Spoiler ‘a genius of the absurd’

February 16th, 2021

Calypso historian and ethnomusicologist Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool describes Theophilus “Spoiler” Philip as the epitome of humour.”

Humorous calypsoes existed before Spoiler, but Spoiler is credited with making it part of the calypso tent when picong and calypso wars served as the most common form of humour.

Spoiler entered calypso in 1946 and he could hold his own with the two most popular calypsonians of the era, Killer and Kitchener. His peculiar sense of humour, and tag line of “Ah wanna fall” defined Spoiler.

via Spoiler ‘a genius of the absurd’.

Watch: Reggae’s Glory Days Are Revisited In Must-See Documentary

February 16th, 2021

Here’s one more reason to love Black History Month: It coincides with Reggae Month, a global celebration of the music and culture deemed an “an intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO.In 2008, Jamaica declared February as a monthlong recognition of the genre its country created and cultivated; as well as acknowledge the birthdays of two of their legends: Dennis Brown, who’s known as the “Crown Prince of Reggae,” on February 1, and Bob Marley, the “King of Reggae,” on February 6.

via Watch: Reggae's Glory Days Are Revisited In Must-See Documentary.

A testament to unity, SC Public Radio is expanding long-running ‘Roots Musik Karamu’

December 28th, 2020

In this so-deemed dark winter, finding a patch of positivity may at best feel daunting and other at times seem like an exercise in futility.

That’s where Osei Chandler comes in. Since 1979, the host of South Carolina Public Radio’s “Roots Musik Karamu” has been taking to the airwaves to remind us not to worry about a thing.

On Saturday evenings from 10 p.m. to midnight, Chandler infuses the state’s airwaves with rhythmic uplift, from the chilled-out bliss of reggae legend Bob Marley and the Wailers, to the heartwarming harmonies of the Zulu choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, to the soothing syntho-pop of French artist Wally Badarou.

via A testament to unity, SC Public Radio is expanding long-running 'Roots Musik Karamu'.

Sly Dunbar loved his ‘Christmas’ suit

December 28th, 2020

As a child, the festive season for celebrated drummer Sly Dunbar was really the happiest time of the year. I

t meant going shopping for new shoes and buying cloth to take to the tailor to make a brand new ‘Christmas’ suit. Then, come Christmas morning, he would be dressed to the nines and his mother would give him money to attend the Christmas morning concert at the cinema.

via Sly Dunbar loved his ‘Christmas’ suit.

Sizzla Sings From The Heart In His “Without You” Music Video

November 28th, 2020

"Righteousness will always get a fight," Sizzla Kalonji once told me, "and that is only to make you stronger." That conversation took place in 1997, he year Sizzla electrified lovers of reggae and dancehall music with two landmark albums, Praise Ye Jah and Black Woman & Child.

Sizzla has gone on to become one of the most prolific artists of his generation, releasing his most recent album, Million Times in September—a collection of 12 sweet love songs, touching on the sounds that made songs like "Just One of Those Days" and "Give Me A Try" so legendary.

via Sizzla Sings From The Heart In His "Without You" Music Video.

‘Well put together’: the style legacy of lovers rock

November 28th, 2020

Early on in Steve McQueen’s film Lovers Rock, two girls arrive at a party. The man on the door, impressed with their outfits, lets them in for nothing. “It’s lovely to have such well put together ladies,” he says.

“Well put together” could be the motto for the style of the lovers rock scene in the black British community of the 70s and early 80s: frilled dresses, smart suits and “done” hair were central. The narrative here, a sweet love story with extended dance sequences to Janet Kay’s 1979 hit Silly Games, as well as Carl Douglas’s Kung-Fu Fighting, is even more evocative thanks to a look that feels glamorous and also new.

via 'Well put together': the style legacy of lovers rock.

Memphis’ Reggae Roots Run Deeper Than You Think

November 28th, 2020

Perhaps more than any other city on earth, Memphis has played an integral role in the development of several musical genres, from blues and rock ‘n’ roll to subgenres such as power pop and trap. Lost in this mix is the important role that the Bluff City has played in the history of reggae and ska, and the small but important scene that continues to call our city home.

“The people who really know reggae and understand it’s history know that there is a debt owed to cities like Memphis and New Orleans,” says Joseph Higgins, a founding member of the city’s seminal reggae band Chinese Connection Dub Embassy. “I wish a professor or music scholar would sit down and really map out how the roots music from the South spread worldwide from Jamaica to England to everywhere else to create all these new types of music. When you step back, you can see that it’s all one.”

via Memphis’ Reggae Roots Run Deeper Than You Think.

‘Lovers Rock’: Film Review

September 28th, 2020

Director Steve McQueen conjures the sensual atmosphere and freedom of a 1980 house party in this feature from his ‘Small Axe’ anthology for Amazon about London’s West Indian community.

There’s a heady, hypnotic interlude midway through Steve McQueen’s dreamy celebration of Black community and culture, Lovers Rock, when Janet Kay’s 1979 hit "Silly Games" plays out on the turntable and is taken up by the people crammed into the suburban London living room where a house party is being held.

For a full five minutes they continue singing a cappella — the women in particular — their voices matched by the ecstasy of their swaying bodies. The massive speakers remain quiet and the only other sound is the shuffle of feet on wooden floorboards and an occasional exclamation of approval from the DJ.

via 'Lovers Rock': Film Review .

Joe Higgs, the unsung reggae pioneer who schooled Bob Marley, others – Face2Face Africa

September 28th, 2020

Joe Higgs is a name still uncommon to many reggae fans today despite his vast contributions during a musical career of over three decades. He is described as the “Father of Reggae” by those cognizant and appreciative of his massive input into what is now the world’s most influential music.

And while little-known, his influence has shaped the course of the music, directly touching the genre’s most significant and successful performers. He left fingerprints on nearly every important recording and band that emerged from Jamaica in the 1960s and ’70s.

Born Joseph Benjamin Higgs on June 3, 1940, in Kingston, Jamaica, he became instrumental in the foundation of modern Jamaican music, mostly known for his tremendous work of tutoring younger musicians including reggae big-names like Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Judy Mowatt, Derrick Harriott and Wailing Souls to name a few.

via Joe Higgs, the unsung reggae pioneer who schooled Bob Marley, others – Face2Face Africa.

Cultural revolutions: how dub reggae’s beats conquered 70s Britain

September 28th, 2020

Music producer Mad Professor has been mixing dub reggae in his Croydon studio for 35 years. “When dub hits you in the chest you feel it,” he said. “It gets inside you – it shakes your belly.”With its heavy beat of drum and bass, and the hypnotic spacing of reverb and echo, dub is a world apart from the music it grew from – the reggae of artists such as Bob Marley and Desmond Dekker.

But it emerged from the same ghettos of Kingston in Jamaica, half a century ago. And Britain is where dub found its most fervent adopted home – thanks in large part to the Windrush generation that arrived from the Caribbean after the second world war. A cultural legacy that is now being celebrated in a new exhibition, which opens at the Museum of London on Friday.

via Cultural revolutions: how dub reggae’s beats conquered 70s Britain | Music | The Guardian.