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Reggae 141

Monday, 13 August 2012 00:00

Legalise It...

If there was anywhere on Earth where it was legal to blaze the chalice, one would think that that place would be Jamaica, popularised by our own legendary ambassadors such as Bob Marley (in singles such as Kaya), Peter Tosh (Legalise It), Yellow Man (Sensemilla), Rita Marley (One Draw, more popularly known as I Wanna Get High) and Buju Banton (Driva). After the most recent recommendations to decriminalise weed, made by national commissions set up in the late 1990s by the government, namely that of former prime ministers P.J. Patterson and, more recently, Bruce Golding, to study the phenomenon of this herb, it would appear that support is growing in Parliament. Justice Minister Mark Golding and Opposition Senator Tom Tavares-Finson have shown their cards.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 00:00

Maxi Priest: I Just Keep Going

When Maxi Priest sits down and crosses his legs, his dreadlocks drape and curl around his body, hanging over one ankle and the edge of his chair. Though the singer was born and raised in England, they are a tangible reminder of his Jamaican heritage. He’s combined the two to produce his own distinctive (and very successful) brand of reggae fusion.  In Sri Lanka to perform at the Hikkaduwa Music Festival (?) and the opening ceremony of the Sri Lanka Premier League, Maxi is also looking forward to watching some cricket. "I love the 20-20," he adds, "You know who my boy is? The one who bowls like this," he says, doing a creditable imitation of Lasith Malinga’s bowling action. "I think he’s great. He’s exciting. He’s brought a great energy to the game."  Right now, Maxi is hot off the June release of his new album, which bears the self-explanatory title of ‘Maximum Collection.’ "It’s 36 songs from way back when to now," he says.

Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00

Bob Marley Documentary Now On Dvd

Iconic reggae superstar Bob Marley's too-brief life is chronicled in this documentary lovefest. Though he died from cancer at age 36 in 1981, his music and his influence live on. Loaded with rare footage, performances and interviews, the 2012 film also discusses Marley’s infidelities, even though it’s made with his family’s cooperation. It’s directed by Kevin Macdonald, best known for his dramas "The Last King of Scotland" and "State of Play." Macdonald set out to make a film that would inform the Marley children and grandchildren about Bob's life, which led to Billboard posing the question to Ziggy Marley about which stories he had never heard. One concerned his father's concern about his fair skin, the other about the song "Small Axe," which has long been seen as a song about taking down corrupt governments. In reality, it was about specific people in the Jamaican music industry. PG-13, 145 minutes. Extras: interviews, photos and director commentary. From Magnolia Home Entertainment. Released Aug. 7.

Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00

Buju Denied New Trial

The legal woes of imprisoned reggae superstar Buju Banton continue to mount after a Florida court on Aug. 7 denied his request for a retrial on his drug conviction, and the possibility that he may face additional charges.  Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was sentenced in February 2011 to 10 years in prison after he was convicted on three drug-related charges, including conspiracy to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting a person’s use of a telephone to facilitate a drug crime. In December, Buju’s legal team, led by Florida-based attorney David Oscar Markus, appealed the sentence, citing a potential violation of the Speedy Trial Act, and the questionable nature of renowned government informant, Alexander Johnson, among other grounds for dismissal.

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:17

Lee Scratch New Album

Grammy-winning reggae icon Lee "Scratch" Perry has some unfinished business that has just been completed. The renowned dub and reggae pioneer will release his next album, entitled Master Piece on September 11, 2012. The album will contain a few tracks that were initially released in 2010. See Of Sound, the record label releasing the new album, says the tracks that have been reworked for Master Piece were originally issued in an "unfinished" state. The upcoming release Master Piece offfers ten tracks from the Mad Professor that are mixed with the inclusion of lounge-dub, hip hop, jazz and trance.  Produced by Born Free and The Next Room, the album is a distinct, if not extreme, departure from virtually all of Perry's past works.

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:11

Bob Marley Day In Los Angeles

The City Council will declare Aug. 7 Bob Marley Day in Los Angeles, honoring the late iconic Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter in connection with the DVD release of the documentary “Marley.” Two of Marley’s children, Ziggy and Karen, will accept a proclamation from Councilman Tom LaBonge announcing Bob Marley Day in Los Angeles. Born Feb. 6, 1945, in the rural community of Nine Miles in the mountainous terrain of the Jamaican parish of St. Ann, Marley went on to become the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers and Bob Marley & and The Wailers. 

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 06:03

Another Lifetime Achievement Award For Bob

A new Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for Bob Marley was presented to the late reggae singer's eldest son Ziggy and daughter Karen last night. The event took place immediately after a Recording Academy screening of the feature film documentary Marley, which was held in Hollywood at the Los Angeles Film School on Sunset Boulevard. The award was a replacement for the statue that had been awarded to Marley posthumously in 2001, as part of the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards.  The backstory began when members of The Recording Academy were visiting Jamaica, and they saw that the award had been damaged.  Last night's presentation was a surprise. Five-time Grammy Award winner Ziggy beamed when the replacement was handed to him.

Sunday, 05 August 2012 11:24

Happy Independence 2012 Jamaica

For more than 170 years The Gleaner has stood with, by and for Jamaica - celebrating its triumphs, recording its agonies, and highlighting its aspirations. We are best known for encouraging and facilitating national conversations, challenging powerful interests, and shining spotlights on inadequacies in governance and of government. We have helped the society to hold its servants responsible and accountable.  For the last half-century we have proudly pursued this unwritten compact with Jamaica in its status as an independent country, the preparation for which The Gleaner not only mirrored, but in some respects, was intimately associated.  For decades before the event, we reported on the personalities and issues that precipitated independence and our then editor, the late Theodore Sealy, chaired the committee that planned the national celebrations for Independence on August 6, 1962.

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:43

Andrew Tosh Eye To I

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.

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:38

How To Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery

Reggae icon Bob Marley, in his highly acclaimed Redemption Song, exhorted listeners: "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."Most fans attribute the saying to him. Only a relative few are aware that Marley was quoting from a 1937 speech given by pan-African visionary Marcus Mosiah Garvey.  The ultimate irony is that they don't know because they have never read Marcus Garvey, the philosophical fountainhead for Marley.Were it not for Marley's clever musical cloaking of this profound idea, it would never have gained such popularity. And this speaks to two unfortunate truths which may be limiting the career achievements of a lot of people.  Both reveal why many people, while celebrating the Jamaica 50 Jubilee, remain mentally enslaved to states such as fear, ignorance, low self-esteem, self-doubt and pessimism.

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