Interview: UB40′s Ali Campbell talks reggae, wine and relationships ahead of Wrexham gig

March 26th, 2017

Almost 40 years on from his band’s first release, Ali Campbell still believes he has a very special job to do when it comes to maintaining the popularity of the music he plays.

“It was always our mission to promote reggae,” he tells me, ahead of UB40’s gig at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground in May.

“I’m still doing the same thing I was doing all those years ago – promoting reggae music because it’s the music I love.”

via Interview: UB40′s Ali Campbell talks reggae, wine and relationships ahead of Wrexham gig.

The World According to Chronixx—Reggae Star, Wellness Guru

March 12th, 2017

You could be forgiven for making an assumption when a Rastafari reggae artist named Chronixx sings about "spending every dollar" on a green substance that gives him confidence and calms his nerves. But you’d probably be wrong.

Not that the 24-year-old rising star from Jamaica doesn’t smoke weed (he vapes). But it’s the spirulina he adds to tea, coconut water, and daily smoothies that he wrote a whole song about. In his eponymous ode to protein-packed algae powder, he sings that food should be your medicine, and your medicine your food.

As a fan, I was psyched to meet Chronixx just before he kicked off his 2017 Chronology Tour. As a writer at a health and fitness publication, I saw the story of an unlikely role model who embodies wellness in his work and peppers his concert-photo-filled Instagram feed with Warrior Poses and the ingredients for porridge.

via The World According to Chronixx—Reggae Star, Wellness Guru | SELF.

Spaceships, vegan food and branches of marijuana – in Jamaica with reggae’s legends

March 12th, 2017

To hear one of the best roots reggae albums to come out of Kingston, Jamaica, this spring, you have to drive a long way from Trench Town. In fact, you have to leave the city altogether and head up high into the mountains that surround it.Not every taxi is keen on making the trip, so you might want to enlist a local’s help and hope their car’s suspension can take it the vehicle I find myself in seems to have given up on the concept of suspension long ago, the undercarriage cracking as we bounce along the potholes.

As you climb, you watch Kingston unfurl below, eventually arriving not at a recording studio, but a house hidden in the hills. And on the balcony, overlooking the rolling lush greenery of the Blue Mountains, is where some of reggae music’s biggest legends – from the Congos’ Cedric Myton to Ken Boothe – have congregated to record alongside talents from the younger generation.

via Spaceships, vegan food and branches of marijuana – in Jamaica with reggae's legends | Music | The Guardian.

The True Story of Rastafari

January 8th, 2017

For Jamaica’s leaders, Rastafari has been an important aspect of the country’s global brand. Struggling with sky-high unemployment, vast inequality, and extreme poverty (crippling debt burdens from IMF agreements haven’t helped the situation), they have relied on Brand Jamaica—the government’s explicit marketing push, beginning in the 1960s—to attract tourist dollars and foreign investment to the island. The government-backed tourist industry has long encouraged visitors to Come to Jamaica and feel all right; and in 2015, the country decriminalized marijuana—creating a further draw for foreigners seeking an authentic Jamaican experience. The Jamaica Property Office (JIPO), part of the government’s larger Jamaican Promotions Agency (JAMPRO), works to protect the country’s name and trademarks from registration by outside entities with no connection to Jamaican goods and services. Meanwhile, Brand Jamaica is being exploited globally too, with billions of dollars of revenue generated each year from Rasta-themed products—from clothing and headphones to pipes, even energy drinks.

Yet it can be hard to reconcile the image sold to the world with local realities—not to mention the original politics and principles of the Rastafari movement. Rastafari began not simply as a form of countercultural expression or fringe religious belief. It involved a fight for justice by disenfranchised Jamaicans, peasant laborers and the urban underemployed alike, in what was then a British colony. In the 1930s, the Rastafari established a self-sufficient community to put their beliefs into practice. Almost eighty years later, the people Marley’s music spoke to—members of Jamaica’s “sufferah” underclass—continue to live in deep poverty, while the redemptive social organization the movement sought to create has been largely forgotten.

via The True Story of Rastafari.

Bedasse was central to mento era of J’can music

January 8th, 2017

Alerth Rockford Bedasse was central to the mento era of Jamaican music. He was the lead vocalist and chief music arranger for perhaps the most popular mento aggregation: The Chins Calypso Quintet. Along with Count Lasher, Harold Richardson and The Ticklers and Lord Flea and His Calypsonians, they were the essence of the mento upsurge during its heyday of 1950 to 1956. Bedasse’s role was crucial to a movement that not only became the forerunner of ska and rocksteady, but also had an influence on reggae.

Born in a district named May Kraal in north Clarendon, Bedasse grew up in Pennants. He got into music when two cousins, after observing his youthful musical exuberance, coincidentally bought him two guitars as presents from America. It inspired him to begin fooling around with the instruments, and after observing his musician friends operate theirs, the youngster began teaching himself to play the instrument.

via The Music Diaries | Bedasse was central to mento era of J'can music | Entertainment | Jamaica Gleaner.

John Blake’s happy with his One Life

January 2nd, 2017

AMERICAN rapper John Blake is re-establishing his Jamaican roots with his latest single One Life. The track is a collab with reggae singer Ambelique.

“It is a blend of hip hop and reggae music on world issues, self-empowerment, human challenges and faith,” he said. “The single is doing well. We have started to get some airplay on a few local radio stations in Jamaica.”

via John Blake’s happy with his One Life.

To Celebrate Reggae Music, Jamaica’s the Place

January 2nd, 2017

I was in Kingston attending a small conclave of local filmmakers sponsored by the Jamaica Film and Television Association. After viewing five short films, each of the filmmakers got to answer questions from the media.

After listening to all the chatter, I interjected with this simple question, "Does anyone remember ‘The Harder they Come’?" This was probably the most important film to come out of Jamaica as it introduced the world to the sounds of reggae music.An older man who had been introduced as a professor from the University of the West Indies and hadn’t yet said a word, answered: "I was the cinematographer on that movie."

via To Celebrate Reggae Music, Jamaica’s the Place.

A taste of island living with a trip to Jamaica

December 4th, 2016

There aren’t very many tourists on my flight from New York to ­Kingston – it’s mostly ­Jamaicans going home. The tourists usually favour the trip to ­Montego Bay, from where they’re immediately shuttled into carefully cloistered resorts and served a jolly medley of reggae and other clichés of island life along with the necessary TVs, ATMs, fast-food chains, souvenir shops and multiple pools. Many travellers who visit Jamaica attend a “destination” wedding or a retreat; many never venture outside such compounds.

via A taste of island living with a trip to Jamaica | The National.

In Her Own Words: Esther Anderson Artist/Filmmaker/Photographer

December 4th, 2016

During the Sixties and the Seventies, I documented our culture through music, dance and photography, while exploring my own representation as an actress in Hollywood and London with artists like Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando and Sammy Davis Jr. I also placed myself behind the camera as a film-maker, launching my first film at the Edinburgh Film Festival. My collaboration with Bob is the crystallisation of two young rebel souls into one through total art: love, music, photography, cinema, architecture, Ethiopianism and political resistance.

We were both radical and uncompromising. Our best creation was our commitment to helping spread reggae music and the Rastafarian message of peace and love to the world. Marley is to me one of the recipients of Jamaican social history, like Paul Bogle and Marcus Garvey. Bob and the Wailers were able to synthesise the struggle of the sufferers in Jamaica.

via In Her Own Words.

Harambe for Rita

November 23rd, 2016

ZIGGY Marley, eldest son of Bob and Rita Marley, said his mother is recuperating in Florida. He spoke exclusively with the Jamaica Observer last weekend.

“If is one thing I know, my mother is a strong, strong woman. She is doing much, much better and is in Florida with (my sister) Cedella and other family members,” he said.

A former member of the sibling group the Melody Makers, Cedella Marley is CEO of the family-owned Tuff Gong International.

In September, there were reports that the 71-year-old Rita suffered another stroke and was admitted to a Miami hospital.

via Harambe for Rita.