae outfit Matumbi, has backed and arranged music for noted dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and collaborated with other pop and reggae artists.
This new archival release, Mek It Run, was remastered at dub producer the Mad Professor's Ariwa studio. The set includes covers of classic Jamaican riddims, rootsy Bovell originals ("Cross To Bear") and even a dub featuring JA toaster I-Roy ("Burden"). Bovell used Ariwa's outboard effects to give the remastered tracks a crisp but subtle update. From the press notes:
Down in [Bovell's] musical lock-up lay a stack of boxes containing old 2 inch multi-track analogue master tapes, some dating back to the late seventies; this gave Dennis the idea of returning to unfinished works. He selected some likely looking titles that had never had dub treatment and arranged some time in Neil Fraser’s (the Mad Professor) studio, as he knew the Prof had every gadget under the sun. There he “baked” tapes ready for digital conversion via an Alesis HD24 a 24 track, 48kHz hard disk recorder, rescuing the sounds from the inevitable oxidization process that comes with age. At the mixing end Dennis utilizes a whole range of outboard gear from old analogue to the latest digital sets, explaining the unique and end sounds of the dubs presented on the album.Bovell will back his long-time collaborator Linton Kwesi Johnson in a rare US live appearance on June 23 at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in Boonville, CA. Read an in-depth interview with LKJ about his career and the Nor Cal show in SF Gate.
Kingston Noir is a new collection of fiction from new York publisher Akashic. The anthology features original works by Marlon James, Kwame Dawes, Patricia Powell, Colin Channer, Marcia Douglas, Leone Ross, Kei Miller, Christopher John Farley, Ian Thomson, Thomas Glave, and Chris Abani. Stories range from dark crime thrillers to sardonic portraits of modern Jamaican life – ones rife with mystery, intrigue and jarring incidents.
Marlon James has a previous title on Akashic, John Crow's Devil, as does Kwame Dawes and Kingston Noir editor Colin Channer who is also cofounder and artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust. The book is recommended for fans of Caribbean lit, or anyone interested in how tings a gwaan down in Yard.
Moving from fiction to non-fiction, and travel memoir specifically, Noir contributor Ian Thomson has penned one of the most important reflections on Jamaican society in many years. The Dead Yard: A Story of Modern Jamaica literally criss-crosses the entire island, from parish to parish and town to town, interviewing a wide range of people, from farmers and artists to political figures and captains of society.
Thompson, a white British citizen, goes into deep and honest historical detail about his own nation's complicated relationship with Jamaica, as colonial master and benefactor from the slave and sugar trade. Thompson also tells the stories of Asian and Indian immigrants to the island, interviews one of the last remaining Jewish communities and attends various religious events, including the spiritually charged "nine-night" kumina drumming session at the "dead yard" (house of the deceased) of the book's title.
Few books have examined Jamaican life and relationships as frankly and thoroughly as The Dead Yard does (Laurie Gunst's Born Fi Dead is another). Thompson, however, does see things through a certain lens, as an outsider. A book of this type written by a Jamaican national would obviously have a very different spin. But Thompson's effort is both humble and thorough, providing yet more insight into an island nation of just 3 million that has had a profound effect on the world at large. Read the Guardian's review.
ForwardEver would be well remiss if we neglected to publicize the most important date for Jamaica in, well, 50 years: Monday August 6 is the nation's 50th year of independence and celebrations have been going on all year. With the day looming, things are really 'hotting" up.
Music outlets like Google Play are offering musical collection tributes, while the Jamaican Observer news site has a calendar of daily events in yard. Events and gatherings are happening in the Jamaican diasporas of England and Canada, who both have their own web-portals to inform émigrés and international observers.
This Jamaica 50 outlet touts itself as the "official" JA 50 site; the graphics and interactivity are indeed impressive. Personally, I've been enjoying the regular reflections on Big Blackbarry's blog. From Jamaica men's love of ample women, to "big belly brown man rumbar reggae" and what's up with those Red Stripe commercials, plus many more serious topics to boot, this hands down the best Jamaican blog by a Jamaican on the web.
Of course there's been too much music to mention -- anniversary compilations, tribute tracks etc. Reggae artist Konshens,though, has sumed up the spirit nicely with "I Am Jamaican." Grab this excellent one-drop track on the Butterflies riddim right here, and check the lyrics too:
There's plenty to celebrate too: from the philosophies of Marcus Garvey, to the words of poet Ms. Lou and Mutabaruka, to Usain's Bolt's lightning speed to the everyday wit, wisdom, ingenuity and innovation of the Jamaican nation: Out of Many, One. For many years to come.
Celebrate with The Skatalites "Independence Anniversary Ska"
Reggae vocalist Mr. Vegas gathered the cream of Jamaica's music fraternity, including Cocoa Tea, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor, Josey Wales, U-Roy, Singing Melody and more for an expanded version of his song "Sweet Jamaica." The song is a fitting tribute to the island's 50th year of independence and extolls the island's beauty and talents.
But, as Mr. Vegas's MV music team explains, the song also benefits a social cause:
Not only does "The Voices of Sweet Jamaica" build on the success of the original song to create a fresh vibe just in time for independence celebrations but all proceeds from the sale of the all star version of "The Voices of Sweet Jamaica" will directly benefit the Mustard Seed Community in Jamaica. Mustard Seed provides residential facilities to abandoned Jamaica children living with HIV as well as mental and physical disabilities. Currently, Mustard Seed serves children in Kingston proper as well as the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Andrew, St. Ann, and St. James.
Watch the extended "Sweet Jamaica" video:
For now, just a quick mention of a few new and recent releases ForwardEver has been enjoying. First up, VP & 17 N Parade's Reggae Anthology series looks at Barrington Levy in the '80s with Sweet Reggae Music, a 2CD and DVD set out Nov 2. It features "Black Roses," "Like A Soldier," "Mini Bus," "Under Mi Sensi" and more.
Bunny Rugs, issued his new solo album Time on September 11, 2012. The 15-track album features production by Sly & Robbie, Dean Fraser, Mikie Bennett and Richard "Star Trail" Bell.
Bunny Rugs sings with soul and thoughtfulness on the set, which includes both conscious one-drop tracks and romantic ballads. If you like his delivery on Third World classics like "96 Degrees In The Shade" or "African Woman," you'll enjoy songs like "It's Time" or "Bed of Roses" from this project. Rugs's voice has only sweetened with, well, time, and he uses all of his powers to deliver one of the year's finest reggae albums.
Da'Ville is back with a big new album. Krazy Love is as consistent as his previous efforts, and songs like "This Love," "When I'm With You" and "I Was Wrong" might be charting very soon.
The album also sees Da'Ville exploring dancehall and even British club production, as with Cadenza's remix of "You Got Di Ting," a rough, garage-y refix.
Focus Riddim set. It's sure eye catching, almost an optical illusion if you stare at it too long. But long listening is also what this album demands as you get fantastic performances from D'Major, Tidal, Exco Levi and Timeka Marshal. Produced by Dawin "Vikings" Brown and Omar Brown from Vikings Productions house, the riddim is a solidly polished mid-tempo one-drop riddim (think Penthouse or Don Corleon-type productions) and the artists all shine. As a teaser, check Exco Levi's "Save The Music" right now.
|Sierra Nevada World Music Festival|
Google Play Music, where for a limited time you can score 20, yes 20, free tracks from artists including Khago, Vybz Kartel, Capleton, plus classic dancehall from Rayvon and Silver Cat and even a dope Inner Circle dubstep remix.
It's their Fall Reggae Sampler, and the free downloads will be available until the end of September.
The fine print: To download the free reggae tracks, you'll need a Gmail account, which is free to sign up for. Once you do, go here to set up a free music storage library for your personal collection in the cloud, and add free tracks from Play each week.
Vocalist, bassist, multi-instrumentalist, producer – A.K.A. Koxx is all of these things. He's been involved in production in his home Clarendon, Jamaica, and extensively throughout France and Europe where he has lived and toured.
After time spent behind the scenes producing, building riddims and backing other artists (Max Romeo, Freddie McGregor, Mighty Diamonds) a.k.a. Koxx is stepping into the spotlight on his own, and the results sound intriguing so far.
He's also on the cutting edge with rocksteady-inspired riddims (a-lá Peckings) and some nice digi-dancehall productions too. Listen to this radio interview with the man, check out the free downloads below, and more on his Soundcloud page.
A.K.A. Koxx - Love In Your Heart
Trey Songz - Can't Help But Wait a.k.a. koxx remix
Joseph Hill, lead singer of the roots reggae trio Culture, passed on to Zion six years and a month ago on August 19, 2006. Like many reggae greats of the 1970s and '80s his work is still respected and revered by scholars. As you'll see from the videos below, Joseph Hill was a force: he possessed a distinct voice and his messages were consistently conscious.
Culture as a band continues via Joseph's son Kenyatta, who is more than an able leader and singer in his own right. Paired with original Culture backing vocalists Albert Walker and Telford Nelson, Joseph's son ensures that Culture's word-sounds remain powerful.
Here we reflect on the elder Hill's time with the band, through a series of live concert videos (courtesy of Fi Yah We blog). Joseph Hill was at his best in the live setting and toured relentlessly. He was vigilant about connecting with fans and truly earning his living through music. And what great music it was, and still is.
Culture live in concert 2003. Click song titles to see videos.