Protoje talks Reggae with Afrofusion TV

June 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

Protoje performs at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

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 »

The 4/20 Chronixx “Chronology” Show

April 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

Chronixx at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD

The first single off his soon-to-be released debut album Chronology, “Likes,” has Chronixx warning us about the superficiality of social media hype. But, it’s evident that the most prominent artist at the forefront of the reggae revival has also made very smart use of social media to steadily grow his worldwide fan base. That – together with his critically acclaimed EP Dread and Terrible, the announcement of his Chronology tour, and his February appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show – has made his new disc one of the most eagerly anticipated reggae debut albums. We first heard of Chronixx back when we interviewed the man who coined the term “reggae revival,” author, culture activist and DJ Dutty Bookman. Naturally, seeing Chronixx and his band

Chronixx goes airborne during his performance in Silver Spring, MD

Zincfence Redemption live in concert on April 20 was a must, and although we were not able to interview the artist this time, we can share some photos and a (cell phone) video clip from his show. Fellow Jamaican artist Kelissa, who is also « Read the rest of this entry »

Dutty Bookman on the Reggae Revival Movement

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 »

Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers Crossed Tour” Hits DC

September 29, 2013 § 2 Comments

Reggae Icon Jimmy Cliff in his element at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Reggae Icon Jimmy Cliff in his element at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Jimmy Cliff kicked off the show on the nyabinghi drum

Jimmy Cliff kicked off the show on the nyabinghi drum

Who knew that Wonderful World, Beautiful People was inspired by a trip Jimmy Cliff made to Brazil? Or that Cat Stevens, who wrote the original Wild World, actually helped produce Jimmy Cliff’s version, which went on to become a top ten UK hit? These are some of the gems that have come from the grammy-winning rock and roll hall of fame inductee as he winds up his “Many Rivers Crossed Tour,” playing mostly classic hits and telling the stories behind them. At the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC, the 65 year-old Jimmy Cliff’s energy was truly on show, from the first nyabinghi drum beat to the last strum of his Schecter Electric guitar. He left the stage four times, only to be cajoled back by chants of “Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!” The tour coincides with the 40th Anniversary of the US release of The Harder They Come, the movie in which he played the lead role of Ivan, a “rude boy” and aspiring singer. Apart from the title track, Cliff also contributed three « Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Sister Carol and Black Uhuru’s Michael Rose Live at Howard Theatre

April 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

Michael Rose

Michael Rose

When comedian Jimmy Fallon introduced Bill Cosby on his late night TV talk show earlier this month, house band The Roots broke into Black Uhuru‘s “Sponji Reggae,” and Cosby came in doing his signature boogie to the popular tune with Fallon following close behind. But drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson had to remind Cosby that the song was played on an episode of the Cosby show almost 30 years ago. For reggae fans it was a great trip down memory lane. At the Howard Theatre last Wednesday, while on tour with the “Black Cinderella” Sister Carol, by the time Black Uhuru’s Michael Rose launched into “Sponji Reggae,” we were in the middle of a more glorious trip; he was already deep into a crucial sampling of the group’s major hits. Sister Carol, clad in African regalia, opened the show at the historic DC landmark rather promptly at 9pm, with “Rastafari is my Savior,” then continued with a string of her familiar hits from the 90s. Michael Rose kicked off his segment with “Shine Eye Gal,” followed by ‘Plastic Smile” and “General Penitentiary.” Billed as the Balance Tour (the idea is apparently to correct the « Read the rest of this entry »

A Ziggy Marley Love Fest at Washington, DC’s Howard Theatre

June 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ziggy Marley performs at the newly renovated historic Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Ziggy Marley, the eldest son of reggae icon Bob Marley, is on a Wild and Free Tour through the USA and Canada. And on Wednesday June 13, the five-time Grammy Award winner lit up the stage at Washington, DC’s historic Howard Theatre with a mix of songs from his own repertoire and a sprinkling of his father’s classics. The tour takes the name of his latest studio album, which was released last June, and features guest appearances from the late Heavy D and Ziggy’s own son Daniel. Media were given a three-song limit of time to shoot photos and video; I arrived late but managed to squeeze off a few shots « Read the rest of this entry »

Freshlyground Rock the Black Cat, Sahel at Bossa + More Great Concerts!

July 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

Sahel

To all Americans: Happy Independence Day! The weekend has been great already. I checked out two great concerts in the past few days. And they were all about the beat. First was Sahel, a Washington, DC-based African Diaspora group, playing at Bossa in Adams Morgan for Lunchbox Theory’s Afrobeat for ya Soul. Fronted by Jean Francis Varre, they ran through an infectious mix of music from virtually all over the globe: Samba, Salsa, Reggae, Mbalax, and Zouk. Stewart Bernard II killed that bass guitar; Tosin Aribisala, who has played with Femi Kuti, was amazing on the drums, and Didier Prossaird was all over the keyboards. From their website:

Sahel is inspired by tradition and dedicated to the progress of music that moves the world.”

Anyone present at Bossa that Thursday night can testify to that! You can catch Sahel again at the Washington, DC Africa Day Festival July 16 at the Takoma Community Center.

Freshlyground at the Black Cat

It’s a shame that South African best pop export Freshlyground is not very well-known in the US, but on this their first ever American tour that may well change. By the time the show promoter introduced them, the crowd at the Black Cat on

Freshlyground's Zolani Mahola

U Street was already roaring their approval; lead singer Zolani Mahola and her crew wasted no time, launching into their popular song “Fire Is Low”, to the clapping accompaniment of the audience. Freshlyground’s die-hard fans were up front, singing along, but by the time the band got to their huge hit “Doo Be Doo,” they had everybody in the crowd waving their hands and chanting. Freshlyground continue their North American tour in Philadelphia, before doing other dates in Canada and California. Afrofusion hopes to have more for you from  Freshlyground and Sahel later on, stay tuned! Other upcoming concerts of note: Kassav, pioneers of the zouk sound, will be in DC July 29 for a one-night only show (at the Crossroads), promoted by Kololo Entertainment, the same promoter responsible for Freshlyground’s DC show. Also at Crossroads, Beres Hammond and Wayne Wonder as part of their Cool Out Sundays Concert Series, August 7. See you there! More photos from the Freshlyground and Sahel shows below and on our gallery page. Bless…

The West Indies and West Africa converge for Africa Underground 2

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Moko Jumbie

I can’t really see myself missing After Hours at African Art, when the Smithsonian opens the doors of its museum after hours to revelers who can dance, eat, drink, party, and enjoy the breathtaking exhibitions there. After being away from the country for a couple of months, I returned just in time to attend the second edition of Africa Underground. For the hugely successful first installment at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC in February, the organizers took us down south for a Brazilian samba-flavored showcase of art, music and culture. This time (the party was on May 20) the serving was distinctly West Indian in its character, yet an equally joyous and colorful exposé of the connection between the Caribbean and West Africa. The sold out event featured live music out on the grounds, and on the inside a DJ, poetry and spoken word, arts and crafts, and a talk on the West Indian/West African connection. I arrived a bit late, unfortunately, and missed a great performance in the garden by the moko jumbies (stilt walkers). But right after that Papa Wabe,
« Read the rest of this entry »

British Reggae Loses A Legend: RIP Smiley Culture

March 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

Smiley Culture

His most popular track remains one of my favorite records of all time. British Reggae Artist Smiley Culture bolted into the UK Top Twenty Charts with “Police Officer” back in 1984, and by some cruel ironic twist has now been pronounced dead after an incident with British Police. The Independent Police Complaints Commission are proclaiming his passing “death following Police contact,” although the police are saying they believe he stabbed himself after they raided his home in Surrey around 7 am this morning, March 15. Smiley’s real name was David Emmanuel, and his first hit was “Cockney Translation.” You can read this article for more information. Truly a sad loss for all reggae fans, especially followers of British reggae. Bless…

The song that did it for me: "Police Officer"

Reggae Britannia – BBC4 Doc Celebrates Reggae’s Influence on British Music and Culture | i-reggae

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 »

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