Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the Street with Wayne Wonder and Tanya Stephens By Shelah Moody

Nov. 26, 2010, the day after Thanksgiving, may have been just another black Friday to Christmas shoppers, but it will go down in history as one of the hottest nights in the Bay Area for reggae fans, with reggae dancehall stars Wayne Wonder, Mega Banton and Tanya Stephens performing in Berkeley and San Francisco.
At the Shattuck Down Low in Berkeley, Jamaica Artist Live and Knak Dem Out Productions presented Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Wayne Wonder. .

Wonder’s voice is pure ear candy; his mellifluous tenor was shining through even though he performed his string of hits: “No Letting Go,” “Bounce Along,”  “The Saddest Day” and “Anything Goes” to pre-recorded tracks provided by DJ Babyface of King Addies Sound System.
Dancehall DJ Mega Banton, a star in his own right, opened for Wonder and performed Buju Banton’s part on Wonder’s 1990s dancehall cover of Delroy Wilson’s “Movie Star.”
“It’s always a pleasure, coming back and singing for people in the Bay Area,” said Wonder, who is best known for his smooth, romantic vocals. “They have been my core support over the years.”
At the height of his popularity soon after the release of “No Holding Back,
 which elevated Wonder to pop star status, Wonder appeared on “Saturday Night Live” with Sean Paul and performed at the Wango Tango pop festival at the Rosebowl stadium in Pasadena, CA on the bill with artists such as Nelly, Sting, Carlos Santana and Christina Aguilera in 2003. Wonder, who grew up in the age of vinyl and radio, has now made the successful transition to iTunes and Internet downloads.
At the time of our interview, Wonder’s jazzy/sexy/cool dancehall track “If I Ever” was number six on Reggae iTunes. Wonder has left VP Records, which produced many of his albums including the Grammy nominated “No Letting Go” (2002). He  is currently recording on his independent label Singso, and says that working independently gives him more artistic freedom.  
“I’m a free agent right now, so I’m just doing my thing,” said Wonder. “I’m flying out to Toronto in the morning. I’m on the grind, you know.”
Always a dapper king, Wonder took the stage wearing Versace and Gucci. Carmelita Harris, host of TV shows for Irievision and Streetwise Radio, topped off his black ensemble when she presented him with a collectable San Francisco Giants World Series Champions hat after the show.
Wonder is still a strong supporter of his longtime friend and collaborator, Buju Banton, who is currently out on bail and awaiting retrial in February (on federal drugs charges relating to cocaine).  Wonder is scheduled to perform with Buju Banton in his first concert in more than a year. “Buju Banton & Friends: Before  the Dawn” concert, which will also feature Stephen Marley, Shaggy, Gramps Morgan and Freddie McGregor,  will be held January 16, 2011, at Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami, FL. (www.BUJULIVE.com).
“I just pray for him right now, for a positive outcome,” said Wonder. “That’s all we can hope for.”

Wonder, who will be spending his Christmas performing in Japan, sent out a special holiday wish for his fans: hold your head up, look forward to the new year and stay positive.
While Wayne Wonder’s show was going on in Berkeley, dancehall queen Tanya Stephens was doing her thing at 1015 Folsom Street nightclub in San Francisco. Stephens came out for for Angel Magik’s 9th anniversary celebration, hosted by promoter Johnny Mack, featuring DJs Serg (Kittys), I-Vier and Irie Dole (Jah Warrior Shelter), Smoky (King of Kings) Green  B and Danekah (Cooyah), DJ Theory and Jaw Breaker (Angel Magik Riddim Express).

Streetwise Radio (and Mega Banton, who later joined her on stage ) raced across the bridge to catch Stephens’ set.
A singer/songwriter/DJ known for her melodic, syncopated stories, many  of which deal with the politics of romantic relationships and include sexual innuendos, Stephenshad already gone through her catalog of dancehall hits: “Goggle,” “Big Ninja Bike,” “Good Ride,” “You Nuh Ready Yet,”  “Boom Wuk,” “Can’t Breathe,” “It’s a Pity,” “These Streets” when we arrived. As more people arrived, Stephens (who sang to pre-recorded tracks) actually performed the same tracks again for those who missed their favorite songs  and even took requests from the audience.
Always delivering more that’s expected Stephens joined her fans on the dance floor, busting a few moves, signing autographs and posing for photos after the show.
“I really enjoyed being here,” said Stephens. “I feel so at home when I come (to the Bay Area); I feel like I’m among kindred spirits. I feel like it’s not a show, it’s more like me hanging out and being myself and being comfortable.”
Stephens loves her job and says that meeting new people is the best part. She loves to laugh, share ideas and an occasional cocktail. Stephens admits that her 16-year-old daughter looks at her like she’s from another planet when she watches her dance, but she does not care.  Stephens once owned a bar in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. She has one eye tattooed on the back of each hand so that she can always see what’s going on.  
During our interview, Stephens also reflected on the passing of reggae crooner Gregory Isaacs this year.
“I knew Gregory’s story but I just wanted him to live forever,” said Stephens, who also admires Smokey Robinson and covered his composition “Tracks of My Tears.” .
“I love Gregory. I’ve never met another artist who I’ve been around and have just been dumbstruck. As long as I knew him, I never said a sentence to him. When I perform, I do a little bit of ‘Night Nurse,’ but my all time favorite Gregory Isaacs song is ‘Love is Overdue.’ I grew up loving it.  Nobody can do it like Gregory. He cannot be replaced. We just have to take the things that we love and immortalize them and keep them.  He was such a good spirit and I’ll always keep his energy with me. ”
Stephens, who releases her music through her independent label, Tarantula Records, currently has an album out called “Infallible,” which is free to download by anyone who wants it. (www.bymriddim.com).
“People have supported me for decades, and “Infallible” is my gift to my fans,” said Stephens. “There are many very talented people out there; Jamaica is full of them and that’s just one island. People aren’t obligated to like me. That fact that I’ve managed to be around and stay around this long is something that I am very grateful for. I have a new album coming out that I’m going to drop through the regular channels. I’m working with people from all over the Caribbean and getting different sounds. I’m even on a Zouk beat. I love Zouk, it’s so sexy and so raunchy that you just want to bump and grind. I’m always working and I always have stuff to share; the best is yet to come.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The RASTAFARIANS ---LUJAN & The Yard Stylee Allstars Play Monterey Calif.

ATTN: Reggae and World Beat DJs.
A & P Productions Inc. presents live in concert:
LUJAN & The Yard Stylee Allstars (lead singer from DUB-WIZE)
The RASTAFARIANS (headliners at this year Monterey Bay Reggaefest)
DJ Moi
MC Rocky Allen Bailey
When: Saturday, November 20, 2010.
Where: Planet Gemini – 2110 N. Fremont St. Monterey, CA 93940.
Price: $20.00
Time: Doors Open at 8:30 PM and music starts at 10:30 PM.
Age: 21 and over
Tickets on sale now at: Twisted Roots, 482 Alvarado St. Monterey, CA 93940.                          
 For tickets or more information on this dynamic reggae concert call (831) 394-6534. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gregory Isaacs, the "Cool Ruler"

Gregory IsaacsCover of Gregory Isaacs
The reggae world has lost one of its major singing stars of the 1970's and 80's this past Monday.  Gregory Isaacs, also known as the "Cool Ruler" for his polished, aching vocals of love, loss, and ghetto life, which endeared him to Caribbean music lovers everywhere....died after a year long battle with cancer.  He was just 59 years old!
Friends and colleagues often labeled Isaacs "the Frank Sinatra" of Jamaica for his elegant, vocal phrasing....yet, it was his uncanny ability to write great music and reggae songs that set him apart.
Also known for his fashion sense, Isaacs performed in the 1978 film 'The Rockers' wearing a powder blue tuxedo and black fedora, and was alwalys hailed as a dapper wearer of designer suits and silk shirts.
"He would often mingle through a crowded room of 20 or 30 people, make a quick exit, and then immediately describe precisely what everyone was wearing", said friend and former manager Don Hewitt.
As far as spoken words go, Isaacs was actually a man of very few, saving most of them for song, stage, and albums....of which he recorded close to 100!
"Gregory used to sit and go through his lyrics with a dictionary", said his wife Linda, a secondary-school teacher.  "He was always clean with his lyrical content and his grammar, constantly dedicating himself to satisfying his fans with music they wanted to hear"
Born in the rough Kingston, Jamaica neighborhood Denham Town, Isaacs was inspired by American soul artist Sam Cooke, and began writing and recording in his late teens....finally making his name with the solo hit single "All I Have Is Love" in 1973.
He then sang with the Motown-flavored vocal group 'The Concords' before going solo and hitting his stride.
Isaac's future, sleek reggae-sound and lyrics focused on romantic tales and pleas of love that, both fulfilled, and frustrated!  His effortless, understated ease of moans and groans became a signature, romantic favorite....both on stage and on  the dance floor.
Isaacs soon became a major record seller in Jamaica, and then in Britain too, with hits like "My Only Lover" and "Slave Master".  The commercial success of his 'Lovers Rock' established this sound as a dominant force in Reggae, that inspired other artists such as 'Frankie Paul' and 'Sugar Minott', who also made love songs for the dance hall.
Unfortunately, Isaacs also cultivated an outlaw persona--a "rude boy" in Jamaican slang....with frequent run-ins with the law, most of them drug or gun-related, as he suffered from a serious cocaine addiction.
This likely dampened his potential for greater success, as Isaacs was slated to somehow fill the void left when reggae icon 'Bob Marley' died in 1982. 
That same year Isaacs recorded his all time greatest hit "Night Nurse", but instead of capitalizing on its success, he spent six-months in prison on cocaine possession charges...suffering from a drug habit that eventually deteriorated his subtle voice!
However, in recent years Isaacs is said to have torn the monkey off his back, with positive stage reviews, and a successful, final album "A Brand New Me", released in 2008.
"Drugs are a debasing weapon", Isaacs said in a 2007 interview.  "It was the greatest college ever, but the most expensive school fee ever paid--cocaine highschool!  I learned everything, and then I put it on the side!"
It's extremely sad when superstars like Gregory Isaacs, and many, many other entertainers and celebrities learn the harsh lessons of substance abuse too late!  I only say this because Isaacs was such a special talent, that seemed to have more in his tank...yet, ran out of gas before the finish line--because of drugs!
Never-the-less, Gregory Isaacs had a fairly long run as a major figure, with a unique voice that touched the music community, and entertained fans the world over!  He will be sorely missed, leaving behind a wife, a brother, and twelve children. 
Thanks, and stay logged on to Streetwise Radio at www.Streetwisesd.com/radio
Sincerely,  PeteCam4
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Irie Maffia


Having been formed in 2005, Irie Maffia soon became a firm favourite with the young party-goers of Budapest, which can hardly be considered a surprise given the powerful medley of reggae, hip-hop, rock and funk they play, and the impressive line-up in terms of the Hungarian underground-music scene. Sena, Busa and Columbo are all well-known figures of Budapest nightlife. Among the musicians are such names as Dermot, the ingenious bandleader and trombone-player, or Jumo Daddy, the Hammond organ wizard.

The band has performed at practically every festival in Hungary imaginable, while their sound system formation (consisting of the DJs and MCs of the band) has been kept busy by the clubs of the country.

The memorable full house release party of the Mafia’s first LP, Fel a kezekkel! (Hands in the air), took place on A38, a popular party boat in Budapest, in December, 2007.

Irie Maffia's first video clip, shot for their most popular song, Hands In the Air, came out by the spring of 2008.


In autumn 2008 the Irie Maffia was one of the 5 nominees for MTV European Music Awards Local Hero in Hungary.

The band's sound system formation holds weekly club nights in Corvin teto, offering awesome reggae music to the Tuesday night audience of the venue.

The popularity of Irie Maffia, however, is by no means restricted to the borders of Hungary. Their first recording in 2006 made use of a dancehall riddim, the Rodeo riddim (formerly made popular by the mighty Seeed), which was released by Germaica Records, Europe’s leading reggae/dancehall record company.

To make the most of the success, the Maffia went on tour to several European destinations, amongst which was the Italian Rototom Sunsplash in 2007, probably the greatest reggae competition of the continent. They came in second with an outstanding performance after the local Italian heroes, which was an immense achievement in the light of the fact that they had had to convince a thoroughly orthodox jury with their rather eclectic and innovative kind of music.


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Friday, October 1, 2010

“Squidly Cole”



Renown drummer, producer and vocalist Wilburn “Squidly Cole” performs Saturday, Oct. 2 with Rootz Underground at the Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa. Cole comes from a rich family legacy; he is the son of veteran singer/producer Stranger Cole and nephew of lead vocalist Donald “Tabby” Shaw of the Mighty Diamonds. He has toured extensively with Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Sizzla to name a few.  This is the first stop on the promotional tour for Cole’s latest CD, “BloodLine.”


For “BloodLine” CDs, visit www.rootsrecords.com. For downloads, visit www.100studio.com.


For interviews with Squidly Cole contact Shelah Moody @ (415) 577-4445 or email smoodytone@aol.com.


Who: Rebellion Prod Presents - Rootz Underground and special guest artists Squidly Cole and DJs Jah Yzer and Jah Warrior Shelter.

When: Saturday, Oct. 2, 9 p.m.

Where: Last Day Saloon, 120 5th St., Santa Rosa

Tickets: Presale $20, (707) 545-5876, http://www.lastdaysaloon.com

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Sunday, August 22, 2010



The Mighty Diamonds, Jamaica’s premiere harmony trio, will make their debut at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in San Francisco on Thursday, Sept. 2.  Although they are known best for their roots reggae classics  including “Pass the Kutchie,” “I Need a Roof” and “Tamarind Farm,” the Mighty Diamonds—Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson,” Donald “Tabby” Shaw and Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson are versed in all forms of music, from R an B to jazz and blues. The Diamonds will be backed by a stellar Jamaican ensemble called the Yellow Wall Dub Squad.
Who: The Mighty Diamonds
When: Thursday, Sept. 2, 10:30 p.m.
Where: Yoshi’s Jazz Club, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco
Tickets: $16/Adv, $22, Door, (415) 655-5600
For more information, check out the group’s website: www.themightydiamonds.net.
For interviews, contact Shelah Moody, publicist, at (415) 577-4445 or email smoodytone@aol.com.
For booking and management: Robby Oyugi,  (415) 308-5629 or email: ujamadesigns@gmail.com.

Mighty Diamonds Bio
As the Hope Diamond http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope_Diamond is a American national treasure, the Mighty Diamonds are Jamaican national treasures.
Every reggae fan has at least one favorite song by the Mighty Diamonds:
"Pass the Kutchie," "Right Time," "Master Plan"  “Tamarind Farm,” and the list goes on. Formed in Trench Town, 1969, Jamaica's premier harmony trio are currently
celebrating 40 years of making music, from the most militant roots reggae to
the sweetest lover's rock.
The Mighty Diamonds--Fitzroy, "Bunny" Simpson, Donald "Tabby" Shaw and Lloyd "Judge" Ferguson--know what soul is all about. The three reggae
warriors have risen from the poverty and despair of inner city Kingston to
become learned reggae ambassadors who have traveled throughout Europe, the
U.S., Africa and Japan spreading the gospel of harmony and emancipation from
mental slavery.
“Right Time,” The Mighty Diamonds’ breakthrough album on the Channel One label, elevated the group to rock star status in 1975. Produced by Joseph Hoo Kim, "Right Time" brought together the Jamaican musical elite such as Sly and Robby (drum and bass) and Ancel Collins (keyboards) generated hits such as "Africa," "Have Mercy" "Natural Natty," "Them Never Love Poor Marcus" and the reggae party album, "Pass the
Kutchie," which has been sampled by everyone from Lauryn Hill to Michael
Franti to Wyclef Jean.
With wisdom and experience behind them, not to mention more albums and
singles than they can count, the Mighty Diamonds are still selling out
venues around the world. Led by Tabby's ebullient tenor, their live
show is a journey through the African Diaspora from gospel to R&B to roots reggae and dancehall, including covers of songs by the Stylistics ("Country Living") Bob Marley, ("Get Up, Stand Up") Curtis Mayfield ("It's All Right to Have a Good Time") Jester Hairston ("Amen") and Alton Ellis ("Still in Love").
The Mighty Diamonds have appeared on a number of compilations including "Is it Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan" (Sanctuary, 2004), "Old to the New" A Steely & Clevie Tribute to Joe Gibbs Classics" (VP, 2002) and "Fire on the Mountain: Reggae Celebrates The Grateful Dead ("Pow Wow, 1996). During the Christmas season, the Diamonds' lively version of "Frosty the Snowman" (Ras Records) is a hit with young and old. The Mighty Diamonds are currently promoting their latest CD, "Thugs in
the Street," produced on their independent label, Street Corner Music.                   
In honor more than 40 years together as a vocal trio, the Mighty Diamonds received the Ragga Muffins Festival Award of Recognition on Feb. 21.
            Following their performance at the sold out 29th annual Ragga Muffins reggae festival at Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, CA, Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson, Donald “Tabby” Shaw and Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson were presented with trophies on behalf on the festival and Moss Jacobs Presents.
            “The blessings are there, and we are here to share them; that’s the most important thing,” said Shaw, who has been the Mighty Diamonds’ lead vocalist since he was a teenager.
            In November, 2009, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke recognized the Mighty Diamonds with a Congressional Proclamation for their 40 years of hits and contributions to the music industry, when TSO Productions and the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music held their 5th annual Reggae Culture Salute at Nazareth High School Performance Center, Brooklyn, NY. Check out the youtube link of the presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzCo0oxDoo0.
            Also in November of 2009, the Diamonds released a remake of one of their first hits, “Country Living” (originally done by the Stylistics) produced by the England based Simba on his Small Storm label and distributed by the High Times label. The recording features Shaw’s nephew, Wilburn “Squidly” Cole (drums) and Winston “Bo Pee” Bowen (guitar).
            The Mighty Diamonds have also released their latest single, "Special Lady," a remake of Ray, Goodman and Brown’s 1980’s ballad, on their independent label, Street Corner Music in 2009.  
In 2006, following their performance at Reggae Sunsplash in Ocho Rios, the Diamonds received a prestigious national award from former prime minister Portia Simpson Miller for their artistic contribution to Jamaican culture. 

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Behind the Scenes at the Monterey Bay Reggaefest

Behind the Scenes at  the Monterey Bay Reggaefest
By Shelah Moody
For more than a decade, promoters Andre and Pam Smith and family have strived to produce the best quality, family oriented reggae festival. What made this year’s Monterey Bay Reggaefest so special is that for the first time, it was held in at the Monterey County Fairgrounds during the first week of August (July 30-Aug 1) instead of its regular Labor Day Weekend slot.
The 15th Annual Monterey Bay Reggaefest did not disappoint; it brought together talent from all over the world. Sharing the bill with Jamaican greats Sly an Robbie, Marcia Griffiths, Barrington Levy and Third World were of diverse backgrounds and cultures such as Katchafire (New Zealand), 

Samoan American reggae sensation J Boog (ComptonCA), Mystic Man (Haiti),

Queen Makedah (Israel),

Dubwize (Salinas

and  Lloyd Brown (UK).
                        As coordinator of the Monterey Bay Reggaefest Press Tent, I had the opportunity to observe some intimate moments. The MBRF Press Tent was dedicated to two influential reggae artists who recently passed away, Lincoln “Sugar” Minott (May 25, 1956 – July 10, 2010) and David Isaacs of the Itals ( June 9, 1946 –  December 21, 2009).
            Artists shared their fond memories of Minott and Isaacs and also revealed poignant information about themselves.
            On Saturday, July 31, after his headlining performance, Barrington Levy, known for his hip hop/dancehall sensibilities and expansive vocal range came, into the MBRF Press tent and revealed that his beloved father had passed away in Jamaica six days before.

 Earlier in the MBRF Press Tent, Marcia Griffiths, reflected on her life as one of Bob Marley’s famed background trio, the I-Threes and her longevity in the music business. When asked about her personal life, Griffiths revealed that the father of her two sons, the love of her life, died when her children were just babies. Griffiths, who has been referred to as Jamaica’s Aretha Franklin, is responsible for introducing African Americans to the Electric Slide dance craze through her hit “Electric Boogie.”

The original dance hall queen, Sister Carol, (aka Mother Culture and Empress High Grade) a last minute replacement for another member of the I-Threes, Judy Mowatt, introduced a new dance on stage called the “Ganja Seed. This dance is performed by bending your back and moving your feet in a syncopated motion so that your hips will follow. Sister Carol also unveiled her Black Cinderella clothing line and paid tribute to her designer,  Brother Jimmy, who recently passed away.  
Lloyd Brown sang a cappella tributes to one of his main inspirations, Michael Jackson “Good Thing Going” (introduced by a low flying plane that roared over the fairgrounds) and “Man in the Mirror” complete with Jackson’s trademark hiccups.
            There were some happy and downright funny moments, too. Up and coming Jamaican dance hall singer Gyptian, who was dubbed as the “Sexy Rasta” by his label, VP Records, was mobbed by young fans as he was escorted from the festival’s Red Stripe stage to the Press Tent. (Gyptian is known for his trademark lion purr, something he does when he holds the mic real close). When you listen to Gyptian sing his breakthrough hit, “Beautiful Lady” and watch the video, elegantly  directed by Ras Kassa, you understand what all the fuss is about. The song makes you feel like you are being rocked in a hammock while watching an island sunset. One young woman ripped off her hoodie and posed with Gyptian in her bikini top.  There were reports that a young female admirer actually licked Gyptian’s face after the press conference, but that’s a different dish! Gyptian’s new album “Hold You” was released this summer. Gyptian has just been added to the Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and Nas “Distant Relatives” 2010 Tour beginning August 24 in CharlotteNC.
            Renown drum and bass duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, aka The Riddim Twins, last played in the city of Monterey with the late Peter Tosh. Sly and Robbie performed with a stellar Jamaican ensemble of artists and producers known as  the Taxi Gang, featuring Nambo Robinson (trombone, vocals), Bubbler Waul (keyboards), Steven “Lenky” Marsden, who created the “Diwali” riddim behind Sean Paul’s “Get Busy” and Wayne Wonders “No Letting Go” (keyboards), Daryl Adonis Thompson (guitar) Everett Gayle (sax), and guest vocalist Peter Gayle. A few days after their debut at Yoshi’s jazz club in San Francisco, Sly and Robbie and the Taxi Gang performed a set of hypnotic dub and reggae classics such as “Mambo Taxi” “Shame and Pride” by the Mighty Diamonds and “Night Nurse” by Gregory Isaacs. Incidentally, Sly and Robbie have worked with practically every reggae artist in Jamaica, including Sugar Minott,  as well as pop stars such as Bob Dylan, Grace Jones, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt and the rolling sounds. When asked if they’d ever worked with Michael Jackson, Sly stated “It’s not too late,” possibly alluding to some remixes of the King of Pop’s material.

            It was hard to be still when reggae ambassadors Third World, (celebrating their 37th anniversary) featuring the founding members Cat Coore (cello, guitar), Richard Daley (bass) and the velvet vocals of lead singer Bunny Rugs, closed the show on Sunday night. Third World (the first reggae act to appear on “Soul Train”) had the campgrounds rocking to soulful hits such as “Now That We Found Love,” Try Jah Love,” and covers of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and the Ojay’s “Love Train.”
            Third World’s latest album “Patriots” is currently available for download at http://www.thirdworldband.com.
For information on next year’s Monterey Bay Reggaefest, visit www.mbayreggaefest.net

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Junior Toots

Junior Toots, Crown of Fire, is a uniquely talented recording artist and performer whose passion for reggae is evident in his moving live performances & recordings that inspire all.
Born and raised in Jamaica, he has a genuine commitment to socially conscious lyrics and a determination to express himself sincerely from within. This passion can be felt through his deeply soulful vocal style that is reminiscent of his father, renowned reggae artist Toots Hibbert, of Toots and the Maytals.
With a mixture of R&B, Reggae, Roots, & Reggaeton, Junior Toots reaches out to all supporters of conscious music with a message to unite & uplift. Beyond the rhythm of his music, you can feel the positive vibrations that he shares from his heart and soul.  
Committed to taking his career to the next level, Junior Toots is working hard to make his music available to as many ears as possible.

                              Check out his latest release Reggae Got Soul

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sugar Minott

Sugar Minott performing at the 2008 Winnipeg S...Image via Wikipedia
The world has just recently lost one of its most beloved and versatile performers. Reggae and dance hall superstar singer Lincoln "Sugar" Minott, age 54, died suddenly early this morning, July 11th, 2010.

No official cause of death has been reported at this early stage, however Minott, who was born Lincoln Barrington Minott in Jamaica, continued to live with a heart condition known as Anginia Pectoris.

Minott entered the music mainstream in 1969, quickly becoming well known around the world for his singing, song writing and producing talent. To date, he has recorded over 35 solo albums and almost 60 in all, which is unprecedented....including "Dance hall Showcase", "Herbman Hustling", "Easy Squeeze", and "Hidden Treasures".

In 1974, Minott joined the group 'African Brothers' along with producer 'Rupie Edwards', and came up with perhaps his most famous hit single "Mysterious Nature"...before joining label 'Studio One' to record another blockbuster "No Cup, No Broke".

However, Minott's continuing desire for independence led him away from Studio One, and in 1978 he formed his own label called "Black Roots". Joining producer 'Clement Dodd', Minott sang and played guitar while recording world renowned hits such as "Mr. DC", "Vanity", "Jah Jah Children", and "Rub-A-Dub Sound".

Throughout the next two decades, Minott recorded and performed on tour to world-wide audiences, each time displaying the uncanny ability to write and share new songs and novel rhythms. Each one has been a major contributor to the reggae Rastafari movement and its influence on Jamaican music..

His innovative sounds have also managed to encompass the 'Rough Roots', 'Sweet Lovers', and 'Classic Dance hall' styles that have attracted Minott to top Jamaican producers like 'Mickey Dread', 'George Phang', 'Sly & Robbie', 'Phillip "Fatis" Burrell', 'Channel One', 'Prince Jammy' and 'Donovan Germain'.

Along with his own "Black Roots" label, Minott also formed a "Youth Promotion" label and accompanying organization aimed at helping the careers of young singers with the same ghetto background as himself.

He also created the 'Youthman Promotion" sound system, which is still on the rise today....giving young performers their first public exposure, and a shot at launching new careers.

Here at Streetwise Radio, we will continue to feature Minott's music, as has been the case over the past year, and we sincerely hope his Youth Promotion organization continues to grow and prosper in his absence....already knowing of course, that his music will live on forever!

Sugar Minott was actually due to release yet another...his latest album, just a few days from now. We will keep you updated on that, as well as any further details regarding his sad passing.

Thanks and stay tuned to Streetwise Radio,

Sincerely, PeteCam4
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.

Baaba Maal and Lloyd, Lloyd Brown and World Music Stars Take the Stage at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
By Shelah Moody

            For 17 years, concert promoter Warren Smith and Epiphany Artists have brought the best in reggae and world music to northern California as part of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival Summer Solstice and World Peace Celebration.
            This year’s festival, held at Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville this weekend (June 18-20), will showcase international and local talent such as Baaba Maal (Senegal),  Gregory Isaacs, (Jamaica) Alborosie (Italy), Fat Freddy’s Drop, (New Zealand),  Lloyd Brown (England) Wadi Gad (Bay Area) the Dubtonic Kru (Jamaica).
            Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with world renowned Senegalese singer and master musician Baaba Maal in a phone interview from Palm Pictures offices in London. Maal said he is looking forward to returning to the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.
Maal will bring about seven musicians with him playing traditional instruments such and the djembe and the harp. Maal sings primarily in his native language, Pulaar,
            Maal comes from a line of fishermen. His family name, comes from the empire of Mali and means “hippo.” His first name “Baaba” is a traditional name given to guide or a male head of a family.
Maal, who has more than 16 albums to his credit,  is currently promoting his latest,  “Television,” which addresses issues such as climate change and global influence of the media. Maal is currently involved with an organization called Africa Talks Climate.
            “The environment is really important in Africa,” said Maal. “I come from a nomadic tribe and they need to get information on climate change so they can understand what’s happening to them. I’m working closely with the United Nations Development Program on the Millennium Goals. We just have a song that we did with Angelique Kidjo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Yvonne Shaka Shaka that which will be presented at the World Cup, called ‘Eight Goals Away.’ These are the eight goals that I think Africa should achieve during this competition. We are supporting the Millennium Goals to bring awareness on the importance of education, protection of the environment, and giving power to women to get the right place in society. All of this we are doing through music.”
            Maal is known for his expansive range and griotic vocal style. He says he trains his voice by listening to instruments.
            “Instruments are the best way for a singer to develop their voice,” said Maal.
“You know your music and your lyrics, but instruments have different personalities. If you want to make the range of your voice get very wide or big or diverse, I think practicing with instruments, both African and Western is important. Melody is what I’m talking about. We practice singing a lot. We don’t wait until we go on stage or until we have concerts to practice. We sing every time, every day we get a chance to sing, when we are at home in the living room. When we are invited to have dinner at friend’s houses, after dinner, we pick up the instruments and do two or thee songs. It keeps the voice in form. To be able to sing like a bird, the voice needs to be free, without restriction. This is how singers are in Africa.”
            Maal said he learned to sing as a child by listening to his mother and the town griots.
            “They were not professional musicians; they did not expect to travel with music, it was just part of their lives,” said Maal. “I think I was blessed to be able to use my voice in the business and to get opportunities, but at the same time, it’s just a natural instrument that I use to express myself and my life.”
            Lloyd Brown is looking forward to his first Sierra Nevada World Music Festival performance. He said he is absolutely stoked and delighted to be able to perform. He will be backed by a band called Riddim Works.
          Because of his sensual baritone, the reggae/soul singer has been referred to as the British Barry White. Brown, who lives in London, has acquired a large fan base in northern California, performing at venues such as the annual Monterey Bay Reggaefest, the Ashkenaz in Berkeley, Sweet Fingers restaurant in San Leandro and Pier 23 in San Francisco. Brown attributes part of his success to his fans and his manager, Denise Gore, who lives in Sacramento. Gore coined the phase “to see and hear Brown is to really know him.”  Brown’s hits include “Main Squeeze,” “Show Me that You Love Me,” Share the Night” and “Know Yourself.”
            “I’ve also been called the British Frank Sinatra and the British Beres Hammond,” said Brown. “I feel I’m in illustrious company with that role call of artists. Those artists have influenced me. I’m giving my influences to my fans.”
            Brown’s career spans more than 25 years and 13 albums. He specializes in a style of reggae called lover’s rock, which originated in England.
            “Lover’s rock originated in the early to mid seventies in the UK,” said Brown. “A lot of music from Jamaica had a very rootical quality about it. The UK being the first destination that reggae took from Jamaica, we embraced it to a point where we developed style within the reggae genre that had a more romantic feel. Because we live in a cold climate, we make nice round warm music that bring people together.”
            In that case, be prepared for a musical meltdown; temperatures at the fairgrounds are expected to soar past 80 degrees during the day.

What: 17th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
Where: Mendocino Campgrounds, Boonville, CA.
When: Friday June 18-Sunday June 20.
Information: (916) 777-5550, www.snwmf.com 
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