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Reggae Star Buju Banton Found Guilty

bujuGrammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton was convicted Tuesday of conspiring to set up a cocaine deal in 2009, a verdict that elicited anguish and disbelief among supporters in a crowded courtroom and from other artists in his native Jamaica.

A federal jury deliberated for 11 hours over two days on the fate of Banton, who won a Grammy last week for best reggae album for his work entitled "Before the Dawn." He was found guilty of three of four charges, and his attorney said he's facing at least 15 years in prison.

The 37-year-old Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, remains wildly popular in Jamaica, and the trial -- his second over the drug accusations -- was packed with supporters that included other well-known reggae artists. The first trial ended in a mistrial last year after the jury deadlocked.
The tall, dreadlocked singer didn't react when a clerk read the verdict on Tuesday. He stood, hugged his attorneys, then turned around and blew kisses to his supporters in the courtroom and told them: "Thank you." A woman yelled out "We love you, Buju!" as U.S. marshals led him away.
"Obviously we are all upset and disappointed and emotional," said Banton's attorney, David Markus of Miami. "The only person who seems to be OK is Buju. He told us he was happy that he fought, knowing he was innocent."

Markus said he plans to appeal the conviction and will file a motion to try to get Banton out of jail on bond in the meantime.
Banton was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. He was acquitted of attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

No date has been set for his sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Preston argued during trial that Banton portrayed himself as a broker of drug deals in several conversations with a confidential informant. Preston said Banton thought he was getting involved in a "no-risk" deal in which he would introduce a friend to a confidential informant, and then later collect money from drug transactions.

Prosecutors acknowledge that Banton did not put any money into the drug deal, nor did he ever profit from it. Markus said his client is "a big talker" who admitted to trying to impress the confidential informant but wasn't involved in any drug deal.

Much of the case hinged on meetings and phone calls that were video- and audiotaped by the informant, who was working with the Drug Enforcement Administration -- and who made $50,000 in commission after the bust.

In one video, Banton could be seen tasting cocaine in a Sarasota warehouse on Dec. 8, 2009 -- but he was not present during the actual drug deal on Dec. 10 that led two others to be arrested. Those two men later pleaded guilty.

Banton testified that that the informant badgered him after they met on a trans-Atlantic flight in July 2009 and insisted that they meet to set up a cocaine purchase. He said he was so uninterested in the informant's proposals that after they met twice, Banton didn't return the man's phone calls for months.

In Banton's native Jamaica, radio stations played his songs nonstop Tuesday, especially "Untold Stories" and "Not an Easy Road."
Rapper Tony Rebel, a close friend who recorded with Banton, called it a sad day for young people who looked up to him.
The verdict marks "the saddest day for reggae and dancehall," rapper Michael "Power Man" Davy said, adding he was "sad as a Rastaman and a Jamaican."

Singer Junior Reid called it a conspiracy against reggae artists.

"With Buju gone, a big piece of reggae get chop off," he said.

SOURCE: Foxnews


Days Before Retrial Judge Rejects Buju's Claims

bujuDays before he faces retrial in a United States court, dancehall star Buju Banton has been dealt a severe blow.

United States District Judge James Moody Jr has dismissed a motion filed by lawyers representing Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, seeking to throw out a superseding indictment filed by prosecutors.

This means that when Buju faces the court again, starting February 14, he will be answering five charges instead of the two that he faced in his first trial.

Efforts to contact Buju's lawyer, David Markus, were unsuccessful yesterday, but legal officials in the US agreed that while Buju could still beat the charges, he now has a more difficult mountain to climb.

When he was first arrested in December 2009, Buju was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and aiding and abetting his two co-defendants in knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm during the course of a drug offence.

The jury was unable to agree ona verdict and the case ended in a mistrial.

Last November, US prosecutors obtained a superseding indictment against Buju which added two additional counts and modified the gun charge.

Lawyers representing Buju rushed to court seeking a dismissal of the superseding indictment, alleging vindictiveness on the part of the prosecutors because of the mistrial and the defence's attempts to get the charges dismissed.

"The court should presume that the new charges and modification were added by the government in retaliation for (the defendant) exercising his constitutional rights," Buju's lawyers argued.

But the prosecutors hit back: "As long as the prosecutor has probable cause to believe the accused has committed a crime, the courts have no authority to interfere with a prosecutor's decision to prosecute."

Judge differs

In his ruling, Moody sided with the prosecution.

"The court concludes that, even assuming, for the purpose of argument, that (the) defendant made a threshold showing that his exercise of pretrial rights was followed by charges of increased severity, (the) defendant is not entitled to a presumption of prosecutorial vindictiveness."

Moody added: "The United States' initial indictment did not foreclose it from bringing further charges against the defendant."

In the meantime, there was some good news for Buju on Monday as a judge upheld his request to have the two men initially charged with him appear in court to give evidence during his retrial.

Buju had asked the court that Ian Thomas and James Mack, his two co-accused, be taken from the jail where they are being held and made available to give testimony.

Thomas and Mack have already pleaded guilty to the charges and are awaiting sentencing. They did not testify during the original trial.

SOURCE: Jamaica Gleaner


One Love, To Last A Lifetime

oneloveBob Marley once famously said Rastafarianism wasn't a religion; it was a way of life. And so it seems similar things can be said of reggae music - it's not something you learn, it's in the blood.

Just ask Maxi Priest. Born in 1961 in Lewisham, South London, to Jamaican immigrants, he grew up immersed in the British capital's "golden age of reggae".

By the mid 70s, Marley and other Jamaican musicians such as Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown had achieved the seemingly impossible and were being blasted on mainstream radio. And Priest's first cousin Jacob Miller (tragically killed in a car accident in 1980) was an emerging reggae star with the band Inner Circle.

"It was a really special time. I mean, it was the birth of something new," Priest says.

His reggae life has endured. Alongside reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and the queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige, he is headlining Raggamuffin at Rotorua International Stadium on February 5, fittingly, the day before the birthday of Bob Marley.

The one-day event has been running in New Zealand and Australia since 2008 and is considered the premier festival for reggae, soul, and R'n'B.

In its brief history it has attracted heavyweights such as Eddy Grant, Ziggy Marley, Shaggy and Lauryn Hill playing to a crowd of 30,000.

It is, says Priest, the new Sunsplash - a touring festival that was first staged in Jamaica in 1978: "It's a similar thing and I hope it continues to grow that way."

Jackie Sanders, the general manager of Andrew McManus Presents in New Zealand - the company that brings the festival here each year, describes Priest's comments as a "huge compliment".

"Sunsplash put reggae on the world stage and left a legacy that continues to this day," Sanders says. "Raggamuffin is still in its infancy - we're only 4 years old - but we've committed to staging the event in Rotorua for at least another five years. It'd be great to see us still alive and kicking in 30 years though - like Sunsplash."

It's not surprising New Zealand should be the host of such a significant musical event. We are, after all, a nation of reggae lovers. Kiwis have apparently bought more Marley albums, per capita, than anywhere else in the world - a piece of trivia that delights Priest: "I can well believe that," he laughs.

Chris King, strategic marketing manager at Universal Music, the label which looks after the Bob Marley back catalogue in New Zealand, can't confirm the numbers but says there's no denying just how popular the King of Reggae is here.

"We don't have all the necessary figures to confirm that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were true. Historically, Bob Marley is one of the best-selling international artists in New Zealand and reggae in general is very popular here," he says.

And it's not just overseas reggae artists who do well here. Local bands Katchafire and Fat Freddy's Drop, with their laid-back blend of dub, reggae, soul and jazz, are examples of groups that are bucking the trend of declining album sales.

Katchafire's latest album On The Road Again went gold just five weeks after its release and is on the verge of going platinum. The Hamilton-based seven-piece formed as a Marley tribute in the late 1990s and lead singer Logan Bell says there has always been a high level of interest in the roots-reggae music they make.

"We've always been big on it here in New Zealand. I think it's there from our parents, and their parents, who have passed it down. I can remember hearing reggae when I was a young fella in our street - in shed parties," he says.

What's more, Bell says, in recent years there has been a resurgence in the genre's popularity. "You can see it coming through with a lot of the new reggae bands that are coming up. And the youths - they think it's cool. That's great, because it is the youth that drives all the new trends."

The band has also carved out a niche for itself in North America, particularly on the West Coast and in Hawaii where Bell says they're treated like royalty. "We are practically kings in Hawaii. We can't even go into McDonald's in Waikiki and pay for a Big Mac combo, they just give it to us."

Similarly, Fat Freddy's Drop now has a huge following in the US, this year scoring a spot at one of North America's largest festivals, Coachella. The Wellington collective is only the second Kiwi band, after Crowded House, to make the prestigious bill, which this year sees Kings of Leon lining up against the likes of Kanye West, Arcade Fire and the Strokes.

Fat Freddy's saxophonist Scott Towers (AKA Chopper Reedz) says the Coachella slot comes after years of hard graft on the road and honing the band's live performances. And needless to say, the lads are thrilled.

"Knowing that the programmer for a festival like Coachella thinks you can add something alongside the incredible artists also on the bill is really gratifying," he says.

As to what keeps drawing in the crowds, Towers, like Priest, puts it down to not being afraid to bend the rules. "We draw influences and inspirations from a really broad range of sounds. So while there is a threat of dub and reggae in our music, it's mixed with soul, jazz, techno, 80s funk - whatever sounds good. I think it's that freedom that keeps our sound approachable."

Neither Katchafire nor Fat Freddy's are playing at this year's Raggamuffin. But there is no shortage of good local talent, including Nesian Mystik, 1816 and Sons of Zion.

Priest knew he could sing from a very young age and paid great attention to the musical masters of his youth - Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Marvin Gaye, but particularly to Brown, the man he describes as his greatest idol.

"Dennis Brown has been my biggest influence. He was an inspiration not only musically but culturally. He has my heartstrings." Priest earned his first pay cheque as a carpenter, building speaker boxes for a local reggae band in Lewisham. That eventually led to him picking up the microphone and singing at dancehall sessions around London.

It's a time the singer, who turns 50 this year, remembers fondly. "You felt like you were creating something. Whereas I find today it seems a little bit more difficult to create something new. There's a whole lot more out there and it's pretty crowded.

"But then, it was open and the select few that were doing it had space and time to create something from a blank piece of paper or be inspired by other styles of music."

By 1988, Priest had a hit on his hands with a cover of Cat Steven's Wild World. Flavoured with R&B and pop, the track was not strictly reggae and he came under fire. "In the early days I did get a hard time. You come in youthfully and you come in with a different idea and a different approach and when you're trying to do something different it takes a while for that movement to establish itself," he says.

"But yeah, when I did stuff like House Call with Shabba [Ranks], it was classified as a sell out."

Not deterred by the criticism, Priest honed his own style of lovers' rock and hit after hit followed - including Close to You and Set The Night To Music, his duet with Roberta Flack - as did the imitators.

"After that everybody and their grandmother started to jump on a similar format. And you know, then Shaggy, Sean Paul and various others, even Beanie Man, came along. They looked at it as a winning formula."

These days Priest - who still sports a long mane of dreads - divides his time between London, New York and Jamaica. He's working on a new album, which he can't say too much about right now because he's still ironing out the deal.

He remains a prolific performer and after nearly 30 years in the business, he's well and truly earned his reputation as a veteran and an ambassador of reggae.

It makes sense then that he should be returning to play at Raggamuffin.

It is the perfect place, reckons Priest, to pay back some of the love he's felt from this part of the world.

"I first came to New Zealand probably in the late 1980s and I got the same greeting that Bob got from the Maori people, where they came to the airport. I got all of that.

"I think there is a cultural and a spiritual connection - a similar suffering. And the message that reggae music was preaching at the time [of Marley] was universal to people who had difficulties around the world."

Sanders agrees. "There are recurring themes of love and connection but also of racial oppression and poverty. All of these resonate with many New Zealanders. We are a melting pot of cultures.

"The Ragga crowd are lovers, not fighters, on the day. They are there for the music, the culture, the atmosphere. That 'one love' vibe works its magic and you can't help but go with it," she says.

Raggamuffin will be held at the Rotorua International Stadium on February 5.



Remembering The Great Reggae Icon

bobIn May 1981, Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital on his way back to Jamaica, having lost an eight-month battle with cancer. He was just 36.

By that time, Marley had become an international star, the first to come from the Third World, and the leading disseminator of reggae, the distinctive, rhythm-rooted music he helped create.

Born in 1945, Robert Nesta Marley was the son of a white Jamaican plantation owner and his young Afro-Jamaican wife. After dropping out of school as a teen, Marley teamed up with Neville "Bunny" Livingston, who became known as Bunny Wailer, and Peter McIntosh, who became known as Peter Tosh.

Beginning as a ska/rock steady band, the trio became The Wailers and moved into reggae, while Marley converted to Rastafarianism, wearing the religion's trademark dreadlocks and incorporating its beliefs and social consciousness into the group's lyrics.

The Wailers, who added pop and rock to the reggae blend, were a hit in Jamaica in the early 1970s. In 1973, they released their major label debut "Catch a Fire" and, later in the year, "Burnin'," which included "Get Up, Stand Up" and "I Shot the Sheriff."

The original Wailers broke up in 1974 and Marley recruited brothers Carlton and Aston "Family Man" Barrett as the rhythm section for his new band, Bob Marley and The Wailers, which recorded and performed as a group until Marley's death. Aston Barrett still leads The Wailers, who are scheduled to perform Thursday at the Bourbon Theatre.

Bob Marley and The Wailers released four live albums and seven studio albums. The Wailers and Bob Marley and The Wailers have sold more than 250 million records worldwide and played to an estimated 24 million people. The posthumously released greatest hits package "Legend" has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone.

Among the now classic songs on "Legend" are "Is This Love," "No Woman No Cry," "Stir It Up," "One Love," "Redemption Song" and "Jamming."

SOURCE: Journal Star


Bob Marley Celebrates A Birthday

bobThe Legendary Reggae Star Would Have Turned 66 on February 6th. Radio Specials, Streaming Parties, Video Premieres and more planned Bob Marley was born on February 6th, 1945. The legendary reggae star, best known for such exceptional hits as "Could You Be Loved," "One Love" and "Three Little Birds" would have celebrated his 66th birthday this year.

Universal Music Enterprises and Tuff Gong Records team up to present Bob Marley & The Wailers – Live Forever: The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA, September 23, 1980. This never before released 2 CD concert was recorded 30 years ago while Bob was touring in support of his famed album, Uprising. Live Forever features many of Bob's most cherished songs.


Ephraim Juda Released Coming Home 2010

ephraimMp3-download flatrates, fashion trends, casting shows, daily soaps and one hit wonders. Music at sale, polished to high glance. Todays fast-moving world requires sustainability in order to be remembered. Ephraim Juda has got what is very often missing nowadays. He is doing timeless music that stuns due to its distinct character and passionate attitude. Music that deeply moves people. In June 2010 he released is debut album “Coming Home” in cooperation with Urban Tree Music.

At ease, with uncompromising vocals and conscious lyrics he presents himself, delivering a 12 tracks compassing album that is proving its beauty and artistic proficiency with every single bar. It’s marked by songs with catchy melodies and well composed instrumentals, overwhelming backing vocals and an impressing voice of the singer, modern roots reggae with singer-songwriter qualities.

Ephraim Juda: ”Coming home means to obtain a feeling of love and security. In addition to that it means reaching some sort of inner stage. You dealt with something quite a long time and finally know what you want. You are home. This is what I try to refer to in my music as I want to share that feeling. As most people do not know me yet, I like introduce myself to them with “Coming Home”. The album was co-produced and mixed by the German producer and singer “Ganjaman” in his “Growkammer” studios. Responsible for the mastering was the legendary Kevin Metcalfe who worked for Paul McCartney, U2, Shaggy and Dennis Brown to just name a few.

“In his songs Ephraim Juda tries to concentrate on the small things and those that actually surround him. It’s not his intention to aspire generality in his statements but rather more to share and reflect his personal thoughts and experiences. The 40Fiyah band acts with him not only live on stage but also recorded the majority of songs with him. Due to the consistent mix of own productions and collaborations with for instance the “Far East Band” or “Big Finga/Feueralarm”, one must count his album to one of the best releases in 2010.” --

On Coming Home you are furthermore going to find guest appearances of Jahcoustix, Reedoo (Culcha Candela) and Sara Lugo, as well as international productions with the outstanding Hungarian guitarist and singer Boti and the French band Dub Akom. Ephraim Juda, born and raised in Berlin, presents a firstling strongly affected by reggae music but even more importantly sets the song and its needs in the acoustic centre. That’s why his songwriting distinctly sets him apart from the average and arbitrariness of todays productions. Now, after an almost two years lasting working process, it’s ultimately time for his debut album “Coming Home”, that was released in June 2010.

Dont forget to visit our "Music Requests" page to requests your favorite Ephraim Juda Songs.

Click Here To Purchase Your Copy Of "Coming Home"

Coming Home Snippet

Click Here For The Original Press Release

Click Here For Information About "Youth Riddim"

Click Here For More Information About The Artists and Producers



Marley's Family Wins Case Over Use Of Musician's Image

bobA Reno-based company intentionally interfered with business relationships established by Bob Marley's heirs and must pay the family at least $300,000 in damages, a Las Vegas jury ruled Friday.

"The verdict sends a clear message to anyone who would challenge the integrity of our father's legacy," Rohan Marley, son of the late reggae musician, said in a written statement. "Preserving it remains one of our top priorities and we will continue to aggressively pursue legal actions against those who attempt to unfairly profit from his life and legacy."

Jurors ruled that AVELA, a corporation based in Reno, and owner Leo Valencia, a San Diego resident, intentionally interfered with the family's business relationships and engaged in unfair competition by selling T-shirts and other products bearing Bob Marley's image. The products have been sold across the country at retail stores such as Target, Walmart and Wet Seal.

The case was filed in January 2008 by Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd. and Zion Rootswear.

Fifty-Six Hope Road was formed by Bob Marley's widow, Rita, and nine of his 11 children. According to court records in the Las Vegas case, the company first licensed Marley's identity in 1986. In 1999, it granted Zion the exclusive worldwide license to design, manufacture and sell T-shirts bearing Marley's image.

Marley died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36.

Jurors awarded the plaintiffs $300,000 in damages on the claim of intentional interference. U.S. District Judge Philip Pro is expected to award additional damages after he determines the amount of lost profits caused by the unfair competition.

According to Rohan Marley's statement, the verdict "affirms what we've been saying all along: we are the rightful owners of all rights to our father's identity and persona -- not because we inherited it, but because we had to buy back those rights many years ago and have taken great care to protect his legacy, identity and persona since his passing almost 30 years ago."

Rohan Marley testified during the trial, which began Jan. 4, and sat at the plaintiffs' table Thursday for closing arguments.

During the arguments, family attorney Jill Pietrini said the Marleys had to borrow $11 million to buy back the rights to Bob Marley's identity.

Pietrini had asked jurors to award $375,000 for intentional interference, and has said the unfair competition claim should result in damages of at least $3 million.

Marley's heirs claimed that retailers, including Wet Seal, dropped their products in favor of the defendants' cheaper, unlicensed merchandise.

No members of the Marley family were in court when the verdict was read Friday afternoon.

The jury's four men and four women deliberated about five hours before announcing their decision.

Los Angeles attorney Douglas Winter, who represents the defendants, said his clients plan to take the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The defendants' lawyers argued at trial that Marley's heirs needed to show that consumers likely were confused about the family's sponsorship of the defendants' products.

"We're obviously disappointed with the verdict," Winter said. "We don't believe that a false endorsement was actually proven in the case. We don't believe that the evidence established that consumers are likely to be confused that Bob Marley or his heirs sponsor or approved defendants' products."

He said the unfair competition claim "is an unprecedented extension of a false endorsement claim beyond that which the statute or existing case law authorizes, and we anticipate that we will be successful on appeal in the 9th Circuit."

AVELA publishes and licenses photographs, images, movie posters and other artwork for retail use. Other defendants in the Las Vegas case included Jem Sportswear and Central Mills (Freeze).

The jury found that all the defendants willfully engaged in unfair competition, but the panel found that JEM and Central Mills did not intentionally interfere with the Marleys' business relationships.

"It was a hard-fought battle, and the jury came to the right decision," Pietrini said.

SOURCE: Las Vegas R.J.


Great Dynasties: The Marleys

bobIn 1933, the literary critic LC Knights published a famous essay with the title How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth? A more difficult question is how many children had Bob Marley? The answer is not straightforward: the Marley family dynasty is biblically complex. When Bob Marley met his wife-to-be, Alfarita – Rita – Constantia Anderson, in Kingston, Jamaica, in the mid-1960s, she already had a daughter, Sharon. At the time, Rita was an unmarried mother with dreams of musical success, and Bob was the guitarist of a band who called themselves the Wailing Wailers.

"Did I have any idea that in a few short months this Robbie Marley, the shy guitarist, would become the love of my life?" asks Rita in her autobiography, No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley (2004). "Did I suspect that he'd become a major force, world-renowned, an icon of musical history? No! What was on my mind was Aunty's warning: 'Don't you dare stay too long because you have to give the baby titty when she wakes up!'"

Rita and Marley married in February 1966. Rita was 19, Marley was 21, and Sharon was a baby. After his marriage to Rita, apart from a short period spent working on the assembly line at a Chrysler plant in the US, Marley continued to pursue his musical career, and Rita was left to look after the rest. "I was the one who had to think about practical things, like making sure we had something to eat and paying for the electricity we used."

She also had to look after their children: Cedella, born in 1967; Ziggy, 1968; Stephen, 1972; and Stephanie, 1974. With Rita at home with the children, Marley was free to go on tour and do what musicians tend to do on tour when they're not playing music. "Robbie had other girls in his life," admits Rita in her autobiography, "girls with whom he had intimate relationships ... But he kept them away from me out of respect ... I guess the way I saw it was that he was not the man for their lives, but their man for a time."

That was all well and good, until Marley's time came to an end in 1981, when he died of cancer and, according to Rita, all hell broke loose. He had left no will. Suddenly, every Tom, Dick and Harry was claiming to have been a child of Bob Marley. "There were people much older than Bob who claimed he was their father," writes Rita. "One guy said he was my aborted child that I thought was dead but had not died."

On the official Bob Marley website there are 10 children listed – as well as Sharon, Cedella, Ziggy, Stephen and Stephanie there are also Rohan, Karen, Julian, Ky-Mani and Damian, born to various other women. Asked in 2005 how many children his father had, Damian replied: "A lot, a lot."

A lot of the Marley children are musicians, and many play in bands together. Sharon, Cedella, Ziggy and Stephen began performing as the Melody Makers as children. Their first single, Children Playing in the Streets, was released in 1979, when Stephen was seven. Ghetto Youths International are another family musical collective and include half-brothers Julian, Stephen and Damian.

In terms of their solo careers, Julian is more roots-reggae; Damian does dancehall; Rohan plays percussion; Stephen is a producer; and Ziggy was the voice of a fish in Disney's A Shark's Tale. The Marley women tend to look after the business side of the family empire – the Bob Marley Foundation, the Bob Marley Museum and the many other Marley music, clothing and entertainment subsidiaries. Marley's mother was black. His father was a white Jamaican army captain, whose family came originally from Essex.

One love. Many children.

SOURCE: Guardian


Hawaiian Reggae Band Coming To Guam

thegreenHawaii's freshest, chart-topping reggae band The Green makes its Guam debut next week, and the six island guys can't believe their success.

Their self-titled debut album "The Green," was named iTunes Best Reggae Album of 2010. The album has been one of Billboard's top 10 reggae albums for 49 consecutive weeks. They currently sit at number three, beating out "The Best of Bob Marley."

"We didn't think our album was going to do what it did, but it took off and it's really exciting," says guitarist and lead-vocalist JP Kennedy, whose group plays Jan. 29 at Hotel Santa Fe in Tamuning.

The group never really set out to make an album. They say they came together by fate, and simply started recording.

"We've been around each other playing music for a really long time, and eventually we were all left without bands and wanting to keep the music going," says keyboardist and vocalist Ikaika Antone.

The group got together, recorded new music in Kennedy's studio, and eventually realized they had an album.

"We had a bunch of recorded stuff and decided to do something with it. We put the album out, and things just took off from there," Kennedy says.

As for the key to their success, they say it's their true love of all music.

"We're all studio musicians, we song-write, produce and keep things evolving. We do everything," Kennedy says.

Though classified as a reggae band, the music is a combination of different influences.

"Reggae, R&B, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Hawaiian and even Rock and Roll. It's all wrapped up in to stories of our lives, ... we love all types of music," Antone says.

Though the CD has been so successful, it doesn't do their sound justice, Kennedy says.

"The live show is amazing. We like to get pretty nuts on stage. We're loud, we get the crowd involved and it turns into a big raging party," Kennedy says.

"We're a group of guys that love music, jamming our hearts out on stage. There's laughing, dancing, messing around, face-melting guitar solos and maybe even some crying," Thompson adds.
Island love

They love their fans from Guam, and hope to show the people an awesome night out. Though a few have been to Guam as members of Ooklah the Moc and Humble Soul, this will be the first time for some, and their first time as a group.

"Our Facebook page is filled with Guam fans asking us to please come to Guam and play," guitarist and vocalist Zion Thompson says.

People from Guam attend almost every show, many times beating out the crowd from Hawaii.

They're excited to come to Guam and give the fans what they want, and can't wait to "connect with their Chamorro brothers and sisters," Antone says.

They will spend four days on island to perform, see the sights and get some grub at Jamaican Grill.

"We're stoked," Antone says.



No Feburary Trial Date Set For Buju

bujuDefense attorney David Oscar Marcus, who represents international reggae star Buju Banton, is refuting reports that the entertainer will begin his re-trial on February 7.

Since his mistrial late last year, there has been tremendous speculation about the date of Buju's return to court.
Some sections of the media have stated that it would begin on February 7, but according to Mr. Marcus, the legal team does not know which date next month.

"No there's no court set for February 7; that was a rumour that went around. We're waiting for a specific trial date in February. The court should be letting us know soon when they'll be going to trial," Mr. Markus said on RJR's daily current affairs discussion programme Beyond the Headlines Thursday evening.

Buju Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, was released on US$250,000 bail in October after the jury in his trial for drug related charges failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

Conditions of his release included paying a private security detail for 24 hour monitoring, signing an extradition waiver ensuring his return if he flees the US, and wearing an electronic monitoring device.
He will be performing this weekend at the 'Before the Dawn' concert in downtown Miami.


SOURCE: Yard Flex


Buju Banton Performs in Miami Pending Trial

bujuThe Bayfront Park Amphitheatre in downtown Miami was bursting at the seams as fans of the embattled reggae star, Buju Banton turned out in their numbers for his Before the Dawn Concert here yesterday.

At the time of filing this report, the Reggae star, who has been facing drug charges in the United States, had not yet taken the stage. However, all the artistes who performed, gave a good account of themselves.

Young act Richie Loop came to Miami and emptied his "cupp," kicking things off in great fashion. He was followed by Everton Blender who raised the tempo inside the venue and had the patrons rocking to his popular tunes, Lift Up Your Heads and Ghetto People Song. Despite his short stint on stage Blender was in fine form and the audience loved him.

The bar was raised even higher when former teen queen, Nadine Sutherland, took to the stage. If her performance was to be rated out of 10, she definitely scored a 9.99, giving "action, not a bag a mout" and left the crowds roaring for more of her infectious performance. Freddie McGregor was up next and his Big Ship sailed across the Miami Bayfront, delivering the hits he is known for. The Jamaican artiste who had the most international visibility for 2010, Gyptian, also took to the stage to support his fellow artiste. He delivered his big tune, Hold You, much to the delight of the Miami audience.

There was a strong contingent of police at the venue, and this was a poignantly brought home by singer Mykal Rose who burst onto the stage with the opening line of his popular song, "Police and thief inna shoot-out."

This opening segment of the show also featured Gramps Morgan, who has collaborated with Buju Banton for a haunting rendition of Psalms 23. Morgan gave another of his signature performances. Another of the early standouts was Wayne Wonder. Many will remember that he was the first to call a young Buju on stage back in 1990 introducing the 'Gargamel' to Jamaica and the world. Wonder did well to ignite his fans in this city. If there was one downside to the event, it was the stringent policy put in place to deal with members of the media who journeyed from all over the world to cover the event. Only when the media arrived at the venue for accreditation were we informed that only the first five minutes of each performance could be videotaped or photographed. In addition no photos of Buju Banton could be taken while he is on stage. This resulted in the media being herded out of the 'pit' after the first few minutes of each performance.

SOURCE: Yard Flex

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