Our sincere wishes for a speedy healing to Michael “Mikey Dread” Campbell (pictured above), who announced that he’s being treated for a brain tumor. Campbell is undergoing chemotherapy at Duke University hospital in North Carolina. Earlier this year, he celebrated the 30th anniversary of his pioneering Jamaican radio program, and welcomed the birth of a son. The singer and DJ still runs his own Dread at the Controls Records and famously recorded with The Clash. Expect updates on Campbell’s condition in future editions of Pon Di Wire.
New England-based blog Rhythm Update– a site devoted to tracking new reggae “riddims” and their origins–features a podcast interview with UK dubmaster Mad Professor. Host Joshua B speaks with Neil “Mad Professor” Fraser about his significant contributions to the British lovers rock scene during the late ’70s and ’80s. The podcast also features music from Sandra Cross, John McLean, and Intense among others.
Check the new video releases from VP artists Shaggy and I-Wayne. Shaggys “Bonafide Girl” and I-Wayne’s “Book of Life” are online now. VP’s classics imprint 17 North Parade issued a remastered version of Dennis Brown’s Visions, plus all four volumes of Joe Gibbs & the Professionals' African Dub series.
Saturday, November 17 is Reggae Day on Melrose in Los Angeles, and will feature a photo exhibit of reggae legends by photographers David Corio, 30 years of Greensleeves album art, live DJ sets, musical guests, special sales, and the introduction of 400 Years struggle-inspired apparel. The event takes place at L&L and Capleton takes the stage at Jamaica Gold, 1718 Vine St., with DJ support from White Lightning, Alywad, Baby Ace, and Black Gold.
So Cal vocalist and musician Jack Miller charts his 30-year journey in Jamaican music with a new documentary and album, Dreadlock Rock. The documentary’s liner notes explain that, “In 1977, California musician, Jack Miller went to Jamaica, beginning a passionate, life-long pilgrimage into the heart of the Kingston recording scene. Miller befriended, recorded, and toured with reggae legends, including Toots Hibbert, Sly & Robbie, Big Youth, The Soul Syndicate, and members of Third World. Dreadlock Rock features archival and new film documenting recording sessions at Tuff Gong Studio, Harry J's, and Channel One Studios in Kingston, live concert performances, and revealing interviews with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley & the Wailers.” XLR8R says: “See this film!”
1990s dancehall star Alley Cat is still doin' it. Alley Cat’s Imperial Production produced Motion Picture riddim is creating waves as it is getting heavy rotation in Jamaica, overseas and via the net. Cat shot a medley music video featuring himself, G Mafiah, Tornado, Boom Dandimite, Mr. Lek, Scorpion, and Becky Glacier. “Things going very well for the Motion Picture project,” Cat told Jamaica’sXtra News. “It’s getting good airplay, and also on X/M satellite radio and other Internet networks.”
A new generation of Jamaican dancehall dancers have taken over where dance pioneer Bogle left off. Overmars, Ding Dong, John Hype, Sadiki, Shelly Belly, and Taz from Timeless crew are among the few dancers trying to conquer the musical scene. "As an entertainer yuh haffi can perform fi did people dem,” commented Ravers Clavers member Overmars to The Star. “Done know a Bogle did come start di ting but him neva get a chance to finish it."
Dancehall artists are also making moves to improve education conditions in Jamdown. Mavado recently donated the first of several computers to the Connect Jamaica project, which aims to donate computers every month to schools around the island. Mavado explained, “I give thanks to God that I am now in a position to help my country. I gave to Constant Spring Junior High and Charlie Smith first, because I attended those schools myself, but we will be going to schools around the island. Our aim is to cover every school."
Jamaica’s Top 10 Dancehall Singles
1. Munga “Wine Pon It” (Casper Production)
2. Beenie Man & Bar-Bee “Give It Up” (357)
3. Busy Signal “The Days” (Daseca)
4. Cham “Conscience” (Don Corleon)
5. Brick & Lace “Love Is Wicked” (180 Entertainment)
6. Timber Lee “Bubble Like Soup” (Ward 21)
7. Bugle “What I'm Gonna Do” (Daseca)
8. Munga “Take My Place” (Don Corleon)
9. Assassin “Sissy” (Don Corleon)
10. Busy Signal “Nah Go A Jail” (Jam 2)