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Pon Di Wire: Sizzla Busted For Pot, Big Year For Buju, Feb is Reggae Month

Don’t think police in Jamaica are more lenient on ganja than other countries. Celebrities have been finding this out the hard way. Reggae singjay Miguel Collins, a.k.a Sizzla, was stopped in Kingston by police, who arrested the performer for marijuana possession. He was in court January 4, where he was sentenced to pay a fine of $100 or serve 10 days behind bars after pleading guilty to possession. A narcotics conviction could prevent Sizzla from obtaining foreign performance visas.

Buju Banton has a big year planned. The singer born Mark Myrie is finishing an upgrade and renovation on his Gargamel Recording studios in Kingston, while also putting the finishing touches on an anticipated roots album due late spring/early summer. Rasta Got Soul described the new project to Pon Di Wire as a solid roots reggae album in the tradition of Buju Banton's masterwork, Till Shiloh. Banton will perform at the WAMU Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York later this year.

UK emcee Anthony Tippa Irie Henry has landed a radio show on popular portal Big Up Radio. The Tippa Irie Radio Show premieres Saturday, January 12, 2008, 5 a.m., 11 a.m., 5 p.m., and 11 p.m. EST. Henry emerged on England's Saxon Sound International 25 years ago and helped pioneer the fast-chat toasting style. "One of the best things about internet radio is the ability to reach a worldwide audience without leaving London. It's quite brilliant!" said Henry.

Lots going on in the dancehall world. Dancehall deejay Aidoina is currently in jail awaiting arraignment. According to reports, he is alleged to have been involved in a shooting incident where one man was killed. Meanwhile, Mavado is allegedly banned by authorities in Caribbean Islands St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to YardFlex, Police Commissioner Keith Miller confirmed that Mavado was denied the right to perform in St. Vincent on January 19. Police officials were concerned about his lyrics, which were considered to be violent.

You can hear brand new tracks from Mr. Vegas at MySpace. “Must Come A Road” and “Can’t Help But Wait” should be chart-bound in the next few months.

See more 2007 Guinness Sting photos at BBC 1Xtra. Go backstage and see Ninjaman, Queen Ifrica, Tony Matterhorn, and more kicking it before and after their performances.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding officially declared February to be the first annual National Reggae Month in Jamaica. The month will highlight the reggae’s impact on Jamaica’s social, cultural, and economic development. The Reggae Month calendar of activities starts with the February 6 Bob Marley Birthday Dinner, the UWI Global Reggae Conference, a Reggae Film Festival, and a football match between the Reggae Boyz and Costa Rica, plus multiple concerts and other events.

Bunny Ruggs, Ibo Cooper, and Stephen "Cat" Coore, leaders of reggae super group Third World, celebrate 35 years in music this year. The group formed in 1973 and became famous with albums like 96 Degrees In The Shade, Journey To Addis, and You’ve Got The Power.

Reggae Report and other media outlets are calling 2008 a big year for women in reggae. Recent years have seen a resurgence of female artists, including Alaine, Spice, Tessanne Chin, Tami Chynn, Etana, Spice, Macka Diamond, Jovi Rockwell, Cherine Anderson, Queen Ifrica, and Brick and Lace. Many of these artists will drop new albums this year.

Photo of Sizzla by Martei Korley.

Jamaica’s Top 10 Reggae Singles
1. Etana “Roots” (Freemind)
2. Sizzla “Show More Love “ (Feed The Children)
3. Richie Spice “The World Is A Cycle” (Fresh Ear)
4. Edee & Irie Love “Revolution” (Unseen Label)
5. Noddy Virtue “Sang To Me” (Reflection)
6. Cocoa Tea “Poverty” (Minor 7 Flat 5)
7. Demarco “Fallen Soldiers” ( Star Kutt)
8. Cecile “I'm Waiting” (Danger Zone)
9. Little Hero “Praise God” (Inspire)
10. Christopher Martin “Take My Love” (Fresh Ear)

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