“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 →
2019 UPDATE: Congratulations to brothers Ian and Roger Lewis, co-founders of the Grammy-winning band Inner Circle, on receiving Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (the government’s sixth-highest civic honor) at a King’s House ceremony on October 21, 2019, in Kingston. Honored for Inner Circle’s more than 50-year musical contributions, their iconic lead singer Jacob Miller was also recognized and awarded, and his son Taki Miller accepted posthumously on his behalf.
Here is a Reggae Report interview and story by writer and editor Sara Gurgen after catching up with bandleader Roger Lewis following Inner Circle’s 1994 Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album (they won that Grammy in 1993!)
INNER CIRCLE – Miami’s “Bad Boys” Nominated for ’94 Grammy
by Sara Gurgen
They won the Grammy for best 1993 Reggae album, and now Inner Circle–Miami’s world-famous, hard-working “Bad Boys” of Reggae–have been nominated for the 1994 Grammy with their latest Big Beat/Atlantic release, Reggae Dancer.
“It’s doing excellent, man, everywhere in the world; and when I mean excellent, I mean excellent,” said band leader and rhythm guitarist, Roger Lewis, in a recent Miami interview during a brief respite from Inner Circle’s hectic touring schedule.
“It is one of the biggest selling foreign albums in Japan. Over 300,000 albums [have sold] in Japan [as of Dec. 21]. Hundreds of thousands in Mexico. In Brazil, in Europe–very well. In America, it’s not doing too bad. I think we made it up to about 200,000 copies.”
One of the songs on the album that has been released worldwide and doing very well is “Games People Play.” “It was not really a success in America, but ‘Games People Play’ was literally a hit single everywhere else in the world,” explained Roger. “It was a top 10 song in about 10 countries in Europe. It didn’t really go No. 1 and do what “Sweat” did, but it was top 10 in Holland, in Germany, in Scandinavia, in Brazil; and it was No. 1 in Japan.” Continue reading →