Memories of my friend; the Great Don Drummond Arguably the best trombone player Jamaican ever produced DON "D" was what most people called him. Some of them didn't know his name. Others never saw him in person or seen him perform, but most people who were connected to any kind of music in Jamaica during the fifties and sixties would probably know about the best Trombone player of that era.
The State of Reggae The New York reggae scene – specifically concerts, promoters and the paying public seem to be in a flux. The last spate of shows did not go well. Does the problem lie at the feet of greedy promoters, lackadaisical artists or a jaded public? Recently held local events failed to generate the kind of buzz guaranteed to keep all concerned happy.
“See Me in Me Heels and Thing” Fashion and the Best of the Best Concert 2010 This year’s “Best of the Best” concert in Miami, Florida, took place at Bicentennial Park on Sunday, May 29th and included an impressive array of diverse reggae dancehall artists as well as some hip-hop and calypso performers. Some patrons were concerned that Jamaica’s recent wranglings with the United States over the extradition of alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke and the subsequent visa revocation of some reggae superstars would diminish the quality of the event. However, concert organizers delivered South Florida an off-the-chain Memorial weekend concert!
Interview with R&B and reggae singer, Kimberly LaLa Nain This week we interview Jamaican R&B and reggae singer, Kimberly LaLa Nain. Ever since her birth she was thought to become a great singer, a talent she would have acquired from her father, Audley Nain who used to be a member of the ‘Jamaican Folk Singers’. Ever since her first note, Kimberly always aimed at being the centre of attention when in a crowd. In 2008 she wrote and recorded her first song “Angel” at Anchor Studio by Delroy “Phatta” Pottinger. She has since continued her works in the music business having recorded at several studios namely, Cashflow, Grafton, LMR Productions, Kronik, Steven Stanley and House of Hits.
Interview with George Crooks organizer of the Brooklyn Music Festival Senior writer for Jamaicans.com, Cathy Kleinhans interviews well-known Jamaican entertainment promoter in Brooklyn, George Crooks. The inimitable George Crooks has once again added his heavy-weight Jammins Productions behind the Brooklyn Music Festival now in its third year.
Music Review: NYMLA – Memorial Weekend All weekend I’ve been partying with the grown folks, but I should revise that term, because in reality the party people were of mixed ages. There were some in their 20s and 30s and then there were also the veterans. The group I’m talking about - NYMLA, or the New York Music Lovers of America, Inc.
“Little Jamaica” Shows Off Its Musical Side Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism Allen Chastanet warmly refers to his island as “Little Jamaica”. Just as lush, mountainous, and friendly, Jamaica’s “little sister” truly showed off its beauty and warm Caribbean vibe at the recently concluded Saint Lucia Jazz festival, May 1-9, 2010. Now in its 19th year, little sister beat out its older island sibling by 4 years -- Jamaica Jazz & Blues celebrates 15 years.
Christopher Chambers AKA Jimi D, is the nephew of the legendary Reggae artist Don Carlos of the ever-popular Black Uhruru group. For the past two decades, Christopher Chambers has been the background vocalist that has elevated many successful musicians to another level in their career with his soothing voice. Jimi D has proved his worth by sharing the stage with well-known artists such as Freddie McGregor, Eeka Mouse, Andrew Tosh, Shaddon Tucker and his mentor/uncle Don Carlos. Jimi D, a child prodigy who developed into one of the most creative musical figures from the island of Jamaica, the birth place of reggae music, has much to offer than his musical gift. In the near future, he hopes to pursue an acting career, while continuing to share his melodious stories through his songs that many of us can relate to.
An Easter Week-End in Bronx the Jamaican way ~ Gospel Concert Review So, Easter week-end, I found myself in New York with friends and family. I was invited to a gospel concert in Bronx, New York. You know, a Resurrection week-end an yu nat celebrating Easter if yu nat devouring nuff bun and cheese-the ‘holy’ Jamaican traditional food for Easter!, Of course, Church is a must. From Holy Thursday to Resurrection Sunday, yu betta find time an goh to church. Can’t get closer to God than Jamaican bun and Jamaican cheese. It is the Jamaican way around Easter time! Anyways, mi get off track…a whe mi deh now.. Okay, yes, so concert a Bronx.
Interview with Jamaican Singer, Omari We interview Jamaican Gospel Singer Omari. Familiar to Reggae fans from his recent hits "Help!" and "Why," Omari is creating waves in the music industry with the message of hope. His Marlin Award-winning debut "Help!", from the album "YOW 4" Street Gospel, has enjoyed the top spot on Tempo and throughout the Caribbean. Praised in the Jamaica Star as "one of the hottest and most inspirational gospel songs in the industry," the song’s depictions of daily life and the difficulties of getting by in difficult economic times serve as inspiration to today's youth.
A conversation with Zerby the first white female dancehall artist We interview Zerby the first white female dancehall artist. She who was born and raised in the Midwest of the United States, has defied all the odds and showed her talent as a reggae dancehall deejay. After spending nine months in the studio, Zerby has released “Ready Now” on her own label, Hotness Records.
Interview: Aeion "Yaaka" Hoilett Bass Guitar/Vocal of the Jamaican band, C-Sharp We interview the Jamaican band C-Sharp. They are one of the most exquisite amalgamations of musical talent that Jamaica has seen in a long time. Originally referred to as Sentimental Touch in the ‘jazz world’, C-Sharp came together in December 2001 with core members, Aeion “Yaaka” Hoilett, Dwain “Wiya” Campbell and Ordean “Bingy” Francis.
Interview with Jamaican Songstress, Marsha Morrison This month we interview upcoming artist Marsha Morrison. She has toured and collaborated with many of reggaes top acts including Shaggy and Dancehall Diva Lady Saw. We caught up with her as she working on her first album. This Jamaican beautiful songstress & songwriter is multi-talented. She is sure to blaze a trail that we will hear about in the next comming months and years.
A Gospel Music Event-The Review One thing I know—if you are one of those who love to go back into time and relish those 'ole time Jamaican gospel music...well, it is still alive and I am thankful that veterans of Jamaican gospel music, like Claudelle, are keeping it alive in our hearts and minds. Read more on the review of this gospel event.......
Irie Jamboree Was Irie Vibes, Then… Jamboree 2k9, the annual Labor Day weekend music festival had all the elements lined up for an auspicious debut of it 7th staging at York College in Queens, NY (also the new home of the IRAWMA Awards). The stars and Mother Nature lined up for what was going to be a perfect Jamboree debut at the new home.
Taj Weekes Art Is His Social Conscience: Interview Taj Weekes is an enigma… on the one hand deeply serious and intensely passionate about his worldviews and on the other hand a gentle and humble man with a quick and easy smile. Weekes has a chameleon-like talent for blending into his surroundings as he keenly observes the world spinning around him, but the moment he steps on stage, locks flowing, he reveals the regal bearing of a mighty lion, his voice rising from a hoarse whisper to a throaty growl.
New Star Rising - "Five Minutes with....Courtney "Yogi" John In the music industry, the term 'artist' is often arbitrarily tossed around like a basketball at an NBA finals. In my opinion however, a true artiste, not just as it pertains to music but in any field, is some who possesses the ability to not only pay homage to the genesis or foundations of that art form, but able to successfully incorporate their own unique flavor or brand to it.
Interview with Duane...Rising Star This month I interview Jamaican-American rising star Duane "D-WAYNE" Howard. Being born with a gift is one thing. Recognizing and utilizing that gift to it's full potential is another. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Jamaican parents Duane Howard, better known throughout the music fraternity as D-Wayne.
Five Minutes With:Everton Blender Touted as being amoung the few artists able to successfully find a cohesive synthesis between the often inimical mediums of Dancehall and Culture Reggae, Everton Blender has not only managed to attain international success in a genre where others have struggled to be heard, but established himself as a pioneer in the quest to introduce Culture Reggae, to the mainstream. With an unprecidented slew of hits such as, "Lift Up Your Head", "Ghetto People Song", and "Gwaan Natty" the singer, songwriter, and producer still regards himself as only, "...a humble messenger..." trying to uplift and educate the masses with a message of positivity. I recently caught up with him and graciously he agreed to grant us a "Five Minutes With" interview.
‘Rompin Shop’ Created and Manipulated Controversy The use Ne-Yo’s successful single ‘Miss Independence’ hit rhythm by Dance Hall maestro Vybz Kartel on his Did Vybz Kartel create a controversy to manipulate it, I wonder? ‘Rompin Shop’ track may have been a stroke master of genius from marketing perspective given the reported 250, 000 hits on youtube to date. Kartel primary concern here is popularity, fame and money. He knew using Ne-Yo’s rhythm was illegal, because he had not obtained legal clearance to use it, but he wanted to ride on the success of success of Ne-Yo’ track to boost his ‘Rompin Shop’ sales and popularity. EMI issued Kartel to cease and desist court order forcing him to change the riddim on his song. EMI have not asked YouTube to take down the video version of Rompin Shop, the more popular of the two videos, to date. Why? That’s another story
Bob Marley Trivia This month we celebrate Bob Marley day. Do you think you know Bob Marley? Take our trivia quiz and see how well you know Bob Marley.
Bob Marley, National Hero? Does Jamaica need another one? Bob Marley’s 64th birthday was February 1 and February is officially Reggae month in Jamaica and the discussion of making him a national hero is heating. When I wrote the above cover in 2000 raising the specter of Bob Marley being considered for national hero status in Jamaica, my intention was to provoke a debate on the merits of his candidacy and viability of whether or not Jamaica needed another national hero.
Reggae Artist outpricing themselves As the global economy heads into a tailspin, it is expected that it will have a profound effect on many sectors in Jamaica. I believe that one of the sectors that will be greatly impacted is the music industry.
Ladies First: Boogie on Reggae Women Having fired a proverbial shot across the of reggae music’s bow in 2007 Reggae Female artist continue establishing their dominance in big way for 2008. First off there are so many female entertainers this year, including an ever increasing crop of new artists with songs getting air time, like Tifa, Alibra, Natalie Storm, Pamputtae, Timberlee, a.k.a "TNT, Althea ‘Di Chic’ Hewitt, Natalie Storm, Lady Raine Seville, veterans Lady Saw, D'Angel, Stacious, Spice, Macka Diamond, Lady G, Queen Paula, Miss Thing and Ce'Cile to name a few. It is a joy to keep track of them. Reggae music may well be on its to shedding it sexist image Let’s look at what the females in reggae and Caribbean music have done for the first half of 2008.
10 Question with Christian Dancehall Artist Mr. Gody Gody This month we pose 10 questions to Christian Dancehall artist Mr Gody Gody. He is one of the top Jamaican Christian Dancehall artists in Jamaica. A formed secular DJ, Mr Gody Gody is committed to doing whatever it takes to win souls for the Kingdom of God.
William Stewart—A Past Member of the Legendary ‘Third World’ Band....The Man, His Passion, and His ‘Solutions In Music.’ Willie Stewart-a member of the unforgettable and amazing Third World Band. He was also one of the creators and origina band member of the impressive Inner Circle band. Willie was the prolific drummer for Third World for twenty one (21) years. Come and read along as he shares the personal details of how his passion for the drums/music began (PartI), his Journey with Third World (Part II), his life beyond Third World (Part III) and how he created 'Solutions in Music' (Part IV). Come and meet one of the pioneers of reggae music---Willie Stewart!!
Irie Jamboree 08: A Tribute to Caribbean Athletes Irie Jamboree, the largest reggae music festival held Labor Day in Roy Wilkins Park in New York City closed out the summer in spectacular fashion. The 6th staging of Jamboree 2k7 had Mother Nature’s blessing weather-wise; it was a perfect day, a slight breeze and warm temperatures.
A Chat with Nadine Blair, Jamaica’s Radio & TV Personality (Love 101 FM & Love TV) A spiritually motivated Jamaica Radio and Television personality with a passion for solo and choral performances at Church and Gospel concerts, Nadine attends and emcees concerts and events globally. Nadine started Allowed to Shine Ministries – the umbrella organization for Perpetual Praise- The Praise Continues; Singled Out Singles Ministry; When the Ministers Meet To Pray and Praise in da Streets....Come and Meet Nadine.....
Open letter to Freddie McGregor On Friday 7/11/2008, I was undoubtedly happy to watch the great Freddie McGregor perform at Mangoville in New York City. It was musical acme for me. His performance was one of distinctive and superior quality. Watching the show from close proximity, I was able to see his demeanor as he performed.
Jamaica Day 2008 On July 26, thousands of fellow ‘yardies’ from all walks of life and some from as far as Ottawa and Montreal converge on Toronto to celebrate Jamaica Day 2008. The massive of people did not just simply show up though out of a sheer desire to come gallivant but did so out of patriotism, solidarity and nationhood pride to honor Jamaica’s 46th Anniversary of self-governance from them British tyrants.
Interview with Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn
This month we interview Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn master drummer of Broadway's 'The Lion King'., His drumming styles and music draws upon the traditional Jamaican ritual styles of Kumina, Afro-Christian Pocomania, Tambu, Bruckins, and Nyabinghi. He fuses this with African tribal drumming to create a unique sound that is universal..
An Interview Jamelody Every ever so often special talent comes along with a charismatic voice. Trinidadian reggae singer Michael Williams is a special talent and a charismatic vocalist. Williams says he sings God’s melodies and chose, most appropriately, the name JAMELODY. Like reggae’s defining vocalist Dennis Brown, JAMELODY’s vocal style bridges R&B, Pop/Rock, Gospel to Reggae.
Review: Best Of The Best….A Few Of The Best Best Of The Best has the reputation of being best reggae stage-show north of Jamaica. Most years, patrons are treated to a high quality show, filled with top billing artists. This year, there were a good amount of top performers, but the line-up was a bit lighter than usual.
An Interview with Etana: The Strong One With hit songs ‘Wrong address’ (2006) ‘Roots’ (2007) and her chart topper ‘Warrior Love’ Etana has had several # 1 songs on Jamaican, England, Us and the Virgin Island on reggae charts. Arguably the most successful female singer in reggae today, she’s struck a symbiotic chord with audiences. This Jamaican born Miami bred siren described by Vibe magazine as “established herself as formidable performer and songwriter whose music and reputation precedes her’ has won the female Singer of the Year for 2007 at several award shows this year including the International Reggae and World Music Award and the Reggae Academy Award. On stage she exudes a regal bearing and the attitude of a diva; her live stage presence commands attention
REGGAE - IN - MOTION Singer Kris Kelli is one of the new breed of female artist. She entered the music business in 2003. Her debut CD “My World” was released in Japan by Pony Canyon in 2006. The album boasts 15 tracks including two collaborations with Beenie Man and Vybz Kartel. Kelli’s had several successful singles, including ‘Fly Boy’ “Fame” w/ Vybz Kartel, ‘Step it up’ and ‘Truth Unfolds’ and a remake of Althea & Donna’s 70’s chart topping hit ‘Uptown Top Ranking’. Kriss is no stranger to international success having had two # 1 song in Italy “Hide Away” and “Flip Up”. Jamaicans.com Stan Evan Smith spoke with Kriss.
Reggae - In - Motion : Beres ‘Cudjo’ Hammond: The Man, His Thoughts, and His Music Who is Beres ‘Cudjo’ Hammond? The “Reggae Role Model of The Year” in Jamaica according to the Excellence in Music and Entertainment Awards for 2008. Arguably, the most successful songwriter/composer/singer/performer in Reggae music’ since 1990, Hammond is the voice of Reggae soul power. Hammond’s effect on audiences often times defies description, but let me try. ‘Cudjo’ Hammond’ romantic rude boy love songs have women literally lose their minds, and their clothes.
Interview: 'Pepse' Brown - A Gospel Artiste's Uncompromising Faith Lloyd Brown or ‘Pepse’, as he is known, has chosen this name on the premise that he is the ‘one that always pray for just about everything’. This God-ordained name as an acronym means ‘Praying Everyday Persistently Seeking Elohim’. He also jokenly added, “I am also a pepsi drinker as oppose to coke’.