"Reggae is only what you hear and think is reggae," Peter Tosh pronounces at the beginning of Heartland Reggae (1980)—and a lot of what sounds like just that is playing at BAMcinématek during the long-weekend program Do the Reggae, which ends on the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. Concert documentary Heartland Reggae, to give one essential example, is an effort to record the music's Woodstock or Wattstax, cherry-picking performances from 1978's One Love Peace Concert, arranged to squash beef between Jamaica's then-warring political parties. Homecoming headliner Bob Marley is supported by Tosh, performing an interminable "Legalize It," along with 11-year-old dynamo Little Junior Tucker, doing his best James Brown, and exuberantly shirtless Jacob Miller, antagonizing the police presence with a wielded spliff. (Miller died in 1980, while his bandmates, Inner Circle, later found running-dog fame with "Bad Boys," the theme song from COPS.)
Robert Nesta Marley is the most famous figure this country has produced. (Though Usain Bolt might be usurping him in places like China and India.) Mention Jamaica, and foreigners who scarcely know in which hemisphere the country is located will cry in recognition, "Bob Marley!" He is increasingly becoming to Jamaica what Robert Burns is to Scotland - most famous son, national bard, and symbol of cultural identity. The parallels between the two great Roberts are uncanny. Both were born to humble circumstances in a small country with a few million inhabitants. Both were free spirits who praised the intoxicating pleasures of ganja and whisky respectively.
I remember as a young yout when my family would have parties and hang out sessions at our small one bedroom apartment, and the soulful sounds of Beres Hammond and Gregory Isaacs would echo throughout the building, prompting neighbors and friends to come by and turn a small gathering into a straight up party.Those sounds are what defined my childhood in a sense, as our Guyanese cultures and traditions didn’t stay in Guyana, but only grew as we became Americans. I knew “What One Dance Can Do” as I watched my mother and father rhythmically move to “If I Don't Have You” and coincidentally nine months later, my sister was born. It was the sweet reggae sounds that made me feel good; it was soothing and above all else, about love and having fun.
Snoop Dogg, the veteran West Coast rapper, says he underwent a spiritual and artistic rebirth while making a new album in Jamaica last February. He abandoned rap as his preferred mode of expression, wrote more than a dozen songs in a traditional Reggae style and opened up to a documentary film crew about his long and sometimes violent journey from teenage gang member to a middle-aged hip-hop superstar. Along the way, he says, he shed the name and persona of Snoop Dogg and was rechristened Snoop Lion by Rastafarian priests. “I have always said I was Bob Marley reincarnated,” Snoop told a crowd of reporters at a news conference at Miss Lily’s, a Caribbean restaurant in New York. He added: “I feel I have always been a Rastafari. I just didn’t have my third eye open, but its wide open right now.”
Great-great-grandmother Mere Ngatoa is New Zealand's oldest Bob Marley fan. The 107-year-old celebrated her birthday on Friday with family and friends. The Clendon Park resident became a committed fan of the reggae king after listening to his music with her granddaughter Sha Ngatoa when she was growing up. "She likes Bob Marley - One Love," Sha says. Mere has a musical background and played the organ at church in central Auckland twice on a Sunday when her grandkids were young. They would travel by bus from her old house in Otahuhu. "All of us would jump on a bus in the morning for the service, then we'd catch the bus back again later for the night service," Sha says. Mother-of-three Mere still gets her music fix at "daycare" sessions during the week where they also have zumba and singing classes.
Newly formed reggae duo Skull and Haha released their first mini album YA MAN on July 30. The duo celebrated their album release with a showcase at the KT Olleh Square in Gwanghwamun on the same day, where they performed some of their new songs, including Waikiki Brothers and Busan Vacances. The two artists are close friends of the same age, and have already even performed on MBC TV′s Infinity Challenge, but to a lackluster reception. Although it is a fairly unknown genre of music in Korea, the two are back nontheless to spread their love for reggae once again. Entertainer and singer Haha has a personal love for reggae, while Skull is a renown reggae veteran both in Korea and in the US. Skull is currently working with Mariah Carey′s brother Morgan Carey to prepare for his next US tour and album.
It’s Reggae in the Park, featuring Bob Marley’s band, The Original Wailers and it’s a benefit for the Cancer Care Initiative. Here’s your chance to connect with a fantastic cause, Nuggets head coach and 1,000 game winner George Karl, and thousands of music lovers. Leading the way to help support our fundraising campaign is two-time cancer survivor and Denver Nuggets Head Coach, George Karl. He, along with our musical guests, The Original Wailers are helping raise money to provide holistic cancer care treatment to as many people in our community as we can.
No record deal from a major label? No problem for reggae artiste Jah Jah Yute who sells his CDs at flea markets in the United States (US) and also treats his buyers and prospective buyers to live performances. The sale of reggae and dancehall music has been trending downwards for years with sales tracker, Soundscan, reporting in 2009 that collectively reggae/dancehall music sold just 502,171 units for the first 10 months of the year. Sean Paul's Imperial Blaze album with sales of 70,917 was leading the way at the time. But unlike many reggae and dancehall artistes who wait in earnest for a record deal from a major label in the US to help them make an album and then sell it, New Jersey-based Jah Jah Yute has taken matters into his own hands.
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.
Many people know the Wailers, aka Bob Marley and the Wailers, as that set of musicians which included Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett, Tyrone Downie, Junior Marvin, along with the I-threes (Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths) doing backing vocals, and Bob Marley on lead vocals. This aggregation emerged in the early 1970s under the management of music mogul Chris Blackwell and eventually became the most powerful force in reggae music. But the Wailers story began long before that. On a Monday evening in late 1963, five teenagers, namely, Robert Nesta Marley, Neville O'Riley Livingstone (Bunny Wailer), Winston Hubert McIntosh (Peter Tosh), Junior Delano Brathwaite, and the lone female and confidante of the group Beverley Kelso, entered the gates of Studio1 at 13 Brentford Road, Kingston 5 with the hope of creating musical history with four songs they had in their armoury.