Category Archives: Event Reviews

Reggae Symphony with FREDDIE MCGREGOR

Freddie McGregor and John Holt & A Sell-Out Performance

Backed by the New York Symphony Reggae Strings and We the People Band

By M. Peggy Quattro
Photos Dreamy Riley

Freddie McGregor & John Holt at Reggae Symphony

April 25, 2008 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – What promised to be an elegant evening of Reggae classics and Reggae strings turned out to be even more than that! The beautiful Broward Center of the Performing Arts was soon filled – from the main floor and mezzanine, to the balcony and boxes – with dedicated fans as excitement and anticipation filled the air.

When Freddie McGregor and John Holt, two of Jamaica’s most beloved and respected singers, come together, backed by the powerful 11-piece Lloyd Parkes and We the People Band AND the 19-piece New York Symphony Reggae Strings, you know it is an event you just ‘cyaan’ miss. The South Florida Jamaican community turned out to support and honor the two legends as they went through a catalogue of hit songs, and had the crowd on their feet dancing and singing the whole evening long. “You don’t have to stay in your seats,” Freddie told the throng, and we certainly did not! Continue reading

Miami’s Transatlantic Reggae Fest

Miami’s 6th Annual Trans-Atlantic Festival Rocks!

Jamaica’s Rootz Underground and France’s Babylon Circus
Deliver High-Energy Roots Ska Reggae

By M. Peggy Quattro
Photos Lynn Dearing

April 27, 2008 – Miami, FL – The award-winning 20-year-old Rhythm Foundation once again presented the best in music from genres not normally visited in South Florida. Known for showcasing music from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe, the Rhythm Foundation and Heineken delivered a knockout show at the oceanfront North Beach Band Shell on Sat., April 26, 2008. The vintage deco amphitheater was over-flowing with the type of jubilant and gyrating fan every promoter and band hopes to entertain.

France’s Reggae/Rock/Ska Babylon Circus

Following an energetic welcome from Kulcha Shok’s Lance O, the stage was transformed into a gypsy circus when Babylon Circus, the virtually unknown-in-the-US, 10-piece Ska/Rock/Dancehall/Reggae/Jazz/Swing ensemble, took musical control. When the wicked Dancehall strains of “Get Outta Control” were unleashed, that’s exactly what the crowd decided to do. With blazing horns and rock hard bass and drums, the front of the stage filled with lively dancing newly-found fans. Continue reading

Miami’s 15th Caribbean Music Fest 2008

Miami’s 15th Annual Caribbean Fest a Massive Success!

By M. Peggy Quattro

One of South Florida’s longest running festivals, the Caribbean Fest, formerly known as the Bob Marley Fest, was presented by Mother B’s Movement of Jah People and 103.5-The Beat. New name, but the vibe is still the same. South Florida’s massive still turned out by the tens of thousands to donate cans of food for non-profit group Farmshare, shop the vendors, enjoy Caribbean food, and be entertained by the top names in Reggae, concluding with an always entertaining set by the Marley brothers.

Capleton brought fire to the Miami Fest Photo Jan Salzman

This year featured Stephen, Damian, Julian, and Ky-mani Marley. Additional performances included Dancehall’s Capleton, Roots singer Richie Spice, Germany’s Gentleman and The Far East Band, DJ Junior Demus, Arkansas-based Rasta Joseph Israel, and newcomer Javaughn.
Continue reading

Ragga Muffins San Francisco 2008

San Francisco’s Ragga Muffins Festival

Photos and Review by Lee Abel

Dancehall Dynamo Anthony B

On Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008, the annual Ragga Muffins Festival limped into San Francisco. The headliner, Alpha Blondy, was hospitalized with pneumonia before he reached the United States. Barrington Levy had an accident in Jamaica and stayed on the ‘Rock.’ German DJ phenomena Gentleman lost his voice before the Bay Area engagement. However, the show did go on.

The Cool Ruler did not disappoint

The crowd trickled in throughout the opening performances featuring Soul Majestic and The Aggrolites. Fans enjoyed the music and fabulous vendors, and the room soon swelled when Gregory “Cool Ruler” Isaacs took the stage. Gregory, tired from the prior week of shows but looking happy to be there, did not disappoint fans who sang along to his many classic hits. California’s own Midnite was up next and grooved the house with their Roots trance-music style. Continue reading

Ragga Muffins Festival Long Beach 2008

Roots Rock Ragga Muffins!

The 27th Long Beach Reggae Festival Review
Review & Photos by Jan Salzmman

Year 27 of the Ragga Muffins Festival began with a press conference on Sat., Feb. 16, 2008. Promoter Barbara Barabino announced that Alpha Blondy, headliner for the following day, was gravely ill with pneumonia and had to cancel his entire tour. We were also told that artists slated for Saturday’s line-up were delayed in their arrivals, but would be there for their scheduled performances. Following the press function, I made my way to the venue. Along the way to catch the opening acts, I visited the vendors’ wares and great food booths, acclaimed to be the best of any west coast festival.

Roots Dancehall Queen Ifrica

A reunion of the LA-based Reggae band, Idren, opened the show with an exciting Roots performance. Next on stage was Belize-based New Dimensions, followed by the west coast’s Soul Majestic, and Puerto Rico’s Cultura Profetica. All performances were strong in their Reggae orientation and well received by the growing crowd. Hailing from Jamaica, the popular Rootz Underground performed with a fresh, enjoyable Reggae vibe. Look for this young band to make their mark on the music industry. Continue reading

1st Reggae Academy Awards Kingston JA 2008

The 1st Reggae Academy Awards – A Celebration of Musical Excellence

Tarrus Riley and his song “She’s Royal” Receive Six Awards!

by M. Peggy Quattro
Photos Lance Watson/Reggae Academy

February 29, 2008 – Kingston, JA  – Kingston, the center of the Reggae universe, was bubbling with excitement and activity during February’s Reggae Month celebrations. On every corner, the talk turned to what to do, where to go, who to see.But the high point came with the presentation of the first Reggae Academy Awards and show.

The National Indoor Sports Center was bustling on Sunday, Feb. 24, as the academy and music community came together to prepare for the evening’s event. At 7 P.M., the red carpet was filled with arriving celebrities and fans cheered on their favorites. Members of local and international media were present and there were smiles, hugs, and handshakes in the reception area as Reggae’s artists and professionals greeted the press and each other.

Shaggy wins Best Dancehall Album

Nominees Shaggy, Cherine Anderson, Etana, Macka Diamond, Kris Kelli, and Danny Browne, presenters Nadine Sutherland, Tony Rebel, and reigning Miss Jamaica Universe Zara Redwood, and performers Diana King, Elephant Man, and Ce’Cile were among the stars at the pre-awards soirée.

As show time approached, the throng headed inside the arena. The large stage was a colorful blend of high tech and roots, with neon podiums and moveable graffiti-covered zinc fences. The beautiful and multi-talented Cherine Anderson sauntered on stage to open the show with her nominated, soulful and stirring “Kingston State of Mind.” Switching effortlessly between singing and Dancehall, the young star set the pace for the remainder of the presentation. Continue reading