Reggae legends The Wailers will make their Northwest Arkansas debut in Fayetteville in November, it was announced last week. The band, known best for its work with Bunny Wailer and late Reggae-music icons Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Walton Arts Center.Original member Aston Barrett remains an anchor in the band on bass guitar, and is joined by Elan Atias and Koolant Brown on lead vocals; Keith Sterling on keys; Anthony Watson on drums; Audley Chisholm on rhythm guitar; Chico Chin on trumpet; Everald Gayle on trombone; and Brady Walters and Cegee Victory on background vocals.Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, and range from $16-$28. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Walton Arts Center box office at 479-443-5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org.
BEFORE last week, the closest I ever came to Jamaica was standing on the concrete subway platform at the subway station in Jamaica, New York. The contrast could not have been more striking as I crossed the threshold to the hip and cosmopolitan Spanish Court Hotel in (New) Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. Spread out below the rise of the Blue Mountains fringing Kingston, the soundtrack to this city is the musical reggae beat of legend Bob Marley. Because of the prevailing high crime and murder rate that plagues the reputation of the city of Kingston, I was expecting and waiting for the tense atmosphere in town to rear its ugly head. But it never came.
In 1997, writer, producer and performer Michael Goldwasser founded reggae collective Easy Star All-Stars, and has since then released half a dozen albums with names like “Dub Side of the Moon,” “Radiodread,” and “Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band.” Their latest album, a reggae-homage to Michael Jackson, “Thrillah,” slows down singles like “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” to a dubby reverb. Goldwasser, whose father was a rabbi for a Reform congregation, talked to The Arty Semite about the affinity between Judaism and Rastafarian cultures and why Israel is the next big reggae scene.
In commemoration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence from Britain, the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment section recognises 50 persons who made significant, yet unheralded, contributions to the country's culture. Today we feature Gwen Guthrie. In the summer of 1986, singer Gwen Guthrie hit pay dirt with Ain't Nothin' Goin' on but the Rent, a song that became the working woman's anthem and a jab to the face of every deadbeat man. Ain't Nothing Goin' on but the Rent was also a smash in Jamaica where Guthrie's songs were popular for years, though many did not know it. Jamaicans danced in the 1970s to the ballads This Time It'll be Sweeter (Linda Lewis) and God Don't Like Ugly by Roberta Flack, which were written by the New Jersey-reared Guthrie.
On Saturday, September 1, 2012 the first full day of Reggae music came to life at the One Love, One Heart Reggae Festival taking place out at the Rio Ramaza Marina Park. The music was popping but, unfortunately, the crowds were not. Live performances began at 11:00 a.m. and continued through the day and into the night. Food vendors were plentiful but business a tad slow despite the great list of Reggae performers that deserved huge rounds of applause. The performers included a full list of talented artists including Midnite, King Hopeton, Finn, Pound Game, UpRising, IFA, United District, Reggae Bubblers, Queen Makeda, Bambu Prophets, and Jah Thunder Wisdom. The somewhat unimpressive crowd was not due to lack of talent or quality booking.
NKULEE Dube, daughter of the late South African reggae singer Lucky Dube, was recently honoured at the International Reggae and World Music Awards. The 27-year-old singer was honoured for being the first artiste to be nominated six times since the award show began 31 years ago. The event was held at the Washington Park in Chicago and the award list featured big international stars like Akon, Rihanna, Pitbull and Beenie Man. Apart from being honoured for being the first artist from a non-Carribean country to be nominated at the awards, she cropped the award for most Promising Entertainer and even got a chance to performed performed with her idol, female reggae singjay, Tanya Stephens.
Vocalist Koolant Brown knew what he was getting into when he joined the pioneer reggae band The Wailers in 2010. The band, lead by original member Aston "Family Man" Barrett, is best known for its work with Bunny Wailer, and the two late Jamaican-music icons Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, has sold more than 250 million albums worldwide and have 20 charting hits, according Billboard magazine."I wasn't nervous about joining the band because I was born listening to their music and I believe that many are called but few are chosen and they chose me," Brown said during a phone interview from the band's stop in Lexington, Ky. "Even before I joined, I had been performing with many of these people, and the thing about the Wailers is they love playing these songs and I also love singing for the people."
Singer Alpha Blondy was in Israel this week for the Zion Reggae Festival. Arutz Sheva met Blondy in Tel Aviv where talked about his deep connection with the land. "My family and I, we are so excited to be in Israel. It's a high spiritual level," he said. Blondy was born in the Ivory Coast as Seydou Koné to a Muslim mother and Christian father. Among his popular songs are Jerusalem and Masada, in which he sings in Hebrew. He has also composed such songs as Apartheid Is Nazism, Black Men Tears and other tracks that deal with various religions and world conflict. "There is no rational explanation that I can give you for why I love Israel," Blondy commented. "Why did I come to Israel the first time [in the 1980s]?
On the fifth day of the ROTOTOM's Reggae University term, the elder statesmen of reggae - the Congos and Wailing Souls - took to the stage, as the youth of Raging Fyah from the previous day's session moved on. In some ways it was akin to the 'passing of the baton' at College, as the weighty topic of 'Rastafari, Jamaican Music and Cultural Affinity' was tackled. Once more, this University session was very well attended, featuring special guests: movie maker Monica Haim and the musicians from the Congos (Cedric Myton, Congo Ashanti Roy, Kenroy Fyffe and Watty Burnett) and Wailing Souls (Winston 'Pipe' Matthews and Lloyd 'Bread' McDonald), together with the University's popular panel comprised of David Katz, Ellen Koehlings, Pete Lilly and Pier Tosi.
OLD time people used to say: "Cow don't know di use a him tail till him loose it." Outside of formal sessions, I have been having a series of discussions with delegates attending the University of the West Indies' Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) 50/50 conference. The most popular issue that these delegates have raised with me time and again is the current raging debate about whether Jamaica is the headquarters of reggae. Using any objective measuring stick, be it size, and frequency of festivals and shows, volume of music products sold, or successful artists/musicians, sadly we are no longer in pole position. Those readers that follow my columns already know that as painful as it is for me, personally, to admit, on the issue of whether Jamaica is still the headquarters of reggae, I stand squarely with Lloyd Stanbury.