Almost all that is good about the genre they call 'reggae' can be associated with the genius that is Grammy winner Lee 'Scratch' Perry. From his seismic influence on what many adjudge the best of Bob Marley and his Wailers, to the creative cultivation of the Congos, Max Romeo, Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, the Heptones and subsequent collaborations with a host of luminaries, including the Beastie Boys, George Clinton, Keith Richards and the Orb, Perry's mark in music is indelible. For some, his eccentricity is as much his hallmark as is his history. And it's no surprise that Rolling Stone magazine should rank him in their '100 Greatest Artists of All Time'.
After the fourth original member, Brinsley 'Dan' Forde, departed the group in 2008, Angus 'Drummie Zeb' Gaye became the only original member of British reggae group Aswad, formed in 1975. But Drummie Zeb and long-time member Tony 'Gad' Robinson, who joined in 1980, have kept the Aswad flag flying as the group continues to deliver roots reggae to the world. Performing in Jamaica for the first time in 20 years, the group's performance at Rebel Salute 2013 was professional. Drummie Zeb alternated between singing lead vocals up front and sitting in the back, beating the drums while Tony Gad took over. "It's good to be in Jamaica, to come back to the home of reggae is great!" Drummie Zeb told The Gleaner after exiting the stage last Saturday night.
Snoop Lion, nee Snoop Dogg, has done the seemingly impossible -- pissed off a bunch of ganja smoking Rastafarians -- who claim he lied about becoming a Rasta just to make a movie and sell records ... and now they're threatening to sue. Bunny Wailer -- an original member of Bob Marley and the Wailers -- tells TMZ he's heated about the docu-film "Reincarnated" ... which documented Snoop's immersion in the Rasta culture as he recorded his first reggae album in Jamaica last year.
Patrons blew their horns in support of 'host' Tony Rebel, Professor Nuts, Louie Culture, Etana, Marcia Griffiths and Tarrus Riley. However, it was Beres Hammond for whom the plastic horns resonated loudest. There was not a dull moment. In his 45-minute set, as he rocked his audience with songs like She Loves Me Now, Step Aside, I Feel Good, Falling in Love and Can't Stop. "It has been too long Jamaica and I am happy to be here performing for you once more," an energetic Hammond told approving fans. Minutes to midnight, Tony Rebel celebrated his birthday by belting out some of his most popular hits like Fresh Vegetable and If Jah Is Standing By My Side.
When you are credited as "an accomplished singer, pianist/organist and producer" by Billboard - one of the most influential and acclaimed entertainment magazines - then you can rest assured that you have made an indelible mark in music history. It is unfortunate though that Lloyd Charmers, the musician being lauded, is not alive today to savour this accolade. Local reggae enthusiasts were jolted when news broke that Charmers had passed away from a massive heart attack on December 27 in London while driving. Though the artiste had migrated to London to continue his career, he was still one of Jamaica's music luminaries.
The Living Values Education organisation, which is headed by author Sharon Parris-Chambers, is calling on Jamaicans to live the message of One Love - acceptance, universal brotherhood, forgiveness, and respect - as a way to celebrate the birthday of reggae icon Bob Marley. "Jamaica has given birth to one love, a message of unconditional love and acceptance for all," said Parris-Chambers, Jamaica's national coordinator for Living Values Education. "It has been spread throughout the world through the music and vibrations of reggae, a spiritual music that uplifts and empowers." According to Parris-Chambers, the time has come for Jamaicans to understand and fully embrace the healing message, which was an integral part of Marley's music, whose birthday falls on February 6. "This is a healing message for our time," said Parris-Chambers, "just as it was when Bob Marley embraced it and lived it during his lifetime, through his philosophy and music."
Politically active Chicago Bishop Larry Trotter appealed to his congregation and to Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday to let an iconic reggae music club, the Wild Hare, obtain a live-music license so it can continue to operate. Trotter hosted three of the four owners at his Sweet Holy Spirit Church on the South Side to condemn what they claim is racial stereotyping by the club’s neighbors in the North Side’s Wrightwood community. Trotter said he took up the cause after members of his congregation told him about their concern for a favorite entertainment spot, which has been operating as a restaurant without live music for the past five months.
PRODUCER Harry Mudie is not as famous as some of his contemporaries like Clement Dodd or Duke Reid, but he has a number of firsts to his name. For starters, he was the first to record seminal roots group Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari and and saxophonist Wilton Gaynair. Another significant achievement for the Spanish Town-born Mudie. He is the producer who introduced live strings to reggae. "After leaving school in the late '50s, I started a sound system then got involved with Count Ossie. And we went to the studio and did a session out of which came the singles Babylon Gone and So Long," Mudie told the Observer recently. "After that I went away to England."
Organizers of the 2nd International Reggae Poster Contest 2013 (IRPC) are pleased to announce a call for entries with the closing date set for March 30, 2013. Winning posters, as before, will be selected by a jury of international design professionals and will be published in a catalogue/book, exhibited and auctioned, with proceeds going to help establish a Frank Gehry designed Reggae Hall of Fame Museum and performance center in Kingston, Jamaica as well as raising funds for both the Alpha Boys’ School and HELP Jamaica! Charities, with the latter recently featuring a number of last years posters in its popular calendar for this year.
Veteran reggae broadcaster David Rodigan is to join BBC Radio 1Xtra, just weeks after he quit an award-winning show on a commercial station after 20 years. The 61-year-old, who is the UK's foremost reggae presenter, walked out on Kiss FM in protest at the "marginalisation" of his music when his programme was shunted to a midnight slot. He has now signed up to host a two-hour Sunday evening show on Radio 1's digital sister station from February 17, and will also return to Radio 2 to host a 13-part series in the summer.