News

Consciouslee Interviews…Toyin Adekale – Part 2

June 19, 2020

This week, we learn about the highs and lows of being signed to a major record label….enjoy!!

 

I’m thinking of you, a young lady/girl, amongst all these men – how did you hold your own?

 

“With great difficulty!  Back in the day, most of us females were managed by men and produced by men. Sad but true, when in relationships with a boyfriend, when the relationship was over, so too is the career”.

Consciouslee Interviews…Toyin Adekale (What’s Behind That Door?) – Part 1!!

June 12, 2020

Toyin Adekale is an international star.  From the Lover’s Rock days to loving the Lord, her story is legendary.  I was beyond excited at the opportunity to interview her.  Such was the content of the interview that I decided to divide it into three parts.  Here is part one.

 

 

Consciouslee Interviews...Marvin Priest

June 5, 2020

So there I was listening to PD Coolie’s show (Venture fm) on Thursday and he said that someone had handed him a song that he thinks everyone would like to hear.

 

The song was called “I Tried” by Marvin Priest, son of international superstar Maxi Priest.  Like some I suspect, I was surprised.  Where had I been that I had not known  Marvin Priest was singing let alone releasing singles?  I thought his vocals were very good and I did some research on him that same weekend.

“Come to Me” – New Single from Michael Arkk!!

May 8, 2020

“Come to Me” is a song that will remind us all what reggae is all about – beautiful music! 

 

Once you hear that heavy bass line that invites you to dip and step in time to the music, you will feel an upbeat in your mood and heart.  Michael Arkk’s vocals are clear and sharp. Naturally gifted, he reaches the notes smoothly.  If one is not careful, his voice alone will send one’s imagination away over the Atlantic to where the sun shines and glistens on the sea. The listener will want to be sitting on the verandah with a nice cold Guinness punch or carrot juice!

NEW SINGLE RELEASE: Michael Gordon introduces us to the “Angel of Light”!

April 20, 2020

Anybody who really knows me, knows that I am sucker for someone who can really sing.  Throw in some harmonies and I am in heaven.

 

Recently, I have had the pleasure of working with several of the very talented next generation in reggae.  So when I hear the distinct and exceptional voice of the renowned Michael Gordon on his latest single, how could I not write my take on “Angel of Light”?  We are talking about a veteran in reggae here!

Back to basics in Brent

April 1, 2020

'No Bass Like Home', an expose looking at the Jamaican and reggae presence in the London borough of Brent, is scheduled to open there in October.  It is one of the priority projects for the Brent 2020 London Borough of Culture Committee, of which Zerritha Brown is a senior producer.

Delroy Washington could have been Britain’s equivalent of a Bob Marley

March 30, 2020

DELROY WASHINGTON, the reggae singer-songwriter, producer, and mentor born in Westmoreland, Jamaica in 1952 and resident of the north-west London borough of Brent died at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington on March 27.

 

The way of the world today means almost anyone reading this would have heard of his passing through social media. Indeed, when I first saw broadcaster Dotun Adebayo’s Twitter post announcing his death, I responded to him saying that although I was sure he had good sources, I needed to see some corroborative posts, before I’d believe that Delroy has transitioned.

UK reggae scene in mourning as popular artist 'dies from coronavirus'

March 30, 2020

A popular reggae roots artist has lost his life having caught the coronavirus, his friends and colleagues announced on social media.  London based Douglas Sparks, who went by the stage name of UK Principal, reportedly died of Covid-19 on Sunday morning.  The West Greenwich Secondary School alumnus had a large following in the British dub scene and performed with the Rebel Lion Sound System.  Friends and admirers took to social media to pay their respects to the musician.

 

Can Britain Regain Its Pre-eminence As Reggae Industry’s Number One Destination? Asks Kwaku

December 5, 2019

Today, we can talk about a global reggae music industry. However Britain's importance in promoting the music and as a conduit to the global music market, is very much diminished. But without Britain's contribution, particularly with the support of the African Caribbean migrants and music companies in Britain, historical musicologist Kwaku posits that reggae could well have remained another niche Caribbean music. 

Bob Marley's London home gets one of few blue plaques for black artists

October 1, 2019

Benjamin Zephaniah was a schoolboy when he sent a letter to Bob Marley along the lines of: “I’m a poet from Birmingham, nobody’s really listening to me in England, what do you think of my poems?”  Incredibly, the reggae star wrote back and told him: “Young man, Britain needs you. Keep doing what you do.”

Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer to receive Blue Plaque honour

September 27, 2019

A Blue Heritage Plaque honouring the musical achievements of  Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh is set to be unveiled outside the London studios where they recorded.  The plaque will be unveiled outside the former studios of Island Records at Basing Street in London on October 4 .

Misa West Wins UK's Britain's Got Reggae 2019

September, 2019

Misa West Wins UK's Britain's Got Reggae 2019 - Jamaican Ex Firefighter Reggae Recording Artiste Misa West Winner of UK’s Major Reggae Talent Contest “Britain’s Got Reggae 2019”.  Misa West a Jamaican firefighter for well over 15 years who is originated from the parish of St. Mary in Islington; where major talents such as Capleton and Munga Honorable are from recently migrated to the UK. Misa west is a member of the cr3records label where he released his debut album “It Nuh Fair” and many singles where he gained success on the iTunes top 100 charts worldwide.

“Beautifilled” – A new release from Randy Valentine – Review!

September 1, 2019

Hear the name Randy Valentine and it conjures up a singer who cannot quite be pigeonholed.  For those who have heard the heavy dub single “Wake The Town” or the soul stirring “Carry On” from his “Break The Chain” EP,  it would be easy to label Valentine a hard core reggae artist with a revolutionary edge.  However, Randy is not that easy to define; he will ‘flip the script’ and not only show a softer side with songs like “Poor Man’s Loving” and “Does She” but write lyrics that will blaze his message into one’s brain with the directness of an arrow, or soothe the troubled soul into meditation.  Complex, yet seemingly simple

 

Women In Music: Consciouslee interviews Rafeelya – Part 2

August 23, 2019

“Many people ask me about my musical influences. They ask me ‘Why reggae?’ and I think it is because of my influences.  I mean, you have people like Major Mackerel one of my favourite DJs of all time who told me that versatility is important you know? A different voice, a different style.  This is why I love Buju Banton so much. The way he ends his verses, the way he slides into a chorus. Those artists really influence me.  Another artist that influences me is Ghost.  Ghost made me realise that you do not have to sing in key to be a reggae artist, you just have to know the feeling and you have to use that feeling.  So many musical influences along my journey! I think that reggae is music with a message and for years and years – still to this day – I look at what I am putting out there and what I want people to hear and see.  I like clean music; I like something that my children can listen to without conflicting messages.  I know reggae music supplies that”.

Women in music: Consciouslee interviews Rafeelya – Part 1

August 16, 2019

“A hidden treasure” is the thought that ran through my head when I interviewed reggae singer Rafeelya.  Unassuming, laid back and humble, at first she appears to live a simplistic life with her family in South West England.  However, there is so much more than meets the eye with this reggae singer with a blues voice.  Read part one of a very interesting musical journey so far…

Consciouslee Interviews Aleighcia Scott!

July 26, 2019

My first sighting of Aleighcia Scott was at the Reggae Star Factor competition semi-final in 2015.  She presented herself as a young girl with a very powerful voice.  She went on to win second runner up. I doubt that anyone could have predicted just how much Aleighcia would ascend or – more importantly – what she was prepared to do to get there.

International Reggae Day, how it began

July 13, 2019

If International Reggae Day (IRD), or the stylised JulyOne, is new to you, here's a quick catch up, as this year marks IRD's Silver anniversary.

Gappy Ranks first interview after stroke.

July 13, 2019

Check out this Silver Star Sound interview with Gappy Ranks. His first interview since suffering from a stroke. The star talked music, spirituality, family and the strength he found from his loving fans across the world during his recovery.

Black Slate take Cornbury by Storm!

July 12, 2019

It is summer time, festival season; what could be better than going to a festival in Oxfordshire, watching and listening to international reggae band Black Slate? All of this happened last Saturday, 6thJuly in the picturesque and scenic town of Cornbury.

LIVE BANDS STILL ROCK! Reggae Regulars and Black Slate at The Jazz Cafe.

June 18, 2019

What a way to start the working week! Monday night at the Jazz Cafe, with two great and well-known reggae groups: Reggae Regulars and Black Slate.  Rumour had it that ticket sales had been poor. After being sufficiently warmed up by the very able Guvner General as DJ and compere for the night, Reggae Regulars started the proceedings. Having arrived early and secured my position in front of the stage, I glanced behind me to see that the venue was full!

Castro Brown dies of heart attack

May 13, 2019

Castro Brown, a respected figure in British reggae, died on Saturday in London from complications of a heart attack. He was 68 yearsold.  Brown suffered a heart attack at home four days earlier and was admitted to Croydon University Hospital in south London, his daughter Theresa Brown told the Jamaica Observer.

 

Born in Port Antonio, Portland, Brown was part of a close-knit Jamaican reggae community in the United Kingdom. He migrated there in 1961 and started his music career working with the influential Coxsone sound system, owned by fellow Jamaican, Lloyd “Lloydie Coxsone” Blackford.

UK reggae exhibition returns May 29

May 8, 2019

THE SEVENTH annual Rhythm of Life Reggae Exhibition 2019 will be held over five days from May 29 to June 2 in Tottenham, north London, at the Chestnuts Community Centre, 280 St Ann’s Road London N15 5BN.

 

First held in 2012, the annual exhibition celebrates reggae music in general and the enormous influence it has had on other musical genres in particular. Importantly, the exhibition will explore the very roots of reggae music and how it developed into the most popular musical genre.

Analogue Is Mad Professor

January, 2019

Prominent figure in the English Dub music scene for over forty years and founder of label and studio Ariwain 1979, Neil Fraser, aka Mad Professor, is one of the most notorious and prolific second generation dub music producers. Following the lead of dub pioneers and masters, the likes of King Tubby or Lee “Scratch” Perry, Mad Professor experiments with machines in his own transgressive way. His album "Dub Me Crazy", produced at the Ariwa studio in the ‘80s, has contributed a great deal to reggae’s transition into the electronic era. 

The 15th round of the DIT/@bpi_music Music Growth Scheme is open for submissions

January 8, 2019

Round 15 applications are now open and will close on 11.59 pm on 4th February - there will be two further rounds in 2019. The results will be announced in March 2019.

 

The Music Export Growth Scheme is designed to make available grants ranging from £5,000 - £50,000 to UK-registered independent music companies to assist them with marketing campaigns when looking to introduce successful UK music projects overseas.

Reggae music to be protected by UN after being declared global cultural treasure

November 29, 2018

UNESCO has declared reggae, the Jamaican music that spread across the world with its calls for social justice, peace and love, to be a global treasure that must be safeguarded.

Born in the poor neighbourhoods of Kingston in the 1960s, reggae reflected hard times and struggle but could also be joyous dance music with its distinctive off-beat.

How Pioneering U.K. Label Trojan Records Pushed Reggae Into the Mainstream

September 9, 2018

From the label's humble beginnings in a rundown London warehouse to its ascendance as a barrier-breaking cultural entity boasting over 15,000 titles in its catalog, Trojan Records has played an invaluable role in establishing reggae as an essential thread within the fabric of popular music. Founded in 1968 when the reggae genre was virtually unknown beyond its Jamaica birthplace, Trojan Records issued thousands of singles and albums from Jamaica and England's most successful reggae artists and producers, which were enthusiastically received by Caribbean immigrants living in England, as well as skinheads, punk rockers and eventually, the wider music loving population.

Count Prince Miller obituary

August 23, 2018

The singer and actor Count Prince Miller, who has died aged 84, made his name with a reggae version of the song Mule Train in the early 1970s and later as the character Vince in the long-running Channel 4 sitcom Desmond’s. Born in Jamaica but based in Britain, Miller was a stage performer rather than a recording artist before the release of Mule Train in 1971. A light-hearted cowboy tune previously covered by Frankie Lane and Bing Crosby, it had been a crowd-pleasing staple of his live act for many years, and was committed to vinyl only by accident.

Interview: How we made Musical Youth's Pass the Dutchie

August 20, 2018

Dennis Seaton, singer: 

We were all still schoolkids in Birmingham when the band was formed. Patrick and Freddie “Junior” Waite’s dad was a reggae musician and he taught us how to play. He also sang on our first two songs, Political and Generals, but when the tracks were played by DJ John Peel, music industry people said: “You can’t have an old geezer singing if you’re called Musical Youth.” So I became the lead singer, aged 11. The chap who signed us to MCA told us the company laughed at him for signing schoolboys.

International Reggae Day

July 7, 2018

International Reggae Day is an annual event held on 1st July, founded in Kingston, Jamaica and is dedicated to celebrating a style of music that entered into the world in a sleepy little country in the Caribbean and exploded to touch every corner of the world with its style. Originally born out of Ska and rocksteady style of music in the 1960’s, it quickly gained distinction with its unpolished sound and dependence on rhythm (https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/international-reggae-day/).

The Story Of Trojan Records

July 5, 2018

A key part of Trojan’s half centenary celebrations is ‘The Story of Trojan Records’, a super deluxe 290 page, 10” x 10” hardback coffee-table bookthat chronicles the label’s history, primarily through a wealth of compelling imagery and the words of those who have played major roles in its success since 1968.

 

Written by Trojan’s own Laurence Cane-Honeysett, the all-colour publication includes hundreds of photographs, record sleeves, adverts, labels and archive material, most of which either appears in print for the first time or has remained unseen for decades.

As Reggae Celebrates 50 Years, Some of the Genre's Pioneers Look Back on Its Worldwide Ascent

July 1, 2018

Shifting ethics, social upheavals and escalations in political and civil rights protests all contributed to the chaotic, landmark year that was 1968. The raging Vietnam War generated polarizing emotions and widespread demonstrations across the U.S. and throughout the world. On April 4 civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on the balcony of Memphis hotel where he was supporting that city’s striking African American sanitation workers. King’s murder prompted days of rioting in over 100 US cities with 40 reported deaths and more than 2,000 injuries. Robert F. Kennedy, a 1968 presidential candidate, broke the news of King’s demise to Indianapolis while on a campaign stop there; two months later Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles.

Ten to get International Reggae Day awards

July 1, 2018

Today is being abserved as International Reggae Day (IRD).

Founded 14 years ago by reggae music insider Andrea Davis. The event, which began as a 24-hour global media festival, was conceptualised to shine a light on the genre by encouraging media outlets across the globe to include reggae on the playlist on July 1.  Davis noted that the focus of this year's festival is the contribution of the Windrush Generation to the United Kingdom in spreading the popularity of the music from Jamaica to an international market.

Stingray to wow reggae fans

May 29, 2018

Back in 1994 when Carlton McLeod and his brother Raymond started Stingray Records in London, there was a lot of competition among reggae labels in the United Kingdom. A lot has changed since, with many of the companies that kept the music alive in that country either closing shop or seen better days.

Seani B Pays Tribute To Pioneer DJ Tony Williams

May 10, 2018

One of the great pioneers of reggae music and culture has sadly left us, but it is important that we never forget the incredible contribution he made to the scene for generations both past and present..

Blacker Dread: the record store owner who became Brixton's hero

March 4, 2018

He has recorded with the biggest reggae artists of the past 50 years, performed for Nelson Mandela on his state visit to Britain, and for more than two decades ran a record store in Brixton that became a social hub and safe house for London’s Afro-Caribbean community. Yet the judge who sent him to prison in 2014 dismissed his life as a “failure”.

Tributes paid to Leonard Ford, Ipswich reggae scene legend

February 21, 2018

Tributes have been paid to a man who helped to bring reggae music to Ipswich.

Leonard Ford came to England in 1959 and brought with him a love for records and reggae music.

Mr Ford took this love of music from Jamaica to Suffolk and more precisely Cutler Street Hall in Ipswich.

One of his sons, Henrall Ford, believes that his father was one of the first people to bring Jamaican music and more particularly the sound system - stacks of speakers traditionally set up on streets in Jamaica - to Ipswich.

 

Better late than never for reggae legends

January 16, 2018

Two South London reggae legends have at last received the Dub Innovator awards they were honoured with last summer, joining a third to be honoured on International Reggae Day (IRD).

Veteran sound system operator Jah Shaka last month broke the habit of a lifetime to interrupt a session at 6am to accept the IRD award. “Give thanks for the support of reggae music all over the years,” he told a capacity audience in North London, as he received the award from IRD UK and British Black Music Month co-ordinator Kwaku.

Interview: Don Letts

September 10, 2017

Grammy winner and BBC dj Don Letts is a living legend in reggae and many other circles besides. Having helped convert punk rockers like the Sex Pistols and The Clash to reggae in the 1970s, he then proceeded to make a big impact in the music and movie making worlds.

I Love Reggae starring Shaggy and Maxi Priest is coming to Birmingham and this is how to get tickets

July 26, 2017

A host of reggae stars are coming to Birmingham this Christmas for a special gig.  I Love Reggae will be at the Genting Arena at Birmingham NEC on December 16, starring Shaggy, Maxi Priest, Chaka Demus & Pliers and Mitchell Brunings.

 

Shaggy headlines the concert after recent appearances at Glastonbury and the Strawberries and Creem music festivals and his hits Boombastic, Oh Carolina and It Wasn’t Me.  Chaka Demus & Pliers are the duo known for this hits Tease Me and Murder She Wrote, while Maxi Priest, who performed at Birmingham's Simmer Down Festival in 2015, will no doubt be performing his songs Wild World and Close To You

Simmer Down reggae festival went down a treat

July 24, 2017

IT’S BILLED as one of the biggest free reggae festivals in the country – and Birmingham’s seventh Simmer Down Festival certainly lived up to its theme of peace, love and unity – a fitting tribute for the city’s famous reggae legacy.

 

Families basked in glorious sunshine in Handsworth Park, enjoying the feel-good vibe listening to headliners such as Jamaica’s Freddie McGregor and Macka B, the big man with an even bigger message in his lyrics

See Queen of Lovers Rock Paulette Tajah live on July 30

July 23, 2017

UK LOVERS Rock favourite and one of the Queens of Lovers Rock Paulette Tajah will be singing live at this year's I Love Jamaica Day on Sunday July 30.

The vocalist will be performing classic hits as well as new material, sharing the stage with the likes of Grammy-nominated roots heavyweight Luciano as well as London-based acts Christopher Ellis, Adelaide Mackenzie, Sonz of Thunder and more.

RFUK Attends YolanDa Brown's Listening Party

July 15, 2017

On 13th June 2017, RFUK was invited to YolanDa Brown's listening party.  We were represented by our very own Audrey Scott who gladly gave us her review of the evening.

 

YolanDa Brown chose Melomania Cambridge Audio - which is an audio testing office – as the venue for her listening party.  A modern looking place, intimate, with cushions laid out on benches. People chatted before the event started. A very friendly atmosphere. Like a front room filled with friends.

Review: International Reggae Day honours Sir Lloyd Coxsone

July 3, 2017

FOR THE first time, London officially joined the International Reggae Day (IRD) July 1 initiative last weekend.

 

The occasion was marked in the capital with a film and discussion on Britain’s sound system history, a presentation on copyright and its role in the development of Jamaican music, a quiz, and highlights from a documentary that claims the London borough of Brent as the centre of Britain’s reggae history.

Platinum Cartel Becomes First ‘UK Rumble’ Champion

June, 2017

Known as a hotbed for sound clash, the UK erupted into an unforgettable battle of some of the country’s most feared sounds, including Natural Affair, XTAC 4×4, Classique, Immortal, Little Sample and Platinum Cartel at the “UK Rumble” on Saturday, June 17 in Leicester, UK. Upon musically annihilating all competition, Platinum Cartel became the winner of the first ever “UK Rumble” just before sunrise. The magical night unfolded before a sold-out audience, enabling the intriguing, competitive and musically charged Jamaican art form of sound clash to take center stage.

 

Reggae Britannia Presents Ras Charmer & Brand New Video Feeling Great!

June 17, 2017

UK Artists of Jamaican background is taking the UK by storm. Signed to VP Records, Ras Charmer with his Fyah Lyrics is heading to No.1 with this Reggae Hit.

The Art of Reggae Exhibition in Liverpool

May 12, 2017

This year sees the return of The Art of Reggae Exhibition to Liverpool – a successful collaboration between Positive Vibration and the International Reggae Poster Contest. The exhibition, which supports the Alpha Boys’ School in Jamaica, will showcase 100 reggae-inspired posters, designed by illustrators & artists from all over the world. You’ll also be able to bid on the posters.
The launch of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday 7th June at Constellations from 7pm-11pm. 

Shabba Ranks, Maxi Priest, Barrington Levy and Mr. Vegas, head for London's Wembley Arena, July 1!

April 11, 2017

Shabba Ranks and his reggae friends to roll back the years at Wembley Arena

The dancehall legend and original ‘Mr Loverman’ tops the star-studded bill on Sunday 1 July

 

He was at the forefront of a movement that brought Jamaican Dancehall to a mainstream audience in the late 1990’s, and now the original ‘Mr Loverman’ Shabba Ranks is back on the big stage.

Sunday 1 July, Shabba and an impressive collection of reggae legends including Barrington Levy, Mr Vegas and the UK’s most successful reggae artist, Maxi Priest, perform at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

Empress gets Straight to the Point

April 4, 2017

Three years after its release, Straight To The Point, roots singer Empress Ayeola’s second album, has a new lease on life in Jamaica.  Produced by Carlton O’Gilvie, she said Straight To The Point is late getting off the ground because of "some little hiccups".

 

"We actually released it in London and other territories, but it’s been late getting to Jamaica. So I’m here promoting the album, even though I am getting ready to start releasing singles from the next album," Empress Ayeola explained.

Positive Vibrations for Russia

April 3, 2017

Positive Vibrations, a poster submitted by visual artiste Julia Egorova from Russia, is this year’s winner of the fifth International Reggae Poster Contest (IRPC). Her prize includes a trip to Jamaica.  Egorova emerged on top from a field of 1,270 entries submitted by 748 artists from 75 countries. Cortney Benvenuto from the United States of America with his entry Lion was second and the third spot went to Simona Galizia from Italy for Music For Peace.

 

The first exhibition for 2017 is scheduled to take place at Liverpool’s Award-Winning Reggae Festival, Positive Vibrations. This exhibition will showcase all the 100 posters from the 2016 collection.

 

Video Premiere: Resonators’ Papa Daddio

March 24, 2017

Resonators have carved their own niche in the UK dub scene, their third album Imaginary People cementing their reputation as ‘truly original’ (David Rodigan on that quote!) players.

Groovement is very happy to present the video premiere of the bittersweet Papa Daddio, out digitally on 24 March from the seminal Wah Wah 45s. You can buy the album on wax from the band’s Bandcamp

Christopher Ellis seeks Jamaica's approval - Determined to be more than 'Alton's son'

February 4, 2017

Christopher Ellis, son of the late rocksteady great Alton Ellis, was born and raised in London, England. He has already made the rounds as a singer, taking to stages in Europe and doing sold-out shows in Japan.

 

Now Christopher has his sights set on Jamaica to create his own legacy. "My father got approval from the people, and for me, personally, that's one of my goals," Christopher told The Gleaner. "I'm in Jamaica now because it's really important to me to be recognised by the Jamaican people. It means something to me so much, I'm always here trying," he said.

Forgotten greats: Toyin Adekale, an in depth interview with one of UK’s greats.

January 29, 2017

When I was a youngster it was fair to say we grew up listening to only great singers and artist.  The music scene has a lot more fluff around these days.  There was hardly any back in the day.  You had to be amazing to make it, plane and simple.  Certain songs never die and if you are around my generation loving Reggae and lovers rock you would know anthems like Four Leaf Clover, Lets make love and here I go again.  All delivered with voice that could melt the north pole and stir a nation into battle at the same time.  All delivered by the one and only Toyin Adekale.

Reggae, reformation and revival - Black Slate will play at East Coast Vibes.

January 19, 2017

When British reggae band Black Slate came to New Zealand for the first and only time more than three decades ago, they had no idea of their fame.  Dissolving shortly after their 1981 New Zealand tour, the band has reunited to play their second-ever New Zealand show, headlining Gisborne festival East Coast Vibes.

 

“We didn’t really understand the magnitude of how famous we were in New Zealand at that time,” says band leader and founding member Anthony Brightly, speaking on the phone from his home in the Caribbean Island of Antigua.

Should Musicians Bother with LinkedIn?

December 21, 2016

Many musicians discount LinkedIn as a useful social media network, because they think it’s for people in the corporate world. Instead, they concentrate on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube (which isn’t exactly the most fair to musicians).  But there are actually thousands of people in the music industry on LinkedIn, and musicians have a lot to gain from signing up.

One Love Festival announces new home at Colebrook Lakes, in Kent

December 20, 2016

The UK's only annual reggae camping festival, One Love celebrate their 10th anniversary next year, and will be celebrating this milestone with a move to yet another location at Colebrook Lakes, in Kent.

 

Dan Wiltshire Festival Director said, "We had a fantastic and happy 2016 Festival and I could not be more proud of the way we and our customers conducted ourselves. The event went without incident, no crime, no public disturbances, and not one noise complaint – we were left with the impression that a repeat booking was not going to be an issue especially with a consecutive year booking clause in contract – but to our utter dismay 3.5months later out of the blue we have been informed by The Parks they have taken a particular dislike to Camping which they didn’t feel was suitable for a Public Park. As we feel this is fundamental part of our relaxed vibe and community is not something we would compromise on.

Bass Culture Research into impact of Jamaican music on British culture launched at Regent Street Cinema

October 4, 2016

The University of Westminster’s Bass Culture research project, which will explore the history of Jamaican music’s contribution to the culture and heritage of Britain, has been launched at the University’s Regent Street Cinema on 29 September, with Linton Kwesi Johnson, Dennis Bovell and Daniel Rachel among the speakers who praised the project.

 

Lead researcher Mykaell Riley opened the night giving a speech about the importance of Jamaican music and the influence it had on British music and culture, which has never been recognised in such an extensive research study before. The University secured one of the biggest research awards of £533,033 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the work will be conducted in partnership with the British Library, British Library Sound Archive and Black Cultural Archives.

Reggae's Royal Return

August 3, 2016

A LIVE show from Julian ‘Ju Ju Royal’ Marley is something special. Currently on an extensive tour, the schedule he has undertaken across the globe has helped him master his craft and contributed to him becoming a seasoned performer.  Surprisingly though, the son of reggae legend Bob Marley has never embarked on a UK tour.  “Everything happens at the right time”, says Julian, who was born in London in 1975.  “I have played in the UK before but not as a full tour, so I’m excited to play for the people, and want them to come out and hear what we have been doing around the world.”

 

As a child, Julian frequently visited the Marley family home in Jamaica, and in his teens, he moved to Jamaica and began working with a host of the island’s renowned musicians, including, Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and Earl ‘Wire’ Lindo.  Still, with his formative years spent in the UK, Julian’s affinity to Britain is clear. “It is one of my homelands because I was born there,” says the singer and musician, who was raised by his Bajan mother, Lucy Pounder. “So the UK is part of my roots, along with Jamaica and Barbados.”

Reggae festival to bring sounds of the Caribbean to Redbridge

July 26, 2016

One Love Festival will hit Hainault Forest Country Park again this September for its ninth weekend of reggae music, world food and its famous Battle of the Dubplates sound clash.

 

The festival started in 2008 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of reggae legend Bob Marley’s concert of the same name amidst civil war in Kingston, Jamaica.  After two successful festivals in Hainault in 2010 and 2011, One Love has secured a permanent premises license for pocket of Epping Forest in Romford Road near Chigwell. 

British MC Tenor Fly Has Passed Away

June 19, 2016

British MC Tenor Fly, born Jonathan Sutter, passed away on Friday, June 17. Details surrounding his death have not yet been made public but tributes began pouring in from collaborators, artists, and fans on Friday evening.

 

The Freestylers, who featured Tenor Fly on their 1998 debut album We Rock Hard, were among the first to share the news on Facebook with a statement: “there’s not much we can write right now as we’re absolutely devastated by the great loss of our long term friend and sparring partner the legendary ‪#‎TenorFly‬. His music touched so many people around the world and it knew no boundaries. He was a Pioneer,a Showman and true Gentleman. It was a pleasure making music,touring and generally having fun with you. Your legacy will live on forever.” 

15 places in London with a Bob Marley connection

May 11, 2016

It’s now 35 years since the world lost Robert Nesta Marley, better known of course as Bob Marley, the legendary musician who succumbed to cancer aged just 36 on May 11 1981. During his life, Bob spent so much time in London that it effectively became his second home. Here are some of the locations associated with Jamaica’s most famous son.

 

Bob Marley was first invited to London in 1972 by Johnny Nash; the US singer behind ‘I Can See Clearly Now’. Bob and the Wailers were already big in Jamaica and Johnny hoped to secure them a wider audience by cutting a deal with CBS records. On arrival, Bob’s first digs were at Flat 34 Ridgmount Gardens – a quiet backwater tucked between Gower Street and Tottenham Court Road. A plaque commemorating his stay was unveiled in 2006.

British reggae royalty Misty in Roots coming to Southend with support from the Goldmaster Allstars and Pama International

May 4, 2016

SOUTHEND'S reggae crowd are in for a massive treat next Saturday, when Misty in Roots comes to Chinnerys.  It's the first time this band will have played in the area for 25 years.  Supporting them, are Pama International and local ska and reggae favourite’s, the Goldmaster Allstars.

 

Misty in Roots formed in the Seventies, championing many causes within that period of political unrest, namely the Rock Against Racism campaign, which came out of the fight-back from the punk and reggae community who had united.

10 tips on proper eMail etiquette for bands

April, 2016

A couple of blog posts ago I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to get yourself a ‘proper’ email address (so it’s @[BANDNAME].com rather than @gmail.com) and as my colleague was proof reading the post I rather excitedly exclaimed; “Oh! I could do one about email etiquette next!”  “Christ – that sounds dry.”  Yes, yes indeed.  The fact of the matter is the people who you’re getting in touch with will receive a buggerload of emails every day, more than they can probably reply to, so therefore a good few will be left behind. It’s therefore in your interest to make your email as lovely and reply-able as possible so it doesn’t get instantly deleted or printed out and then set on fire if the recipient is having a particularly bad day.

 

Follow these few simple rules and you’ll be several steps ahead over some of the utter dross that graces my inbox on a daily basis. I’ll write this post as how I personally like to be emailed, but it should be relevant for most industry types.

Student bands: how to secure a spot on a festival line-up

April 19, 2016

“Music festivals give new bands the chance to gain experience of performing on major stages with major acts,” says Jason Carter, head of BBC Introducing, which supports under-the-radar talent.  Spots at big festivals are one of the main things up-and-coming bands want, says Carter – and it’s easy to see why.

 

The benefits of appearing at a large festival are many: exposure to a new audience, the bragging rights of opening for household names, and the chance to network with industry bods are just a few of them.  For student bands still playing around their university town or at the local student union, a gig at a Glastonbury, T in the Park or Download might seem an unachievable goal. Yet many young up-and-coming bands grace festival stages every year. So how should you go about joining them?

"First lady" of UK Reggae DJ Bionic, laid to rest in Wandsworth

April 13, 2016

The 'iconic first lady' of UK reggae has been laid to rest at a funeral attended by more than 2,000 people.  Rhona Ann-Marie Smith-Baker, more commonly known as DJ Bionic, headed up was the first lady of the first all-female UK reggae group, Bionic Posse, and hit the scene in the early 1980s.

 

She was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 and moved to Wandsworth in 1970 where she was based with her family, music and charity work for the next few decades.  She lived in Battersea and then Roehampton. 

Reggae 'riddims' coming to Bruton as Dappa Don and the Playaz drop by

April 6, 2016

BRUTON will be boogie-ing to the sound of "reggae riddims" this month as a Somerset seven-piece band comes to town.  Dappa Don and the Playaz have been playing reggae music together for 10 years since they formed in Bristol back in 2006.  Now they will be turning the Bruton Club into a dub club from 8pm on Saturday, April 16.

A Decade of Reggae Celebration

April 2, 2016

Hundreds of fans gather to show appreciation to the DJ behind one of Birmingham’s top music events. THEY CAME from cities across Britain. And some of the audience even left their retirement villages to dance the night away with hundreds of other fans at Legends of Legends, an annual reggae music concert event. Fans took to the floor to celebrate a decade of shining the spotlight on the music.

 

Scores of British reggae artists have one man to thank for keeping their music alive – and that’s Trevor McIntosh, the man behind the event who refused to let the lovers rock sound fade into the background.

Birmingham's Drum Arts Centre entering 'wind-down phase'

April 1, 2016

NEWS THAT The Drum, the UK’s premier black-led arts centre, is to close within two months has been greeted with outrage by Birmingham community leaders who have already launched their own campaign to keep it open.

 

Speculation about The Drum’s future ended last night (Mar 31) at a trustees’ meeting after which its chair Sharon Palmer, MBE, confirmed the centre was “entering a wind-down phase.” 

Ras Demo: Bringing the fire

March 28, 2016

IT’S FAIR to say north London reggae singing sensation Ras Demo has always had the X Factor.

However, due to the red tape countless British artists battle, he has never truly received his rightful accolade on British soil.

 

Jumping ship in 1992 leaving his hometown for recognition, the self-taught reggae crooner has grown from strength to strength developing a large fan base in America, Canada and Jamaica. Known for his distinct, sweet, melodic vocals; super-fast, lyrical motor mouth; irresistible smile and charm along with his contemporary fashion forward swag, Ras Demo has finally arrived.

Dennis Brown – The Testimony: OneOnOne with Marla Brown

March 3, 2016

Reggae artiste Marla Brown is the youngest child and daughter of the late Crown Prince of Reggae and his widow Yvonne Brown. A trained dancer in ballet, urban and Contemporary styles, Marla has performed extensively around Europe for over 14 years.

 

A past Ambassador for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, a semi-finalist in the Hit TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” and noted dancer for the sporting Giant Adidas, she is well known among the entertainment scene in the UK.

Macka B @ The Globe, Cardiff

February 28, 2016

“MACKA B is always about social commentary,” states the veteran British reggae DJ as he launches into ‘Sex Machine’ and gets the crowd to chant its chorus, “She’s more than a sex machine/The woman is a human being”.

 

It’s just one more song from a vault of danceheall favourites that typify the Wolverhampton native’s approach, honed over more than 30 years as a solo recording artist, of delivering positive messages to vibrant reggae rhythms.  Previously Macka was a DJ, or toaster, on sound systems in the West Midlands and he can sometimes sound detached from the music on his recorded work; as if he has no greater relationship with the music than a DJ on a sound.

Aswad: 40 years and counting

February 27, 2016

FOR ANYONE who struggles to believe that Aswad has been in the business for 40 years, you’re not alone – they can’t believe it either.  “It doesn’t even feel like 20 years,” laughs band member Drummie Zeb, who was taking care of the group’s interviews that day.  But indeed, it was in 1976 that the British reggae band released their ground-breaking self-titled debut album, unleashing their unique brand of politically-charged roots reggae to the world. Featuring songs including Concrete Slaveship and Back To Africa, the band’s debut offering is considered by many to be one of reggae’s most classic albums.

 

Formed in west London in 1975, the band’s original members were Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye (drummer/vocalist); Brisnley ‘Chaka B’ Forde (guitarist/vocalist); Donald ‘Dee’ Griffiths (lead guitarist/vocalist); George ‘Ras’ Oban (bass) and Courtney ‘Khaki’ Hemmings (keyboard).

How ‘80s soundsystem culture gave birth to Bristol’s thriving musical underground

February 12, 2016

Jabulani Ngozi of the Black Roots and author Richard King reflect on how a radical spirit of resistance in the 1980s shaped the city’s unique music culture.

 

“When we started in 1979, we were all young kids, just leave school, lack of opportunities to get ahead in the industrial world, work and all that – unemployed,” explains Jabulani Ngozi, a founding member of the influential Bristol reggae band Black Roots. “We were just hanging around, and there was nothing much to do. And a couple of us decide, say ‘Well, mercy, we try do something for ourselves.’”

 

Bristol’s underground scene has long been instrumental in driving British music forward, from reggae and dub to late ‘70s post-punk, through to the import of hip hop and development of trip hop in the ‘90s, on to jungle, drum & bass, dubstep and today’s thriving bass music scene.

Reggae Reggae Sauce creator Levi Roots keynote speaker at Cornwall Business Awards

February 3, 2016

The man who gave the world the famous Reggae Reggae Sauce has been announced as keynote speaker at this year's Cornwall Business Awards 2016.  Levi Roots shot to fame on the BBC TV series, Dragon's Den, using his unique Reggae Reggae Sauce song to charm the normally hard-nosed 'dragons'.

 

Peter Jones and Richard Farley were persuaded to invest in his business, and the Reggae Reggae brand quickly became a national sensation.

As well as marketing his wide range of food products, Levi has written a series of cookery books and a top-selling business book, and recently opened his very own Caribbean restaurant.

Review: Tasonia in concert

February 1, 2016

The event took place on Thursday 21st January 2016 at The Hootananny in Brixton, London (England) and went down a storm, despite getting off to a late start. The crowd were also tardy but this wasn’t worrying because, truth to be told, the typical crowd that attends a reggae/dancehall event won’t roll out until several hours after the doors open and often, quite some time after show time is slated to begin.

 

Still they rocked and came in eventually, to the music played by the Jah Revelation, Pecking Syndicate and Poison Ribz sound systems. Skanking and bubbling ensued. When the music is sweet at the dance or stage-show, I’ve always found that there’s always that one person flinging foot and/or bending up and gyrating in some serious style and pattern! He, in this case, was present and accounted for; yeah, there certainly was a vibe.

The London-based reggae band The Skints, makes its way to the Billboard Chart

January 22, 2016

LONDON-BASED reggae band The Skints re-enter the Billboard Reggae album chart at number 10 with their most recent album FM.  Released by Easy Star Records in 2015, the album initially opened and peaked at number five. In the UK, the album debuted at number seven on the Independent album chart.

 

The four-member outfit mixes reggae with ska, dub, punk, rock, dancehall, soul, grime and hip-hop. Its members are Jamie Kyriakides (vocals, drums), Joshua Waters Rudge (vocals, guitar), Jonathan Doyle (bass) and Marcia Richards (vocals, keyboards).

Lov'Ella launches 'Loving You Baby'

January 14, 2016

Standout London-based reggae artiste Lov'Ella celebrated her birthday last week with the release of a hot music video for her latest single, Loving You Baby.

 

The singer, whose given name is Lovella Ellis, was born in the United Kingdom (UK) and has strong roots in Jamaica. Daughter of legendary rocksteady icon Alton Ellis, she is one of his musically gifted offspring who is doing well and carrying on his legacy.

The reggae side of David Bowie

January 12, 2016

FEW ‘artistes’ in pop music were as transformational as David Bowie. The British singer/songwriter, who died at age 69 Sunday in New York, experimented with various genres in a 50-year career.

 

For his 1984 album, Bowie tried a bit of reggae on the title song Don’t Look Down

Grammy Foundation on board with plans to establish Reggae Hall of Fame

January 03, 2016

In light of several articles being published in The Sunday Gleaner in recent times regarding the issue of establishing a Reggae Hall of Fame in Jamaica, another industry insider has come forward to voice concern over the snail's pace at which the country is moving in developing the idea.

 

Elliot Leib of the Trade Roots Reggae Collections (TRRC) told The Sunday Gleaner that he has been associated with the Jamaica Music Museum for more than a decade and has been following the country's efforts in establishing a national museum to preserve Jamaica's musical legacy.

Joss Stone, racism and reggae

January 01, 2016

The recent Billboard announcement of Joss Stone as top reggae artiste for 2015 brought out the worst in Jamaicans. We are a black nation; blacks run things yet blacks underachieve, despite 95 per cent enrolled in school, lots of opportunity via HEART, community college and the high school diploma equivalency. Many fail, but still feel entitled.

 

The local media screams ‘outrage’ at Joss. She is the youngest person to sell more in 2015 than seven top Jamaican artistes combined. If you can’t beat her, cuss her. So, did colour help her? We know “white artistes are routinely outselling black artistes in virtually every genre”, yet there are more black people than white globally, so why don’t they buy black music? Is this Joss’s problem? They say, “Billboard only counts sales”; Duuuh, this is business, stupid! You think Sean Paul puts up with a hectic global schedule for his health?

"The United Kingdom no longer has a vibrant reggae market" says one of its leading promoters!

December 22, 2015

 According to Pauline Stephenson, a Jamaican publicist who lives in London, that slump continued in 2015.

 

Stephenson is principal of Magnetic Energy Promotions which helped organize the One Love Festival and shows by singer Lukie D in the UK this year.

How Joss Stone earned the No.1 Year-End Reggae Album of 2015

December 22, 2015

English soul singer/songwriter Joss Stone crowns Billboard's year-end Reggae Albums chart and Reggae Albums Artists chart thanks to the chart performance of her latest album -- and first reggae offering -- Water for Your Soul.

 

The year-end reggae charts are based solely on chart performance during the tracking year on the weekly Reggae Albums sales chart.

PRS for Music and SoundCloud reach a multi-territory licensing agreement ending legal proceedings

December 21, 2015

PRS for Music and SoundCloud announce that they have reached an agreement for a multi-territory licence to cover the service.

 

The licence covers the use of PRS for Music repertoire since SoundCloud’s launch and further supports SoundCloud in its plans to introduce subscription and advertising across Europe in 2016, meaning that creators can start to make money from their tracks.

Unreleased Lee 'Scratch' Perry recordings destroyed in fire

December 11, 2015

WHEN A fire destroyed the recording studio of reggae legend Lee 'Scratch' Perry last Thursday, the singer not only lost the building and musical equipment inside, he also lost unreleased tracks of which there are no backup copies.

 

Fire destroyed his "secret laboratory" studio in Switzerland. the dub legend's collection of studio equipment, art, stage costumes and music were among the items totally destroyed.

Vinyl sales may be rising, but have you seen who’s buying it?

December 7, 2015

So Tesco has started stocking vinyl. Let’s not get carried away just yet. It will be some months before we find Fela Kuti nestling next to the baps and tins of Libby’s. A quick perusal of the current list looks more like a stock-take at Oxfam: ELO, the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley and Elvis Presley. “Corporate opportunism,” says Chris Duckenfield of indie vinyl distributor All Ears. “As soon as they realise the floorspace-to-profit ratio is out of whack it’ll be back to stationery or BBQ accessories.”

Singer Maxi Priest among Jamaicans recognised by the Institute of Caribbean Studies!

November 22, 2015

Maxi Priest was one of three Jamaicans among the eight Caribbean Americans singled out by the Washington, DC based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) for top honors at its 22nd Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Friday, November 20, 2015 in Washington DC.

Macka B: 'Why the black community needs to give up chicken'

November 15, 2015

ANYONE WHO wanted to get a sense of Macka B’s musical ethos would do well to listen to his track, Big Thief.  Taken from his new album, Never Played A 45, the song sees him declare with his signature deep vocals: “Give back di tings that you take from Africa, give back di tings, we want back we tings.”

 

Over a pounding bassline, Macka B delivers a scathing attack on all the European “big teef and gangsters” who pillaged treasures from the Motherland throughout history. And as such, he reaffirms his place as one of the UK’s most revered representatives of conscious reggae music.

Steel Pulse to create 'black British experience' documentary

November 13, 2015

ICONIC UK reggae group Steel Pulse are hoping to bring their revolutionary message to a new generation with a documentary about the 'black British experience'.  Yesterday (Nov 12), the 80's duo launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise completion funds for their feature documentary, Dreadtown, due for release at the end of 2016.

 

Dreadtown is the first official documentary film to tell the story of how Steel Pulse, comprised of David Hinds and Selwyn Brown, took the black British experience to the world through their unique reggae sound. 

Bob Marley is fourth highest-earning dead celebrity

November 4, 2015

REGGAE LEGEND Bob Marley is again making headlines after he was listed among Forbes' richest dead celebrities once more.  The iconic reggae singer moved up one place from last year to take fourth place on the list, raking in a cool $21 million over the past year - one million more than he earned last year.

 

In addition to his music, much of the late singer's annual earnings came from the Marley Beverage company, producers of the drink Marley's Mellow Mood and House of Marley, makers of the eco-friendly audio and lifestyle products bearing the entertainer's name.

Linton Kwesi Johnson To Headline Globe Road Poetry Festival

November 4, 2015

Internationally renowned dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson headlines the inaugural Globe Road Poetry Festival, at Queen Mary University of London from 12-15 November.  The Jamaican-born writer/performer — the only black poet to be published by Penguin Modern Classics — is known for his works based on experiences of African-Caribbeans living in Britain.

 

Celebrating the diverse local and global poetic traditions of London's ever-changing East End, Globe Road Poetry Festival offers three days of live readings, music, debates, screenings, plus workshops on creative coding and artificial intelligence experiments with poetry 'bots'.

Supreme Court tells retailers they need permission to use Bob Marley's image

November 2, 2015

America’s highest court has indicated to some of the countries biggest clothing companies that they do not have the right to use sell shirts bearing the the image of Bob Marley.

 

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal from companies that included Wal-Mart and Target, that they did not have to obtain permission from the reggae star’s children to sell the items.

The X Factor 2015: Twitter really hated Max Stone's reggae version of Adele's Someone Like You

November 1, 2015

In case you missed X Factor, singer Max performed an Adele song and the internet freaked out.

But not necessarily because they thought it was any good…they just couldn’t understand why he was trying to ruin a perfectly good song. 

Macka B still plays the 45

October 26, 2015

ONE of the biggest thrills as a boy for deejay Macka B was going to record stores and buying the latest 45. For the youngsters, that's a vinyl single.  Now 50, the veteran British toaster recalls those days on Never Played A 45, his album and song of the same name.

 

Co-produced by Chris Peckings, the songs on the album are done to classic reggae beats. Never Played A 45 is driven by Toots and The Maytals' 54-46.  "Never Played A 45 is about the beauty of vinyl. It's become an anthem, and when it was released as a 7-inch 45 it sold out," Macka B told the Jamaica Observer.