June 26, 2017 § Leave a comment
A couple of years ago when Prince made that statement at the Grammys, “Like books and Black Lives, albums still matter,” he might as well have been making reference to reggae star Protoje, whose 2015 album Ancient Future is definitely one of the best reggae albums from Jamaica in quite some time. In a world of mixtapes and leaked tracks, Protoje has led a new wave of reggae artists who are creating some really innovative and inspirational music, with Protoje and his Indiggnation Collective, already putting out three and half albums since 2011. In what is really a growing but tight community of creative artists, the movement dubbed reggae revival by author and activist Dutty Bookman has led to some stellar collaborations between musicians like Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah 9, Chronixx, and others. One of the most popular – “Who Knows,” by Protoje featuring Chronixx appears on Ancient Future; the song has become a staple at « Read the rest of this entry »
May 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
I promised to release a preview clip of our visit to the 2015 Penn Relays that we attended last month at the University of Pennsylvania. Here is a short clip we threw together, featuring some of the fans, athletes, coaches and other supporters we were able to talk to at the event. Look out for the full segment later, which is part of an upcoming series on Afrofusion TV. Big up to Team Jamaica Bickle and Caribbean Food Delights for all they do to support Jamaican and other Caribbean athletes at the Penn Relays. Bless.
April 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
After 51 years of consistent excellence at the Penn Relays, the largest relay competition in the world, it’s really no surprise that Jamaican teams are perennial winners. At the 121st running of the relays this past week at the University of Pennsylvania, teams from Jamaica’s high schools and colleges were winners in the majority of the sprint categories, sometimes taking the top 2, 3, or 4 spots. And even though Team USA got the better of the Jamaicans at most of the USA vs the World Relays, with Justin Gatlin and co. winning big in the 4×100, it was evident that they don’t call Jamaica “the sprint factory” for nothing. If it wasn’t a U Tech team winning the college 4×100 it was Calabar at the front for the high schools. The girls schools and colleges dominated too, with Edwin Allen and the U Tech women sprinting for top honors. So what is it, is sprinting just a Jamaican thing now? What is behind the prolific output of the “sprint factory?” According to some athletes and coaches we spoke to, it comes down to hard work, determination, intense competitiveness, and strong national support. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 30, 2014 § 4 Comments
At the Roots Public Charter School in Northwest Washington, DC late last month, Donisha Prendergast was talking passionately about a growing movement in Jamaica that has become central to her activism efforts. The occasion was really a screening of the film, RasTa: A Soul’s Journey, in which she seeks out the truth about the history of Rastafarians and their influence throughout the world. But amidst the colorful red, gold and green hats and scarves, and the Ethiopian and Jamaican foods on display at Roots, was an awareness that something serious is happening that needs the attention of all conscious people. And so Donisha, who happens to be the granddaughter of Rita and Bob Marley, spent a chunk of time talking about what is going on in Pinnacle; indeed, she has become one of the faces of the Occupy Pinnacle movement, an effort to reclaim hundreds of acres of land in the hills of « Read the rest of this entry »
December 9, 2013 § 12 Comments
Since returning from one of the world’s largest reggae festivals – the Rototom – in Spain this past August, Jamaican author and cultural activist Dutty Bookman has been more encouraged to spread the vibes of the new reggae revival. He was invited to speak at the “Reggae University” there about the new consciousness in reggae music, the return to the message of Rastafari and Pan Africanism, and to the live, organic sound that has been the hallmark of roots reggae. There was so much to cover when Dutty sat down with Afrofusion TV to talk about his passion for the Reggae Revival. His book Tried and True: Revelations of a Rebellious Youth, published in 2011, was kind of the springboard for his involvement in the « Read the rest of this entry »
February 15, 2011 § 3 Comments
It’s quite simply the story of black music in the 20th century, isn’t it? A music style is created and developed. It is ridiculed, ignored and rejected by the industry’s white establishment. It grows in popularity. It is embraced by rebellious white youth. It is co-opted by white musicians. Booyah! It’s suddenly “great sounding music, let’s play some records, shall we?” If you watch the new BBC4 documentary Reggae Britannia, you’ll find that that’s essentially what happened in the UK with the music from Jamaica called reggae. “We completely plundered reggae, without remorse,” admits Stewart Copeland of British rock band The Police, who came to prominence in the mid-70s. But in the 1960s, reggae artists and performers had the darndest time getting any pay for their records, and definitely no play on the radio. “A lot of the deejays had a snobbery towards Jamaican music, and sometimes it bordered on racialism,” says author Steve « Read the rest of this entry »
December 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Chris Blackwell, founder of the most successful indie label in music history, was at Govinda Gallery in Georgetown yesterday, signing copies of his new book Keep On Running: The Story of Island Records. But one of the most notable signatures he scribbled was not even on that big coffee table book. A copy of the Wailers’ Catch a Fire with the original LP (long play) cover was thrust in front of him by proud owner Cary Scott, who’d found it in near mint condition, stashed in the back of a record store in Washington, DC. Mr. Blackwell was suitably impressed; it is one of only 12 original copies left in the world, and in the best condition he’d ever seen one.
November 16, 2010 § 5 Comments
Rita Marley, reggae artist and humanitarian, and widow of Reggae icon Bob Marley, sat in regal serenity at the Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala in Washington, DC last week, giving little inkling of the true fighter that she is. For her passion and dedication to social justice and equal rights, she was being honored with the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Caribbean Studies. For Rita Marley – born Alpharita Anderson in Santiago, Cuba, raised in Trench Town, Jamaica and now living in Ghana – there is a special gratification to this honor. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 26, 2010 § 1 Comment
His was surely one of the most soothing voices in all of reggae music. You could say he put the “lover” in Lovers Rock. The “Cool Ruler,” as Gregory Isaacs came to be known, joined the ancestors last night after succumbing to cancer in London, England. I was introduced to his sound at a young age, a time when reggae artists found they had their fingers firmly on the pulse of what moved the young masses in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions of the world. By the time I got to my teens, I found myself swaying to the groove of songs like “Substitute,” and “Sad to Know that You’re Leaving.” Born in Jamaica, he was a member of the vocal trio The Concords until he went solo in 1973. Isaacs was greatly influenced by American soul singer Sam Cooke, himself a silky-voiced crooner, and went on to release more than 300 albums of his own material in his 40-year career. His most commercially successful record, Night Nurse was recorded at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica. Its title track (my favorite Gregory Isaacs song) is probably his most popular. “Substitute is gonna put you down,” he sang back in ’81. I’m sure most would agree that there will likely be no substitute to this reggae giant and his music. You can read how other reggae singers, including some of his contemporaries, have reacted to his passing here. R.I.P. Gregory. Bless…
- Reggae star Gregory Isaacs dies (variety.com)
October 13, 2010 § 3 Comments
I promised to bring you snippets of Afrofusion TV’s interview with Gyptian… Voila! check it out below! It’s a fairly common “problem” with music artists. You record a song, and fans think someone else sang it. For African and West Indian artists, the cross-pollination in music styles and genres makes the occurrence more frequent, and even less surprising. So for Nigerian singer Tuface Idibia, his worldwide hit “African Queen” got attributed by many a fan to Jamaican reggae star Gyptian!