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:
For interviews, contact Shelah Moody, publicist, at (415) 577-4445 or email
For booking and management: Robby Oyugi,  (415) 308-5629 or email:

Mighty Diamonds Bio
As the 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:
            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
For information on next year’s Monterey Bay Reggaefest, visit

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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