Thursday, February 15, 2007

Take the reggae ride: Album a journey through reggae, roots and ska

By Lucas Peerman Pulse Editor

This CD will reinvent your idea of what you thought reggae and ska 'should' sound like by exposing you to the next evolution of creativity within the genre. All of these artists have taken ideas based on ska and reggae, and combined them with their own love of hip-hop, Latin, roots and rock music.

With the above statement, producer John-Michael Vasquez describes his latest project, "Reggaenomics 101," a compilation of 14 reggae-esque songs from artists from around the country.

Five artists featured on the album will perform at CD release parties today in El Paso, Friday in Las Cruces and Saturday in Albuquerque.

"This album is another way for these artists to spread their music. The CD release parties, really, were an excuse just for us to get together," said Vasquez, the saxophone player for local band Liquid Cheese, which will perform at the parties. Other bands performing here and in El Paso are Radio La Chusma (El Paso), Fighting Chance (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Over the Line (Las Vegas) and Warsaw Poland Bros. (Phoenix).

Liquid Cheese, a seven-member reggae/ska/Latin band with a complete horn section, has shared a stage with each of the bands featured on "Reggaenomics 101." From Shakedown (Sacramento, Calif.) to Soapbox Paradox (East Lansing, Mich.) to B.P.M. (Montgomery, Ala.), the album isn't only a tribute to great music, but an indication of how many miles Liquid Cheese has put on its traveling school bus.

Silence isn't an option on the bus as the sound system is always in use. Many times, the music coming through is from fellow reggae bands, which ultimately was the inspiration for "Reggaenomics 101."

"(The songs) are from the CDs that we listen to on the bus. These are the songs on our iPods," Vasquez said.

Some of the songs have a guitar-laden rock feel ("Love to Get Love" from Shakedown). Some go for an old-school Marley vibe ("Robin Hood" from B.P.M.). Others incorporate a DJ for a hip-hop sound ("La Junta" from La Junta). And one band even offers an acoustic organ solo ("Enjoy" from Over The Line).

Besides a focus on the upbeat (an element of reggae/ska), "what all these songs have in common is there's no genre to put them in," Vasquez said.

The album, which took about two years to produce, does feature six New Mexico bands, including Las Cruces band No Regrets and Danny Winn and the Earthlings from Albuquerque.
"Reggaenomics 101" will be available online at iTunes and other music-downloading services, as well as 2,400 stores around the country, Vasquez said.

Bands will also take copies of the album with them on tour to sell around the country. That way, every band on the CD will get their sound out to reggae fans across the country.

"We want to put the music into people's hands who might not have heard these bands otherwise," Vasquez said.

Lucas Peerman can be reached at

Reggae Rebellion

By Patrick S. Pemberton

Selwyn Brown, left, and David Hinds have been part of Steel Pulse from the beginning. The reggae veterans will perform at The Graduate in San Luis Obispo on Monday.
When The Police added reggae rhythms to songs like “I Can’t Stand Losing You” or “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” chances are they were fusing a little Steel Pulse into their music.
Back in the ’70s, The Police opened for Steel Pulse, a British reggae act that curiously found its initial audience among punk rock fans.

While Steel Pulse didn’t blend punk, rock and reggae as blatantly as The Police, they clearly related to the punks.

“A common factor was that we were both against what the system was about, politically and socially,” said David Hinds, lead singer of the band since its inception in 1975.
Steel Pulse has always fought the system, whether recording songs about injustice or suing a New York City cab service for discrimination. (The class action suit is still pending, Hinds says.)
“It’s nothing contrived or anything like that,” Hinds said. “We just see the world as it is and we just sort of point out what’s going wrong.”

When the band started out, it couldn’t land gigs in the Caribbean because of its Rastafarian beliefs, so it gravitated toward punkers, touring with acts like The Clash, Generation X and XTC.
Songs like “Ku Klux Klan,” “Not King James Version” and “Taxi Driver” (inspired by their lawsuit) typify the band’s politically-charged lyrics. To add impact to their songs, the band is known for wearing costumes — like Klan robes – during their shows.

The band’s most recent album, “African Holocaust,” featured roots reggae paired with lyrics about global warming, war and race.

Hinds spoke to The Tribune about punk, Klan robes and Bob Marley from a hotel in Kansas City, Mo.
Q: How did the audiences react to reggae when you did a punk show?
A: They reacted in a positive way. The positivity sort of backfired from time to time, where they sort of more than appreciated it. They started spitting and throwing beer on the stage, which is their way of saying, “Yeah, we totally approve of what you’re doing.”
Q: The Police obviously have a reggae influence. What do you think of their reggae sound?
A: I thought reggae needed more of a contemporary kind of groove to it. It was a bit too laid-back to move forward amongst the other music in the scheme of things. I think after a couple of hits from Bob Marley and certain bands that had pace in their music, like The Police, reggae started to realize that it had to step up the beat on the tracks. The Police is one of the bands that, to me, contributed a certain energy to reggae music. And I always appreciated the lyrical content of The Police.
Q: I read somewhere that back in the Island Records days, you were pressured to become more commercial. I think there’s even one story where you guys were asked to be more like Eddy Grant.
A: That was asked of us as well when we in the middle of recording the “Earth Crisis” album. But when the album got released, the company changed its tune for a while.
Q: What did they say?
A: During that period of time Eddy Grant was in New York, getting a lot of positive publicity and write-ups, so they were getting a bit nervous about Eddy coming back to town and making things happen. We were a different band with a different approach, and we had a different image than Eddy Grant. But they weren’t aware of that because larger companies cannot see this and the actual ins and outs of the music other than looking at statistics. As you know, Eddy Grant, although he’s still producing music out there, did not have the same longevity that we had. No disrespect to Eddy — he’s an excellent musician in his own right. ... But at the end of the day, it’s perseverance, and we persevered.
Q: How did you guys have to compromise through the years?
A: We started to dilute the lyrics somewhat and also the grooves behind the lyrics. So instead of writing an album with 10 political songs, you sort of write an album with seven political songs, and then three poppy-sounding ones. You tried to match what was going on, realizing that after the death of Marley that reggae music was losing its popularity. So we started trying to get a bit of funk or R&B kind of sound into what we were doing. It backfired more than it benefited us.
Q: Some people didn’t like that?
A: Our hard-core fans weren’t too appreciative of it. We lost an audience for quite a while.
Q: Do you still dress in the Klan robes?
A: You know something, we don’t, but I’m thinking it’s about time that we do that now because I’ve been watching the news since I’ve been in the U.S. about the Klan on the rise again.
Q: Did it conjure up any feelings when you had those guys in the robes onstage?
A: The whole idea when we started that was to be thought-provocative — to be very controversial. We thought instead of just singing this s---, why don’t we act it out? We did that with so many things. I used to come on the stage dressed in a prison uniform with a ball and chain on my legs.
Q: When you think of reggae, Bob Marley is obviously at the top of the hierarchy. Is it kind of hard to get away from the shadow that he cast?
A: It’s hard, but who wants to get away from that shadow? I don’t want to get away from that shadow. Mike Tyson was always in the shadow of the greats, like Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali and all those guys, and he’s probably got an attitude about that. But when I look at the world of Bob Marley and what he stood for and the amount of people he reached with the music and how he came from the same background as I did and my parents did (his parents were Jamaican), and had a similar struggle to get his music exposed, it’s an honor to be under the shadow of Bob Marley. I like to believe we’re still catching up, so it gives me incentive to keep going.
Q: How did a British reggae band wind up performing at the White House for the 1993 inauguration festivities?
A: That’s a good question. You’re gonna have to ask the man who hosted “An Inconvenient Truth.” It was his idea, really. Al Gore was an admirer of Steel Pulse music back in the day.
Who knows — maybe if Hillary wins it, we’ll get out there again.
Reach Patrick S. Pemberton at 781-7903.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Uganda: Celebrating Bob Marley's Birthday

February 11, 2007Posted to the web February 12, 2007

THE Tuff Gong reggae theme night at Ange Noir discotheque has not only made one year, but also a mark as the biggest reggae night on the entertainment scene. Jamaica and the UK bowed down and came to Kampala last Saturday to celebrate the Tuff Gong night.
And since Bob Marley is credited to be the father of reggae music, icon of Rastafarianism, prophet and angel of life, his music took centre stage.

And what comes off better than a collection of internationally recognised reggae artistes from Jamaica and the UK playing Bob Marley's music? Aswald's Brinsley Holns passionately mastered the lyrics and vocals to the mark and when he nearly lost his voice after singing 12 songs, it was not a surprise. The biggest surprise was when an excited Jamaican reggae veteran, Matic Holns' Henry "Buttons" Tenyue, blew the trombone during the Jeckaki band session, cementing the "one love" reggae theme.

For the uninitiated, there were lessons to learn. Like what to reply when someone says "Jah!" and how to chorus "Yes Rasta!" The ladies, who turned up in the bright Rastafarian colours, red, green and yellow, were optic nutrition.

The dancehall duo of Peter Miles and Mesha were explosive. And Bebe Cool's Pan-Africanism was noticed when he performed his new song, In Prison for no reason, that echoes the trials of African great men like Nelson Mandela.

2006 Reggae Grammy Winner Ziggy Marley - Citizen of Earth

Michael A Edwards - Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Grammy winner Ziggy Marley

As happy as he is about the result, Ziggy Marley is n't all that hung up on the Grammys or on awards in general.

"I try not to get excited or put too much emphasis on the whole award ting," he said, speaking by phone to the Observer in the wake of his announcement as the winner of what for many is still music's cherished recognition.

"If people ask, is Love Is My Religion that win the Grammy. This give me another platform to get the message out, that's what is most important" he said, in reference to the title of the album and the lead-off single, a modest hit. And what exactly is the message?

"I'm really trying to make an evolution within the song, within the music to try to get us to being better people. If you really check it, the concept of God was never meant to divide people. Its really been about love from the beginning, that is what I read in the Bible and what Yeshua teach - love one another."

As even the Grammy winner will acknowledge, love another is a hard sell in an era increasingly fraught with conflicts motivated by divergent religious beliefs. "Yeah," he says. "It a get worse."
Initially hesitant, Ziggy offers this perspective on why inter-faith conflicts now seems intractable. "Well is generation after generation keep educating their children the wrong way, everybody pushing their own political view of the thing under the guise of religion and keep people divided. It jus keep the passin' on from one to the next, and each generation it get worse."

There are, of course, other things to reflect on, and one of the album's other interesting tunes, On A Beach In Hawaii, (writtenon an actual visit to the Pacific island group some years ago), provides a neat vehicle for introspection. Against a somewhat plaintively strummed guitar, he manages to pull past, present and future together, reflecting on what it means to be a Marley and the inherent tension that poses vis-a-viz the search for a personal identity. "Is really a love song," he says, in an almost self-deprecatory manner, " but it have a whole heap a different layers to it."

Ziggy Marley confides that such distance from his native land is not merely welcome but occasionally necessary. "Even though I born in Jamaica, and I love Jamaica, still, it's good to experience Earth, because that's the one thing we all have in common, we are from Earth. So, as a human being and as an artiste, it's part of my journey and my development."
The journey takes him next to China, virgin territory in more than one respect. "It's my first trip. I know the people and I know about the culture, but this is my first time actually going there and that's the thing that really excite me - being able to get dis message to a lot of different people."

And a timely trip it is, as only recently Universal Music China (As reported in the Sunday Observer, February 11), is making a significant promotional push behind a Chinese-language verison of Legend, the disc that cemented his father's standing as a global icon, though the same reports have it that the name Bob Marley has little cachet-as yet-among the average Chinese.
It is, however, recognised by Grammy voters. This win marks the third time in five years that a Marley scion has taken the Reggae Grammy, and with brother Stephen's solo debut, Mind Control, now on the streets, there could well be a repeat next year. Dynasty? As he said, Ziggy's not too hung up on awards, but the win does beg the question, "Does he believe that the panel chose his album based on his lineage?

"Listen to the music," he answers, " and then you can judge for yourself."

Monday, February 12, 2007

And the 2007 Winner is ZIGGY MARLEY – Love is My Religion.

Reggae Grammy Winners - Best Reggae Album Grammy

Reggae Grammy Nominees for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards
A diverse selection of artists were nominated for the music industry's most highly coveted award. A 3 time award winner (nominated as a solo artist for the first time), a controversial artist allegedly black-listed from the industry, a Hasidic Jew, a British reggae band gainfully employed as one of reggae most successful groups named afer an unemployment form and a pair of twins (riddim twins that is) were selected by the National Academy of Recording Sciences (NARAS) as nominees for the Best Reggae Album (Vocal or Instrumental) award. The Awards show airs Feb. 11th, 2007.

The illusive Soca Grammy didn't make it into the categories for 2007 however Haitian superstar Wyclef Jean and Latina diva Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" were nominated for the "Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals" award. Busta Ryhmes an American-born rapper of Jamaican heritage is nominated for the "Best Rap Solo Performance" category.

The 2007 Nominees were:
o Too Bad - Buju Banton [Gargamel Music, Inc.]
o Love Is My Religion - Ziggy Marley [Tuff Gong Worldwide] - WINNER
o Youth - Matisyahu [Epic/Or/JDub]
o Rhythm Doubles - Sly & Robbie [Taxi Records]
o Who You Fighting For - UB40 [Rhino Entertainment]

Past Winners
Year Artist - Album
2005 Damian Marley (2 Awards)
*also won "Best Urban/Alternative Performance" Welcome To Jamrock

2004 Toots and The Maytals - True Love
2003 Sean Paul - Dutty Rock
2002 Lee "Scratch" Perry - Jamaican E.T.
2001 Damian Marley - Halfway Tree
2000 Beenie Man - Art And Life
1999 Burning Spear - Calling Rastafari
1998 Sly And Robbie - Friends
1997 Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makers - Fallen Is Babylon
1996 Bunny Wailer - A Tribute To Bob Marley's 50th Anniversary
1995 Shaggy - Boombastic
1994 Bunny Wailer - Crucial! Roots Classics
1993 Inner Circle - Bad Boys
1992 Shabba Ranks - X-tra Naked
1991 Shabba Ranks - As Raw As Ever
1990 Bunny Wailer - A Tribute To Bob Marley
1989 Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makers - One Bright Day
1988 Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makers - Conscious Party
1987 Peter Tosh - No Nuclear War
1986 Steel Pulse - Babylon The Bandit
1985 Jimmy Cliff - Cliff Hanger
1984 Black Uhuru - Anthem

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hawaiian Music Star, Maker of Hybrid Hits, Seeks a Bigger Stage Beyond Waikiki

February 7, 2007

HONOLULU — Henry Kapono spends most Sunday afternoons here, on the beachfront patio of Duke’s Waikiki restaurant at the Outrigger Waikiki hotel. His standing engagement has become something of an island institution over the years. It’s a bar gig, maybe not what you might expect from a Hawaiian music veteran of Mr. Kapono’s stature. But he throws himself into it nonetheless, routinely playing for two hours without a break, to stoke the fires of a dancing-and-drinking crowd.

During one recent show a catamaran bobbed in the surf behind Mr. Kapono as he segued from “I Can See Clearly Now,” the reggae war horse by Johnny Nash, to “Every Day in the Islands,” one of his own hybrid Jawaiian (a mixture of Jamaican and Hawaiian) tunes. His four-piece band was crisp. The festive scene was typical, and true to the image Mr. Kapono paints in a song called “Duke’s on Sunday,” which Jimmy Buffett borrowed as a closer for his last album.

But you won’t find Mr. Kapono at Duke’s on Feb. 11, because he’ll be in Los Angeles for the 49th Grammy Awards. He is among the nominees for best Hawaiian music album, for “The Wild Hawaiian” (Eclectic), which somehow represents both the most traditional and the most radical work of his career. Whether you regard him as a front-runner or as a long shot depends partly on your definition of Hawaiian music, a controversial issue ever since the category was established a few years ago.

“The Wild Hawaiian” is a Hawaiian rock album. More specifically, it’s an album of songs in the Hawaiian language, against a whiplash of percussion and distorted guitars. At times, its sound suggests Jimi Hendrix or Carlos Santana, artists Mr. Kapono often covers at his Sunday gig. Lyrically, it reaches further back: in some cases, to venerable Hawaiian chants. Not surprisingly, its release last year caused a bit of a stir.

“The Hawaiians were taken aback when they first heard it,” said Alaka’i Paleka, the program director and morning host of KPOA (93.5 FM), a Maui radio station that has three tracks from the album in rotation. “It was rocking some songs that weren’t rocked before. The response — it was shock.” Using the Hawaiian term for elder, she continued, “Some of the kupunas were not happy with the style.”

Over lunch at Duke’s with his wife and manager, Lezlee Ka’aihue, and their 6-month-old twins, Mr. Kapono, 58, described the album in less controversial terms: as a cultural outreach and the result of personal introspection.

“My mom and dad spoke fluent Hawaiian; they were both pure Hawaiians,” he said, recalling his upbringing as Henry Ka’aihue. (Kapono is his middle name.) “But they would never speak it to us. When they were growing up, they were forbidden to speak the language, and punished for it. So they never taught us the language. That was the case for my generation.”

Mr. Kapono is a product of the 1960s, though it was in the ’70s that his career took flight, when he teamed up with Cecilio Rodriguez, a fellow guitarist and singer. As Cecilio and Kapono, the duo made a string of breezy acoustic pop albums that resonated deeply at home and beyond, though perhaps not as well nationally as Columbia Records would have liked. (“They didn’t know what to do with C & K,” Mr. Kapono said of the label. “We were two brown-skinned guys with long hair singing contemporary music.”)

Cecilio and Kapono were Hawaii’s answer to Simon and Garfunkel, though it’s important to note that they too sang in English. Many of the duo’s best-loved songs — originals like “Friends” and “Sailing,” as well as covers like “All in Love Is Fair,” by Stevie Wonder — qualify as Hawaiian music only on a technicality. But for several generations of listeners, those songs embody the sound of Hawaii, at least in part.

After the breakup of C & K in the early 1980s, Mr. Kapono embarked on a successful solo career. About a decade ago he set out to make his first Hawaiian-language album, using traditional instrumentation. “I did a recording,” he said, “and when I listened back, it was missing something. It just didn’t have that power.”

He shelved the idea to focus on other projects, including Kapono’s, a restaurant and club that opened in 2001 and closed early last year. Along the way, he began playing the electric guitar for the first time since high school, and something clicked.

Motivated by the desire to carry Hawaiian culture to a new generation, Mr. Kapono conceived of “The Wild Hawaiian.” The risk of being misunderstood was clear.

“This is something so new and so different that if there’s any repercussions, the only guy they’re going to point to is me,” he said. “So I put a lot of thought into doing this. I’m real proud of it. It’s made me really learn more about myself as a Hawaiian and as a human being.”

Asked to elaborate, he pointed to lessons inherent in the songs: “Na Ali’i,” the chant that opens the album, preaches respect, while “He’eia,” another chant, conveys passion. The rest of the songs have given attributes, right up through “Ke Aloha O Ka Haku,” a song of prayerful forbearance that Queen Lili’uokalani composed in 1895 while she was imprisoned at Iolani Palace after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

“Once I got to that point,” Mr. Kapono said, “I realized that this whole album is about moving forward.”

Of course moving forward means different things to different people, Grammy voters included. When the Hawaiian music category was introduced in 2005, after more than a decade of intense lobbying by local factions, the nominee list included legends like the Brothers Cazimero and Keali’i Reichel, both perennial favorites at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Hawaii’s version of the Grammys.

But the 2005 Grammy went to “Slack Key Guitar Volume 2” (Palm), a compilation devoted to the acoustic style with nonstandard guitar tuning that originated in the islands. It was a safe, bland choice, and it set a precedent. In 2006 four of the five nominees were slack key albums; this year three such albums are in the running, along with “The Wild Hawaiian” and a strong traditional offering by the singer Amy Hanaiali’i.

If Mr. Kapono wins, it will signal a reconsideration of what constitutes authenticity in Hawaiian music. Not because he plugged in — the electric guitar has its origins in Hawaiian music, after all — but because he cross-pollinated cultures with such panache.

The album has been noticed for that very reason, just as Mr. Kapono had hoped. On Saturday, before he heads to Los Angeles, he is scheduled to perform “Na Ali’i” on the Pro Bowl halftime show, which has been given the theme of “Wild Hawaii.” The production will include pyrotechnics, about 200 hula dancers and more than 750 contemporary dancers. (Cheyenne, the namesake star of an MTV reality show, will also perform.)

“I know what it is,” Mr. Kapono said of his Hawaiian heritage. “I know how rich it is, I know how beautiful it is. So that’s what I want to take forward. And the generations to come, I want them to take that forward. I want them to dream. I want them to have hopes. That’s how we build a foundation for new things.”

From the Underworld of Jamaica to the London Stage


It was a tough ticket the night the film The Harder They Come premiered at the Carib Theater in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1972. A crowd of some 10,000 turned up and a near-riot ensued. Like all those who got in, the island's Prime Minister and his wife were jammed two or more to a seat, while instead of a red carpet entrance, director Perry Henzell's wife, Sally, had to be bodily lifted in over the heads of the crowd. Just 6 at the time, Henzell's daughter Justine wasn't allowed to attend, even though some of her earliest memories are of being on set while her father shot the film that was to become a milestone of Jamaican culture and one of cinema's most unlikely survival stories. Thirty-five years on, Justine Henzell, in London this week for the opening night of a musical version of The Harder They Come at the Theatre Royal, remembers what the fuss was all about. "Jamaicans had never seen themselves on the big screen before," she says. "In those days we hardly ever saw ourselves on TV or commercials, let alone in a feature film."

Beyond Jamaica, audiences were less excitable when the film opened. What, after all, were they to make of a radical slice of experimental cinema verite shot by an unknown director in Super 16 mm, about a Jamaican boy who leaves the idyllic poverty of the countryside for the squalid poverty of Kingston to follow his dream of becoming a recording star, only to die in a hail of bullets on the beach? Although Henzell's film was a sharp critique on the closed, cutthroat circle of corruption between the island's music industry, police, and drug dealers, what eventually made the rest of the world take note was the film's blistering soundtrack, which was a breakthrough moment for reggae music. As well as the songs like "Many Rivers To Cross" and "You Can Get It If You Really Want" that were written and sung by young singer Jimmy Cliff, (who also played the lead character, Ivan), the soundtrack showcased Toots and the Maytals' "Pressure Drop," Desmond Dekker's "Israelites," the Melodians' "Rivers of Babylon." Before the world knew or cared about Bob Marley, here was reggae's defining mix of roots rhythms and social consciousness. For the decade before Marley's best-of album Legend in 1984, The Harder They Come was nothing less than the world's best-selling reggae album.

The success of the soundtrack helped sustain Henzell's film at the box office, where it has remained a cult staple of festivals and late-night college specials ever since. But after he struggled through the 70s to finance and shoot a still more experimental follow-up, No Place Like Home, the director's career stalled completely when the negatives went missing in a New Jersey warehouse. "It broke his heart when he lost that footage," says his daughter Justine. "He'd put all his time energy and money into it and then it was gone." So Henzell gave up on filmmaking and started writing books, which, like 1982's The Power Game, proved to be just as distinctive, well-reviewed and as un-lucrative as his movie career. A few years ago, the missing film was discovered in New York City and in 2006, Henzell finally licked No Place Like Home into shape and got it shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. In a poignant coda, the film had its Jamaican premiere on Dec. 1 — the day after Henzell, 70, died of cancer.

Over the years, Henzell had received various offers to stage The Harder They Come. "But he turned them all down," says Justine, "because they meant having to relinquish creative control — something Perry found very hard to do." But when Kerry Michael and Dawn Reid, directors of Stratford's Theatre Royal, on a trip to Jamaica four or five years ago, knocked on his door, they were only too pleased to have his creative input. So the musical version of The Harder They Come, as adapted by Perry Henzell and directed by Kerry Michael and Dawn Reid, opened last March at Stratford's 460-seat Theatre Royal, a plush Victorian-era playhouse with a modern mission to foster black and community productions. Against expectations, the musical's short-run became a word-of-mouth success and broke all their box office records, so now the show is being restaged there as a tribute to the late director but also with an eye on making the journey from the East End of London to the West End stage — a delicious and not so unlikely prospect for a theatreland that is high as a kite right now on musicals and nostalgia.

To get there, the production has sidestepped all the problems of making the music carry the plot by keeping the 17-strong cast and band onstage throughout. Between them, in thickest Jamaican patois and the merest whiff of ganja smoke, they summon the saucy spirit of the Kingston dancehall one minute, the legend of the outlaw the next. Best of all they rip through glorious renditions of hit after hit. Make room, Mamma Mia! For as sure as the sun will shine, The Harder They Come is gonna get its share.

Link to TIME:,8599,1586884,00.html

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bob Marley's Sons to Hold JA Peace Concert

Bob Marley JA Peace Concert
Associated Press
KINGSTON, Jamaica - Four sons of Bob Marley will hold a concert promoting peace to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the musician's birth, a family spokesman said yesterday.

The Feb. 10 concert, called "Smile Jamaica," will be held in the reggae superstar's birthplace of Nine Miles, in St. Ann parish, spokesman Jerome Hamilton said.

The concert shares the name of a 1976 show staged by the government of former socialist Prime Minister Michael Manley to promote harmony among politically aligned gangs, and will feature Stephen Marley and his brothers Ky-Mani, Damian and Julian, Hamilton said.

"They are trying to push a message of peace although it won't be as hard-core as when Bob did it," he said.

Hamilton said Los Angeles-based Ziggy Marley, the most famous of the musician's children, was not able to attend and rarely visits Jamaica.

Ziggy Marley won four Grammys with the Melody Makers, a band that included brother Stephen and sisters Sharon and Cedella until they disbanded in 1999.

Marley's children and Rita Marley, the singer's widow, perform across the globe. Rita, who often accompanied her husband's band with her soul trio, the I-Threes, is expected to attend the St. Ann parish concert.

The February date coincides with Bob Marley Week, a celebration of the singer's birth on Feb. 6, 1945, and falls within the height of Jamaica's tourism season.

Marley rose from the gritty shantytowns of Kingston to global stardom in the 1970s with hits "No Woman, No Cry" and "I Shot the Sheriff." His lyrics promoting "one love" and social revolution made him an icon in developing countries worldwide. A devout Rastafarian, Marley died of cancer in Miami in 1981 at age 36.

Since his death, the music world and Rastafarian community have celebrated the birthday anniversary of the musician, whom some even consider a prophet.