Category Archives: New CDs

Strictly The Best 60 to Showcase Top Artists in Roots Reggae and Dancehall

Various Artists – Strictly the Best Vol. 60

VP Records has announced the release of Strictly the Best Vol. 60. The set includes current and breaking hits from some of the top artists in roots reggae and dancehall. The album is scheduled for release on November 22, 2019. For this latest release, the label will produce a live show to be broadcast Tuesday, November 19 from the BRIC production facility in Brooklyn, New York.

STB 60 includes an illustration by Japanese artist Murasaki, inspired by the scenery of the VP Records 40th Anniversary Concert held at Summer Stage in Central Park, New York in August.

STB 60 contains two discs of hits in one package. Disc 1 consists of reggae and lovers rock tracks. Highlights include “General” by Christopher Martin and “Together we Stand” by Richie Spice. Exclusives on the album include a remake of Lorna Bennet’s “Breakfast in Bed” by former Voice winner Tessanne Chin and “Lost My Heart” by emerging solo reggae artist, Kumar Bent.

Disc 2 features dancehall tracks. High spots include “One Way” by Vybz Kartel and “Glow” by Romain Virgo and Christopher Martin. The music video for “Glow” has recently accumulated over 628K views on YouTube. Another exclusive to STB 60 is “No Stress” by Noah Powa who has been attracting attention in New York City and beyond with recent interviews on Breakfast Club, Lip Service and an appearance on Angela Yee Day.

As our 40th anniversary year winds down, we are happy to release Strictly The Best 60,” said Richard Lue, Director of Business Development and Project Manager for VP Records. “Everything from the tracks, to the cover of the album by Murasaki, to the event coming up in Brooklyn, is aligned perfectly to celebrate the 60th edition of one of VP’s staple compilations,” he concluded.

STRICTLY THE BEST VOL. 60 Tracklisting

* Denotes Exclusive Track

Disc 1 – Singers

1. Play That Song (remix) – (feat. Agent Sasco) – Duane Stephenson

2. General – Christopher Martin

3. Only One – Beres Hammond

4. Girl Like You – Busy Signal

5. Breakfast In Bed – Tessanne Chin*

6. Million Reasons – Alaine

7. Change My Mind – Freddie McGregor

8. Lost My Heart – Kumar Bent*

9. Progress – Romain Virgo

10. Babylon Bridge – Emeterians (feat. Kymani Marley)

11. Better Tomorrow – Raging Fyah

12. Together We Stand – Richie Spice*

Disc 2 – Deejays

1. One Way – Vybz Kartel

2. Wileside Government – Jahvillani

3. Dutty Badmind – Alkaline

4. Clean Like Jesus – TeeJay

5. Glow – Romain Virgo & Christopher Martin

6. Something To Say – I-Octane

7. Life Short – Chronic Law

8. The Trophy – Shane-O

9. 1Option – Squash

10. Charge – Masicka (feat. Dunw3ll)

11. No Stress – Noah Powa (feat. Shams The Producer)*

12. Hold Back – Kes

13. Red Skirt – Munga Honorable

Buy Strictly the Best Vol. 60

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Down In Jamaica: 40 Years Of VP Records Boxed Set

Down In Jamaica: 40 Years Of VP Records

The boxed set Down In Jamaica: 40 Years Of VP Records is scheduled to be released October 25, 2019. The reggae and dancehall anthology includes 94-tracks. It is a multi-format limited edition (2,000 run) box with a 24-page booklet and art cards detailing the hits, the rarities, and the history of the world’s largest reggae label.

Down In Jamaica: 40 Years Of VP Records features 101 different artists. It tells the story in detail through a chronological survey of the key recordings that helped define the company, from early singles on obscure sublabels (Roots From The Yard, Jah Guidance, and Love) to the well-known VP Records brand that brought Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, and others into the international mainstream.

Compiled by DJ, writer, and VP Records Director of Catalog Development Carter Van Pelt, the set contains four 7-inch singles, four 12-inch singles, and four CDs, the first configuration of its kind for a box set package. The CDs include the chronology of hit songs, and the vinyl pieces bring back rare titles long out of print. The initial release is in the physical format only, with a digital release of the CD portion of the set on all streaming platforms in late November.

The singles format was the dominant vehicle for Jamaican music from its inception, and the collection tells the company’s story almost entirely from singles, taking its name from Red Fox and Naturalee’s 1989 hit.

“The goal is to tell the story of a continually owned and operated family business at the heart of the global growth of reggae, dancehall, and Caribbean music” said Van Pelt. “As a distributor and manufacturer, the company has brought some of reggae and dancehall’s most recognizable hits to the public over 40 years. This set ties that story together with some lost treasures in the form of vinyl rarities.”

Founded by Vincent and Patricia Chin as the US distribution arm of Randy’s Records from Kingston, Jamaica, Randy’s had been at the center of the Jamaican music industry since its inception. The VP chapter began in New York as reggae was on the verge of a major transition from Bob Marley’s era to the dancehall era of Yellowman, Chaka Demus, Shabba Ranks, Ninja Man, Beenie Man, and Bounty Killer.

Highlights from the set include Sean Paul & Sasha’s “I’m Still In Love With You,” Wayne Wonder’s “No Letting Go,” Beenie Man’s “Who Am I” and classics from Yellowman, Barrington Levy, Gregory Isaacs, and Dennis Brown and dozens of others. The vinyl selections include rare sides by Echo Minott, Freddie McKay, Junior Reid, Tenor Saw, and others, most available for the first time since their original pressings.

“We’re excited about the box set and the re-telling of our story,” said Randy Chin, President of VP Records, “It’s a great way to complete our 40th anniversary celebrations.”

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Joseph Tawadros Releases Betrayal of a Sacred Sunflower

Joseph Tawadros -d Betrayal of a Sacred Sunflower

Cairo-born Australian ud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros has a new album titled Betrayal of a Sacred Sunflower.

On this recording, Joseph Tawadros shifted from his customary high energy compositions. Betrayal of Sacred Sunflower is a more thoughtful and contemplative.

The majority of the musical pieces are minimalist and expansive, with long lasting notes giving the listener space to dream and to create their own images.

The album features ud, violin, piano, electric guitar, trombone and percussion.

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Malawi’s one-man band Faith Mussa Releases Kalilima

Multifaceted Malawian musician Faith Mussa has a new album titled Kalilima. The album features irresistible African rhythms combined with subtle electronics, glistening production and layered guitars. Using loop stations, Faith mixes new and old. “What I enjoyed the most was the process of blending traditional vibes with modern musical genres,” Faith says.

Faith Mussa – Kalilima

Kalilima is the result of three years and multiple sessions that took place in a variety of places including a horse ranch, hotel rooms, balconies, a bell tent, a small village in Mchinji-Malawi and an orphanage. “We didn’t sit down with an ‘aim’ in mind,” says Faith of its origin. “But as an artist I feel like the album is defying borders. It brings together worlds that have always been apart.”

It was a night at a horse ranch after a festival that Faith first met and worked with Nico Bentley and Beating Heart’s Ollywood. It was this collaborative moment that led to him working with the label that connects Africa’s past to its future on this album.

Other collaborators such as Papa Ngoni Fiston from Afriquoi and producer Chris Pedley also took place as a result. “I have collaborated with a lot of talented musicians in my musical journey,” Faith elaborates. “But my collaboration with Beating Heart really brought out something exciting. My writing process has really changed after meeting them. Without losing seriousness and quality, I had to write quickly, think fast, and also adapt quickly. ”

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Szászcsávás Band Releases Music from Transylvania

Szászcsávás Band – 6

Hungarian label Fonó has released the final album of the music from Szászcsávás/Ceuaș (Romania). The album titled 6 contains recordings performed by Gypsy ensemble Szászcsávás Band between 1996 and 2007 made by Szánthó Zoltán and Bartha Ágoston in the town’s preschool.

Szászcsávás is a small village in Transylvania’s Maros/Mureș County (located in Romania) inhabited by Hungarians and Gypsies. It holds a special place in Hungarian music history. Although monophonic singing is characteristic of Hungarian folk music, this is perhaps the only settlement where polyphonic singing is part of the tradition.

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Celebrated Dominican Pianist Michel Camilo Releases Essence

Pianist, composer and bandleader Michel Camilo revisits some of his essential music on Essence, featuring new arrangements. Camilo is an award-winning pianist who has a passion for jazz, Latin American music and flamenco.

Essence, scheduled for release June 7, 2019 features an impressive lineup of musicians, including many longtime collaborators.

I tried to choose music from every stage of development as a creative artist and as a composer,” Camilo says about Esence. “I picked songs that represent shifts in my career and my point of view; that showcase how I developed my sound. I’ve always thought of the trio as a mini-orchestra, so the big band is a way to celebrate my career and my journey with a group of friends creating together in the studio.”

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The Ukrainians Celebrate 30th Anniversary with ‘Summer in Lviv’

The Ukrainians

The Ukrainians’ new album “Summer in Lviv” is based on guitarist Peter Solowka and vocalist/fiddle player Len Liggins’s experiences in western Ukraine last summer, where they discovered the rejuvenated, modern city of Lviv, whose official motto is ‘Live, work and enjoy yourself’.

The Ukrainians – Summer in Lviv

Living in the west but with half the band having a background rooted in the cultures of Ukraine or eastern Europe, The Ukrainians have enjoyed success over the past three decades. Their music includes Ukrainian folk music and western rock music.

Summer in Lviv” reflects the Ukraine of today: conflict, populations migration, immigration, and a struggle for identity. A 30th anniversary re-issue, “The Complete Ukrainian John Peel Sessions” was released on CD and 12-inch vinyl LP in April 2019.

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Kamele n’goni Virtuoso Massa Dembele Releases Alumaye

Massa Dembele – Alumaye

Alumaye (meaning “have you heard?), is the second international album release from kamele n’goni maestro and singer-songwriter Massa Dembele (Burkina Faso). Alumaye combines modern afropop and the traditional sounds of western Burkina Faso.

Alumaye was recorded between Wagadugu, Burkina Faso and Tamale, Ghana. In addition to the kamele n’goni harp, Massa included Burkinabe indigenous percussion, balaphone, flute, bass and guitar.

Massa Dembele’s first international release was Mezana Dounia .

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Bakalina Velika Releases Prvi krajec

Bakalina Velika – Prvi krajec

Prvi krajec is the new album of Slovenian act Bakalina Velika. Bakalina was initially a duo featuring singer-songwriter, farmer and poet Jani Kutin and accordionist Renata Lapanja.

The new album is a gathering of a much larger musical family. It is a musical adventure that takes the listener away from the hidden corners of ancient caves to the Tolmin peaks and features experimental textures and diverse sounds and instrumentation combined reflectively with Jani’s stories.

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Olah Gypsy Maestros Romano Drom to Release Give Me Wine

Romano Drom

Acclaimed Hungarian Gypsy band Romano Drom is set to release its new album, Give Me Wine, on May 31, 2019 through Riverboat Records.

Romano Drom means ‘gypsy road’ in the Romani language, and since the band’s creation in 1999, the band has traveled worldwide with its distinctive form of gypsy roots music. Led by Antal Kovács who co-founded the group with his late father, the album features recreations of ancient gypsy songs with new compositions, ranging from drinking songs and dances, to stories of love and hardship.

Singing in their Romani mother tongue, the band’s music is characterized by liveliness and vocal jousts and interplay.

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