The lineup is nearly complete for the 14th annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival taking place June 22,23, and 24th, 2007 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville, California.
This yearly celebration to commemorate the summer solstice creates a veritable global village where people come to a beautiful setting to enjoy a diverse lineup of new and legendary artists from around the world. Now in its 14th year, this world-class festival features three days of music performed on two stages, excellent camping, an eclectic group of ethnic food and cultural craft vendors, dance troupes, and fun children’s activities. The first two days conclude with an authentic late night Jamaican-style dancehall session.As festival organizer and founder Warren Smith notes, “There are so many great artists, bands and DJ’s in World and Reggae and this provides us a wonderful foundation to work with as we create the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival lineup each year. Our intention is to invite performers and recording artists from both the past and present-some of whom make their first-ever Western U.S. appearances here.”
Dedicated to nurturing a world family, peacefully united in celebration of the universal spirit of music, this festival attracts attendees from around the world to experience and celebrate conscientious musicianship and its healing benefits.
The 2007 lineup includes Toots & The Maytals, whose leader Toots Hibbert is credited with coining the term “reggae” with his hit single “Do The Reggay” back in 1968, and percussionist and vocalist Carlinhos Brown who is virtually a household name in his native Brazil, performing at countless festival stages around the world. Coming from Europe are Ojos de Brujo an eight-piece band from Barcelona whose music is centered in Flamenco with elements of hip-hop, and Les Nubians, the African-French sister duo who in 1999 had a chart-topping album Princesses Nubiennes.
Also on the lineup are Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars who have been in the spotlight with a documentary on their story as refugees from civil war, and a recent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Their release Living Like a Refugee received the honor of being named one of Amazon.com’s top picks for 2006.
The traditions of the drumming and dancing are consistent elements of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival lineup each year. This year, the group Kusun Ensemble who hail from Ghana, West Africa will perform what has developed into a new brand of music and dance they have dubbed "Nokoko”; a combination of dance with guitars and traditional Ghanaian instruments.
SambaDa brings their Afro-Brazilian /samba /funk flavor to the festival. Based in Santa Cruz, California, their Western-influenced style is rooted in Brazilian folkloric tradition.
Reggae music in all of its varied forms is the centerpiece of the festival each year and this year is no different. Energetic and powerful vocalist Luciano, “The Messenger” of conscious reggae returns to Sierra Nevada for his second appearance, Conscious reggae dancehall “singjay” sensation Turbulence is slated to make his first West Coast festival appearance. And Junior Kelly, whose prolific songwriting has cemented his position in the realm of reggae’s most sought after artists will perform with his band.
The reggae backing bands at this year’s festival will be the Los Angeles-based Detour band and the Bay Area-based JahBandis who both command the stage for several artist sets throughout the weekend.
Tony Rebel comes to Sierra Nevada as a veteran in the industry and one of the pioneers of the “singjay” style with his 1996 hit “If Jah.” Taking it back to the roots, ska King Derrick Morgan makes his second appearance at the festival with 48 years of experience to call upon and numerous top-selling singles that blazed the trail for what became rocksteady, a precursor to reggae music. Making their first appearance since 2001, The Ethiopians featuring Leonard Dillon released one of ska’s all time classics “Train To Skaville” back in the ‘60’s. Making their first-ever Sierra Nevada appearance are The Maytones, comprised of Vernon Buckley and Gladstone Grant who also began recording in the 1960’s with a string of hits that followed a spiritual Rastafarian theme, launching them to cult status.
Making his third Sierra Nevada World Music Festival appearance is Seattle, Washington-based Clinton Fearon, a reggae veteran originally with Jamaica’s roots harmony group The Gladiators, he has since forged a formidable career as a solo artist.
Earl Zero, writer of “None Shall Escape the Judgement”, a ‘70’s reggae chart-topper, will perform his own brand of classic reggae that is essential to Sierra Nevada World Music Festival’s distinctive lineup.
Part of the next generation of reggae artists appearing at Sierra Nevada World Music Festival 2007 is Queen Ifrica ( who is actually the daughter of Derrick Morgan) whose fiery lyrical delivery and musicianship are true to her lineage. Also part of the next generation is Chezidek whose precise vocal tone has led him to record with many of Jamaica’s hottest producers.
Making his first U.S. appearance is Kingston, Jamaica-based singer Mark Wonder, whose songwriting abilities are some of the industry’s strongest. Originally from Puerto Rico, Elijah Emanuel makes his second Sierra Nevada World Music Festival appearance. Elijah and his San Diego, California-based band The Revelations mix up a strong tonic of roots compositions with socially conscious, bi-lingual messages.
Also appearing at this three-day, two-stage event are Oakland, California-based Malika Madremana and the Greensphere Band who perform roots reggae fronted by strong female vocals with meaningful lyrics on a bed of heavy, one-drop rhythms.
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival has blazed the trail in support of reggae music from outside of Jamaica and in particular other parts of the Caribbean, with bands like Midnite and Dezarie from the Virgin Islands making their first-ever West Coast festival appearances on the SNWMF stage. This year the Virgin Islands record label I Grade Records presents a showcase of artists including NiyoRah, originally from Dominica and raised in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands he appears in celebration of his latest album, the critically-acclaimed “Purification Session.” Also from V. I. is the vibrant, roots-inclined singjay Abja. And rounding out the I-Grade showcase is Harlem, N.Y-based, Guyana native Yahadanai, whose reggae chant delivery is infused with elements from African and Middle Eastern melodic structure.
From Mexico come Rastrillos, 15-year veterans on the reggae scene whose unique brand of reggae features Jazz-influenced guitar and horn lines, rapping, and Indian sitar.
Working the controls in the late night dancehall is the Virgin Islands’ self-described “vinyl musician” Aba Shaka . He will be joined by the legendary Stone Love Movement Jamaican soundsystem. Making their sixth appearance at SNWMF, Stone Love has traveled the world for over thirty years defending the title of “champion sound.” Also in the dancehall to promote the healthy competitive spirit of the “soundclash” is New York’s Downbeat The Ruler soundsystem. Coming to the turntable with three decades of experience, Downbeat maintains one of the most extensive collections of exclusive foundation dubplates (or special versions of songs, sung exclusively for the soundsystem) than anyone in the world.
The schedule and exact order and appearance of performers will be announced shortly. Please refer to the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival website: www.snwmf.com for frequent updates.