Reggae, dancehall and the culture of violence

December 3rd, 2017


Ninjaman, dubbed as the Gold Teeth Don Gargan of dancehall, will not be celebrating a Merry Christmas in 2017.A seven-person jury found Desmond “Ninjaman” Ballentine; his son, Jahneil Ballentine, and a friend, Dennis Clayton, guilty of the murder of Ricardo Johnson, and they will be sentenced on December 15, 2017 more than likely to life imprisonment with not much of a possibility for parole.

Ninjaman was born on June 20, 1966 in Annotto Bay, St Mary, and migrated to Kingston as a teenager. As he has specified in his dancehall lyrics, he grew up on Marl Road and, paradoxically, that’s where the murder took place in March 2009. He was locked up for three years, then given bail and was re-jailed when the murder trial commenced in 2017. Who the court designated as ‘Witness A’ provided the damaging testimony as that ‘Witness A’ was at the scene of the crime.

via Reggae, dancehall and the culture of violence.

Jamaican cuisine comes to Okemos

September 24th, 2017

There’s a picture on the wall of Louise Bennett. 

Not Bob Marley. Louise Bennett, a Jamaican poet and folklorist.

"She is the first iconic female to take the language of Jamaica global," Shawn Fearon said. "She paved the way for Bob Marley.

I have a soft spot in my heart for females, because I grew up with a single mom. I appreciate talented, hardworking women."

The art on the walls, which shows Jamaica’s Blue Mountain, Dunn’s River Falls, a bobsled team, cricket and the Reggae Boys tells a story of Jamaica, he says.

via Jamaican cuisine comes to Okemos.

An oral history of Holy Bob; So Much Things to Say reviewed

September 24th, 2017

The Harder They Come, Jamaica’s first (and still finest) home-grown film, was released in 1972 with the local singer Jimmy Cliff as the country boy Ivan Martin, who becomes a Robin Hood-like criminal outlaw amid the ganja-yards and urban alleys of the Jamaican capital of Kingston. The film’s director Perry Henzell, a ganja-smoking white Jamaican who had been sent to board at Sherborne school, was influenced by the gritty ‘newsreel’ school of Italian neo-realism (Bicycle Thieves, Obsession), which aimed for a documentary immediacy off the street. The soundtrack, assembled by Henzell in under a week, effectively introduced reggae to white British audiences.

Without the soundtrack album, it is fair to say, reggae would not have taken hold in Britain in the way it did.

Fashionable dinner parties in early 1970s Britain often enjoyed a musical accompaniment of the Maytals’ gospel-hot ‘Pressure Drop’ or Desmond Dekker’s ‘007 (Shanty Town)’. Earlier, in the 1960s, scooter-riding Mods had adopted Jamaican ska as a supplement to their diet of imported American soul, but reggae was a ganja-heavy newcomer, whose strangely hymnal, incantatory quality insinuated itself happily into the middle-class hippie culture which Mods (and indeed skinheads) professed to despise.

via An oral history of Holy Bob; So Much Things to Say reviewed | The Spectator.

Damian Marley talks new solo music, marijuana business

August 7th, 2017

Damian Marley shot the music video for his new song “Medication” in a medical marijuana farm.

The reggae singer, who is part owner of a medical marijuana company, exalts the drug’s benefits in “Medication,” which appears on his newly released album “Stony Hill.”

It’s his first solo record in 12 years, but don’t call it a comeback. Marley said it’s the natural next step after years working on collaboration albums.

via Damian Marley talks new solo music, marijuana business.

Music industry welcomes JCDC’s support of street dances

August 7th, 2017

Music industry players have welcomed the JCDC’s decision to endorse all of the island’s popular street dances this year.According to insiders, the support from JCDC is way overdue and more government-affiliated bodies should help to develop the music industry instead of tear it down."We think it is a nice move, and it helps the youth and young artistes.

One of the festival winners performed at Weddy Weddy and it went well. We are backing JCDC 100 per cent and they are doing some excellent work," said Dwayne Pow of Stone Love.

via Music industry welcomes JCDC's support of street dances.

Chronixx Is the New Golden Boy of Reggae

July 16th, 2017

It is a strange thing to be a Jamaican artist trying to break into the American music scene in 2017. For many American listeners, their knowledge of reggae begins (and ends) with the name Marley (right now, half of the albums in the iTunes Store reggae top 10 are old Bob Marley albums). On top of that, Jamaican sounds are unusually trendy in North American pop music these days—just ask Calvin Harris, Drake, Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber, or anyone using patois slang and "tropical house" grooves in their Billboard chart-climbing hits.

That’s not the case for 24-year-old Jamar McNaughton, however. Better known by his stage name of Chronixx, McNaughton just released his debut LP,

Chronology, a 16-track collection bringing together songs from across his musical career, some dating back to 2011. Now he holds the No. 1 spot on the iTunes reggae top 10. It is a potentially stressful moment to be trying to make a breakthrough, but Chronixx remains unbothered and optimistic.

via Chronixx Is the New Golden Boy of Reggae.

Dancehall Queen still reigns after 20 years

July 16th, 2017

The song Dancehall Queen by Beenie Man and Chevelle Franklyn hit the Billboard charts exactly 20 years ago this week.Originally produced by Tony Kelly and Steven “Lenky” Marsden, the song was remixed by Lowell “Sly” Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare for Island Jamaica. It was the remix that took off and became a monster hit.

Dancehall Queen was the lead single from the soundtrack of the highly publicised independent Jamaican film of the same name, which starred Audrey Reid, Carl Davis, Cherine Anderson, and Paul Campbell. It was directed by Rick Elgood and Don Letts.

via Dancehall Queen still reigns after 20 years.

Stone Love Crowns Japan the Capital of Jamaican music

June 11th, 2017

Critics have in recent times proclaimed Japan to be the capital of dancehall music and France the capital of reggae music. With that being said, several music industry protagonists have rubbished those claims, while others have agreed that the critics have put forward a strong argument.

Iconic sound system operator Winston ‘Wee Pow’ Powell, who recently returned to Jamaica after spending three weeks in Japan along with the Stone Love sound system, told The Sunday Gleaner that people who believe that Japan is the capital of dancehall might be understating the extent of Japan’s grip on the Jamaican culture.

via Stone Love Crowns Japan the Capital of Jamaican music.

Stella McCartney Resort Rocks Reggae, Perfume, and a Message in a Bottle

June 11th, 2017

Stella McCartney celebrated resort season with her annual garden party in NYC. This year the designer moved the chic fête from the Elizabeth Street garden in Nolita to the garden grounds behind the High Line Hotel. Ky-Mani Marley the only child of Bob Marley and Jamaican table tennis champion Anita Belnavis kept guests grooving to reggae throughout the night, reminding New Yorkers that summer was indeed hopefully? finally? around the corner. “I grew up on reggae,” said McCartney told The Daily.

“No one plays enough reggae anymore.” So how did she and Marley connect? “Oh, you know, just through life. Just through a little journey…” said McCartney with a chuckle and a wink.The crowd had access to booths that included free bottles of McCartney’s latest fragrance, Pop Bluebell, and plastic bottles that contained messages with facts about the environment. Ours read, “Plastic normally takes thousands of years to decompose. But 16-year-old Daniel Burd made it happen in just three months by isolating a microbe that lunches on plastic bags.” Always eco-minded, McCartney recently partnered with Parley for the Oceans, a group that has made a yarn out of ocean trash to create a new fiber.

via Stella McCartney Resort Rocks Reggae, Perfume, and a Message in a Bottle.

Greensleeves celebrates 40 years with reggae concert

May 19th, 2017

United Kingdom-based reggae label Greensleeves Records is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. In commemoration of the milestone, the label has planned a series of activities to take place across the globe, with stops in places like London, Paris and New York.

On June 21, the label will hold a 40th anniversary celebration concert at the legendary BB King venue in Times Square, New York. Queen Ifrica, Alborosie, and Addis Pablo are among the acts slated to perform at the public event designed to highlight the tremendous impact Greensleeves Records has had on reggae music over the years.

via Greensleeves celebrates 40 years with reggae concert.