(promo release) Set amongst the Reggae scene of late 70s Jamaica, the film Rockers achieved instant cult status among music and cinema fans. Rockers’ director, Ted Bafaloukos, has received many accolades for his work on the film, but the fact that he was also a fine writer and undercover photographer is often overlooked. Bafaloukos penned this vivid autobiography in 2005 and passed in 2016.
Beyond Bafaloukos’ fascinating story of the “making-of” Rockers, it tells the tale of a Greek immigrant from a family of sailors and his move to New York, eventually rubbing shoulders with the likes of The Velvet Underground, Robert Frank, Jessica Lange and Philippe “Man on Wire” Petit. But there’s a twist to this 1970s’ New York story: Bafaloukos fell in love with Reggae when it was still just an underground facet of Jamaican culture in the City. Continue reading →
I’d like to introduce three island beauties who are taking the musical landscape by storm: Lila Iké (Jamaica,) Krisirie (Barbados,) and Rochelle Chedz (Trinidad.) All three are in their mid-20s and have been performing since the mid-2010’s. All are songwriters, musicians, and have their roots in a mix of Hip-Hop, Dancehall, Reggae, Soca, R&B, and Neo-Soul. While staying true to their Caribbean roots and culture, each possesses a distinct vocal styling all their own. Their goal is to bring messages of hope and comfort in a time of turmoil and instability. I trust you’ll find these three young women each deserving of the crown. ~MPeggyQ
Jamaica’s contribution to the Caribbean triad of roots and neo-soul singers is Lila Iké (Lee-lah Eye-kay.) This 26-year-old talent is from the cool hills of Manchester, the same area as her favorite singer, Garnet Silk.
Writing from an early age, Lila pursued music full time after moving to Kingston in 2015. She performed in spots where young performers hope to get noticed, and in 2017 she was, by the popular singer Proteje, who recognized her potential and became her mentor and first producer. In 2019, Lile Iké was performing solo on stages across Europe, including at Rototom, the largest Reggae festival in the world.
Influenced by her mother’s broad swath of musical predilections, the young Alecia Grey (her birth name – Lila came later in Kingston), incorporates a variety of styles in her repertoire – from old school Reggae, to Dancehall/Rap, from Neo-Soul to Reggaeton. She composes captivating lyrics while playing guitar or electric piano. It all adds up to the natural feel of her personal stories and the messages she wishes to share. Her fans can feel her intent with her sensual yet strong and relatable delivery. Continue reading →
Update 9/11/2020:It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Toots Hibbert last night, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Toots was surrounded by family inside Kingston’s UWI Hospital when he lost his battle with COVID. The world mourns and offers condolences to the Hibbert family, Toots’s band & crew, his friends, and fans. Rest in peace, kind sir, your legacy lives on.
This intro below was written before Toots’ passing. It announces his new album, Got To Be Tough, his first in 10 years, released on Aug. 28, 2020. Follow the link to the story by Jason Fine included below for one of the best articles you’ll ever find on the life & music of Frederick “Toots” Hibbert. ~M. Peggy Quattro
TOOTS HIBBERT, the Godfather of Ska & Reggae Soul, returns to his roots on Got to be Tough, his first album in 10 years, released Aug. 28, 2020. Tracks on the new album include the title track, as well as “Warning Warning,” “Freedom Train,” and “Three Little Birds” featuring Ziggy Marley. The album is produced by Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr. Toots plays guitar and bass, Sly Dunbar is on drums, and one of the engineers is legend Delroy “Fatta” Pottinger.
Below is the intro to a recent article by Rolling Stones writer Jason Fine. It is the best story I’ve ever read about Jamaica’s music legend, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert. His family and friends call him “Nyah,” those who know and love him call him “Fireball.” Take a journey with Jason as he hangs out with Toots in 2016 to witness first-hand his musical magic and to record this interview of a lifetime. Those who know Toots – and those who want to – will surely enjoy the detail, history, and humor Jason brings to life in this Rolling Stone’s article. Trust mi, I laughed till I cried as Jason illustrates with words why Toots Hibbert is a treasure… our treasure. We are so blessed to have him in our lifetime. Enjoy!
“He’s a person of such historical significance, like an Elvis or a BB King,…” ~singer/musician Bonnie Raitt
A Reggae King Rises Again
Toots Hibbert is one of the pioneers of reggae — and wrote many of its classic hits. After a devastating injury, the man they call Fireball is back to reclaim his throne
By Jason Fine – Rolling Stone.com, Aug. 18, 2020
It took two years of phone calls and confusing negotiations to get myself invited to visit Toots Hibbert at his fortress-like pink stucco compound in the Red Hills section of Kingston, Jamaica. When I finally arrived, he wasn’t home. No one around seemed to know the whereabouts of the world’s greatest living reggae singer. His grandson, an aspiring reggae artist who calls himself King Trevi, was perched on some concrete steps and suggested that maybe Toots went to the gym. A woman hanging laundry on a rope strung across the dirt yard thought he’d gone to the country. Someone said he might be napping. Continue reading →
In Tribute – Lucky Philip Dube – Aug. 3 1964 – Oct. 18 2007
This article first appeared in Reggae Report, V11#6 1993
Lucky Dube… A Natural Man
By M. Peggy Quattro
Few individuals are naturally blessed with the predestined qualities of talent, wit, and a confident disposition. One such fortunate recipient is 29-year-old Lucky Dube, the remarkable South African singer/songwriter, who is presently dispensing his own musical blessings around the globe.
You are among the unlucky if you missed Lucky Dube and his megaband, Slaves, on their recent two-month tour of the USA. The incredible show, which highlights Lucky’s dynamic vocals, capable of soaring three octaves; Zulu dancing from Dube, the sonorous back-up singers and stinging brass section; and infectious authentic African-Reggae rhythms, was presented in 35 cities. The venues ranged from small nightclubs to major summer festivals. Included in the tour was a free show held on a beautiful July day at Brooklyn’s Metro Tech Commons, sponsored by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM.)
The moving response to the group’s performance was indicative of the overall reaction received whenever and wherever this talented troupe of performers set down. At the end of August, the tour moves on to Europe where they will be the opening act in a series of shows for international pop star Peter Gabriel. A two-week break in their hometown of Johannesburg is followed by a concert in Capetown, then off to finish the year in Australia, New Caledonia, Japan, and France.
Considered a superstar in South Africa, Dube, who neither smokes nor drinks, modestly credits his fans for this stardom. Continue reading →
Prelude 2020:Jimmy Cliff plays an important part in my evolutionary journey inside Reggae and Reggae Report. He was the first Reggae artist I ever heard in 1976 and became my first Reggae friend while working with Don Taylor in 1981. When the magazine took off in ’83, Jimmy most kindly invited me to stay at his home whenever I went to Kingston to conduct business. He wasn’t there most of those times but my hospitable friend Shiela and their young sons, Sayeed and Hassan, were. ♥ This interview – and accompanying cover shot for V4#2 – were done with Jimmy at his New Kingston home in 1986. ↓
Jimmy Cliff is, without a doubt, the most internationally known Reggae artist alive. In more than 20 years in the music arena, this active, talented youth from Somerton, St. James, Jamaica, has developed exemplary discipline and staying power.
The Early Days
At age 14, James Chambers left for Kingston. But following his first recording, “Daisy Got Me Crazy,” in 1962, James Chambers became Jimmy Cliff – teenage Ska star! Under the wing of famed producer Leslie Kong, Jimmy Cliff skyrocketed to early success with “Hurricane Hattie.” He toured the Caribbean and performed at New York’s 1964 World’s Fair before moving to England to seek his fame and fortune.
Even before his involvement in the sensational cult film TheHarder They Come, Jimmy racked up several international hits in his early years, including “Wonderful World” and “Vietnam.” He toured and thrilled audiences in South America, England, and Europe. Continue reading →
By M. Peggy Quattro Reggae Report Magazine, Founder/Publisher
There’s no doubt today’s world is a tumultuous place. We are faced with far too many “isms and schisms”: racism, capitalism, socialism, fascism, communism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism. For the past 50+ years, there’s been one constant that has helped humankind deal with the noise and commotion — the peaceful inner protest encapsulated in Reggae’s one-drop rhythm. Being well established in the Reggae movement for more than 35 years, I am sharing with you three ways I believe Reggae music delivers its message to a world of like-minded souls.
1) Reggae is often associated with ganja (aka marijuana/grass/weed/herb) and the ensuing euphoria this combination creates. However, by using the music’s heartbeat “riddim” wisely, Reggae captures our inner core. We instinctively dance and sing, even when we don’t understand all the Jamaican words, but ultimately it’s the music’s message that brings humanity together in harmony. We must thank the much-maligned and persistent Rastafari for educating the outside world on ganja’s health and spiritual benefits. Their peaceful and simple way of life is also rooted in political and socio-economic issues; their influence on Reggae’s growth, evolution, and contribution to Reggae history is undeniable. Continue reading →
Damian “Junior Gong” Marley Interview – Perth, Australia 2011
By Mumma Trees
Ed. Note: In Australia for the 2011 4-day Good Vibrations Fest, Damian Marley, along with his latest collab partner Nas, were featured artists on a stellar festival lineup that included Faithless, Ludacris, Janelle Monae, and Erykah Badu. Prior to the show, Perth radio personality and journalist Mumma Trees caught up with the young Marley in Miami via phone. Featured photo by Jan Salzman. Watch the Damian & Nas video “Nah Mean” below or on our YouTube channel.
Early Days & Inspirations
How did you start, Damian, what made you get up there and do what you do?
Well, I mean I think it goes without saying that I have an obvious influence from my family, you know my father, and of course, my older brothers and sisters are all involved in music. But growing up as a child, I used to go to a lot of concerts in Jamaica and watch some of my personal musical heroes, which would be people like Shabba Ranks and Supercat, who are some of the earlier Dancehall artists. I used to watch them perform and that’s really what got me into wanting to perform myself.
That’s interesting because your brothers are singers, but you have chosen the deejay style.
Yeah. And that’s definitely because of that same influence… like the first music I bought for myself was Dancehall music.
Are there any current Dancehall artists who are doing things that you admire?
Yeah, I mean, lots of them, I am a big fan of music in general, you know wha I mean, so I try my best to keep up-to-date with what’s going on, especially in Jamaica. I mean lots of them, you have Mavado, Gyptian, Tarrus Riley, Wayne Marshall, Vybz Kartel, you have loads of them, and I am a fan of their music.
You mention Vybz Kartel, what’s your opinion of the slackness in Dancehall music coming out in the last few years from artists like him?
I mean, the music I bought as a child was slack also. And I am a big advocate of freedom of speech. You have to be free to say something negative, to be free to say something positive. So I am a big advocate of that. And realistically, you know music is an honest way of making a living. You know, somebody could be out there doing something that isn’t…. Music don’t really hurt nobody. So if Vybz Kartel is making an honest living for himself, you have to respect that.
Were you close with your brothers and sisters growing up?
We were very close growing up. Every vacation, summer holidays, I would always go and spend a few weeks with them, and you know, we were very close from when I was a child.
When you have performed with your brothers, it has been as the “Ghetto Youths Crew,” are you still working together on that?
Well, we still are a team, but performing as the Ghetto Youths Crew, we haven’t done that in many years now. But we still definitely work as a team. We have a whole lot of new young artists we are working with and getting ready to release some projects next year.
Collaboration with Nas
Your latest collaboration with Nas has been a huge worldwide hit. Can you tell me about the album title Distant Relatives?
It’s called Distant Relatives because of different reasons. Nas and myself, being that we are ‘distant relatives,’ Hip-Hop and Reggae as two genres of music being ‘distant relatives.’ Then on a bigger scale now, all of humanity, because the album itself has the concept of Africa intertwined throughout the whole album. We are trying to say that all of humanity comes from the same birthplace, Africa. So, all of us as humanity are ‘distant relatives.’
Speaking of Africa, I have seen videos of you and your brothers performing in Ethiopia. Have you performed in any southern African country?
I have performed in Ethiopia and Ghana, but those are the only places in Africa I have visited so far. But for sure, my father’s song is the national anthem of Zimbabwe. So, that’s definitely a place I want to go and visit.
You had a couple of big tunes a few years ago produced by Baby G, The Mission and One Loaf of Bread. Are you planning to do any more work with Trevor Baby G?
It’s funny you say that because he is actually here in Miami. We have been doing some work together over the last few weeks. We’re trying to get a few Dancehall tracks together, so actually, I have a few tracks with Baby G being released in the next few weeks.
You are coming to Perth as part of the Good Vibrations festival, a great national festival, what can we expect from your performance here with Nas?
You can expect the best of both worlds. You can expect a great coming together of two genres of music. We do some of the tracks together that we have on the album, then the both of us give a little bit of our own catalogue of music. You gonna get a nice mix of Hip-Hop and Reggae.
Do you have a message for the Perth people?
Yeah man, tell dem Love and we will be there soon. Respect.
Nas & Damian “Zilla” Marley – “Nah Mean” from 2010’s Distant Relatives LP