Marvin Gaye may have protested more elegantly, but “What a Gwaan,” the first single off Tosh’s fifth album, has conviction born of lineage. It’s an anthem that is as applicable to the plight of Trench Town as it is to the Greek financial crisis — a forceful, defining chant that is vintage old school reggae from the scion of one of the founders of the genre. “It is about Jamaica, but it’s really what’s happening all over the world — no money, blood running, people getting killed and exploited by the greedy,” says Tosh, the 45-year-old son of late reggae legend Peter Tosh, in an interview. The album, Eye to I, will be released this fall. Tosh who looks and sounds remarkably like his father, will preview it when he plays Toronto’s Jambana festival at Downsview Park on Aug. 6, a commemoration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. But in 50 years of freedom, Tosh is still singing songs of protest — of economic slavery and exploitation — that his father, who taught Bob Marley how to play guitar, sang so passionately about.
With reggae musicians jamming in the background, Jodian Samuels, of Jamaica, served up dishes that included curried goat, ox tail and jerk chicken. Samuels was visiting the area for the annual People’s Festival: A Tribute to Bob Marley and working at a food stand run by Paradise Palms, a restaurant on King Street in Wilmington. It’s great to educate the community about Jamaica, she said. “It’s lovely,” Samuels said. “It’s really lovely to share our culture with others.” The festival is now in its 18th year. Wilmington was the first American home for Bob Marley. The event to honor him features music, vendors and food stands, and organizers expect to attract 5,000 to 7,000 visitors to Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park this weekend.
Motet drummer and founding member Dave Watts says he plays “music to get lost in.” Nicely matched, State Bridge has the venue to get lost in, and there's no better opportunity than this weekend's Take It To The Bridge festival. Co-headlining are Black Uhuru and See-I featuring members of Thievery Corporation. Supporting the three-day event along the Colorado River are Euforquestra, Nicki Bluhm and the Gamblers, That One Guy and many others. From Boulder, The Motet has been tearing up the national jam scene for 12 years, evolving and helping pioneer the electronic sophistication of that last decade.
It's mid-summer in Northern California and reggae rhythms will once again be reverberating off Southern Humboldt's golden rolling hills. Arguably Humboldt County's most historic and world-renowned gathering centered around live music, this weekend's 28th annual Reggae on the River offers a “global music experience,” according to the festival's promoters at the Mateel. ”Featuring a lineup consisting of more than 30 classic and cutting-edge artists on two stages, the festival (at the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area) will celebrate Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence from imperial rule and will honor this momentous occasion by presenting some of the island's best talent,” according to a news release.