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Nkulee Dube – Berkeley, CA Show

Nkulee Dube: Feeling Irie in Northern California

Words and photos by Lee Abel

Nkulee Dube

San Francisco, CA – South Africa-based Nkulee Dube delighted Californians in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Berkeley during July, on what was her first U.S. tour. She was ably supported by her own wonderful band. Many who came to see the 26-year-old singer/songwriter were curious about the great Lucky Dube’s daughter. She did not disappoint.

Nkulee possess a strong voice with a natural beautiful melodic tone. She has managed to fuse ethno-soul and jazz with ethno-ragga in a true African stylee. She’s charismatic and joyous, with a command of the stage far beyond her age and experience. Like her father, Nkulee danced with members of the band. But, unlike Lucky, she also invited the audience on stage to show off their own moves.
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Beres Hammond in Concert

Beres Hammond in Concert at Hard Rock Live

The Love Within the Music Tour 2011
By M. Peggy Quattro / Photos by Don Parchment

Beres receives roses from a fan

Theres no more beloved Reggae singer and performer today than Beres Hammond. For more than 30 years, Beres has given 100 percent of his energy and love to writing, recording and performing. He has been quoted as saying that he’s happiest when in his convenient home recording studio. Well, after witnessing the outpouring of love and affection on July 29, 2011, inside the 5500-seat Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL, all bets are on that the stage is his second happiest place.

Performing for thousands of loyal South Florida fans was the perfect way to kick off the eastern USA leg of the Love Within the Music Tour. The show began promptly at 8 p.m. with Brooklyn-based singer and dynamo Ed Robinson. His energetic performance included his Number One hit Our Heroes, as well as paying tribute to greats Dennis Brown with If I Follow My Heart and Bob Marley with Talking Blues.

At 9 p.m. the ladies went wild when Wayne Wonder strolled on stage in a dark blazer, jeans, and his trademark dark shades. Flashing that winning smile, he began with Its All Right, a Donovan Germain-produced hit for Penthouse. Mr. Germain was in the house, so Wayne added another Penthouse hit, The Saddest Day of My Life. Choosing from an extensive song catalogue, the sexy crooner launched a mini-version series of I Dont Know Why, Live and Learn, and Forever Young, displaying his DJ prowess by also filling in the Buju Banton and Louie Culture parts. Upon dedicating this to “my favorite girl,” Wayne Wonder went into Search Dem Search over screams from the enthusiastic audience. He introduced his new love ode, If I Ever, with a moving vocal, and closed his set with the popular No Letting Go.

Beres – King of Lover’s Rock

After a short set change, and a rocking DJ set of current and past hits, you could feel the charge in the air. The man of the night was about to appear and the crowd cheered in anticipation. As Beres Hammond sauntered on stage, the Hard Rock Live erupted into screams. Looking fine in his black leather cap, jeans, soft tangerine-colored patterned jacket, and leather shoes, Beres greeted the crowd and began a series of short song snippets. The jacket came off immediately to reveal a loose white linen shirt; however, the most attractive part of his attire was that beaming smile. Beres truly loves performing on stage and it shows in every song, every step, and the crowd went wild. No Disrespect, What One Dance Can Do and She Loves Me Now were full of fun and energy. He playfully led the audience with Falling in Love (All Over Again) and adeptly filled in for his friend Buju, Dancehall style, on the wildly popular Stay Longer. A touching moment was when he asked the crowd if they remembered the great Garnet Silk before launching into Mama Africa.

With hundreds of hits to choose from, Beres offered up as much as time would allow. In between Come Back Home, Tempted to Touch, Sweetness, Putting Up Resistance, and Groovy Little Thing, he blew kisses to crowd and smiled at the adoring throng of ladies who pushed to the front waving and offering bouquets of long-stem red roses. Double Trouble saw Beres offering up his famous skank as he held out the microphone for his fans to sing along.

The band and back-up singers were in top form also. Coming to the front of the stage, they contributed lead guitar, bass, sax, and trumpet solos, which brought more excited screams of approval. In a moment of Beres humor, he spoke with the audience and told them: “If everyone would vote for me [as president], no one would need visas to come up here,’ perhaps a reference to the missing Harmony House Singers.

Wayne Wonder

During Pull Up the Vibes, Beres took a minute to show off his multi-talents. He took a short spin on the drums and played on the bass players axe with drumsticks; a short and sweet presentation, but enough to have the Hard Rock massive cry out ‘can you play some more?!’ As he flirted throughout Feel Good, Beres had every lady wishing they were dancing to this Reggae song with the subtle sensual singer. Beres slowed it down with an emotional No Disturb Sign while Love Means Never To Say Im Sorry had the audience passionately singing along.

Beres continued to tease and draw in the ladies with They Gonna Talk, while throwing mad kisses and smiling his mega-watt smile. With no shortage of songs left to performand no time left to perform themBeres brought the show to an end with the classic feel-good Rockaway. Hesitant to leave the love and unity, Beres disappeared stage left with an a capella tribute, singing How do you say thank you.for all you need is love they say no more time

We give thanks to Redline Media Group and Hard Rock Live for bringing South Florida fans a memorable night of Love Within the Music.


Stephen Marley Show

Stephen Marley: A Celebration of Peace, Love and Unity

It was a splendid evening on July 24, 2011. The Revelation tour bus had finally made its way to South Florida and the Culture Room fans were lined up! With the recent release of Stephen Marleys mind blowing, Grammy-worthy album The Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life, his followers were eager to catch him live and direct.

Stepping into Fort Lauderdales Culture Room, Reggae Report headed upstairs for the perfect vantage point. Sponsor Marleys Mellow Mood brought in DJ Geefus from Stone Love, a popular international Reggae sound system, to keep the vibes flowing. He was not joking around with his music selections. Hit tunes from such greats as Dennis Brown and the Marley family, amongst others, kept the happy crowd rocking. As the new single My Girl, from Jo Mersa (Stephens son), blared from the speakers, Geefus started a round of follow-the-leader that had the entire house grooving along to Jamaican dance crazes, including Signal, Lift the Weights, and Thunderclap. It actually felt as though you were invited to an exclusive party a night you would not soon forget.

Stephen Marley & Ghetto Youths Crew

The lights dimmed as flagman Donovan entered the stage waving an oversized Lion of Judah flag. Squidly Coles skillful drumming and Chris Merediths booming bass were joined by the excellent vocal harmonies of Erica Newell and Rochelle Bradshaw. Bringing in the roots Reggae sound was Ranoy Gordon on guitar, Carol McLaughlin and Llamar Brown on keyboards, and Nicholas Laraque on sax and flute – rounding out the Ghetto Youths Crew. Punky Reggae Party had everyone skanking as Stephen strolled on stage in a mellow mood. Greetings! My name is Stephen Marley and I come to bring you Reggae music! Joyful screaming erupted from the jam-packed crowd.

The vibe for the night was set as Stephens youngest sons danced alongside their father to a collection of hits from Mind Control and the new album, including the current single No Cigarette Smoke (In My Room), which featured a fantastic solo by Erica Newell. The Bob Marley hits Jammingand Buffalo Soldier brought crowd participation as they happily joined in with wo yo yo yo, making it crystal clear that this was going to be a sing-along night.

Being that this was the last U.S. stop of his Revelation Tour, we were pleasantly surprised when Julian Marley and Spragga Benz magically appeared on stage to sing Iron Bars, thus bringing the audiences energy to a whole new level. Spragga and Stephen then called Damian Jr. Gong Marley to grace the stage. Fueled by the high energy, the three lions jumped in unison with their fists in the air as they performed Traffic Jam.

Steve informed the screaming fans: This is the first single off the new album which features my brother Jr. Gong. The band played the chords from Jah Army as Jr. Gong jumped up to the Reggae rhythm, his long dreadlocks swaying behind him. Spragga and Stephen were obviously enjoying themselves as Damian cleverly delivered his verse. At this point Stephen proclaimed: Fort Lauderdale, if you love Buju Banton, let us see your hands in the air! I know if Gargamel was on the stage tonight he would say it like this [impressionof Bujus gravelly voice] Raggamuffin, Jr. Gong and Spragga Benz watch it yuh know! A few lines of Bujus verse were sung whilst the entire venue exclaimed Free Buju! This brought laughter and smiles from the performers and band.

The rest of the multi-talented Marleys, complete with Bobsgrandchildren, stormed the stage dancing and singing. This brought a chuckle and a wide smile from a proud Stephen. Sharon and Cedella (Bobs daughters) did a melodic rendition of Could You Be Loved. Midway through the set, Cedella showcased her vocal ability by belting out high notes and gyrating dancehall style, which had Stephen in shock as he playfully covered his eyes.

There was a lesson to be learned from Made In Africa. The songs introduction was played over the loud speakers: Scholars and scientists now conceive that Africa is the first place of mankind. Africans were the first builders of civilization. They discovered mathematics, invented writing, developed sciences, engineering, medicine, religion, fine arts, and built the Great Pyramids – an architectural achievement which still baffles modern scientists. The 225themperor, direct descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, He is the King of Kings, The Lion of JudahThe name Haile Selassie means Power of the Trinity. Stephen demonstrated his musicality and true Rastaman vibration when playing his ites, green and gold Keite drum and chanting his cry to Mother Africa. Spragga Benz reconfirmed by vocalizing a verse about history, slavery and love. Jr. Gong, aka Gongzilla, joined his brother centerstage and the lesson continued with Slave Ship.

Next step was The Mission. This song, in particular, seemed to be a favorite amongst the brothers as it gained two Pull Ups! During the second pull up, Damian, in pure elation, burst out with his trademark Peppa! Peppa! Communication within this family circle seems to be beyond words – just a clear understanding as Gongzilla broke into a quick medley of Shootout and Liquor Store Blues. There was a sea of waving hands and pumping fists as he saluted the crowd, embraced his brother and exited the stage.

Stephen – in a mellow mood

A sense of how great a mastermind Stephen is when it comes to composing music was realized while – accompanied beautifully by Nicholas Laraque on flute – he delivered the emotional Now I Know. This ballad tugged at the heartstrings as you listened to the words: Grandma said I could have my dreams, at least if nothing else – and mama never raised no fool, I can feel things for myself. The fans got a glimpse of the real Stephen Marley with this sincere, warm tune.

With this in mind, Stephen informed us his mother Rita Marley was in the house. He explained July was a very important month because of all the birthdays to celebrate – Jr. Gong, HIM Haile Selassie, and his grandmother Cedella Marley Booker (Mother B). However, that night was the most important as it was past midnight and the actual earthstrong of his mother. He looked up at a beaming Rita and proclaimed We love you! Loud cheers of celebration filled the air.

One Love was an appropriate final song for the night. Before leaving the stage, Stephen delivered this profound statement: The most important thing tonight was unity. That is what we represent – peace, love and unity.

After an extraordinary two-hour performance, it was evident that we all witnessed Reggae royalty at its best; it was Marley magic. There is no question as to why Stephen Marley has won seven Grammy awards. Thank you for treating us to a night of pure, authentic Reggae music! Jah Bless