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Western Consciousness Calls for Peace Promoters of the Western Consciousness show have dedicated this year’s event to some of the most crime-plagued areas in the tourist city of Montego Bay. Western Consciousness’ 25th staging takes...

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Honouring Yabby You The legacy of roots visionary Yabby You will be revisited this year in the form of a box set from American independent record company Shanachie Records. Randall Grass, head of Shanachie, says no date...

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Gregory’s Love Box released A four-CD collection featuring many of the songs that made Gregory Isaacs a lovers rock icon was released on February 14 by Tads International Record. Love Box is the title of the multi-track set which...

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Reggae Brittania Documentary How Jamaican music helped transform Britain's pop music and society, is the subject of Reggae Brittania, a documentary currently being shown by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).  Reggae Brittania...

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Tribute to Wilton Gaynair Concert The music of a Jamaican jazz hero returned to the local stage on March 13 with the Tribute to Wilton Gaynair concert at the Institute of Jamaica's Lecture Hall in downtown Kingston.  The Tony Greene Quartet...

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The Guilty Verdict of Buju Banton The guilty verdict against reggae star Buju Banton in a Tampa, Florida Federal court on February 22 has had a profound impact on the artiste's colleagues and fans, some of whom believe it will have a negative...

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Reggae Industry Association Recognized by the Music... In March, 17 music industry stalwarts were recognized by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) at its Honour Awards Ceremony at the Edna Manley College in Kingston. The event brought the curtains...

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Western Consciousness Calls for Peace

Category : Reggae News

Promoters of the Western Consciousness show have dedicated this year’s event to some of the most crime-plagued areas in the tourist city of Montego Bay.

Western Consciousness’ 25th staging takes place in Montego Bay on April 13.

“People know Montego Bay as the friendly city, but that hasn’t been the case in some places. We believe the potency of Western Consciouness can help bring back that friendliness,” said the show’s founder/promoter Worrell King.

Honouring Yabby You

Category : Reggae News

The legacy of roots visionary Yabby You will be revisited this year in the form of a box set from American independent record company Shanachie Records.

Randall Grass, head of Shanachie, says no date or title has been confirmed for the album. He indicated that the project will do justice to one of roots-reggae’s unheralded artistes.

Yabby You

Randall Grass

“We believe Yabby You is under-appreciated and should be mentioned in the same breath as Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry, Culture and Burning Spear,” said Grass.

He disclosed that the proposed album will be a diverse one. It is likely to comprise two compact discs, extensive liner notes from persons who knew and worked with the singer/producer as well as a DVD.

Yabby You (given name Vivian Jackson) died in early 2010 in Clarendon at age 63. A protégé of master engineer Osbourne ‘King Tubby’ Ruddock, he began recording in the early 1970s as founder of The Prophets, a group that included guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Wailers bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and drummer Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace.

With Ruddock as producer, Yabby You and The Prophets cut a series of inspirational songs including “Conquering Lion”, “Love Of Jah” and “Warn The Nation”.

Gregory’s Love Box released

Category : Reggae News

A four-CD collection featuring many of the songs that made Gregory Isaacs a lovers rock icon was released on February 14 by Tads International Record.

Love Box is the title of the multi-track set which includes classics such as “Soon Forward”, “Tune In”, “Night Nurse”, “Sunday Morning”, “Oh What a Feeling” and “My Number One”.

Other songs such as “Lonely Soldier” and “If I Can’t Have You” are also on the set. Those tracks were popular in Britain where the ‘Cool Ruler’ had a strong fan base.

Isaacs was a popular underground singer from west Kingston in the early 1970s. He had solid hits with “All I Have Is Love” and Love Is Overdue” but it was not until late that decade that he became an household name.

Isaacs died of cancer in London in October, 2010 at age 59.

Greenwich Farms

Category : Coming Soon

Reggae Brittania Documentary

Category : Reggae News

How Jamaican music helped transform Britain’s pop music and society, is the subject of Reggae Brittania, a documentary currently being shown by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).  Reggae Brittania is directed by respected English film-maker Jeremy Marre who looks at the impact Jamaican popular music had on British youth in the 1960s.
Through interviews with Aswad’s Brinsley Forde and David Hinds of Steel Pulse, Marre also examines how ska, rock steady and roots-reggae affected first-generation British West Indians.
“I wanted it to be a positive story, to show how reggae in this country
evolved and impacted on British music, society and even politics. And how reggae as it evolved here, took on a kind of Britishness,” Marre told The Telegraph newspaper.
The first wave of West Indian migration to Britain took place in 1948 when hundreds of islanders arrived on the SS Windrush to help boost that country’s economy which had taken a beating during World War II.
Many first-generation British West Indians, like Hinds, were born in the
1950s. He recalls how difficult it was for him and other black youth
attending school in a pre-dominantly white society.
Hinds said he was taught about pivotal events in British history, like the
Battle of Hastings. It was when he started listening to music from his
parents’ native Jamaica that he finally discovered “something that was
ours”.
Ska had a major following among rebellious British youth named Skinheads
in the 1960s. Jamaican artistes like Millie Small, Desmond Dekker and Dave
Barker and Ansell Collins, all had hit songs in Britain during that
decade.
That trend continued in the 1970s when singers Junior Murvin and Boothe
entered the national charts with Police and Thieves and Everything I Own,
respectively. But it was the Afro-centric themes of roots-reggae that had
the biggest bearing on budding singers like Hinds and Forde.
They were strongly influenced by Bob Marley and Burning Spear whose music
was distributed by a London company named Island Records. Island would
also help nurture the careers of dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, Aswad and
Steel Pulse, who decried the high level of social and racial prejudice in
Britain.
These acts were alternatives to punk rockers like The Clash and Sex
Pistols. Steel Pulse, especially, would become popular in Jamaica
throughout the 1980s, thanks to critically-acclaimed albums like True
Democracy.
Jeremy Marre has been producing films and documentaries since the 1970s.
He has done feature-length projects on Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Phil
Spector.

Tribute to Wilton Gaynair Concert

Category : Reggae News

The music of a Jamaican jazz hero returned to the local stage on March 13 with the Tribute to Wilton Gaynair concert at the Institute of Jamaica’s Lecture Hall in downtown Kingston.  The Tony Greene Quartet paid homage to him with a five-song set that included four Gaynair originals: Kingston Bypass, Wilton’s Mood, Deborah and Rianyag. They completed the set with Joy Spring, originally done by the American trumpeter Clifford Brown.  Gaynair, a saxophonist and graduate of the Alpha Boys School, died in Germany in 1995 at age 67.  Herbie Miller is curator/director at the Jamaica Music Museum, a department of the Institute of Jamaica. He said he hopes to present a monthly series dedicated to Jamaican jazz greats, some of whom left Jamaica for North America and Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.
“This is the first step to revive the music of these masters whose
contributions have been overlooked,” Miller said.
Prior to the live segment, Miller presented an audio-visual reflection on
Gaynair’s life and work.
Greene, who is also an Alpha graduate, was accompanied by Sherwayne
Thompson on bass, Ozou’ne on piano and drummer Obed Davis. Several of
Gaynair’s friends from the Rockfort area of Kingston attended the event.
It was the second Gaynair tribute in recent months featuring the Greene
Quartet. The first took place at the Miami Jazz Film Festival last
October.
Gaynair was born in 1927 and entered Alpha in 1940, staying there for four
years. During the 1940s, he was a member of the All Stars Band that also
included Tommy McCook, his younger brother Bobby who was also a
saxophonist and trumpeter Sonny Bradshaw.
Gaynair moved to Germany in 1955. There, he recorded the albums Blue Bogey
and Africa Calling in 1959 and 1960, respectively. A third album,
Alpharian, was released in 1982.
While in Germany, Gaynair played in a number of jazz bands and worked with
greats like bandleader Gil Evans, singer Shirley Bassey and new wave swing
bands like the Manhattan Transfer.
He was also part of the band that performed at the opening ceremony of the
1972 Munich Olympics.
After suffering a stroke in 1983, Gaynair was unable to play music again
and died 12 years later. Bobby Gaynair, the only surviving member of the
All Stars Band, lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.

The Guilty Verdict of Buju Banton

Category : Reggae News

The guilty verdict against reggae star Buju Banton in a Tampa, Florida Federal court on February 22 has had a profound impact on the artiste’s colleagues and fans, some of whom believe it will have a negative effect on Jamaican music.  Buju, 37, will be sentenced on June 23.  He faces a lengthy prison term after a 12-member jury found him guilty on three of four charges. Legal experts say he can be handed a minimum 15-year sentence or serve as many as 40 years behind bars.
The news broke in Jamaica as soon as the verdict was returned early afternoon. For a group of musicians at the Mixing Lab studio in Kingston, the outcome was devastating.
“It’s a sad moment, it’s obvious the prosecutor wanted to get him based on the new charges,” said deejay Tony Rebel. “But it’s a sad day for Rasta and the youths who look up to Buju.”
Singer Junior Reid had scathing words for the US legal system.
“It’s a conspiracy to get out reggae music. With Buju gone, a big part of reggae music chop off,” he said.
Deejay Chad “Mr. G” Simpson believes reggae artistes out of Jamaica will have it tougher when they are traveling.
“There will be a lot more scrutiny. I see a lot of problems for the business,” Mr. G said.
Buju and two other men were arrested by Federal agents in south Florida in
December, 2009. They were subsequently charged with conspiracy to possess
with intent distribute cocaine.
Mack and Thomas pleaded guilty to the charges and face life imprisonment.
Buju pleaded not guilty to the charges, but was slapped with additional
firearms charges in January.
His initial trial ended with a hung jury last September. He was given bail
in November and had been under house arrest at his Tamarac home.
Arguably the most popular of reggae’s new wave of roots artistes, Buju
Banton broke through in the early 1990s with the song “Browning”. Numerous
dancehall hits followed, but he is best known for the epic 1995 album,
“Til Shiloh” which contained songs like “Untold Stories”, “Not An Easy
Road” and “Murderer”.
One week before he was found guilty, Banton’s “Before The Dawn” won the
Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

Reggae Industry Association Recognized by the Music Industry

Category : Reggae News

In March, 17 music industry stalwarts were recognized by the Jamaica
Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) at its Honour Awards Ceremony at the
Edna Manley College in Kingston.
The event brought the curtains down on JARIA’s Reggae Month celebrations.
Some perennial names including Ken Boothe, Judy Mowatt and The Paragons
received plaques, but there was also recognition for respected veterans
like bass player Val Douglas, producer Clive Hunt and broadcaster Winston Williams.
Boothe brought proceedings to a close with a typically rousing performance
that included his hit songs Everything I Own and Freedom Street. He
received his award from singer Tarrus Riley with whom he did an impromptu
version of Say You.
Also receiving awards were sound system operators Winston Blake of
Merritone and Noel Harper of Kilamanjaro; engineers Michael Reilly and
Dennis Thompson; former Third World member Michael ?Ibo? Cooper for
mentorship at the Edna Manley College; guitarist Dwight Pinkney; producers
Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson and Cleveland “Clevie” Browne, and the Fabulous
Five band which has been together 40 years.
The 2011 cast included some of the pioneers of Jamaican popular music.
That August category included four greats of the rock steady era: Boothe,
The Paragons, Delroy Wilson and Phyllis Dillon.
Wilson and Dillon, who recorded mainly for rival producers Clement
“Coxson” Dodd and Arthur “Duke” Reid respectively, were honoured
posthumously.
Bass player Lloyd Parks, founder of the We The People Band and former
member of the legendary Revolutionaries band at Channel One, received the
Lifetime Achievement Award.
The evening featured strong performances from The Tamlins, Mary Isaacs,
Prilly Hamilton and Pam Hall. The Tamlins paid homage to Hunt with a
version of their hit song Baltimore on which he played horns, and also did
a medley of Paragons hits.
Isaacs did stylish renditions of Breakfast in Bed (on which Douglas
played), and the Dillon hits, Don’t Stay Away and Perfidia. Hamilton
enthusiastically delivered Wilson’s Dancing Mood and Smooth Operator,
while Hall put a classy jazz spin on Mowatt’s Black Woman.
Browne accepted the Producers Award on behalf of his longtime friend and
keyboardist Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson who died in 2009 at age 47. They
were responsible for most of the hit songs during dancehall’s golden age
of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Howard Campbell

Category : Coming Soon

Coming Soon!

Bunny Wailer Tour

Category : Musicians' Bio

Reggae legend Bunny Wailer is planning an ambitious world tour scheduled to start in August. In a recent interview, the 64 year-old singer said the
three-year jaunt is being coordinated with the William Morris Agency.  It will be Wailer’s first world tour, and is expected to end in 2014 with
his debut appearances in Africa. The tour is tentatively expected to start in Jamaica, followed by dates in the United States, Latin America, Europe
and Asia.  Wailer, whose real name is Neville Livingston, said he will be doing more than singing and dancing on the tour.  “There’s so much that has been said about The Wailers that’s not true,
and that needs to be clarified because the people have been misled too long,” he explained.
Wailer, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh are the most famous members of the
Wailers which started as a harmony group during the ska craze of the early
1960s. Marley died from cancer in May, 1981 at age 36 while Tosh was only
42 when gunmen murdered him at his Kingston home six years later.
But while his colleagues were known for relentless touring during the
1970s, Wailer stayed put in Jamaica and recorded seminal albums like
“Blackheart Man” and “Struggle”. He has performed sporadically in recent
years but has never been on the road for extended periods.
He believes the time is right to change that.  “I woulda like break new ground, a lotta people hear about Bunny Wailer but have never had the privilege of seeing me,” he said. “This time, we want to cover as much territory as possible.”
The Bunny Wailer world tour will culminate with some key events, including
Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence and the London Olympics in
2012, as well as the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil in 2014.
At the request of the William Morris Agency, Wailer has also recorded
“Bunny Wailer Sings The Wailers”, a 50-track album of Wailers songs from
the group’s years with producers Clement Dodd, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Danny
Sims, Chris Blackwell and their Wail ‘N’ Soul label.
The Wailers signed with Island Records while they were in England in 1972,
and released two outstanding albums — “Catch A Fire” and “Burning” —
within months of each other in 1973.  Wailer and Tosh left the group in 1974 after a fall-out with Blackwell.  Marley became the focus of the group and within three years was a superstar.

Kingston 13 Reggae to the World

Category : Story

The Kingston 13 continued contribution to the development of reggae music or Jamaican music culture after starting on strong footing by the pioneers Owen Gray, Lauriel Atkins, Jackie Edwards and Count Prince Miller our initial offering. This was the blue beat era or so called (softies music) when our singers were mostly trying to copy the sound of America. Listening to such early music as Lauriel Aitkins’ (I remember), Jackie Edwards (tell me darling) all have that over riding American music influence and reflected much of what was recorded in Jamaica at the time, e.g. The Jiving Juniors with the song (sugar dandy) and Dobby Dobson with the song (oh Donna) and the Rhythm Aces with the song (A thousand tear drops). Our musical identity started to take shape during the ska era when our singers and players of music after absorbing all the musical cultures exposed to them came up with a sound that was truly Jamaican, this was ska. This music being our first popular music that got us world recognition saw a number of early artists making important contribution to the music’s development during the early 60’s. Among them Eric Monty Morris, Higgs & Wilson, Simms & Robinson, Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan. Though all made paramount contribution to our early music development it was Derrick Morgan who ruled this era of our music. His hits were what ska and Jamaican popular music was all about during the early 60’s. He was like a king in his neighborhood of Greenwich Town and influenced many young musical inspired youths from the area and Jamaica at large. With the popularity of ska music and the emergence of dozens of sound systems and bands in the corporate area led to regular live concerts and dances which were always well attended by the music hungry masses. Two important acts of that early era was cabaret sensation Shelia Records and dancers Sparky& Pluggy, both from the Greenwich Town area and were two of the most popular cabaret acts in Jamaica performing at all the leading night clubs and hotels across the island. Another important ingredient in the Kingston 13 musical fraternity is the talented Lloyd Charmers from the Greenwich Town area who played an important part in influencing dozens of future recording artists from the area over a number of decades. This gifted self taught musician and singer has made his influence felt first during the ska era with his group the Charmers a duo that was extremely popular during the early stages of our music’s development. Later during the Rock Steady era he was a member of the hit group Alton and the flames with whom he recorded the dancehall anthem (Cry Tuff), later with the group the Uniques, a group he formed with Jimmy Riley, himself and Keith Slim Smith. This group formed in the Greenwich Town area is known to have recorded some of the sweetest music to have come out of Jamaica. Blessed with the gifted lead voice of Slim Smith who is considered the most gifted vocalist to emerge from our popular music. They recorded exclusively for producer Bunny Striker Lee during the late 60’s to mid 70’s and gave the world such memorable hits such as; (Conversation, Watch this sound and Do the Rock Steady) among dozens of other hits. Continuing his musical journey Lloyd Charmers was to produce some of reggae music’s biggest international songs such as; the Ken Boothe massive hit (Everything I own). As the Kingston 13 music tradition started with Derrick Morgan leading the charge the baton was now handed over to another young youth from the Greenwich Town area, this individual was not a singer but a producer who was to revolutionize the music and went on to become one of the most respected name in the history of our popular music the individual Bunny Striker Lee.
This young musical inspired youth was born on West Avenue in Greenwich Town and from an early age knew he was destined to be in music. During the late 50’s to early 60’s he ventured into music first as a dancer where he appeared on the popular Vere John talent show of the day on a number of occasions but did not win. He later ventured into singing where he again show cases his singing ability on the Vere John talent show at the majestic theatre placing second and third on two occasion singing the hits made popular by Mario Lanzo his idol at the time. Becoming friendly with all the major players in the fledging Jamaica recording industry such as producers, singers, musicians, radio announcers and record promoters encouraged the young striker lee to venture into record production, this he did in 1968. His first recording session at West Indies Records now Dynamic Sound produced the hits: SOCK IT TO ME by the group Lloyd and the Groovers a group from the Greenwich Town area the song was a instant hit, this first session also produced the hit: Music Field by Roy Shirley. As history has shown Bunny Striker Lee have produced some of the biggest recordings to come out of Jamaica and have recording hits with; Bob Marley, Owen Grey, Jackie Edwards, Derrick Morgan, the Mellodians, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Pat Kelly, Slim Smith, Delroy Wilson, Johnny Clarke, Cornell Campbell, Dillinger, Max Romeo, the Paragons, Ken Parker, Dave Barker, Roland Alphanso, Val Bennett, Dennis Brown, Leroy Smart, Bennie Man, King Kong, Sly& Robbie, Eric Donaldson, Soul Syndicate Band and many others. His impressive catalogue of music reflects the development that our music has seen since its inception and represents the largest collection of recorded music in the Jamaican popular music. With the Soul Syndicate band in the mid 70’s he created the (Flying Cymbal sound) along with drummer Carlton Davis that launched the career of Johnny Clarke earning Clarke the title (the hit machine) releasing dozens of hit songs during that era. His first million selling production was the song (wet dream) with singer Max Romeo which went to the top of the British and other European charts while been band from all radio. Bunny Lee’s contribution to the development and popularizing of the Jamaican music and culture saw the Jamaican government in 2008 honoring him with the title O.D. order of distinction