Pon Di Wire: A Weekly Reggae Roundup
- Words: Tomas Palermo
Reggae singer Nanko, known for the hit “Lucky You” (Downsound), has reportedly gone AWOL, and his label is claiming breech of contract. According to the label's press release, Nanko was signed to Downsound Records with production and management contracts since December 2005, with the label spending a significant sum of money for his recordings, videos, personal expenses, and promotion. Downsound and Nanko modified a new contract on March 23, but the label claims that shortly afterwards that, "Nanko left Jamaica and has refused to take calls from Downsound or to respond to emails and other attempts to communicate."
The Nowadayz dancehall website has a great overview of the recent Rendezvous concert in St. Andrew, Jamaica. The stage show featured Bounty Killer’s famous Alliance, as well as former Alliance member Vybz Kartel (pictured below), who introduced his new clique by commenting, "Big up Alliance but mi have mi crew." His Portmore Empire crew includes Black Rhino, Craig Dennis, and Likkle Danga.
Definitely a must read for all serious sound clash fans is a weekly gander at premiere promoter Chin’s (of Irish & Chin Promotions) blog. This week, he gives the lowdown on the June 30 Gulf War sound clash in Texas, featuring Ricky Trooper, Famous Squad, Baltimore-based Outlaw (they also represent Toronto), and Sashamane, from New York. Chin also sheds light on the hard dollars and cents reality of putting on an event, which can cost promoters $25,000 or more for a typical three-sound show.
The Bam Bam duo is back! Chakademus and Pliers have reunited and will re-release their 2004 album Back Off The Wall (TBA). The new edition features "fresh songs," including the soon-to-be-released single, “Need Your Lovin’.” The duo first hit big in 1992 with the single “Murder She Wrote” (Taxi/Island-Mango).
The “National Enquirer" of Jamaica, the Star News–which features colorful stories and headings, as well as respected entertainment reporting and “passa passa” from the dancehall–has outdone itself with its latest screaming headline. “Rasta Dies In Pigsty” details a strange death in the Jamaican countryside. And as with much of Star’s reporting, things aren’t always exactly what they seem.
Speaking of the Star, it's reporting that some veteran soundsystem operators are calling for a licensing and regulatory body for the deejay community, though it’s usually perceived as a free-for-all. Winston "Merritone" Blake, who describes himself as "the last of the foundation selectors" said, "The only thing you need to enter the soundsystem business is money to buy the equipment. There is no criteria, no standards, nothing." An organization entitled The Sound System Association of Jamaica does exist, but it is currently non-functioning, according to most sources.
Dutch danchall and reggae is the business of Radical, who broadcast a weekly show Thursdays on Radio Enkhuizen.
Sad news came from the excellent San Francisco-based reggae retail store, Wisdom Records. A recent newsletter announced, “After extensive reasoning, we have decided to get out of the retail business. We will be open from May through July and plan on closing July 31. All of our merchandise must go and we will be selling our entire inventory for wholesale prices.”
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