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Pon Di Wire: Buju Banton, Aba Shati-I

International Reggae Day was Tuesday July 1, but continues online as a “virtual festival.” Visit the site to check out past and present IRD events, pictures, and artist profiles. Hear audio and see video on IRD’s MySpace page. Several veteran reggae artists praised IRD for recognizing the genre's impact and contributions to Jamaican culture.

British reggae fans will commemorate the 30th anniversary of Jamaica’s One Love Peace Concert with their own event, to be held August 15-17 in East Sussex. The U.K. concert will feature Smith and Mighty, Iration Steppas, Vibronics, Nick Manasseh, Earl Gateshead, Cry Tuff, and others. The original Peace concert, April 22, 1978 in Jamaica, saw Bob Marley bring political rivals Michael Manley and Edward Seaga on stage to shake hands.

Word just arrived that Buju Banton is completing a new roots album titled Rasta Got Soul. Can’t wait for that! In the meantime, Banton will be on tour this summer, with dates that include July 26 in Toronto, Aug 9 in Freeport, Bahamas, August 22 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and August 23 in Ft. Lauderdale.

American singer Keyshia Cole has been confirmed for Sumfest Jamaica’s International night, July 18.

The New York Times has described Jamaica’s 8th annual Caribbean Fashion Week in Kingston as “a major success.” Other bloggers praised the event’s variety and inventive tailoring, including the designs of Bembe street-dance promoter Biggy.

The U.K.’s premier dub soundsystem, Aba Shanti-I, is profiled this week at United Reggae. Along with British foundation roots sounds Jah Shaka and Jah Tubby’s, Aba has maintained a popular draw, spinning strictly cultural roots reggae and dub.

New riddims this week (courtesy Ernie B’s Reggae Distribution): The hybrid dancehall/one-drop Strong Grain riddim on Weedy G features Capleton, Burro Banton, and Black Ice. Don Corleon’s '90s throwback Double Joint riddim is popping off with tunes by Vybz Kartel, Bounty Killer, and Pressure. Big League’s Paradise riddim is a melodic one-drop with vibes from Sizzla, Collie Buddz, and Lutan Fyah.

Our hearts are with dancehall artist Tanto Metro (“Everybody Falls In Love”), whose sister, Michelle Wolfe, 34, recently lost her seven-year battle with cancer. Metro says he plans to take a break before returning to the studio to record with his artistic cohort Devonte. Honey-voiced singer Anthony Cruz also recently experienced a major loss, and Pon Di Wire’s thoughts and best wishes go out to Cruz’s relatives and friends.

The Northern California-based Reggae Rising concert has finalized its line-up for the Aug 1-3 event. Highlights include:
Friday August 1: UB40, Beres Hammond, Tanya Stephens, Cham, and Mr. Easy
Saturday August 2: Sly & Robbie, Sizzla, Junior Reid, Turbulence, Mr. Vegas, Lexxus, and Black Judah
Sunday August 3: Don Carlos, Gentleman, Julian Marley and Collie Buddz, plus a nightly dancehall soundsystem tent


Richie B HOT 102 FM Top 20 Reggae Singles
1. Terry Linen “Mood For Love (Missing You)” (Uplifting Music)
2. Black Judah feat. Warrior King “Mercy Please” (Teflon Blood)
3. L.U.S.T. “Just As I Am” (Born Music)
4. Queen Ifrica “Choppa Grade” (Nice Time)
5. Capleton, Bobo Zaro and Contractor “Pain” (Tad's Intl)
6. Tony Rebel “Love Fire” (Taxi)
7. Fyakin “My Lady” (Fearless)
8. I-Octane “Different Page” (Rated R/Arrows)
9. Patriot “Looking For Love” (Hill Side)
10. Etana “I Am Not Afraid” (No Doubt)

Above: Tanto Metro and Devonte.

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