Tuesday, November 8, 2016

QUEEN IFRICA WILL RELEASE HER THIRD STUDIO ALBUM CLIMB IN 2017 ON VP RECORDS Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley Featured on Opening Track The Reggae Songstress Will Showcase New Album in NYC on Nov 16

The Jamaican award-winning singer, songwriter and social activist Queen Ifrica returns with her new studio album Climb in January 2017 on VP Records.  The lyrical crusader calls for global change on the album and rallies comrades like Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley on the opening hip-hop tinged track "Truvosation."
  WATCH: Queen Ifricia's

She touches on key social issues throughout the album. The soul-tinged reggae track  "I Can't Breathe" rails against ongoing police brutality in America; the ska flavored "Rebellion" name checks uprisings across several continents that have secured rights and improved the lives of many marginalized individuals. This sentiment is reinforced on "Battlefield", which warns "we never yield, its war on the battlefield, if you nah hear you ah go feel."  
She also continues to uplift the younger generation. Queen's beautifully sung lyrics encourage perseverance during hard times on the title track and she reveals two of her greatest motivational sources, her mother and grandmother on "Ask Me Granny."  On "Black Woman" she implores young ladies to know their worth and not be swayed by objectifying trends in popular culture.
"These songs come to me as I am watching the world; I see myself as a social worker that uses music as my tool because music is the greatest weapon to impact societal change, to help young people to understand themselves more," Ifrica says.
On November 16, 2016 in NYC, Queen Ifrica will be performing select tracks from the album to give fans a taste of what is to come. The intimate live show will be held directly after the launch party for Jamaica's renowned Rebel Salute music festival at Milk River in Brooklyn, NY.

Queen Ifrica
Swooping in from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Queen Ifrica has taken the reggae scene by storm with hits like "Randy," "Boxers and Stockings,"  "Jus my Brethren," "Below the Waist" and "Daddy" as well as more recent singles like "Love Is Not Blind" and "I Can't Breathe." From her humble beginnings of winning talent contests to joining the Tony Rebel's Flames crew in 1998, she has blossomed into one of the genre's top cultural artists with her roots firmly secured in the Rastafarian faith.  Climb is Ifrica's third full-length album, following Montego Bay (2009, VP Records) and Fyah Muma (2007, Flames Productions).

Sunday, November 6, 2016



Fresh off his performance at Reggae on the River where Anthony B called him on stage, Leaf of Life is ready for more! Hailing from Kingston Jamaica, one of the most exceptional & futuristic reggae/dancehall artist is here on his US tour & available for the 2017 festival season.
And see a taste of his performances & musical ability here: 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sizzla Brings the Heat to Oakland, CA, By Shelah Moody

It was hot enough at Sizzla’s Oakland show to turn a press and curl into an afro. As one photographer put it, it was so hot in the club, even the walls were sweating.
On Sept. 23, Grammy nominated reggae dancehall super star Miguel Collins, aka Sizzla Kalonji, backed by the Gumption band, literally brought the heat to the Venue nightclub in Oakland. Case in point, by Monday, Sept. 25, temperatures in Oakland had soared to a blazing 92 degrees, not cooling down until Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Sizzla’s first Bay Area performance in eight years was sold out, with people literally piled on top of each other to catch a glimpse of the musical leader of the Bobo Ashanti Rastafari Movement.
 Incidentally, the Bobo Ashanti house of Rastafari was founded by Prince Emmanuel Charles Edwards in the 1950s. The Bobo dreads are known for wrapping their hair in colorful turbans. In the late nineties, when Sizzla first emerged as a musical super power, I watched Sizzla meticulously iron a long piece of fabric and wrap his hair before a Long Beach, CA show, which is an art form in itself.
“Being in the western hemisphere, in a system designed to colonize black people and to keep them down, you have to get that knowledge of self; knowledge of being and where you’re coming from,” said Sizzla, 40. “When you go to Bobo, it reminds you of your true self, because you keep the Sabbath, you’re praising a black God; you have black men chanting and black priests and black empresses. It reminds you of your true African culture, your true ways. The Sabbath brings thing to re-memory. Apparently, it’s the foundation of our culture. All praise to the holy priest, Emanuel I, Selassie I, Jah Rastafari.”
Jah Warrior Shelter Sound System, featuring King I-Vier and Jah Yzer  alongside DJ Danny Smoky kicked off the show, followed by the multi-racial, IrieFuse band, which combined heavy metal with roots reggae. The temperature rose as the Gumption band, featuring Phanso Wilson on drums, Kevo Gitz on guitar, Taddy P. Camp on bass and  Dwayne Morris on keyboards took the stage and played a soulful set of roots and dub. Collectively, the band members have played with the likes of Beres Hammond, Maxi Priest, Luciano, Jesse Royal and other heavyweights.
Sizzla’s journey from his heavily guarded dressing room to the stage was a surreal, ritualistic experience, and so began the night’s deification of Sizzla Kalonji, whose name literally translates into hot, healing black seed. The air was thick and sweet with ganja smoke as a few rough looking handlers parted the crowd and cleared a path, cell phones and cameras set to video mode, onlookers stood on chairs and tables to welcome August Town, Jamaica’s favorite son as bowed in reverence, counted a few beats, placed his hand on his heart and began the few riffs of his opening song and raced onto the stage.  (see link:  https://youtu.be/uN8aZkEZ0NU).
What followed was a world class Bobo dread get-down that went on until curfew.  Merging roots reggae with hip hop, dancehall and shades of seventies R&B, Sizzla kicked his legs high in the air and performed songs such as “Show Us the Way,” “Guide Over Us,” “Be Strong,”  “Dry Cry,” “Woman I  Need You”  “Give Me a Try” and his signature composition, “Words of Divine.”
The event was not without controversy. One month before the show, it was announced that Sizzla’s show, originally scheduled at the fashionable 1015 Folsom nightclub in San Francisco had be cancelled due to pressure from the LGBTQ community. Sizzla, along with other dancehall artists, have been accused of promoting anti-gay rhetoric and inciting violence against members of the LGBTQ community. In a 2016, interview with Island Stage magazine Sizzla stated that he was not a man of hate, but a man working to end violence and promote education in his August Town community.
“You shouldn’t be afraid of Sizzla. I’m not an animal; I’m not a cannibal,” he said. “I don’t support violence on no level or no degree. What you need to do is to get to know Sizzla. If you don’t know someone, I don’t think that you should stand aside and criticize the person. Spend some time with the person; get to know the person and then we can see where we best go from there. You don’t need to be afraid of Sizzla; you need to be part of the movement for Sizzla. Love to the world. Yeah yeah! Don’t do that, ‘fraid a Sizzla fe wha?”

Sunday, September 4, 2016

May the Pulse Be With You: Grammy Winning Reggae Band Releases New Documentary, “Dreadtown” By Shelah Moody

Steel Pulse @ Mountain Winery, Saratoga

“Reggae music pleases kings and queens, so I’m sure that it will please you,” announced lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist David Hinds.
I first saw Steel Pulse at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, HI, 1988. Ironically, the U.K.’s Grammy winning reggae band was the opening act for a local group, Cecilio & Kapono. My first exposure to the music of Steel Pulse came via the reggae show on KTUH FM, our local university radio station. I was captivated by their roots and dub sound and their militant and spiritually uplifting lyrics. Songs like “Handsworth Revolution,” “Chant a Psalm a Day,” “Stepping Out,” “Ku Klux Klan,” “Not King James Version,” “Blues Dance Raid,” “Roller Skates” and “Drug Squad” became the soundtrack of my young adult life. Steel Pulse was rocking against racism and speaking out on police shootings of unarmed black youth decades before Black Lives Matter.

David Hinds and Selwyn Brown. Founders of Steel Pulse

It was fate that led me to spot a fabulous young dread, David Hinds, and his magnificent towering dreadlock, walking out of the Food Pantry, our neighborhood overpriced grocery store, in Waikiki, 1989 on the eve of Steel Pulse’ headlining Waikiki Shell performance. I remember running through the “don’t walk” sign to catch up with David and grabbing the sleeve of his denim jacket.
“Excuse me, are you….”
“Oh, yes,” he said. “And you are…?
I quickly introduced myself and the underground publication, “Scrawling Wall,” that I was writing for at the time. I did not know that I was shaking and sweating in the Honolulu heat.
You seem like you are afraid of me,” said Hinds.
Oh no, I’m just a bit nervous because I love you guys so much,” I said.
What followed was a two hour interview for “Scrawling Wall” with Hinds, who introduced me to band members Steve “Grizzly” Nesbit on drums, Selwyn Brown on vocals, keyboards and melodic, Phono Martin on percussion and vocals and Sidney Mills on keyboards. Hinds spoke to me in depth about the influence of the Black Power Movement in America, discrimination against blacks and other peoples of color in the U.K., and the songwriting process that led him to write classics such as “Throne of Gold” and “Ravers.” When Hinds opened his jacket to reveal an oversize button depicting a cow pooping with a circle and I line over it, (“No Bullshit”), I knew that we would be friends for life.
Ironically, Steel Pulse came to town to perform during my last weekend in Honolulu and I hung out with the band members at Diamond Head Beach, where the warm sand glistened like millions of diamond chips. The Pulse was with me when I left Honolulu for good to attend graduate school in San Francisco. While tears flowed, I played their 1991 recording, “Victims” on the plane. The first single was “Taxi Driver.” Putting worlds into action, Steel Pulse filed a class action suit against the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission, due to drivers refusing to pick up blacks and dreads.
In the summer of 1994, the staff of the Reggae Calendar International lost our dear friend, Joyce Ann Cooke, who was killed in a car crash on the way to Reggae on the River. Headlining at Reggae on the River that weekend was none other than Steel Pulse. A blessing came out of tragedy that weekend; my feature story on Steel Pulse for “Reggae Calendar International” caught the eye of Steel Pulse’s tour manager, who recommended me to MCA records to write the press release for their upcoming album, “Vex.”
A standout track on “Vex” was a song called “No Justice, No Peace.”
“The practice of so many injustices has left us with very little confidence in the judicial system,” said Hinds. “Above the angry groove of the drum and bass, “No Justice, No Peace,” lashes out at the outcome of the Rodney King trials. “No Justice, No Peace” goes on to acknowledge Mike Tyson’s incarceration in comparison to a Kennedy family member’s acquittal on an almost similar crime.”
Fast forward to fall, 2016. Steel Pulse is currently touring with one of the biggest acts in reggae music, multiple Grammy winner Ziggy Marley. When reggae music was rough and uncut, Steel Pulse opened for Bob Marley, who dubbed them the Young Wailers.

                                       Drummer Wayne "C-Sharp" Clarke

Though they players and the groove may have changed over 40 years, the message remains the same. Steel Pulse current lineup includes core members, Hinds, Brown and Mills, along with Wayne “C Sharp” Clarke on drums, Amlak Tafari on bass, Jerry Johnson on sax, and Makiesha McTaggert on vocals, rapper BaRuch Hinds (son of David) and David Elecceri on guitar. 

Vocalist Keysha McTaggart and keyboardist Sidney Mills

They’ve added an acoustic version of “Chant a Psalm a Day” and new songs such as “Don’t Shoot” and “Put Your Hoodies Up (4 Trayvon),” livicated to the unarmed black youth across the country who’ve been killed by police.

Steel Pulse newest members David Elecciri, guitar, and rapper BaRuch Hinds

After seeing the Pulse live at least 100 times over the years, the show is new to me every time and I wait for the point when they play “Rally Round” and I can throw my fist in the air and sing along with the refrain “Closer to God we Africans!”
Steel Pulse is also gearing up for the release of “Dreadtown,” the definitive documentary of Steel Pulse, which memorializes their 40 year career and evolution of as a band. With Hinds as executive producer, “Dreadtown” was directed by Yoni Gal of Driftwood Pictures. Past and present band members and family are featured in the film, as well as luminaries such as the Marley family, Gwen Stefani, Michael Franti, Snoop Dogg, Johnny Rotten and Alpha Blondy.
"Dreadtown" has been in the making for eight years, said Hinds, 60.
“We started out doing the video, for our song "Door of No Return." (see link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsO4aYNFc9U). The song is about a captured slave who is actually a king. My son, BaRuch, has the lead in the video. The song is about someone of high realms all of a sudden finding himself on an auction block in the United States or somewhere like that, and being sold. The whole idea of "Door of No Return," not that I'm veering from the subject of "Dreadtown," is that there is a place called Goree Island, a small island off the coast of Senegal, and on Goree Island is a detention center or a fortress where slaves were held until they were dispatched to various parts of the world. There was an opening through the fortress that the slaves had to go through that was called the door of no return. Once they went through the door, and went throughout Europe and parts of the Americas to become slaves, they never had a chance to return.”
“I was very emotional about the whole thing and thought I was actually representing my ancestors returning through the door of no return,” said Hinds. “My point is, we decided to take it to another level and make a movie on the making of "Door of No Return." It was so interesting what developed as far as ideas and what we contributed, and the next step was to turn the whole the Steel Pulse experience and advertise our 40 year legacy. That's how "Dreadtown" came into play. We're hoping that it can be completed by the end of the year. It's crucial now, because there are so many issues involved. We started out, as you know in England where we were facing racism and all of the stuff that came along colonialism and of course, we go back to 400 years of slavery. To know that things have come around 360 degrees in this day and age; where England has exited out of Europe—racism is at the root of it all. You’ve got Donald Trump establishing his format of racism right here in the U.S. It’s as if our songs have been revitalized for that same reason. Our story needs to be out there; it needs to be told and I’m hoping that it will be something that people are very much interested in. I hope it doesn’t have a “sell by” date or gets put on the shelf after a period of time, because we are living in times where things are very much disposable. We want to know that your children and grandchildren can still have this film as a template of how things are and were. I hope that it can be part of a school’s curriculum. We want to have people taking time out with kids of all ages and dimensions and looking at it and saying, wow, this is what’s happening, and sort of have it as a debate or whatever they want to use it as. We want it to last for a long, long time, even after Steel Pulse has retired as a band.”
May the Pulse be with you at: www.steelpulse.com

On Twitter: @Steelpulse

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - Touring North America & Hawaii

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang
- Touring North America & Hawaii September, October 2016
Sly Dunbar (drums) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass), the arrangers, producers, songwriters, session musicians and developers of raw talent, are widely acknowledged as ‘the world’s greatest rhythm section’. ‘The Riddim Twins’ have been together for over 40 years….between them they are estimated to have played on or produced over 200,000 recordings. Their list of collaborators is a veritable who’s who – there’s every prominent Jamaican artist from Beenie Man to Sean Paul to Peter Tosh, Don Carlos, Michael Rose, Junior Reid, Shaggy, Cherine Anderson, Bitty Mclean, Black Uhuru, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Ini Kamoze; and they have played with and produced artists such as Ben Harper, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones, Grace Jones, Paul McCartney, Carlos Santana, Sinéad O’Connor, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, UB40’s Ali Campbell, Joe Cocker, No Doubt, the Fugees, Michael Franti and countless others.

Sly and Robbie, affectionately known as the Riddim Twins, are perhaps the premiere architects of the modern sound of Jamaican music. Building on the cornerstones of Studio 1 and other early pioneers of the Jamaican recording industry, Sly and Robbie became the driving force behind the fabled Channel 1 sound that dominated reggae throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s. Subsequent work, most notably with Peter Tosh and Black Uhuru, set the pace for the changing sound of reggae in the post-Bob Marley era. They continue to record and build bold new arrangements working consistently in the present moving into the future.

Sly and Robbie also have an extensive tour history on the world stage. Their group the Taxi Gang includes a horn section and features an ultimate lineup of top Jamaican recording musicians. Sly & Robbie and the Taxi Gang have recently been top performers on the Tribute to the Legends, the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, Reggae in the Desert and Reggae on the River. They tour North America, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and China. When Sly and Robbie and the Taxi Gang perform their music is far outside of the box – jazz Reggae – very courageous and experimental. Theirs is roots reggae music at its heights.

For bookings contact:
Peter Wardle | Kings Music International
Office: (510) 653-4069
Cell: (510) 326-8445
Fax: (510) 653-5083

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Conscious, Sexy Dancehall Singer Fyakin Makes Reggae on the River Debut Aug. 7 By Shelah Moody

Photos Courtesy of Fyakin

Fyakin performs with Anthony B and also at a late night/early morning dancehall set on the South Beach Stage at the 32nd Annual CAReggae on the River Festival, French's Camp Piercy, . www.reggaeontheriver.com
Have you ever wondered what it’s like for an artist to perform at a massive, historic event such as the famed Reggae on the River for the first time? For Fyakin, a conscious young singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, the journey is well worth the wait.
Fyakin, a.k.a. Nicholas Levy, was born in Kingston, JA in 1988 and is currently based in Miami, FL. He derived his moniker from the Yoruba name Akin, which means “valor awakes.” A favorite on the Jamaican music scene, Fyakin created a buzz by performing at events such as Sizzla’s birthday bash, Sting, East Fest and Island Explosion to name a few. During the summer of 2015, Fyakin released his acclaimed full-length album, “Child of the Nile” on Nyle Banks Music. This year, Fyakin released his fiery single, “Warrior Ways.”   A devoted father and former professional soccer player, Fyakin describes his music as soulful, uplifting, cultured and truthful.
“You can expect a passionate performance and you might see me playing some Congo drums here and there; maybe a little keyboards,” said Fyakin. “You never know what can happen. Expect the unexpected when it comes to me. I keep growing and finding new talents each day.”
Shelah Moody: How do you feel about performing at Reggae on the River for the first time? What are some of the stories that you've heard about Reggae on the River from other artists?
Fyakin: I’ve just heard the show is a well-organized and properly promoted; it's huge has a lot of people there. It's my first time at Reggae on the River and my first time in California. It's quite an elated feeling for me to be a part of one of the greatest reggae festivals so to speak. My plan is to give the people a great performance--one to remember. I will be performing with Anthony B doing a song we both collaborated on for his tribute to the legends album.

SM: What do you have in store for the ladies in the dancehall?
Fyakin: I’ve got a lot in store for the ladies-- some sweet soulful lovers’ rock music that I am sure the ladies will enjoy. Tracks like “Sweet Music,” “I Miss Your Love” and “You are My Lady.”
SM: How do you feel about sleeping amongst the majestic California redwoods?
Fyakin: I've never experienced camping out before so I will see how that works out for me.
SM: Will you take a dip in the Eel River?
Fyakin: Not sure but I just might do so!
SM: Speaking of the Reggae on the River experience, I was gonna ask you about the myth of Humboldt ganja.
Fyakin: LOL. Nope, never heard of it!

Follow Fyakin on the web: www.fyakin.com
INSTAGRAM: darealfyakin

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Up Close and Personal with Tanya Stephens at the 23rd Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival By Shelah Moody

“It someone had told me when I was 20 that 40 was so sexy, I would have never believed them!” --Tayna Stephens, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival 2016
Let’s get one thing straight. Tanya Stephens thinks that she is the greatest thing since, and before, sliced bread. And the prolific reggae/dancehall singer /songwriter is proud of it, too, with more than 20 years of music to her credit.
After her riveting performance at the 23rd Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival at Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville, CA (www.snwmf.com) on June 18, Stephens addressed the media in the press tent. In fewer than 20 minutes, she became our BFF. As Stephens was escorted from the stage to the press tent, she was literally mobbed by fans who showered her with hugs, kisses, gifts and praise.
Stephens, who rose to popularity with her risqué dancehall hits and love songs such as “Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet,” Draw fi Mi Finger,” “Boom Wuk,” “Goggle,” “It’s a Pity,” “I Can’t Breathe” and “These Streets” said she prefers not to be labeled as a “female” artist. Stephens said her most feared question is “what advice would you give to young women who aspire to break into the music industry?”
“I would say, try not to take too much advice, because there’s no one way to do this,” said the dusky voiced singer, who performed on the SNWMF bill with world music greats such as Etana, Beres Hammond, Toots and the Maytals, Leroy Sibbles and others that weekend. “What works for Tanya Stephens may not work for another female coming into the business. It’s changed since I came in. I would say, don’t be labeled as a ‘female’ artist, just be an ‘artist.’ Stop being intimidated by the word ‘fraternity’ and stop thinking that this is a male dominated industry. They may be many in terms of numbers, but in terms of potency, not so much. We have them beat. Just come in, kick down the door and do your thing. Don’t be hung up on the ‘female’ label; our job is not sexual. I know that people mean well when they compliment me by saying that I’m one of the best female artists, but I feel marginalized by my gender. I look at women and I see no competition. That may sound egotistical to some people, but I’m not an accidental artist. I work very hard. If you hear me put out 10 songs, it means I made maybe, 150 songs. I demand more than just the title female artist. It’s like saying all right, we need some breasts, and I don’t even have that much breasts.”
To date, Stephens has recorded nine solo albums including “Big Things a Gwaan (1994), “Too Hype” (1997), “Work Out” (1997) “Ruff Rider (1998) “Sintoxicated” (2001) “Gangsta Blues” (2004) “Rebelution” (2006), “Infallible” (2010) and “Guilty” (2013).
Stephens has released more than 100 singlesand collaborated with artists such as Lady Saw, Bounty Killer, Shabba Ranks and Marcia Griffiths to name a few.
“I’m a woman when I’m with my husband; I’ve been married for a few years,” said Stephens, who turns 43 this year. “But I don’t see that as something that defines me. I don’t complete him and he doesn’t complete me; we’re just two people who are doing this together. When I’m with my husband, I’m his woman, but with you guys, I don’t have to be a woman, do I? ‘Cause we’re not all sleeping together now are we? I need to be a woman for our kids because they need a mother. But when we are working together, why can’t we just be people? If we embrace the terms “women’ and female,” we embrace marginalization and the limitations put on us.”

After performing at SNWMF, Stephens headed to Europe to play the summer festival circuit. Yes, she has a new album in the works, but right now Stephens is taking it easy and loving it.
“It feels nice; it feels like the best of me, really, said Stephens. “So, I’m in no rush. I’m working on a new album, but I haven’t completed it yet, not to my liking. I have to like it first. And when I like it, then I will think that it deserves your ears; and I will release it. I have no record label; I have no boss, I have no deadline. I can take my time, and I hope you guys will exercise some patience. I have to live up to my own expectations and meet my own standards. That’s my process.
“I’m grateful that you give me a platform, and the fact that people actually like what I do is amazing,” said Stephens. “Nobody has to like my music. Of course, I think that I’m the greatest thing since or before sliced bread, but nobody has to agree with me.”
Oh, and another thing, Stephens has a wild and wicked sense of humor and her sharp wit shines through in her lyrics and conversation. One member of the press asked about her brief business venture as a bar and restaurant owner in Ocho Rios.
“That was not a good pairing,” said Stephens. “Just think about it; me with a bar! (laughed). That didn’t work out. I was my best customer, but that was bad for business.”
Stephens, who hails from St. Mary, grew up in a typical Jamaican household which means that she was influenced by country western music, gospel and Calypso. One of her first influences was Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Kitchener, who inspired Stephens’ love of writing with his double entendres. Stephens also considers SNWMF Saturday night headliner Beres Hammond a great writer. As a student of literature, Stephens loves a good story—the plot, the suspense, the climax. Sidney Sheldon is her favorite novelist; she collects his books in hard and soft cover.
Stephens’ also gushed about one of her biggest musical influences, Motown heavyweight William “Smokey” Robinson.
”Influence is a mild way of putting it,” said the Stephens. “I’ve been in love with Smokey since I was about 10 years old. ‘Tracks of My Tears’ is my all-time favorite song; it’s been my favorite since I was in grammar school.”
To the delight of everyone in the press tent, Stephens crooned a few bars of “Tracks of My Tears.”
“People say I'm the life of the party 'Cause I tell a joke or two/Although I might be laughing loud and hearty/Deep inside I'm blue…”
“I don’t collect keepsakes; I’m not a person who takes a picture with an artist to say ‘look who I’m standing next to,’ because I think I am all that and more,” said Stephens. “A friend brought me an autograph from Smokey, and that’s the only (memorabilia) I’ve kept throughout my entire career. Smokey Robinson was the soundtrack of my childhood and my adulthood. Every pain I’ve felt, I’ve cried with Smokey. I literally cried with Smokey. It’s crazy; you know me and Smokey’s relationship. He doesn’t know we have one.”
Ironically, Stephens said she has no desire to duet with her idol any time soon. “You know what, I don’t like meeting the people I really, really love, because then, they become human. And the truth is, no human can live up to your expectations, so I don’t want to spoil Smokey for me. I would rather Smokey stay just the way he is, over there with his fabulously-getting-younger self.”
Stephens’ currently has another great love, former presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. She even wrote a song for him called “Bernie a di Realist.” https://soundcloud.com/j…/tanya-stephens-bernie-a-di-realist
“Listen, for me Bernie Sanders is not about politics,” said Stephens. “Bernie taps into everything I feel inside as a human; everything I’ve wanted. You know, the peace. The caring for each other. Doing what we know is right as opposed to what is popular and what is on the books. We wrote the damn books so we can change the books. This is what Bernie stands for. So, for me, it’s not even about winning or losing, it has nothing to do with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. I’m not an American and I can’t even vote here! Bernie is inspiring people all over the world to fight and rebel against what we know is wrong with the system. This country is rich! There shouldn’t be any poor people. Just like Jamaica is rich! There shouldn’t be anyone starving! Even if he is not running for president, I’m with Bernie forever. I love that man! He’s kind of rivaling Smokey right now.”
Follow Tanya Stephens on Twitter: @Tanya_Stephens

On Instagram: @tanyastephensofficial

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Bass music meets roots culture in debut EP from Californian producer Dubamine.
Dub-Stuy Records welcomes ​ Dubamine to its ranks. Hailing from Santa Cruz, CA, the young producer has been active since 2009 with a series of digital-only releases. String Up The Sound marks his vinyl debut with four tracks that trace direct links between roots, reggae, hip-hop, and bass music. The EP features the vocal talents of Jamaica’s ​ Blackout JA​ , London’s​ Brother Culture​ , a long-standing voice in the sound system community, and DC-based ​ Carlton Livingston​ , a Jamaican legend best known for his work with the ​ Greensleeves and ​ Jah Life labels. String Up The Sound is a meeting of styles and generations.
The EP’s three vocal tracks -- ‘Nicodemus’, ‘String Up The Sound’, and ‘Good Morning Jamaica’ -- offer sureshot summertime anthems with memorable hooks over production that blends the best of ​ DMZ​ ’s eyes-down philosophy with vocal-driven contemporary dub reggae in the vein of ​ Mungo’s Hi Fi​ . The release is completed by the instrumental ‘Murda Style’, a subtle and powerful forward riddim inspired by dub techno and a minimalist aesthetic reminiscent of ​ Rhythm & Sound​ . This debut by Dubamine combines bass weight, legendary voices, and sound system aesthetics to please multiple generations of bass-loving fans.

TRACKLIST :  A1.​ Nicodemus feat. Blackout JA A2.​ String Up The Sound feat. Brother Culture B1.​ Good Morning Jamaica feat. Carlton Livingston  B2.​ Murda Style

All song can be heard on Streetwise Radio's Big Splif 420 Reggae Show

Dub-Stuy Records  649 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn NY, United States  info@dub-stuy.com​ l  +1 (206) 819 8383

Friday, June 10, 2016


June 9- San Francisco, CA—Pleasanton, CA native Harrison Stafford and the Professor Crew proudly announce their summer European tour in support of their third roots reggae and dub masterpiece “One Dance.” Stafford, perhaps best known as the lead singer/songwriter for the roots reggae band Groundation, took a short break from the group to travel to Jamaica in September, 2015 to record “One Dance” with some like- minded souls—reggae greats Leroy “Horsemouth Wallace (drums), Errol “Flabba Holt” Carter (bass), Lloyd “Obeah” Denton (keyboards) and Big Ship Productions’ Dalton Browne (rhythm and lead guitar). Stafford’s longtime collaborator Roger Landon Hall is also featured on lead guitar. Stafford previously worked with this legendary group of Jamaican musicians, aka the Professor Crew, on two previous releases: “Madness” (CD, 2011) and “Throw Down Your Arms” (CD/DVD 2012).
Harrison and the Professor Crew kick off their “One Dance” tour in France on June 24 and will travel to Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy.
“Recording "One Dance" was an awesome experience, very magical,” said Stafford, who has been recording in Jamaica’s studios such as Harry J’s in Kingston, for more than 15 years. “I knew what to expect and how to run the sessions smoothly. These are masters; they have been recording this reggae music for more than five decades so they know how to get the job done right the first time. I knew if I did my homework and got the songs ready, we could record all the basic tracks in one day. So that is what we did, we recorded ‘One Dance’ in one day.”
Stafford, who also has a home base in St. Ann’s Parish, JA, experienced many touching and spiritual moments during the “One Dance” sessions.
“Every time I play music, it is touching and spiritual and with this crew of musicians; we are all instantly together as one energy,” said Stafford.

About the Tracks:

One Dance,” the title track and lead single, is a rare and upbeat ska-infused dance tune. Stafford selected none other than Alpha Boys School alumni and Studio One drummer Horsemouth Wallace. "One Dance" is a song that Wallace and Stafford first jammed on in Jamaica a few years ago. Harrison wrote this song as a nice easy chorus of "One Dance Baby!" while the verses spoke very deeply about political power struggles and the subjugation of the poor. The groove is heavy between Wallace and bassist Flabba Holt-- two legends of Jamaican popular music. According to Stafford, the ska influence comes from Wallace’s teacher Lloyd Knibbs, famed Skatalites drummer.

Giddeon" is a dancehall track; up-tempo and groovy, said Harrison. The mood is very serious and the message is about confronting one’s faults in a moment of judgment and payback for the wrongs one has done in life. It is also talking about world leaders bringing about division, chaos and devastation and how they will reap what they sow on this road of life.
Jah Shine” is both an up-beat disco rocker and a Nyabinghi chant. For Stafford, it’s all about the bridge: "Jah shine like the rainbow!" Lyrically the song addresses the corruption and hypocrisy within world religion and organized religions as a whole.
Morality” is delivered against a rockers back-beat. The song has a simple yet strong message, that good teachings, love and blessings will come back to rule the hearts of humanity if we adhere to a moral code.
“Young Dread” is ‘a roots reggae track “livicated” to activist Mario Savio. “He was one of the main reasons I wanted to attend Sonoma State University, as he was on the faculty there,” said Stafford. “However, sadly, Mario died suddenly of a heart attack the first semester of my freshmen year at SSU. I was able to say hello to him on a couple of occasions and that was a blessing for me. Mario Savio was one of the first leaders of the free speech movement in California and had a great following and several moving public speeches at UC Berkeley, just 40 minutes away from where I grew up. I have been a fan of his for many years and I had been moved by his ‘Operation of the Machine’ speech on the steps of Sroul Hall on Dec 2, 1964. The intro to ‘Young Dread.” a song about the future of the next generation and how we need our voices to 'roar like a lion,' was the perfect opportunity to use this quote from Mario Savio.”

California,” according to Stafford, is a ska-country tune. “I was hearing that Grateful Dead sound in this track, a real Californian sound,” said the raspy-voiced musician. “I love California; it's my home and my birthplace. There are lots of great works and music still to come out of this beautiful state.”
“Balance” is a reggae song pure and true; In Studio One style, said Harrison. This song is about good over evil and putting out that message of unity and love for all people.

One Dance” Track Listings:
  1. Jah Shine 2. Hush 3. Morality 4. One Dance 5.The Music 6.Young Dread 7. California 8. Giddeon 9. Balance 10. Dub Shine 11. One Dub 12. Dubbeon
About Harrison “Professor” Stafford
Harrison Stafford, perhaps best known as Groundation’s lyricist and front-man, is taking reggae music back to its roots. With 10 studio albums and countless world tours, Harrison is a veteran of the concert scene, having shared the stage with artists such as Ziggy Marley, Sting, Snoop Dogg, The Roots and Burning Spear on world stages such as Outside Lands Music Festival and the California Roots Music Festival. Harrison was dubbed "Professor" as many elder Jamaicans came to know him from his “History of Reggae Music” course he developed and taught at Sonoma State University (1999-2001). Harrison's first solo release under the name "Professor" began in 2011 with the release of the album "Madness" after his pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine. The album stands as a testament to the power of reggae music in the struggle for equal rights and justice. Harrison is currently touring to bring the history and the culture to the masses by way of his solo work under Harrison Stafford & the Professor Crew. From 2000-2012 Harrison produced a documentary film on the history of the Rastafarian movement and Reggae music; entitled “Holding on to Jah”. The film features exclusive interviews with the who’s who of Reggae legends including The Congos, The Abyssinians, Ras Michael, Rocky Bailey, Brother Samuel Clayton, Pablo Moses, Israel Vibration, I Jahman Levi, Countryman, and Winston McAnuff among many others. “Holding on to Jah” was a collaboration with his long time childhood friend, director Roger Hall, and the film was recently released on DVD and online streaming November 10, 2015.
Visit Harrison Professor Stafford on his website: www.harrisonstafford.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Harrison-Stafford-45787388731/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarrisonReggae
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harrisonstaffordmusic/
On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/reggaeprofessor
MEDIA CONTACTS: Susan Underwood-  ads@island-stage.com

Saturday, April 30, 2016

5th Annual Island Reggae Festival


July 9, 2016
5th Annual Island Reggae Festival
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
344 Tully Road, San Jose, CA 95111
Festival hours: 10am-11pm
General Admission: $60 (ticket price increase to $70 on 6/1)
VIP: $150  (ticket price increase to $160 on 6/1)
VIP includes: exclusive front row seating, VIP tent, 2 free drinks, 1 free meal
Day of show ticket price, General Admission: $80
Kids 5 and under free
Artists:   Common Kings, Collie Buddz, Fiji, Anuhea, Sammy J, Tenelle, Jordan T, Makisi, Mango Kingz, more artists to be announced

The 4th Annual Island Reggae Festival Returns to San Jose for 2016
Event celebrates Pacific Islander Culture, Music and Arts

San Jose, California, April 26, 2016  -  Rudebwoy Entertainment presents the 5th annual Island Reggae Festival held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road in San Jose, California.  The event offerings in 2016  include activities on three stages with live music on the Main stage, the Oasis stage will host a DJ sound clash and the third stage will feature the Polynesian Dance Showcase.  The event also features carnival rides for children, the USO Car Club Showcase, a Rugby tournament for both adults and children and a Tattoo Showcase.   The gates open at 10 am and the event concludes at 11pm.  

Artists on the lineup for Island Reggae Festival consistently include some of the Pacific Islands’ greatest talents and those that have been embraced by the culture. In 2016 the lineup includes the Common Kings who will perform the closing set at Island Reggae Festival 2016.  A band with cultural roots in the South Pacific and based currently in Costa Mesa, California, they tour the world and rule the airwaves with their high energy island style reggae flavored by R&B style vocals and polished production.  Representing the island nation of Bermuda on the Atlantic side of the globe is the artist Collie Buddz  who gained popularity after exploding on the scene in 2007 with his chart topping-“Come Around”, he continues to tour extensively with his unique brand of reggae influenced by hip-hop.    Returning to the Island Reggae Fest 2016 stage is the legendary Fiji whose stage name reflects his cultural background and whose golden voice has made him a pioneer of the Pacific Island sound and its most well-known artist and pave the way for the careers of many others whom he has personally mentored throughout the years.  

Female singer-songwriter Anuhea returns to the festival in 2016, born and raised on Maui in Hawaii, although she is of Caucasian descent she has ruled the live music scene and radio waves for the past several years with her own brand of pop influenced hits sung over reggae rhythms. Sammy J from New Zealand returns to Island Reggae Festival 2016 with his sweet vocals influenced by R&B and reggae.  

Pacific Island reggae music receives a great deal of attention both at traditional broadcast radio and online as those that have moved from their birthplace or those that represent the next generation maintain a strong cultural connection through music.  Some of the most well-loved artists in the genre today will be at Island Reggae Festival including  TenelleJordan TMakisi and Mango Kingz
After presenting the festival for the first 3 years at Great America, in 2015 the organizers began hosting the event at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds a venue that allows for expanded space for an all-ages event that the entire family can enjoy and one that provides an appropriate concert setting to attract music lovers from varied backgrounds.  As event organizer Danny Perez notes, “In 2015 what stood out were the various ethnicities that were in attendance.  We are predominantly a Pacific Island crowd and to see to our demographic expand to include many different groups is great.  I’ve envisioned the Island Reggae Festival as an event that we as Polynesians can call our own but also as an avenue to expose our island culture and music to others.”   

A family-friendly event, this year there will be free carnival rides and games for ages 13 and under.  The event will feature over thirty merchandise and food vendors with Polynesian food as well as some of the best in festival food favorites. 

Returning in 2016 is the Youth Rugby 7’s Tournament.  Rugby is a popular sport in the South Pacific Islands.  This year in addition to the adult Rugby 7 teams coming from Hawaii, Utah, Sacramento and the Bay Area, teams will come from Southern California and Arizona and  the tournament will invite youths from the ages 8 to 14 known as U8-U14 to participate.  The tournament will take place from 8am to 3pm and the winners of each age group will be announced on the main stage and receive a hand-crafted Island Reggae Festival plaque inscribed with their team name. 

The USO Car Club will host the USO Car Club Showcase.  For the past 10 years this group has been led by CEO Kita Leao.  Mr. Leao is of Samoan descent and has instilled elements of the Samoan culture with his car club members.  The meaning of the word USO is “brother” in the Samoan language and this is the shared sentiment between all of the car club members.  Cars will be showcased  as a reminder to the Polynesian youth that hard work and dedication can result in a car that is ready to be presented in a showcase.  The Car Club Showcase is  an opportunity to spotlight the lifestyle and interests of Polynesians in the United States.  

The Polynesian dance showcase and competition will present dance groups and styles from various islands in the South Pacific including Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji and New Zealand.  Groups will come from  Southern California, the Central Valley and Northern California as well as local groups from within the Bay Area.  Dance groups will be presented with a hand-crafted Island Reggae Festival 2016 plaque and with the opportunity to dance on the festival's main stage for the group with the winning dance performance.  

The Tattoo Showcase will  be featuring some of the most popular Polynesian Tattoo artists who will be tattooing live at the festival and giving tutorials on traditional Polynesian tattoo patterns and what their symbols and origins derive from.  

The 4th Annual Island Reggae Festival will also include a Diabetes Awareness initiative and the Red Cross will be on hand as part of a blood drive.  As to how these community-health oriented aspects of the festival come into play Danny Perez explains, “This festival is a platform we created to celebrate our Pacific Islander culture through music and dance.  We are also bringing awareness as to the diabetes epidemic our people face.”

Tickets are available on line through the Island Reggae Festival website islandreggaefest.com or at 24 regional ticket outlets in the Peninsula Area, San Francisco, North, East and South Bay, Sacramento, Stockton and Monterey areas.   

Contact:  Justine Ketola (323)251-0542 amadoriartists@gmail.com
Attachments area