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Pon Di Wire: UB40 Row, Booyaka Exhibit, The Mighty Bop in JA

The UB40 singer drama continues. After announcing recently that U.K. singer Maxi Priest would assume lead singer duties after the departure of former lead Ali Campbell, now comes word that Ali’s brother Duncan will share the role. Duncan sings seven songs on a new UB40 album, which also features Ali’s final performances with the band. U.K.-based papers have also reported Ali and brother Robin (also in UB40) are no longer speaking and this may have hastened the former brother's replacement.

Who produced the popular 83 and Rub-a-Dub riddims? That’s the subject of a dispute between No Doubt Records’ Kemar “Flava” McGregor and Greensleeves Publishing (owned by VP Records, U.S.) who have suggested that a 21-year-old musician, Llamar Brown, “co-produced the 83 Rhythm that McGregor in fact created.” An angry McGregor clarified that “Llamar is a musician, he plays keyboard for No Doubt, he is not the co-producer.” McGregor insisted that he didn’t want to sign a deal with VP and had other plans for his label: “We want to be in control of our destiny. If we’re going sign any deal, it must be non-exclusive.” The Rub-a-Dub riddim backs Morgan Heritage’s “Nothing To Smile About” and Richie Spice’s “Di Plane Land.”

Junior Reid has signed a recording deal with Jah Cure’s Danger Zone/Sobe. A new album, The Living Legend, will drop soon and feature the new rap-reggae crossover single, "Don't Play Me Dirty.” Reid has been recording since the 1970s and was lead singer for Black Uhuru after Michael Rose. Della Danger, the CEO of Danger Zone Music Group, commented, "We have been in the music business together for many years admiring each other's work. Through the ‘Hot Long Time’ collaboration we were able to strengthen each other, and out of that project came Reid's signing with The Danger Zone Music Group/SoBe Entertainment.”

A photo and art exhibition titled Booyaka opened on Thursday, May 1 at the National Library of Jamaica. It features a Wall of Fame that honors reggae greats via pictures, history, hit songs, and career background information. Featured are Peter Tosh, Culture, Garnett Silk, Bob Marley Augustus Pablo, and Jacob Miller, as well as less heralded artists like Nitty Gritty, Nicodemus, Barry Brown, Prince Fari, Hugh Mundell, Jack Ruby, Louie Lepki, and more.

The Mighty Bop has landed in JA. That’s right, noted French house and downtempo producer Bob Sinclar, a.k.a. The Mighty Bop from Yellow Productions, has been recording new material in Jamaica. In a recent Gleaner profile, Sinclar explained that he fell in love with the country while shooting a video in 2007. Sinclar returned recently and recorded tracks with Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Christopher Martin, and youngster QQ for an upcoming project to be announced.

Check out Netherlands reggae information portal, Reggae Vibes, to preview tons of new riddims and releases. RV has sound clips for the Blue Tooth, High Grade, PeppaGrain, and Sweetie Come Brush Me riddims on deck now, plus audio podcasts that include a Leroy Smart selection, Studio One showcase with Black & George, Brentford All Stars, Jah Hugh, Larry Marshall, Owen Gray, and a U.K. Reggae selection with Archie Wonder, Don Campbell, Nereus Joseph, Sylvia Tella, and Prince Malachi. Serious!

Enter to win copies of Prince Fatty’s deliciously dubby, jazzy future-reggae album Survival Of The Fattest at Nice Up. The reggae website will give away five vinyl copies and five CD copies, compliments of Rasa Music. Click on the "Win Stuff" graphic.

Richie Spice’s new album, Gideon Boot, drops May 13. Also out now from the VP/Cousins Records camp is the Genesis one-drop riddim album featuring Gyptian, Turbulence, and Lutan Fyah with English artists Bobby Tenna and Anthony Que. In other news, reggae reissue label 17 North Parade has fully launched its new website. Find news and content about vintage releases and reissues by Cocoa Tea, Dennis Brown, Culture, and the Channel One studio.

Redbud will soon release its excellent one-drop Prosper riddim album, featuring Turbulence, Rob Symeonn, Lutan Fyah, Al Poncho, Donovan Steele, and others. This big version features musicians like Noel Alphonso on drums and keys, Val Douglas on bass, Dalton Browne on guitar, Bongo Herman on percussion, and Jerry Johnson on horns. Congrats to this dope Brooklyn-based label.


Upcoming Concerts

Monday, May 26: The 22nd Annual UCLA JazzReggae Festival, with Stephen Marley, Capleton with the Prophecy Band, Mr. Vegas, Alaine, Krossfayah Sound, and more at UCLA Intramural Field, Los Angeles.

Thursday June 19: Capleton, with special guests Culture Knoxx, Jah Thunder, Precious, Guardian, Nekia, plus Vybz Express and Stereo King Sounds at The Trocadero, Philadelphia PA.

Friday-Sunday June 20-22: The 15th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. Check the complete, three-day line-up online.

Friday-Sunday August 1-3: The 2nd Annual Reggae Rising Music Festival. Check the complete, three-day line-up online.

For more shows, read the Reggae Festival Guide Online, check out an excellent article in Jamaica Observer on global summer concerts and bookmark the LA Reggae Calendar.

Photo of Junior Reid by Shabazz World of Fotos.

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