Second Grammy win for Toots and The MaytalBy Kevin Jackson, Jamaica ObsERVER
March 15, 2021 – Singer Leba Hibbert is overjoyed that Got to Be Tough, the last studio album released by Toots and The Maytals, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album yesterday.
The event was held virtually at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The band’s leader was her father, Toots Hibbert, who died last September due to complications from COVID-19.
“This is so bittersweet. He died and didn’t get to accept the award himself. However, we are celebrating his win and we are grateful,” Hibbert, who also provided back-up duties for her father, told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the announcement
“This signifies more recognition to my father’s work and more fans. This is a great record and the songs speak about the times that we are living in. I’d say his win is historical,” she added. 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 →
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!
“Reggae Month was officially proclaimed and first staged in 2008, spearheaded by the Ministry of Culture and powered by the Jamaican Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA). The focus of Reggae Month is “edutainment”, highlighting Jamaica’s musical history and heritage. The annual celebration has been a huge success, attracting on average 40,000 attendees each year. This success is made possible by the overwhelming support of media partners and music industry practitioners, in addition to dedicated government and corporate sponsors who share the Reggae Month vision. The goal of Reggae Month is to attract international acclaim for Jamaica as the reggae mecca of the world, enhance travel and tourism for the month of February, and provide an educational platform of entertainment for all ages.” From Reggae Month Jamaica.com
When asked to recall the first time he heard Third World’s music, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, who has known many of the legendary band’s members since he was a baby, briefly paused before responding. “It’s hard to say the exact moment because I was so young,” Damian said, “but it must have been at Cat’s house (Third World guitarist/cellist/vocalist Stephen “Cat” Coore, the father of Shiah Coore, Damian’s lifelong friend and bassist in his band). I remember Cat would come home from the studio where he was working on an album and play the music, I remember seeing album covers, the plaques the band had received. Really, Third World’s music has had a presence throughout my whole life.”
For several years, Damian had wanted to produce an album for the band with the intent of introducing their music to a younger demographic. However, with their respective hectic schedules, finding a mutually convenient time frame to write and record proved somewhat challenging. But the outstanding result, More Work to Be Done (out on the Marley family’s Ghetto Youths International imprint), was well worth the wait. “Third World had many songs they were working on; because they are top-notch musicians, they were all good songs, but those songs wouldn’t have accomplished my goal of moving them into this new generation of music,” Damian, a four-time Grammy winner, told Billboard on the phone from his Miami studio. “We had discussions about re-approaching some of the songs, even the songwriting, so we almost started the album from scratch halfway through working on it. We had songwriting sessions together, came up with ideas and developed what was most attractive to us. That’s what you are hearing on the album.”
Born on 11 November 1961, his mother called him London Andrew Roberts. Growing up, however, he was given the name Half Pint by a neighbor in his childhood community [of] Waterhouse in Kingston 11.
Half Pint’s career as a singer/songwriter began to take shape in 1983 when his smash hit single “Winsome” topped the charts in Jamaica. The next couple of years were to be the foundation years for Half Pint. During this time three albums were released – Moneyman Skank, Half Pint in Fine Style, and One in a Million [that] included hit singles like “Political Fiction,” “Mr. Landlord,” “Moneyman Skank,” and “Sally.” Continue reading →