Pon Di Wire: Alton Ellis, Vybz Kartel
Morgan Heritage has had to cancel its anticipated European tour due to a medical injury suffered by keyboardist/vocalist Roy "Gramps" Morgan. The group is currently on the charts with the single “Nothing To Smile About” and was to tour its current album, Mission In Progress. Heritage is known for its dynamic live shows; the canceled tour would have marked the group's first time to the EU in three years.
October has been a month of passings and remembrances. It’s been a year since South African reggae great Lucky Dube was slain in an attempted carjacking, on October 18, 2007. A concert in Jamaica commemorating Peter Tosh’s October birthday has been called off due to production difficulties. The iconic former Wailer was murdered September 11, 1987. And finally, reggae fans are mourning last weekend’s loss of rocksteady godfather Alton Ellis, who passed away in a London hospital after battling cancer. Artists have been offering tributes to Ellis this week.
Not sure how we missed this, but Vybz Kartel, DJ, entrepreneur, and owner of a rum company and condom line, is also a single man, after a court agreed to finalize his divorce proceedings. Kartel was married in 2006 to a woman living in the U.S., but due to visa issues has not been able to visit her for some time.
Is piracy and bootleg killing the reggae market? According to a Gleaner article it is, with sales of Jamaican CDs down 50 percent. "I am very sure the music sales are going down. Record stores in New York are closing down, CD sales are ridiculously low,” Irie Jam Media CEO Bobby Clarke told the paper. Clarke was referring to the closure of noted Brooklyn reggae retailer Super Power.
Sequence/Ultra Records act Enur’s new album, Raggatronic, includes a dancehall-meets-danceclub hit, “Wine Wine,” featuring Beenie Man And Natalie Storm.
Dub and steppers fans should check for the new single, “Captive Free,” from prolific U.K. act Roots HiTek. Since the early '90s, this artist, soundsystem, and label has released singles by Barry Issacs, Colour Red, and Tena Stelin, all with multiple dub versions.
This year’s annual Champions In Action concert, October 18 at Portmore’s Jamworld Entertainment Complex in Jamaica, is boasting a deep artist lineup. Headliners include Bounty Killer, Mavado, Sizzla, Capleton, Ninja Man, and Vybz Kartel, while new and established acts like Serani, Bugle, Demarco, Taurus Riley, Queen Ifrika, I Wayne, Busy Signal, Assassin, Lutan Fyah, and Spice will fill out the bill.
Reggae at the Ritz at the renowned Ritz Theatre in Elizabeth, New Jersey takes place Sunday, October 26, with headliners Mavado and Buju Banton.
Richie B’s Hot 102 Top 20 Dancehall Singles
1. Flippa Mafia “Dem Yah & Dem Yah” (Board House)
2. Vybz Kartel “Trailer Load of Money” (Adidjaheim/Chimney)
3. Konshens “Winner” (Natural Bridge/Cash Flow)
4. Mavado “I'm So Special” (TJ)
5. Mavado “Inna Di Car Back” (Big Ship)
6. Beenie Man “Gimmi Likkle” (Born So)
7. Harry Toddler “More Money” (Downsound)
8. Tifa “Bottom of the Barrel” (Ward 21)
9. Macka Diamond “Robbery” (Scatta Productions)
10. Elephant Man “Nuh Linga” (Board House)
Pictured: Morgan Heritage.