Tag Archives: Reggae

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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Artist Profiles: Gregory Isaacs

Gregory Isaacs

Gregory Isaacs ranked as one of the true superstars of reggae music, with a career that spanned three decades and legions of loyal fans worldwide. His humble upbringing began in Kingston, Jamaica where he was born in 1951.

Like many before him, he started his singing career in the early 1970s by working with a number of producers and entering various local talent competitions. His first records of notice were on Rupie Edwards’ Success label.

To gain artistic freedom and financial control of his own work, Isaacs started his own African Museum label and shop in Kingston in 1973 with singer Errol Dunkley. In order to finance his label, he continued to work with other producers such as Winton “Niney The Observer” Holness, Gussie Clark, Lloyd Campbell, and Alvin “GG” Ranglin for the rest of the 1970s.

His early recordings were responsible for the development of his singing style, love ballads with his cool relaxed nasal style, as well as his ease with songs about social protest. By 1980, Gregory had become one of the top stars in the reggae world, touring the UK and US extensively.

He signed with Virgin Records’ Frontline label and gained a considerable name for himself outside the reggae world. Isaacs continued recording singles on his African Museum label in Jamaica – ultimately those singles were gathered for the Virgin releases. His preeminence during this period was confirmed by the nickname of “Cool Ruler,” given to him by critics and fans after the title of one his albums.

By the mid 1980s, he had a number of personal and financial problems and ended up in a Jamaican prison for a short time. After his release, he began work recording for scores for different producers, which included some of his best material for King Jammys, Bobby Digital, and Steely and Clevie.

His 1988 landmark album, Red Rose for Gregory, and the single “Rumors” brought him to worldwide prominence again. Since then he has recorded a number of albums, scores of singles, and has continued to tour extensively worldwide.

Over the years, Gregory Isaacs worked hard to keep his legendary status and reputation in the reggae business second to none.

The Artists Only! label released Gregory Isaacs – Live at Maritime Hall in conjunction with 2B1 label the fall of 1998 to a great response.

Turn Down the Lights (1999) was produced by the legendary Lloyd “King Jammys”.

Come Take My Hand (2006) was produced by Emmanuel (Rude) Davies For Rude Productions. The 17-track set includes 14 vocal pieces and 3 bonus instrumental versions on CD, and 12 tracks on vinyl. Musicians on this album include Sly and Robbie, Carlton (Bubblers) Ogilvie, Earl (Broad Finger) Francis, Paul (Jazzwad) Yebuah, Jermaine (Ajang) Ford, to name a few.

Gregory Isaacs died October 25, 2010 in London, England, UK.

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California Reggae Band Pepper Releases ‘Local Motion’


Pepper – Local Motion

Reggae band Pepper has a new album titled ‘Local Motion’ out on the band’s imprint LAW Records. Local Motion pays tribute to the many days and weeks they spend on the road touring, and the relationships forged both with their fans and the music community alike. Pepper comments, “We are fucking pumped and it’s contagious so get ready!”

Highlights include the lead summer song single “Warning” (Ft. Stick Figure); “Brand New Day” and love song “Candy.”

Pepper includes Kaleo Wassman (Vocals, Guitar), Bret Bollinger (Bass, Vocals), and Yesod Williams (Drums, Vocals). Pepper has expanded its brand to include wine and a cannabis strand “Hawaiian Pepper.” Recently they performed a popular set at the California Roots Festival where they sold-out of their limited edition Local Motion vinyl record only sold during their meet and greet.

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Rising Reggae Act Mortimer Releases “Lightning” Single

Mortimer – Lightning,

Emerging reggae star Mortimer has a new single titled “Lightning,” released via a partnership between top producer Winta James’s Overstand Entertainment and reggae label Easy Star Records

“Lightning” is a classic slow beat reggae love song with a modern update. With a thin rhythm section featuring a live Hammond organ and rhythm guitar, joined later by live steel guitar, brass, and synthesizers, which build to a fervent climax.

Mortimer’s previous single for Overstand/Easy Star was “Careful,” which came out in October 2018.

Mortimer is also well-known for his collaborations with Protoje, including a highlighted spot on the song “Truths & Rights” from the album A Matter of Time.

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Ghanaian Reggae Star Rocky Dawuni Releases “Elevation” Music Video

Rocky Dawuni, Ghana’s reggae maverick, has released the “Elevation” video. The song appears on his most recent album “Beats of Zion.” With its message of supporting the oppressed, “Elevation” aims to represent global diversity in everyday life and focus on the unrecognized heroes who are essential to making a difference in many communities and societies.

The visuals, made in India by director Sairam Sagiraju, used multiple locations along the way from Bangalore to Goa showing India in diverse ways as a visual allegory of inclusion and connectivity.

Rocky Dawuni – Beats of Zion

Dawuni is seen as a traveling storyteller, interacting in scenes and identifying with various groups; promoting girl child education, liberation of untouchables, celebration of elders, defense of wildlife and the merriment of rural life.

In a time when divisive speech is on the rise, Rocky’s album Beats of Zion puts out an uplifting message about global unity and a worldview of solidarity. Rocky passionately says, “We live in a time when the elements of international morality need to be proclaimed as a guiding principle for how we engage and deal with each other, between individuals, between communities and among nations. It is a time for global mobilization for action on challenging sociopolitical issues like the environment and the refugee crisis. Beats of Zion is the drumbeat of war against apathy and re-energizing the forces of love and hope. Beats of Zion is the rhythm of change beating from a distance and getting louder to awaken positive consciousness.”

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Reggae on the Mountain Music & Camping Festival 2019

Reggae on the Mountain Music & Camping Festival will take place August 17 & 18, 2019 at King Gillette Ranch in Malibu, California. Headliners this year include Steel Pulse, Julian Marley, Matisyahu, Third World, and Pato Banton.

Saturday, August 17:
Steel Pulse, Julian Marley, Pato Banton, Anuhea, Arise Roots, Ital Vibes, Better Chemistry, Dread Kennedy

Sunday, August 18:
Matisyahu, Third World, Hirie, Mike Love, Gondwana, Makua Rothman, Cisco Adler, Quitno Sol, Pachamama, Synrgy, Prime Livity.

More at: www.reggaeonthemountain.com

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Stephen “Ragga” Marley Begins Babylon By Bus Tour This Week

Stephen “Ragga” Marley live

Following two acoustic U.S. tours over the last year, GRAMMY-winning reggae musician Stephen “Ragga” Marley is back on the road again, this time accompanied by a full band. His Babylon By Bus Tour started yesterday (July 5) in Ormond Beach, Florida and will continue until September 12.

Stephen aptly titled his tour after his father’s iconic 1978 live album with The Wailers. “Just as my father did so many times, this summer I will criss-cross the country — appearing in cities near and far, bringing our music and message of love and unity to people from all walks of life, reaching out through the universal power of music which unites us all…And we are coming to a city, town, or festival near you — by bus,” says Stephen.

Throughout the set, fans can expect him to perform hits from his four solo studio albums, all of which hit #1 on Billboard Reggae’s album chart, as well as cover some of his father’s classics. The family’s music lineage spans generations, Stephen will also share the musical stylings of his daughter DJ Shacia Päyne and son and reggae artist Jo Mersa Marley, who will open on select dates.

As a part of this tour, a dollar from each ticket purchased will be donated to the Ghetto Youths Foundation. Founded by Stephen, Damian and Julian Marley, the non-profit organization provides aid, assistance, resources and opportunity to communities in need.

Fans in key cities of the tour can directly support by purchasing a ticket to the official after party, where they can attend DJ Shacia Päyne’s 90’s dancehall party vibes and get a chance to mix and mingle with Stephen Marley after the show. 100% of all these proceeds go directly to the Ghetto Youths Foundation’s programs. Currently Trenchtown, Jamaica, is the site of some of the Ghetto Youths Foundation’s most exceptional work. With plans to open its doors at the end of 2019, the Ghetto Youths Foundation Homework Center will be in the heart of Trenchtown – a sanctuary and safe haven supporting learning and personal achievement, providing mentorship and opportunity and fostering hope. Tickets to the after party will support this cause and are sold separately, $25 per person and can be secured in advance or day of show at the venue. Visit www.stephenmarleymusic.com and www.ghettoyouthsfoundation.org for most up-to-date after party schedule.

U.S. Tour Dates:

July 6, 2019 Sat in Jupiter, FL @ Abacoa Town Center Amphitheatre ^ +
July 7, 2019 Sun in St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live * ^ +
July 9, 2019 Tue in Columbia, SC @ The Senate ^ +
July 11, 2019 Thu in Silver Springs, MD @ The Filmore * ^ +
July 12, 2019 Fri in Vineyard Haven, MA @ Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center ^ +
July 13, 2019 Sat in Baldwinsville, NY @ Paper Mill Island ^ +
July 14, 2019 Sun in Pittsburgh, PA @ Hartwood Acres Amphitheatre ^ +
July 17, 2019 Wedin Hampton, NH @ Bernie’s Beach Bar ^ +
July 18, 2019 Thu in Portland, ME @ AURA * ^ +
July 19, 2019 Fri in Cohasset, MA @ South Shore Music Circus ^ +
July 20, 2019 Sat in Westhampton Beach, NY @ Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center ^ +
July 22, 2019 Mon in Camden, NJ @ Wiggins Park ^ +
July 24, 2019 Wed in Albany, NY @ Empire State Plaza ^ +
July 26, 2019 Fri in Burlington, VT @ Twiddle’s Tumble Down Festival ^ +
July 27, 2019 Sat in Scranton, PA @ The Peach Music Festival ^ +
July 28, 2019 Sun in Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival ^ +
July 30, 2019 Tue in Ocean City, MD @ Seacrets Night Club ^ +
July 31, 2019 Wed in Kill Devil Hills, NC @ Outer Banks Brewing Station ^ +
August 2, 2019 Fri in Wilmington, NC @ Greenfield Lake Amphitheater ^
August 3, 2019 Sat in Black Mountain, North Carolina @ LEAF Festival ^
August 6, 2019 Tue in Virginia Beach, VA @ Neptune’s Park at 31st St ^
August 8, 2019 Thu in Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony * ^
August 9, 2019 Fri in Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre ^
August 10, 2019 Sat in Charleston, SC @ Music Farm ^
August 11, 2019 Sun in Richmond, VA @ Richmond Jazz Festival ^
August 13, 2019 Tue in Kalamazoo, MI @ Bells Eccentric Cafe * ^
August 15, 2019 Thu in St. Louis, MO @ The Bootleg at Atomic Cowboy ^
August 16, 2019 Fri in St Paul, MN @ Big River Summer Concert Series ^
August 17, 2019 Sat in Kansas City, MO @ Crossroads KC * ^
August 18, 2019 Sun in Omaha, NE@ Slowdown ^
August 20, 2019 Tue in Oklahoma City, OK @ Tower Theatre * ^
August 23, 2019 Fri in Albuquerque, NM @ KiMo Theatre ^
August 24, 2019 Sat in Aspen, CO @ Belly Up Aspen * ^
August 25, 2019 Sun in Heber City, UT @ Reggae Rise Up ^
August 27, 2019 Tue in Redding, CA @ The Cascade Theatre ^
August 29, 2019 Thu in Seattle, WA @ The Showbox * ^
August 30, 2019 Fri in Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall ^
August 31, 2019 Sat in Cave Junction, OR @ Earth People’s Park
September 1, 2019 Sun in Redway, CA @ Mateel Community Center
September 3, 2019 Tue in Felton, CA @ Felton Music Hall
September 5, 2019 Thu in San Francisco, CA @ The Filmore ^
September 6, 2019 Fri in Ventura, CA @ Backyard Bash Discovery Outdoors * ^
September 7, 2019 Sat in San Luis Obispo, CA @ The Fremont Theater * ^
September 9, 2019 Mon in Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern * ^
September 10, 2019 Tue in Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern * ^
September 11, 2019 Wed in Garden Grove, CA @ Garden Amp * ^
September 12, 2019 Thu in Garden Grove, CA @ Garden Amp * ^

  • Official After Party for Ghetto Youths Foundation
    ^ with Shacia Payne
  • with Jo Mersa Marley
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A Reggae Tribute to Alty George Nunes III

Jah Ova Evil – Forever Judah

Jah Ova Evil – Forever Judah (Batelier Records, 2015)

Forever Judah is a set of enjoyable reggae, roots rock and reggae pop tracks by young Jamaican artists. The opening track includes 24-year old singer Alty George Nunes III (also known as aka Jah Ova Evil), who passed away shortly before the release of the album. Forever Judah isin reality a tribute aslbum to Alty George Nunes III, completed by family, friends and fellow musicians.

The artists include Alty’s twin brothers The Gideon (Aijah Nunes) and Selah (Jahnoi Nunes), D’Excel, Jahwawah, Hempress Sativa and Nicole Miller.

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Artist Profiles: The Heptones

The Heptones

The Heptones are one of reggae’s legendary groups, led by the charismatic Leroy Sibbles along with Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn. They became huge hitmakers while at the top Jamaican label, Studio One. After recording numerous rock steady anthems, they were also one of the few groups to make a successful transition from rock steady to reggae.

Deep in the Roots, released in 2004 was recorded at Kingston’s famed Channel One Studio by top roots producer Niney the Observer, with backing by the Soul Syndicate band. Features previously-unreleased extended mixes, plus rare tracks.

Co-founder Barry Llewellyn died on November 23, 2011, in Kingston, Jamaica.

Discography:

The Heptones (Studio One, 1967)
On Top (Studio One, 1968)
Black is Black (Studio One, 1970)
Freedom Line (Studio One, 1971)
Book of Rules (Jaywax, 1973)
Cool Rasta (Trojan Records, 1976)
Night Food (Island Records, 1976)
Party Time (Island Records, 977)
Better Days (Third World, 1978)
Good Life ( Greensleeves Records, 1979)
King Of My Town (Jackal Records, 1979)
Mr. Skabeana (Cha Cha Music, 1980)
One Step Ahead (Sonic Sounds, 1981)
On The Run (Shanachie, 1982)
Back on Top (Vista Sounds, 1983)
In A Dancehall Style (Vista Sounds, 1983)
Swing Low (Burning Sounds, 1985)
Changing Times (Moving Target, 1986)
A Place Called Love (Moving Target, 1987)
Sing Good Vibes (1988)
Mr. “T” (1991)
Observer’s Style (1994)
Pressure! (Real Authentic Sound, 1995)
Rebel Love (2016)

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Final Set of live acts announced for Africa Oyé festival

Additional artists from Malawi, Jamaica and Haiti have been revealed in the final set of acts for the 27th annual Africa Oyé festival this summer: Gasper Nali, Jah9 and Wesli. The festival will take place in Liverpool’s Sefton Park on June 22-23. Africa Oyé celebrates the music and culture of Africa and the Diaspora.

Jah9

With a vocal style that has been likened to Ella Fitzgerald, and a contemporary freshness in the same style as Erykah Badu, Jah9 has become somewhat of an icon for the Jamaican movement known as ‘The Reggae Revival’. Her philosophy, spirituality and unique ‘jazz on dub’ style has traveled across Europe and beyond since her debut album New Name launched in 2013 to wide acclaim.

Wesli

Making a welcome return to the festival after his 2016 set was cut short due to travel difficulties, is the multi award-winning Haitian star, Wesli. His music aims to give a new mainstream life to rhythms and instruments that he says have been neglected as Haiti faces an increasing amount of global commercial music and culture.

Gasper Nali

Rounding off this final wave of artists is Malawian one-man-band Gasper Nali. Gasper is a Kwela roots musician from the small town of Nkhata Bay on the shores of Lake Malawi. Playing a one-string, homemade, 3-metre-long Babatoni bass guitar with a stick and an empty beer bottle, together with a cow skin kick drum, he creates dance-inducing Afro Beats.

The final list of artists join a line-up that already includes The Garifuna Collective, Horace Andy, BCUC, Moonlight Benjamin, Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda, Carlou D and OSHUN, as well as Liverpool emerging stars Tabitha Jade and Satin Beige who make up the ‘Oyé Introduces’ program.

Africa Oyé’s Artistic Director said of the final set of artists: “These three artists really represent the diversity of the festival line-up that we strive for each year. We’ve got a breaking female reggae star, a one-man-band with instruments he’s crafted himself and an international award winning star returning to our stage; artists representing Africa, the Caribbean and the wider diaspora – it’s a perfect final wave of live acts for this year’s festival and I can’t wait for everyone to see them perform.”

As well as the international offering of live music on the main stage, festivalgoers will also be able to eat and drink their way around the world with a range of food vendors and traders’ wares on offer in the Oyé Village.

Entrance is FREE and a ticket is not needed.

For more information visit africaoye.com.

headline photo: Africa Oye festival – Photo by Matt Hart

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