Wednesday, December 27, 2006

U-Roy and Junior Murvin - Coming to Zion

The winds of reggae are blowing hard in Zion lately. After legendary shows this past year by The Gladiators, Eek-a-Mouse, Lee Perry, The Mad Professor, Matisiyahu and Ziggy Marley, we are treated to a real special nite to start off the new year. U-Roy and Junior Murvin a comin' to Zion for THREE shows, 2 in Tel Aviv and one in Jerusalem, Jan. 24 - 26.

Originally born named 'Ewart', he got his famous name from a young family member who couldn't pronounce Ewart and the nickname stuck. Known as the Originator, U-Roy wasn't the first DJ, nor even the first to cut a record, but with a career now spanning over 5 decades, he is a legend indeed. He was the first to shake the Jamaican nation and he originated a style so distinctly unique by DJing over old record cuts, that he single-handedly changed Jamaica's music scene forever.

Junior Murvin is known for his falsetto vocals, unique dancehall style, and is famous for his hits recorded with such greats as Lee Scratch Perry, King Tubby and Joe Gibb. "Police and Thieves" which was his most famous and first hit, has been re-recorded by The Clash, Boy George and others.

Together on one stage in Zion, these should be some really great shows. Below is a preview of what we should expect - Check it:

Daddy U-Roy inna stylee fashion:

Junior Murvin - Police and Thieves - 2004:

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tanya Stephens Shut Out of 2006 Reggae Grammy Nominations

Ziggy Marley, Sly and Robbie, Matisyahu, Buju Banton and UB40 are all gonna battle it out for the Reggae Category Grammy….BUT the widely hailed Rebelution album by Tanya Stephens was completely shut out of the nominations.

The nominations for the 2006 Grammy awards were released a week ago and in the Reggae category, a conspicuous absence is that of Tanya Stephens, whose Rebelution album was widely hailed and on the top of many charts, but is not among the nominees. Stephens' previous album, 2004's Gangsta Blues was also bypassed for nomination that year.

In an interview with the Jamaican media, Stephens said that she did not need any validation outside of Jamaica for her album.’That's like a girl begging to get into the boys' club. It's a club unto itself, and I don't need it." She referred to Shaggy's multi-platinum Hot Shots album, which also missed Grammy nomination.

The 2006 nominees in the reggae category are Too Bad by Buju Banton, Ziggy Marley's Love Is My Religion, Youth by Chasidic Jew chanter Matisyahu, Sly & Robbie's Rhythm & Doubles and Who You Fighting For by UB40.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Plans for Bob Marley and the Wailers Movie - The Black Beatles

'The Black Beatles' is the title of a screenplay by John Dixon, an african-american obsessed with Bob Marley and The Wailers, and who was inspired to write a script on the legendary reggae group. Dixon is a an amateur screenwriter who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

While still in super preliminary stages, Dixon has launched a basic website called Black Beatles with portions of the script for public view, in order to publish and present his idea out in the open to Hollywood moguls. Dixon claims that his script has been five years in the making and that "it's not just another Bob Marley and The Wailers story". "What makes my project stronger is it is not another documentary, which I personally feel there are too many," he said. "The Black Beatles script is part fictional and dramatized to make the film more interesting."

There's been lots of industry buzz recently about Bob Marley films coming soon, specifically Warner Brothers was talking about producing a major budget bio of Marley, as well as talk of Jamie Foxx playing the leading role.

Dixon prefers to focus on all members of the original Wailers, especially Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh. "With all due respect to Bob Marley, I want the film to show that Peter and Bunny were just as talented." Getting his story of The Wailers on screen, he says, would be the ultimate tribute to one of popular music's outstanding groups.

Dixon also adds (and it makes sense to me see the pics at the top):

"Can you imagine Terrence Howard as Bob Marley, Samuel L. Jackson as Peter Tosh, Don Cheadale as Bunny Wailer and Nick Nolte as Chris Blackwell?"

If you're interested in contacting John Dixon 'bout dis movie, you can do so by emailing him at or calling954-767-4828. For a full length interview with John Dixon about his movie plans, click here, or for a little taste of some legendary original Wailers positive vibrations Live in London 1973 , check it below.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dennis "The Crown Prince" Brown - Nuff Respect (1999)

Were it not for a fundamental flaw in his character, Dennis Brown, died at age 42, should have been crowned the undisputed king of reggae. After Bob Marley's death in 1981, fans were practically gagging to hand him the title. Even Marley himself had selected Brown as his successor, dubbing him the "crown prince" of reggae.

Managing to record over 70 albums and 300 singles over a 26 year career, he began his musical career at 9 years of age. A visit to Studio One at the age of 12 resulted in his first hits, the singles "No Man Is an Island". In a career that spanned 4 decades, Dennis worked with many of reggae's top names, beginning with Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, going on to work with Winston (Niney) Holness, Joe Gibbs, engineer Errol Thompson, Sly & Robbie, Gussie Clarke, Bunny Lee Delroy Wright, and many more.

Some of his major hits include "Whip them Jah Jah", "Revolution" and “Money in My Pocket” which hit the pop charts in England during the late 70’s. In 1994 he was nominated for a Grammy for the album “Light My Fire”.

According to the Jamaica Gleaner, Dennis Emmanuel Brown became ill while touring in Brazil in May 1999 smoking some of his last spliffs (or should I say crack-pipe?) with Gregory Isaacs and Max Romeo. He passed away soon thereafter in July of 1999. Though his initial cause of death was noted as respiratory failure, some reports state that Brown actually died of AIDS-related pneumonia. Around the industry, it was allegedly known that Brown had contracted AIDS and was a frequent crack-cocaine user.

In the days leading up to Dennis’ funeral, a reported 10,000 mourners (right) filed past the casket. Later, crowds watched a tribute at the National Arena, which included performances from Maxi Priest and Shaggy, as well as an appearance from his five (of thirteen) children.

Below is an 8 minute interview with him in 1982, as well as a video of a live performance of "Revolution"


Friday, December 01, 2006

Perry Henzell - Jamaican Director of "The Harder they Come" dies

Perry Henzell, whose low-budget urban Jamaican film "The Harder They Come" became an international blockbuster in 1972, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.

Ironically, Henzell died one day before his film, "No Place Like Home", was to be shown at the Flashpoint Film Festival which opens today in Negril, Jamaica. It is part of a thematic trilogy of which The Harder They Come was the first. His new film is the second in the trilogy and most of the film was actually shot just under three decades ago during the 1970s. It has been about 25 years in the making as it was severely hampered by financial problems.

The Harder They Come made a superstar out of now reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, who played the lead role of Ivan. With the up and coming reggae beat during the 70's, The Harder They Come helped introduce reggae and Jamaican pop culture to an international audience, and even won Best New Cinema at the 1973 Venice Film Festival.

Even Jamaican PM Portia Simpson Miller reacted to news of Henzell's death, saying he "made a sterling contribution to the development of the arts in Jamaica. Jamaica has lost a very talented son and his death has created a void throughout the creative industries in Jamaica."

In honor of Perry Henzell, here's the trailer of his greatest contribution to reggae history. Check it.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tosh Family Beats the Sh!tstem - M16 Guitar eBay Auction Cancelled

The eBay auction of Peter Tosh's M16 Stratocaster Guitar, as previously announced here on Reggae Sessions, will not be proceeding as planned at the FlashPoint Film Festival after massive controversy and protests by two of his sons who live in the U.S. A legal claim disputing the current ownership has been filed, and in the interests of parties, it is impractical to proceed with the auction.

The auction was to take place on behalf of Andrea (Marlene) Brown, the late Tosh's common-law wife, who put the guitar up for auction in October. She told the Jamaica Gleaner that Tosh gave her the Fender Stratocaster as a gift. But the rastaman's sons objected to the sale, saying it belonged to the Peter Tosh Foundation. Brown's family had the guitar for 19 years stored in the United States.

I tried to place a call to Peter's youngest son, Jawara Tosh (see bottom pic), who wrote numerous open letters to the festival, to Ms. Brown, and to the citizens of Jamaica expressing his concern about this highway robbery. Jawara Tosh lives in Boston and is known in music circles as Tosh1. I wanted to give personal tanks and praises to him that this piece of reggae history will not be sold to the highest bidder and massive bigups for his effort to stop this horrendous crime from occurring.

You can contact him yourselves to show your support via email at, or by calling him on the phone at 617-929-1673 and letting him know how you feel. Don't forget to mention Reggae Sessions ;-)

Let's hope dis one stays a part of reggae history forever. Nuff Respect to the Steppin Razor. Check it!

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Reggae Inna Israel - Past to Present in Zion

Some of you may already know this, but I'm based out of Tel Aviv, Israel, which has been my home for the past 7 years. Combining the fact that it is off the usual music tour routes, along with the sometimes nervewracking political and security situation which scares people off, some high quality acts have come here throughout the years. I thought I'd give tanks and praise to all of those that have made an effort and come to spread the irie reggae vibes to the people of Zion.

1982: Aswad, Dillinger
1983: Amazulu, Kabbala
1984: Musical Youth
1985: The Wailers
1988: Voices from the Third World Festival - featuring Manu Dibango, Alpha Blondy and the Solar System, Toure Kunda, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Rita Marley
1989: UB40
1990: Oasis Peace Festival - featuring The Wailers and Burning Spear
1993: Inner Circle, Achziv Reggae Festival featuring Israel Vibration and Roots Radics
1994: Achiziv Reggae Festival featuring Al Anderson, Jamaica Papa Curvin, The Vitals
1995: Gregory Isaacs, Israel Vibrations, Sister Aisha, The Twinkle Brothers
1996: Culture, Third World
1997: Buju Banton, Shiloh, Misty in Roots
2000: Mutaburaku, Tony Rebel, Alpha Blondy, Prezident Brown, Cutty Ranks, Aba Shanti
2001: Lee Scratch Perry, Mad Professor, Mikey Dread, Saxon Soundsystem with Daddy Colonel
2002: Third World, Mad Professor, Saxon SoundSystem, Jah Mason
2003: Trevor Sax and Saxon SoundSystem,
2005: Lee Scratch Perry, Mad Professor, Matisiyahu
2006: Ziggy Marley, The Gladiators, Eek-A-Mouse

And hopefully many many more to come. Bigup and much thanks to Irielion for much of the information above.