In Kingston, Jamaica, neighborhoods start and end within blocks, and living on them is a whole other type of education. Instead of a classroom within a single building, the classroom of the streets teaches its students to know which buildings are which. Knowing where you stand geographically can be as important as where you stand politically. The two are often related.
Each neighborhood has its own members of distinction, be they artists, politicians, musicians, or stalking DJs breaking into the international music scene. Seivwright Gardens, one of the toughest sections of the city, is noted for the many DJs that have broken away from it: U Roy, Ninja Man, Josie Wales, and Super Cat, the latest of the Gardens alumni to have graduated with honors. Continue reading →
Windrush Generation – Caribbean Migration to the UK from 1948-1970
Remembering the arrival of MV Empire Windrush in Essex on June 22, 1948. Hundreds of workers and their children arrived from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and other islands in response to the post-war job shortage.
“The Windrush generation has made a significant contribution to British black music for many generations – from grime to UK garage, to drum to jungle, to gospel to Lovers Rock, from Roots and Dub to Ska, to Reggae and Calypso. Narrated by Young Warrior, the son of historic dub legend Jah Shaka, we explore the colourful roots of how British black music has entered the UK mainstream and how it is now embedded across many music genres.
With first-hand accounts from record producer, Dennis Bovell, DJ, David Rodigan, singer Marla Brown (daughter of the late great Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Emanuel Brown) and musician and son of Bob Marley, Julian Marley, we explore how Calypso and West Indian culture made huge inroads into the UK mainstream in the 1950s and signified the birth of British black music.
We look at the 1960s which saw Chris Blackwell, founder of Islands Records, bring Millie Small to Britain with My Boy Lollipop and the birth of Trojan records with the release of “Do the Reggay” by The Maytals in 1968, which was the first popular song to use the word ‘reggae’ and defined the developing genre by giving it its name. We also explore the music of the 1970s which saw the first major influx of British reggae with bands such as Aswad and Matumbi and hear about how Jamaican music began to influence British pop music with the rise of bands, such as The Specials and Madness.”
Update 2020: Moses “Beenie Man” Davis is the self-proclaimed King of the Dancehall, but I don’t think you will find too many people to disagree; especially after the Clash seen and heard-around-the-world in May 2020. Beenie and Bounty Killer, his arch-rival from the 90s Dancehall era, joined forces to deliver a Verzuz online sound clash witnessed by more than a half a million fans around the world.
The 46-year-old writer, producer & performer continues to work hard and put out numerous singles, EPS & LPs. Following the Verzuz Clash, Beenie released the single “Do You Want to Be That Guy?,” referring to the police officer who entered the studio during their live-stream. He never misses an opportunity to capitalize on the success and notoriety he’s earned over the past 35 years. What follows here is an interview with the “Maestro” while his star was blazing in the mid-90s Dancehall arena.♥
Beenie Man – The Maestro
By Sara Gurgen V15#1 1997
Maestro, the title of Beenie Man’s recently released album, perfectly describes this premier Jamaican DJ. After all, this proud member of the successful, hard-working Shocking Vibes crew has been wearing the crown of DJ of the Year for two years in a row; a dizzying array of his songs dot Reggae charts worldwide; and he is responsible for setting and/or popularizing numerous trends in Dancehall music. Two of his hits that best illustrate his trademark creativity are “Maestro,” which combines opera-style vocals with a Dancehall beat, and “Nuff Gal,” on which he chats over a finger-snapping, horn-laden Jazz line. Always one to try something new, this innovative music master has even fused good ol’ Rock’n Roll with Dancehall on his new album!
Update 2020: Rodney “Bounty Killer” Price is a man with many names; fans call him General, Warlord, and Governor. From the height of the 90s Dancehall DJ era, Bounty has continued recording, performing, and doing some general ‘bad boy bizness.’ He also inspired such DJs as Mavado & Elephant Man and teamed up with young artists, such as Konshens.
Through the Bounty Killer Foundation and his “Give Back to…” program, Bounty assists single mothers and other people in need in his community and throughout Kingston.♥
Bounty Killer: The Poor People’s Governor
Interviewed by Shelah Moody & Rachel Campbell Written by Shelah Moody V15#3 1997
Since the September 1996 release of his fourth album, My Xperience, which features hard-hitting and brilliant collaborations with Barrington Levy, Fugees, Busta Rhymes, Junior Reid, and others, Bounty Killer has blown up in the Reggae and Hip-Hop communities. Between U.S. and international concert and club dates, video shoots, interviews, and publicity tours, it is no wonder the 25-year-old DJ has gained a reputation as one of the industry’s most elusive personalities. After months of endless calls to his record label, Blunt Recordings, his manager, Johnny Wonder, and Killer’s personal cellular number in Jamaica, I had almost given up hope on our long-awaited interview until it was announced that Bounty would headline Dancehall Day at the 16th annual Ragamuffins Festival (Feb. 14-16) in Long Beach, Calif. Continue reading →
Update 2020: Due to Covid, Maxi is currently unable to tour. He is, however, busy on social media staying engaged with his fans and promoting his latest LP, It All Comes Back to Love, and his latest music video “I’m All Right,” featuring and produced by our friend Shaggy! Watch the video at the end of this up close & personal interview ⇓
(This article is from my 2015 interview)
No doubt, Maxi Priestis one of the hardest and longest-working men in the Reggae biz. In town to perform for the ONE Caribbean Fest, and, following an exclusive Meet, Greet, and Eat fan luncheon at Miami’s HOT 105 to promote his Easy to Love CD, the supercharged singer sat down inside the Miramar offices of VP Records for a long-overdue catch-up interview.
Our connection goes way back. Maxi Priest has been featured on no less than five Reggae Report magazine covers, and from 1985 to 1998, he was featured, reviewed, interviewed, or mentioned in innumerable issues. In fact, since storming the music scene from his South London base in 1985, Maxi Priest has not stopped writing, recording, performing, promoting, producing, or rockin’ n’ rollin’, all while circling the globe . Continue reading →
This interview was held on January 13, 1994, at Garnet’s Kingston home. The visit was as warm and memorable as the 27-year-old singer himself. Tragically, by year’s end, Garnet perished in a fire alongside his mother at his childhood home. I cherish my time spent with this humble, delightful, kind human being who possessed childlike joy and a smile that touched everyone he met. Rest in power, dear soul…your music, message and memory live on. ~M. Peggy Quattro
Garnet Silk – A Son of Ethiopia
By M. Peggy Quattro V12#2 1994 Words in double brackets [[ ]] signify updated 2020 material ~MPQ
The highly anticipated return of Garnet Silk to the performing stage was purposefully planned to coincide with the birthday celebration of his good friend, DJ Tony Rebel. On January 15, 1994, Rebel Salute was staged in the cool and lovely city of Mandeville, situated in their home parish of Manchester, Jamaica.
In July 1993, following his doctor’s orders, the popular singer/songwriter took a needed hiatus from his rigorous performing and recording schedule. The reason given: exhaustion. [more later in this interview]
Garnet Silk exploded on the Jamaican music scene in 1991 and soon became the most in-demand performer on the island. A steady stream of shows and performances, tours and recordings throughout ‘92 and most of ‘93 took its toll on the performer. To begin the new year, and a new era in his dazzling career, Garnet Silk appears rested and ready to resume his appointed rule as musical message giver.
Every song released by Silk in the last two years has attracted rave reviews and considerable airplay in Jamaica and abroad. His unique vocal styling and charismatic presentations have him marked by music industry personnel and fans alike as the “next Bob Marley.”
I recently had the pleasure of visiting and interviewing the serious yet mild-mannered Silk during rehearsals and preparation for his triumphant comeback performance at Rebel Salute. This interview is part of the comeback. Continue reading →