Pon Di Wire
XLR8R insiders at this year’s controversial Reggae Rising concert (replacing the 20-year institution Reggae On The River) in Northern California received a robust attendance and many stellar performances. Reggae vet Freddy McGreggor was warmly welcomed with his pitch-perfect rendition of “Big Ship,” and other hits, while Sly & Robbie played sans headliner Horace Andy (who had missed getting his visa cleared). The reported festival showstopper was conscious singjay Anthony B who wowed the crowd with an energetic two-hour performance.
The Jamaican equivalent of being royally knighted is the Order of Distinction. Several artists, including Burning Spear, The Skatalite’s Johnny Moore, deejay U Roy, singer Carlene Davis, roots reggae singer Luciano, and deejay Shaggy, will be honored October 10, Jamaica’s National Heroes Day.
Jah Cure is out of jail and will perform August 12 at Holland’s Sundance Music Festival as a warm up for his impending Cure Fest festival in Jamaica, October 12-15. A collection of recent singles, True Reflections…A New Beginning (VP) was released July 31.
Jah Cure did step on stage Sunday, August 5 for Capleton’s St. Mary’s Wi Come From concert held on Jamaica’s Independence Day, a show marred by a verbal, and some say physical confrontation between Sizzla and rasta singjay Norrisman. Capleton tried to restore order to the show by stating: "Wha oonu a try do? Mash up man ting? A Rasta ting. Me know de whole a oonu...," he said, looking and pointing towards the direction of the fight. "Norris Man, a waapen to yu?" he demanded. "A Independence. A St. Mary me come from." Later, Macka Diamond, Ninja Man, Josie Wales, Richie Spice, and Chuck Fenda all appeared without incident.
If you’re a Jamaican recording star, don’t have a hit too early life – you may not get to perform. That’s what pre-teen sensation QQ recently found out. The Jamaican government is trying to bar the 10-year-old from performing in the US despite having a work permit. A Ministry of Labor & Social Security told Jamaica’s X-News that no child under 13 is supposed to be employed. An unnamed source shot back in QQ’s defense, “Right now, is all of nine shows get cancel fi QQ. Dem threaten fi lock up [his father and manager] GQ, and hold on to QQ when him come through the airport. Look how much little yute a sell bag juice and wipe car glass, but as dem see QQ glory, dem waan fi stop it.”
A major bashment event goes down August 10 in New York. Fully Loaded will feature Bobby Konders and Jabba’s Massive B Soundsystem, Platinum Kids, Stinga Movements, Wyclef’s Refugee Sound, Steelie Bashment, and Tek9 Movements at Amazura 91-12 144th Place, Queens, New York.
In new singles news: Smartmove Promotions UK is promo’ing a new one-drop reggae mix of Soca queen Alison Hinds’ mammoth hit “Roll It Gal.” The Sunland Remix should be available on vinyl and download soon. Black Shine Records Weed Seed riddim features 7”’s by Anthony B, Gyptian, and Junior Kelly. Meanwhile Lutan Fyah, Half Pint, and Sizzla nice up King Yard’s moody, horn-driven River Bed riddim. The Gangsta Law riddim (IM records) offers new material from Michael Rose, Natty King, Luciano and Queen Ifrica.
Pon Di Wire
It’s been a huge week of news for reggae music. Not only was singer Jah Cure suddenly released, earlier in the day than expected on Saturday, July 27, after eight years of prison, but high-profile celebrity dancehall couple Beenie Man and D’Angel have announced divorce proceedings. In the wake of all the big news, you might have missed the announcement of this year’s dancehall queen champion. The fact that the award went to 26-year old white Canadian Maude Francato caused some fans to protest the decision by hurling bottles.
Reggae Vibes Netherlands website carries an excellent interview this week with one of reggae’s most crucial “truth and rights” roots singers, Johnny Clarke. Clarke is revered among serious reggae fans for his militantly conscious mid-1970s output.
Dancehall sensation deejay Assassin will release his sophomore album, Gully Sit’n, August 28 on VP Records. The 20-song effort is reportedly “a celebration of ghetto lifestyle, as opposed to a lamentation about how horrible it is.” Meanwhile, fellow new-school dancehall artist Munga Honorebel, the “Gansta Ras,” has been rebuked, and may be sued by a band of devout Rastafarian elders and their lawyers!
Island Records will celebrate its 30th Anniversary with a special edition release of Bob Marley’s seminal Exodus album (originally released in 1977). The album was offered earlier this year as a special “USB stick” limited edition. Now, Island will follow up with a Live At The Rainbow concert DVD (Marley, live in 1977, touring for the Exodus album), as well as a 144-page Exodus book published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, with contributions from such writers as Lloyd Bradley, Robert Christgau, Neil Spencer, and the celebrated poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. Over 200 images and an introduction by Island founder Chris Blackwell are also included.
The annual sound clash and dancehall showcase Fully Loaded took place this past Sunday, July 29, minus two expected main highlights–the sound clashes and a Bounty Killer performance. No matter: the event shined on, with sound system performances from Black Chiney and Foota Hype, plus Tony Matterhorn hosted. Beenie Man was in the house, and the audience was entertained by Macka Diamond, Busy Signal, and Turbulence.
A peace treaty between Vybz Karel and “area Don” (slang for a Jamaican neighborhood strongman or alleged gang leader) Mikey "Pelpa" Lynch has been announced, bringing a sense of calm to the sometimes violent Waterford district. "Waterford nice again–a straight positivity wi a bring back in di community, suh di place can get more financially viable for everybody through sports and music," Kartel commented to online source Nowadayzdancehall.