Category Archives: Event Reviews

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

Julian Marley Show Review

Julian Marley: An Intimate Performance at Pineapple Groove

A ready & relaxed Julian – photo M. Peggy Quattro

If you were not in Delray Beach, FL on July 14, 2011, you missed a rare opportunity. The bar was fully stocked, the music was pumping, and the entire venue was filled with excited chatter, singing, and laughter from all corners!

Picture this: Cultural diversity at its best filled the two levels of this modern-day nightclub. Rastafari, surfer dreadies, and retro-punks took over the dance floor, groovin’ together to the sounds of Lance O’s Kulcha Shok while patiently waiting for the show to begin. Continue reading

SIERRA NEVADA WORLD MUSIC FEST 2011

SNWMF: Roots, Culture, and Reggae!

By Terri Larsen and Saundra Torres
Photos by Lee Abel

David HInds

Nestled in the comforting arms of Mother Earth and Anderson Valley (known for its beautiful vineyards and wines, and as the gateway to Northern California) is the quaint and friendly town of Boonville. Here locals welcomed, for the fifth and most successful year at this location, thousands of revelers for the 18th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (SNWMF). Held at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in beautiful downtown Boonville, and, although the rock hard hoof prints imbedded in the dried mud and straw made a rough road for the dancers and players of instruments, everyone celebrated three days in sheer bliss and joy, without complaint, confirming the strength and power of righteous music that gathered here from around the world. Continue reading

Miami Reggae Fest 2011

Miami Reggae Fest: Reggae Unity to Feed the Hungry

Sun is shining, weather is sweet, make you wanna move your dancing feet is the theme perfectly suited for the Miami Reggae Festival held Sun., April 30. Stepping into Peacock Park, we were greeted with positive vibes blaring from the speakers and the distinct scent of jerk chicken in the air. Although the concert was free, each person donated two cans of food for Curleys House a local grassroots project serving South Floridas less fortunate. Around 6:30 p.m. the Kulchashok Family entertained and energized the crowd with some good conscious tunes, making it their mission to hype the people for the upcoming performers. Enter DJ RageNRG / Lee Brown. He started his set with an impressive dub-step version of Third Worlds Reggae Ambassadors, apparently the right way to capture the attention of the people. He had everyone swaying to his collection of thumping bass and dub. Continue reading

Miami’s Nine Mile Music Fest a Success!

The 18th Annual Bob Marley Celebration Feeds the Hungry

Words & Photos by M. Peggy Quattro

Movement of Jah People, a philanthropic organization started by Cedella Marley Booker, continues its mission to help the homeless and deliver the conscious message of her son Bob Marley. Although the festival name has changed from The Caribbean Music Festival to Nine Mile Music Fest, the atmosphere remains the same a great line-up of entertainers topped off by the acclaimed Marley brothers. This year Stephen, Damian, Julian, and Ky-mani provided uplifting performances for thousands of loyal fans scattered throughout beautiful Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.

Damian & Julian Marley

Continue reading

Buju Banton-Before the Dawn Concert

Buju Banton Before the Dawn Concert: Soaring to Spiritual Heights!

By M. Peggy Quattro and Halcyone Hoagland
Photos M. Peggy Quattro, David Muir, Roy Sweetland

Buju chills with his fans – Photo David Muir

With more than 20 years as a Reggae music icon, Rasta Dancehall performer and five-time Grammy nominee Buju Banton has no shortage of true friends, as in those who are there for you in your greatest time of need. The all-star line-up of artists, media professionals from around the world, and all-around top-shottas of Jamaican entertainment gathered together inside Miami’s Bayfront Amphitheater were just that Buju’s nearest and dearest. Surrounded by those who have mentored and been mentored by him, Buju gave thanks for fans and friends who have clearly given him tremendous strength and support during the challenges of the past year. As Buju awaits retrial in February 2011, Reggae Report caught up with Buju’s attorney, David Oscar Markus, at a quick briefing inside the press tent. Markus has successfully defended several cases in the state of Florida and remains optimistic about the outcome of the case. Buju is positive most people would have crumbled by now he remarked. Its very hard to fight the government, very difficult. He added that they are trying to say Buju Banton is a drug dealer, and Buju is no drug dealer.

Ras Michael and the Nyabinghi Drummers set the evenings tone with Rasta chants invoking the spirit and blessings of the Most High. With a certain reverence in the air, guest artists took the stage one by one: Richie Loop, Everton Blender, Nadine Sutherland, Freddie McGregor, Wayne Wonder, Mykal (Michael) Rose, Gyptian, Sean Paul and Spragga Benz, Tarrus Riley (who did some hilarious impersonations of Buju and had Dean Fraser mocking Buju’s voice with the his sax), Shaggy with Rayvon and Serani, Gramps Morgan, and Miami’s own DJ Khaled, who brought Ace Hood, Rich Kid, and surprise guest Busta Rhymes. Each one echoed their sole purpose for being there, to provide support, strength, and to build solidarity as a community. Hit after hit, the program grew in steady anticipation of Buju’s arrival. Continue reading