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Pon Di Wire: Bob’s Mom Passes, Mavado Denied U.S. Entry, Israel Vibration

Bob Marley’s mother, Cedella Marley Booker, died at her home in Florida last Tuesday, April 8. She was 81. Ms Booker, who was honored in a memorial service yesterday, was not only the King of Reggae’s mom, but an author and artist in her own right who recorded several albums and remained active in her community to the end.

Mavado’s latest song is shooting up the charts. “On The Rock,” featuring Jay-Z, is in both New York and Jamaican top tens and getting rave reviews elsewhere, including in last week’s Billboard magazine. However, problems continue to plague the “gangsta for life.” He was recently denied entry to U.S. when he arrived in New York last Thursday to perform three shows. He told the Star, "Dem sey dem get it sey mi Visa cancel an' mi wanted inna Jamaica, suh mi a sey how mi fi wanted inna Jamaica an' mi jus' a come from Jamaica. Suh dem a sey dem haffi guh sen mi back an' check it out."

It’s not all bad though for the Casava Piece singjay. Mavado headlined a benefit concert called Soul Rebellion at the Jungle Nightclub on March 11, bringing his hardcore dancehall to spring breakers and locals who turned out to support the event’s school-building cause.

American company Apple has agreed to yank so-called “murder music” from its iTunes stores. The move marks the latest victory for gay and lesbian activists who’ve been raising awareness about some reggae and dancehall artists' homophobic lyrics. Songs by Buju Banton, T.O.K., and Elephant Man were removed from iTunes U.S. and Canada sites. Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale (a Canadian LGBT rights group) stated, "we are extremely pleased with this decision. We have also contacted HMV and Amazon.ca and we are optimistic that they will follow iTunes' lead."

Jamaican roots reggae group Israel Vibration (pictured above) will perform for only the third time in their namesake land. Tel Aviv, Israel reggae promoter Guil Bronstein brings the duo (backed by the Roots Radics) to the Barbie Club on April 22. Bronstein said, "They are the roots of reggae, and people here love to see reggae legends." Israel Vibration’s first appearance in Isreal, in the early '90s at a reggae festival promoted by Bronstein in Achziv, was documented in a film called Reggae in the Holy Land.

Horace Andy’s latest album, On Tour, drops April 28 on Trojan. Appropriately, the British-based Jamaican singer, known for his collaborations with Massive Attack, will tour the U.S. and Europe throughout the summer.

New riddims to check this week: Unik Music’s Dem A Run Away riddim features some excellent roots tracks from Lutan Fyah, Sugar Roy, Conrad Crystal, and fast-rising singer Ras MacBean’s title track “Dem A Run Away.” Fantan Mojah, Chezidek, and Luciano are featured on the nice Charlies Records’ riddim, Aerophonic. Big time old-school dancehall stars Carl Meeks, Jr. Cat, and Burro Banton all give it their best on Respecta lable’s bubbly Heavy Weight riddim. Finally, veteran roots singer Rod Taylor‘s “Clean Life,” Michael Rose’s “Never Run Away,” and Ras MacBean's heartfelt “They Fail” round out Blackat Music’s Clean riddim.

New York’s Deadly Dragon Sound will be in session this Sunday, April 20 at Brooklyn’s Happy Ending lounge, alongside Downbeat the Ruler plus special guests Johnny Osbourne, Ranking Joe, and Wayne “Sleng Teng” Smith.

New York Top Ten Reggae Singles

1. Little Hero “Praise God” (Inspire)
2. Beres Hammond “Not For Sale” (Don Corleon)
3. Richie Spice “A Nuh Me Dat” (No Doubt)
4. Mikey General “Father God Almighty” (Joe Frasier)
5. Erupt “Click My Finger” (Truck Back)
6. Demarco “Fallen Soldiers” (Star Kutt)
7. Tarrus Riley “Life Precious Gift” (Joe Frasier)
8. Terry Linen “No Time To Linger” (Joe Frasier)
9. Queen I-Frica “Daddy” (No Doubt)
10. Morgan Heritage “Outstanding” (Don Corleon)

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