Pon Di Wire: Computer Paul Henton, Macka Diamond, Junior Kelly
Producer and musician “Computer Paul” Henton–who has worked with everyone from Sizzla and Mr. Vegas to Jimmy Cliff and Eek-A-Mouse–has been honored with a double-platinum record for his work on Akon’s “Mama Africa.” The track is featured on Akon’s double-platinum-selling album Konvicted. Henton played the keyboards on the Bobby “Digital” Dixon–produced tune.
The LA Times recently published an excellent profile of youthful producer Stephen McGreggor (son of reggae legend Freddy McGreggor). The younger McGreggor’s Tremor riddim backs Sean Paul’s latest single, “Watch Dem Roll,” and Mavado’s “Amazing Grace.”
A new art exhibit, titled Materializing Slavery: Art, Artefact and Identity, opened at the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston, and the ceremonies featured music from Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. The group led an audience in traditional Rasta anthems “By The Rivers of Babylon” and “Never Get Weary Yet.”
Top dancehall artist Macka Diamond’s first dancehall novel Bun Him! is out now.
Shabba Ranks performed at Atlanta’s Club Legacy in early September, marking a return to the stage after a long hiatus. The Grammy winner explained to a YardFlex.com reporter that he took time off to spend time with his children, but also implied disappointment with past industry experiences. "Make sure yu get yu masters–mek sure yu get yu publishing–know the intricacies of the business and how to apply yourself," were the pioneering deejay’s strong suggestions.
In U.K. news: British roots label Pressure Sounds released a new retrospective of Bim Sherman titled Tribulation: Down In Jamdown 1974-1979. The singer’s soft, plaintive voice shapes songs like “Ital West,” “Love Forever,” and “Weak Heart Men,” with dubwise versions also included. Beloved radio personality David Rodigan has re-launched his weekly Wednesday night, Rodigan’s Reggae dance event, at London’s Neighbourhood. Fans will hear Rodigan and Papa Face, plus guest DJs Sir Lloydie Coxsone and Fat Man Hi-Fi. Upcoming live acts include Bitty McLean, Bobby Kray, and Jamaican legend Alton Ellis.
Bobby Kray will drop his debut pop-dancehall album, Tales From A Skinny White Boy (Black Allianz/V2), on October 29. Discovered and produced by Linton Kwesi Johnson collaborator Dennis “Blackbeard” Bovell, Kray’s latest single, “Help Me,” is out now, with remixes from M.J. Cole and Mixmaster M.
More new album news: In the next month singer Fantan Mojah will drop the follow-up to his 2005 Greensleeves debut, Hail the King. Veteran singer Jimmy Riley (father of current chart-topper Tarrus Riley) will release a new album in October. According to Riley, the first single, a cover of “When She Was My Girl,” is already gaining momentum. Singer Maxi Priest is prepping the release of a new opus, slated for release in February of next year. Roots singjay Junior Kelly recently finished a new album called Prince of Roots. The album contains different musical flavors, including blue grass, punk rock, and hard rock.