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Pon Di Wire: Beenie Man in Court, Reggae Grammys, Recommended Reggae Podcasts

The artist known as The Doctor and Ras Moses, and who takes the stage as Beenie Man (real name: Moses Davis), has had his share of personal ups and downs recently. But salvaging his career is something he has become a pro at, and this week, amid DNA paternity tests to verify if he is the father of child Marco Dean, Beenie Man announced a gift to children–education scholarships. Davis will sponsor five children at his expense for the school year. Publicist Ray Alexander explained, “For the next school term that begins in January 2008, Beenie Man will be sponsoring five children who will be selected by way of a competition aired on radio stations and published in newspapers. All five will be drawn from high schools. They will receive school supplies for the rest of the school year.”

Meanwhile, Davis’ estranged wife, D’Angel, sued him in court and won control over several jointly created companies the couple formed. A recent interview details her efforts to clear her name with the public.

This year’s Reggae Grammy nominations are in. The 56 album nominations include Anthony B’s Higher Meditation, Burning Spear’s The Burning Spear Experience, Chezidek’s Inna Di Road, Collie Buddz’s self-titled album, Da'ville’s On My Mind, Chuck Fenda’s The Living Fire, Wayne Wonder’s Foreva, plus many others. Since the general public doesn’t get to vote for their favorites, fans should track down their VIP music-industry contacts and recommend the people’s choices!

Jamaican author and Iraq war veteran Laura Johnson recently released her third book, Born As a Sufferer. The now U.S.-based author will return to Jamaica for a book tour. Johnson’s novel depicts the lives of two young people, Shelly and Bobby, who are fighting their own demons in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica. “The song ‘Born As a Sufferer,’ by Bounty Killer, provided me the inspiration to write about how one can grow up as a sufferer and still manage to rise to the top,” says Johnson, who lives in Missouri.

Two of reggae’s fastest rising stars–male vocalist Pressure and female singer Alaine–will both celebrate their album releases on Wednesday, December 5, at Track's Cafe in Brooklyn. Virgin Islands-born Pressure will release Love & Affection, while Sly & Robbie-nurtured Alaine issues Sacrifice, both on VP Records. Super-producer Donovan “Don Corleon” Bennett will host the event with VP’s Johnny Wonder and DJ Wayne of Irie FM.

Big, upcoming reggae shows in the U.S. include rasta roots legends Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus on December 12 at Dub Club LA, located at The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles. Also, the Jamrock Vintage Reggae Fest NYC, December 15 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, featuring Toots, John Holt, Marcia Griffiths, Ken Booth, Pat Kelly, Jimmy Riley, and Lloyd Parks. U.K. digital-dub outfit Zion Train will tour the U.S. in the spring of 2008–stay tuned for updates.

Big tunes and ones to watch include “Our World,” by Elephant Man (featuring Demarco), Busy Signal’s “Jail,” and Junior Pinchers’ (a.k.a. Kemar) “Forever” (with instrumentation by Sly & Robbie). Also, look out for sassy female vocalist Malica, whose new track, “The DJ Special,” pays homage to the females who have inspired her in reggae–Tanya Stephens, Michie One, and Sister Nancy.

Pon Di Wire strongly recommends new dub artist Fried Wire, whose well-crafted, vintage-sounding dubs will shake your speaker boxes. His site features clips and downloads galore.

Recommended reggae podcasts for this week include vintage roots (Augustus Pablo, Junior Delgado, Viceroys) on Algoriddim, Santa Cruz, CA-based Green-Up Sound’s mixes of modern and digital roots, and the multiple dancehall and reggae shows heard on Big Up Radio. All three podcasts offer regularly updated content, so you can get your fix!

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