GANJA REGGAE of the 70s, 80s & 90s 20 of the Best for 4/20
Okay, let’s be blunt. The celebration of 4/20 has a long and storied history. It apparently took 20+ years for the original “4:20 dudes” to be given credit for their undeniable contribution to the “day of marijuana” title and tale.
A northern California group of friends—known as the Waldos—would gather at 4:20 p.m. to smoke a “doobie” next to a wall on their high school campus. They’d whisper 420 to each other as the Waldo’s secret code for marijuana. That catchy number was picked up years later by the Grateful Dead and High Times magazine and 4/20 was soon catapulted into the stratosphere, thus becoming the global code for “let’s smoke a doobie” day.
Jamaican artists were always on board with smoking a doobie, or, as they called it, a spliff. There have been hundreds ‘pon hundreds of “ganja” tunes recorded since the 60s. The Rastas, in particular, have been growing and smoking ganja before those Cali teens were out of diapers.
Rastas have long preached of “herb” being “the healing of the nation.” And now, with medical marijuana stores, cafés, and products sprouting up around the world, it seems that, hell yeah, they are right. Big up, our number one cannabis crusader Peter “Legalize It” Tosh! Boom!
Maybe you “want to have Kaya now”? And you’re here to listen to some of the best-of-the-best Ganja Reggae songs. So, in honor of 4/20, we’re offering 20 of the best Ganja Reggae songs for your smoking pleasure. This hand-selected roster of your favorite singers, groups & DJs covers the 70s, 80s & 90s eras of Reggae music. So, “light up your spliff…light up your chalice” and enjoy the ride!
By M Peggy Quattro (written in 2000 for the release of Definitive Collection)
Garnet Silk, the young singer/songwriter who died in a horrific fire at the age of 28, was one of the brightest stars to ever shine in the Reggae galaxy. During his short, illustrious career, Garnet Silk was hailed by many as “the next Bob Marley.”
After five years of lewd and rude Dancehall lyrics, Garnet ignited the stagnant music arena with Roots Rasta music. He is credited as the artist most responsible for the conscious and spiritual resurgence of early 90’s Reggae. His profound lyrics and distinctive vocal styling—a throwback to the poignant messages of the Marley era—captured an international audience.
From 1992 to 1994, Garnet Silk released a multitude of songs that soared up Reggae charts and touched the lives of those who heard them. The long-awaited Big Beat/Atlantic Garnet Silk:TheDefinitive Collection is a celebration of the memory—and a tribute to the music—of this legendary artist.
Recorded at Tuff Gong and Couch Studios in Kingston and mixed at Kariang Studio in Ocho Rios, this two-CD set features 20 songs recorded and/or re-recorded over a three year span. Garnet’s silky voice is enhanced by the assemblage of Jamaica’s finest musicians—Sly & Robbie, Tyrone Downie, Earl “Wya” Lindo, Mikey Boo Richards, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Mikey Chung, Dean Fraser, and Sticky Thompson, to name a few. Garnet insisted that real instruments were to be used and all the musicians were to be in the studio at the same time. “Like the Wailers,” said Tony Chin Loy, co-founder of Kariang Productions and co-manager, “the old fashioned way—the Bob Marley way.” Chin Loy revealed that when Sly Dunbar came to do the project he had not played a real drum kit in five years!
Nadine Sutherland Brings the Vibes to Vibes Nightclub
July 3, 2008 – Decatur, GA – She was witty, energetic, sexy, inspiring, professional, warm, charming and extremely entertaining as this true princess of Reggae music continued her love affair with what some call the fastest growing Caribbean community outside of the Caribbean, Georgia. Nadine Sutherland came, she entertained and she conquered!
The Reggae Dancehall star, TV star (Rising Star) and journalist went through her hits like; “Action”, “Babyface”, “I’m In Love (Rainbow)”, “Anything For You”, “Big Tingz” and more. From the moment she stepped on stage at the Vibes Night Club in Decatur Georgia, the air was filled with electricity, and the venue was filled with energy. Sutherland commanded the stage as she bounced and danced all over the stage, never missing a beat, always hitting the right notes and exciting the crowd with her great performance. Continue reading →
South Florida Sends Cedella Marley Booker Home: A Loving Tribute in Word, Song, and Dance
By M. Peggy Quattro
April 23, 2008, Miami, FL –
One week following Mother Booker’s journey to Zion, hundreds in the South Florida community joined hands and hearts at a memorial service inside Miami’s beautiful Garden House at Fairchild Tropical Garden. The lush botanical garden is only minutes from Ms. B’s home, a large residence on a sprawling estate. In the late ‘70s, son Bob Marley bought the home in Pinecrest for his mother, and it is where Ms. B lived a life surrounded by her children, grand and great-grandchildren, and the home where, on April 8, she passed on in her sleep, surrounded by her loving family.
The Booker/Marley family, in paying tribute to their matriarch, also paid tribute to her devoted friends and fans when they presented an exquisite memorial service that honored the “smiling woman of song.” The setting was amazing and beautiful, from the gorgeous green of the garden and tropical trees to the touches of Africa and Rastafari that adorned and decorated the intimate Garden House. The presentation was fit for a queen, and in South Florida’s eyes and hearts, that is exactly who Cedella Marley Booker will always remain. Continue reading →
On Sunday, May 11, 1986, the fifth anniversary of Bob Marley’s physical departure from this earth, Tuff Gong recording artist Nadine Sutherland was the only Reggae artist in a Marley Memorial/Mother’s Day Soca/Reggae Spectacular at the Carillion Hotel, Miami Beach. From the moment that she entered the spotlights, it was obvious that the 18-year-old teen queen is already a veteran of the stage, is overflowing with confidence and thoroughly enjoys herself when performing.
Fittingly, Nadine was the only performer that night to pay tribute to Brother Bob in word and song. She crowned her set with Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” which she said was especially for her mother Beverly Sutherland, who was present in the audience for that Mother’s Day show. I spoke with Nadine after her very well-received performance.
JABU: What does Bob Marley mean to you?
NADINE: ‘He means a lot’ would sound like a cliché, seen. But the first thing I can remember which played a very important part in my life was the first time I went to (Tuff Gong) studio. I was standing and singing and he came in and said, ‘Give the youth a seat nuh man.’ And he was the one who went for the seat and told me to sit down. Can you imagine how I felt when this great man, this big Reggae superstar went for a seat and made me sit down? It was nice. And I’ve seen him on other occasions and he was always very nice and cool and I heard that I was one of his favorite singers. He means a lot, the little that I’ve known. I’ve grown very much to like him.
I’ve seen [Bob Marley] on other occasions and he was always very nice and cool and I heard that I was one of his favorite singers.
JABU: How do you manage to fit in the entertainment business with your schoolwork?
NADINE: Well, it’s not a thing that I manage. It has to be done and it just happens and it is done. Right now I’m at EXED Community College doing business administration first year.
JABU: What kind of live performance have you done since the start of ’86?
NADINE: I did two concerts in Bermuda in February (with the Ital Foundation band) and then I went to Jamaica and did a (Tuff Gong) concert in Negril. Then I did a small concert at CAST (College of Arts Science and Technology) for Winnie Mandela. That was a good concert. And here I am in Miami now.
JABU: What was the reception like in Bermuda considering that your records are not really distributed there?
NADINE: I was surprised you know, because the first night, people who were Reggae fans, who listen to the radio and hear my music, they came out. And the second night the crowd at the ‘Spinning Wheel’ doubled the first night.
JABU: OK. So what kind of studio work do you have on line?
NADINE: Right now I’m not working on anything because of school, but I think that during the summer we’ll start working seriously on a new 45.
JABU: Who manages you and produces you records?
NADINE: My management is my parents and the producer is between Willie Lindo and Sangie Davis.
JABU: You’ve had a lot of good songs written for you. Any chance of you going into songwriting yourself?
NADINE: To tell you the truth, I’m very good at poetry. I can write very good poems. I’ve written two songs but I haven’t recorded them, no one knows about them. I think I have an inferiority complex about my music. When you want to write something I know you have to take it step by step. If I’m putting out something I want the standard to be very very good, and right now I’m in the learning stage of writing music. So I guess, when you hear the BOOM song come out, you’ll know that I’ve graduated in the writing field.
JABU: Do you play any instruments?
NADINE: Well actually, I took the piano. I wouldn’t say I play. I know the keys and everything, so I took it. I can help myself. And the recorder, I learnt to play it at Andrews.
JABU: Is this your first show in Miami?
NADINE: No, it’s my second show. My first show was in 1982. It was a Bob Marley Memorial too, with the Tuff Gong posse – Melody Makers, Rita, the I-Threes and Wailers, and everybody.
JABU: How long have you been singing professionally?
NADINE: Six years.
JABU: In terms of knowing what it takes to be a performing and recording artist, would you say you’ve still got a lot to learn or that you’ve covered most of the basics?
NADINE: As always, everybody learns something new every day and I think I’ve got a lot more to learn. Nuff nuff more because I’ve been protected from certain things in the music business. As you notice, I always have parents and my family around me. So certain things in the business that people know about, I just hear about them. So there is more to learn, more to experience. I’m still in my youth stage.
JABU: Do you think it’s anymore difficult for you as a young female artist, as compared to, say Ziggy Marley, Junior Tucker, or any other young male artists?
NADINE: Yes, it’s different. People tend to watch me more, and women have certain standards to live up to. And being a singer, especially a young one, everybody seems to think something immoral. That’s one of the problems I can’t face up to. Because when I hear the rumors ‘bout me and I know they’re untrue, it kind of hurts me and I know I’m not like that. The next thing again, a young man will be able to tour, ‘cause I’m a girl, I have to have some guardian or somebody.
…women have certain standards to live up to…being a singer, especially a young one, everybody seems to think something immoral.
JABU: Thank you very much and all the best.
NADINE: Yeah, it was nice talking with you, Jabulani.
Chances have proved to be right for Reggae lovers in North America to get an opportunity to see the Tuff Gong teen queen in action during the summer of 1986. With negotiations finalized for two Bunny Wailer shows in the U.S. and maybe England, Nadine has been included in the Solomonic package along with Leroy “Heptones” Sibbles and the 809 Band. Then again, there’s a possibility of a six-week summer tour of North America by a group of Tuff Gong artists. Either way, one thing is certain, Nadine Sutherland is internationally hitbound.
January 7, 2008 – Kingston, Jamaica – In the early days of Jamaican popular music, our female singers and songwriters played a major role in propelling our music onto the world stage. In fact, the first major international Jamaican hit recording was by one of Jamaica’s female pioneers, Millie Small, with her 1964 million-selling single “My Boy Lollipop.” Its success opened the doors for such artists as Phyllis Dillon, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Hortense Ellis, Pam Hall, Rita Marley, Carlene Davis, J.C. Lodge, Cynthia Schloss, Lorna Bennett, Dawn Penn, Sheila Hylton, and Nadine Sutherland, all of whom established themselves as mainstream recording and performing artists.
For some strange reason, however, the early achievements of our female artists did not result in the kind of follow-through seen by their male counterparts. For many years, we have failed to produce top-class female Reggae recording artists and performers. With the exception of the local and international successes of Diana King, Patra, Sasha, Foxy Brown, and Lady Saw, female Reggae and Dancehall artists have become a very scarce commodity over the last 25 years.
A number of different reasons have been presented for what many view as a problem in the development of our music. Sexual harassment by music producers and the rough, tough and aggressive face of male-dominated Dancehall music are two such explanations. The tendency of many young Jamaican female artists to idolize and follow popular foreign Pop and R&B female stars is another argument given for the seeming disappearance of the Jamaican female Reggae performer. Continue reading →