Music festival Africa Oyé has announced that roots reggae legend Max Romeo will be performing at its 25th Anniversary festival. Africa Oyé 2017 takes place Saturday, June 17-18 at Sefton Park, Liverpool. Admission is free.
Max Romeo has had top 10 hits throughout Europe and has been sampled by artists like Jay Z and The Prodigy. Max Romeo’s career started when he signed a contract with Bunny Lee, one of the biggest producers of his time in Jamaica in the 1960s. Hits such as ‘Chase The Devil’ lead to international success and to performances across the world.
After working with producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Romeo’s style evolved from a typically Jamaican ska towards to pop reggae.
Other artists scheduled to perform include Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), Jupiter & Okwess International (DR Congo), Dobet Ghanore (Ivory Coast).
The popular exhibition The Art of Reggae will be returning to Constellations in The Baltic Triangle in Liverpool June 7-July 9, 2017.
The exhibition, a collaboration between the International Reggae Poster Contest and Positive Vibration, will display 100 reggae-inspired posters designed by artists and illustrators from all over the world.
Visitors will be able to bid on any of the framed posters by way of a silent auction and all profits from the sales will be donated to the Alpha Boys School – the vocational institution for underprivileged youths located in Kingston, Jamaica.
Steel Pulse was formed in 1975 in the UK with a firm commitment to fighting injustice, educating the masses, and promoting positive messages through spiritually uplifting music.
Probably the UK’s most highly-regarded roots reggae act, Steel Pulse originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, Birmingham, and featured David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals) and Ronnie McQueen (bass).
However, it is Hinds who, as songwriter, has always been the foundation of Steel Pulse, from their early days establishing themselves in the Birmingham club scene onwards. Formed in 1975, their debut release, ‘Kibudu, Mansetta And Abuku” arrived on the small independent label Dip, and linked the plight of urban black youth with the image of a greater African homeland. They followed it with ‘Nyah Love’ for Anchor.
Surprisingly, they were initially refused live dates in Caribbean venues in the Midlands because of their Rastafarian beliefs. Aligning themselves closely with the Rock Against Racism 1 organization, they chose to tour instead with sympathetic elements of the punk movement, including the Stranglers, XTC etc.: “Punks had a way of enjoying themselves – throw hordes at you, beer, spit at you, that kind of thing“.
Eventually they found a more natural home in support slots for Burning Spear, that brought them to the attention of Island Records. Their first release for Island was the ‘Ku Klux Klan’ 45 rpm, a considered tilt at the evils of racism, and one often accompanied by a visual parody of the sect on stage.
By this time their band had swelled to include Selwyn ‘Bumbo’ Brown (keyboards), Steve ‘Grizzly’ Nesbitt (drums), Fonso Martin (vocals, percussion) and Michael Riley (vocals). Handsworth Revolution was an accomplished long playing debut and one of the major landmarks in the evolution of British reggae.
However, despite critical and moderate commercial success over three albums, the relationship with Island had soured by the time Caught You (released in the US as Reggae Fever) came out. They switched to Elektra, and revealed their most consistent collection of songs since their debut with True Democracy, distinguished by the Garvey eulogizing ‘Rally Around’ cut.
A further definitive set arrived in Earth Crisis. Unfortunately, Elektra tried to coerce Steel Pulse into a more mainstream vein, asking them to emulate the pop-reggae style of Eddy Grant. Babylon the Bandit was consequently weakened, but did contain the anthemic ‘Not King james Version’, which was a powerful indictment on the omission of black people and history from certain versions of the Bible. Babylon the Bandit won the Best Reggae Band Grammy award.
Their next recording was State of Emergency (MCA), which retained some of the synthesized dance elements of its predecessor. Though it was a significantly happier compromise, it still paled before any of their earlier albums.
Spike Lee met Steel Pulse at the group’s fund raising concert in Washington DC for the Jamaican victims of 1988’s Hurricane Gilbert. This resulted in David’s composition ‘Can’t Stand it’ featuring in Lee’s Do the Right Thing movie soundtrack.
Rastafari Centennial was recorded live at the Elysee Montmartre in Paris, and dedicated to the hundred year anniversary of the birth of Haile Selassie. It was the first recording since the defection of Fonso Martin, leaving the trio of David Hinds, Steve Nisbett and Selwyn Brown.
In the United States their reputation was growing, becoming the first ever reggae band to appear on the Tonight television show.
Their profile was raised further when, in 1992, the band filed a $1 million class action lawsuit against New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission. The group charged that cabbies refused to pick up blacks and Rastafarians throughout the streets of New York. This lawsuit initiated a video, Taxi Driver, with a supporting cast that included the Reverend Al Sharpton, Jay Leno, Branford Marsalis, C. Thomas Howell, Robert Townsend and the late Tony Johnson, the inspiration behind Sunsplash.
“We just can’t ignore the politics, because every life and soul that’s born on this earth is a political maneuver for someone, at some stage“, Hinds explained. “From a spiritual aspect, it’s really an upliftment through facing reality – what’s out there. We deal with positive spirits. It means putting aside the guns, the drugs and all of the things that are ailments of society – especially the black communities right now“.
In 1993, at the request of the Clinton Administration, Steel Pulse became the first reggae band ever to perform during the inaugural festivities in Washington DC.
The following year, the group headlined large-scale music events including the US Reggae Sunsplash Tour, Japanslpash, Northern California’s Reggae on the River Festival and embarked on a successful tour of South America.
1995 saw an extensive Caribbean tour followed by an appearance in January 1996 at the prestigious Hollywood Rock Festivals in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo which featured Page and Plant, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins and Aswad amongst others. Later that year Steel Pulse released their derivative best of album titled Rastanthology and followed this up in 1997, with the Grammy nominated, Rage and Fury album.
Extensive worldwide touring throughout the remainder of that year and 1998 included shows at MTV’s Boardaid in California and the environmental Waterman’s Ball in Los Angeles. December ’98 saw the return to Africa for the first time in fifteen years when they played the Ivory Coast. Hind’s notes “//it was a tremendous sight to behold and the ecstatic moral boost to our existence was so energizing//”.
For 1999, the group was headliner for the world-wide Spirit of Unity Tour and in August 1999 released a second live album titled Living Legacy (Tuff Gong international) that was recorded Live in Paris, Holland and Puerto Rico.
Popular reggae band Easy Star All-Stars will be touring the West Coast of the United States and Canada starting in May of 2017, including the first ever appearance at the California Roots Music and Arts Festival. The 16-stop tour will run through late June as Easy Star All-Stars travels to reggae-friendly cities across the West Coast and Mountains. Supporting acts include The Late Ones and The Elovators.
Easy Star All-Stars is well known for its reggae versions of full albums by legendary rock and pop acts Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson, as well as its own original material from its decade plus as a recording act. All of the band’s albums have reach the top on the Billboard Reggae Charts, including Lonely Hearts Dub Band, Thrillah and Dub Side of the Moon.
May 27 – California Roots 2017 – Monterey, CA
May 28 – Romano’s Concert Lounge – Riverside, CA
May 29 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
May 31 – Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach, CA
June 1 – Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach, CA
June 2 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA
June 3 – Summer Arts & Music Festival – Garberville, CA
June 4 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
June 5 – Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
June 7 – Fox Theater – Boulder, CO
June 8 – Gothic Theater – Englewood, CO
June 9 – The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
June 10 – World Village Festival – Boise, ID
June 23 – Nectar Lounge – Seattle, WA
June 24 – Tall Tree Music Festival – Port Renfrew, BC, CAN
June 25 – Star Theater – Portland, OR
Queen Ifrica, born Ventrice Morgan on March 25, 1975 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, began her career in 1995 after attracting attention at a local talent contest in her hometown of Montego Bay. This eye-opening experience eventually led to major stage performances in her country including the famed Reggae Sumfest as well as a union with Tony Rebel’s Flames Crew in 1998.
With roots firmly grounded in the Rastafarian faith, she blossomed as one of the top cultural artists in reggae, appearing frequently on radio with hits like “Randy”, “Jus my Brethren”, “Below the Waist” and “Daddy” and performing at major festivals and shows around the world (Summer Jam in Germany, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, Bob Marley Festival, Reggae on the River in California and Reggae Sundance Festival in Holland).
Despite her busyc schedule, Ifrica is involved in several youth outreach programs in Jamaica’s inner-city, counseling abuse victims and other disadvantaged individuals. She also performs at various charity events shows where proceeds are donated to the cause.
From Birmingham, England, singer Pato Banton is one of the modern stars of reggae. In a career that included a spiritual sabbatical, he returned to the stage with renewed commitment in 2005.
Patrick Murray was born in London in 1961, and moved to Birmingham when he was 8 years old. Pato’s stepfather (Lester Daley) was a DJ recently arrived from Jamaica and the house in which they lived became the weekend night hotspot for the local community.
Banton’s distinctive vocal approach first caught public attention through his work with the English Beat, including his 1982 duet with Ranking Roger, “Pato and Roger a Go Talk.” He made a guest appearance on UB40’s 1985 album, “Baggariddim.” The next year he released his own album produced by Mad Professor: “Mad Professor Captures Pato Banton.” He later had a hit with his version of the Police’s “Spirits in the Material World,” and collaborated with Steel Pulse’s Justin Hinds on “Wize Up!” in 1990.
Pato Banton says, “From ‘Never Give In’ to ‘Life Is A Miracle’ my main goal has always been to spread truth, beauty and goodness through reggae music. I have been blessed with the gift of Revelation, seen and been a part of many miracles, but nothing compares to the beautiful personalities I’ve met along the way. As I approach the final chapter of my musical journey on Planet Earth (Urantia), my only desire is to serve Divinity through humanity. And to all my brothers and sisters who are striving to achieve their goals in this age of materiality, my message is… Stay Positive & Never Give In!”
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announced program for the 19th season of KCRW’s World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. The event is a partnership between KCRW and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. The first concert will start on Sunday, June 18, 2017.
KCRW’s World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl:
Sunday, June 18, at 7:00 p.m.
Reggae Night XVI
Ziggy Marley with orchestra
The Specials (ska)
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra with Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Reggae star Ziggy Marley will make his orchestral debut playing a set of his and his father Bob Marley’s music.
Sunday, June 25, at 7:00 p.m.
Seu Jorge – The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra with Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Brazilian singer Seu Jorge will celebrate David Bowie’s catalog, with an orchestra for the first time, through a Brazilian lens.
Sunday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m.
Blondie · Garbage
Sunday, August 6, at 7:00 p.m.
Belle And Sebastian
Additional artist to be announced
Sunday, August 27, at 7:00 p.m.
Pink Martini featuring China Forbes and Storm Large
Sunday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m.
Plus Blood Orange and special guests King ·
Kelela · Moses Sumney · Kelsey Lu and more
The Primavera Trompetera Festival 2017 will take place March 31 – April 1 at the racetrack in Jerez de la Frontera, in southern Spain. The festival will feature a wide-range of genres, including mestizo, world music and reggae. Some of Spain’s leading roots music acts will perform there along with Asian Dub Foundation and American band Balkan Beat Box.
The lineup includes Asian Dub Foundation, Eskorzo, The Zombie Kids, La Jungla Band, Miguel Caamaño Dj Set , Los Vivos, La Tarambana, Kase.O, Balkan Beat Box, Tomasito, Enseco, Loquillo, Fali Abad, Cristo el Mesías de Jerez, Marcos Cruz Dj Set, Chagar Dj Set, Bony Stuche Dj Set, Aivan Cabrera Dj Set, Dannyboy DJ Set, Cali Dj set, Miguel Campello, Guadalupe Plata, Rozalén, Ganjahr Family & Atlantic Force Band, Gordo Master, Macaco, La Raíz, Narco, Nikone, G.a.s Drummers, La Selva Sur, Nach, Fuel Fandango, Poncho K, Emeterians & Forward Ever Band, Mama Ladilla , El Chojin, Estricnina, Mala Rodríguez, Chambao, Fyahbwoy & Forward Ever Band, Green Valley, Muchachito, Shotta and Mario Díaz.