Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sizzla Cancelled in France

Yet another reggae gig cancelled in France because of homophobic lyrics and messages expressed by performers. This time the artist in question is Sizzla.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Community Music

Wellington has a vibrant, strong community of reggae musicians, and an equally strong base of supporters – something which we should all be proud of. The passion and dedication that is present in our city is something which sets it apart from many others. These qualities and strengths will continue to grow as long as the music community works to foster them.

It is fantastic to see so many hard-working DJs putting on parties and spreading the music and vibe to the dance-floor massive. I think we all agree that Wellington would not be the same without the music that is contained within it.

That is why our musicians need all the support and backing that we can possibly give to them. For the average person, this could mean making sure you get out there and regularly attend the parties that the crews are putting on, make an effort to represent on the dance-floor and show your appreciation.

There are however, other parts of the community which can show their support and backing in different ways – namely the bars and venues where all these gigs are held. The bars and clubs that exist in a city play crucial parts in the success of the music scene. Putting on gigs is an expensive, labour intensive exercise and without proper financial backing and reasonable terms and conditions for musicians, putting on parties becomes near impossible – especially in a city such as Wellington with a relatively small population base. Clubs are in a position to “make or break” a musical event.

Any little bit of support really does count, from helping to cover promotion costs, to giving regular crews good hire-age deals, to making sure that quality DJs are reimbursed fully for their work and are valued. And surely this is mutually beneficial for all concerned – if venues give support, musicians are able to be more productive, which means more parties, which in turn means more need for and usage of venues, and so the cycle continues.

I hope that our musicians and DJs are given the support and respect they are due, by all parts of the community, especially those that are in a position to really make a difference.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Solid Foundation - An Oral History of Reggae

This book includes conversations with some of the architects of Jamaican popular music and covers the beginning of sound system culture to the advent of the digital era and the birth of dancehall. Provides a nice narrative of reggae history from varying musical perspectives and personalities. Well worth checking out.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Weekend Wrap

Weekend dance-floor happenings, on Friday I checked out the Ready Or Not party at Bodega. Respect to the Ruffneck Souljah Crew for yet another heavy junglist session.

Saturday night, caught the last few hours of DJ Manray and the Spotlight Kid playing at Havana and was treated to some great reggae selections and good vibes all round. Watch out for these two putting on more nights at Havana in the future.

In other reggae news, Desmond Ballentyne, better known as Ninjaman, was involved in a car crash and seriously injured. This is the second accident in just over a year for the veteran dancehall artist. Check the link for a few more details:

Recommended Reggae - King Jammy In Roots

Came across this great album from the Auralux label. Showcasing some superb King Jammy production with heavy tunes including Johnny Osbourne's Folly Ranking, Junior Reid's Jailhouse, and Michael Rose's Born Free. Check for other Auralux releases, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King

Big ups to the Ginger Ninjah for this review of Lloyd Bradley’s classic book, Bass Culture: When reggae was king.

Heavy with history, interview material and anecdotes, Lloyd Bradley’s book, Bass Culture: When reggae was king has enough in it to be homework for even the biggest reggae geek.

Bass Culture chronicles the development of reggae, from the early soundsystem clashes of the 1950s, to the emergence of ska, and rocksteady. The book then progresses to a fine section on roots and dub. Dancehall is also covered, albeit much more briefly than the previous sections, which perhaps is a reflection of the musical tastes of the author.

The strength of this book is that it is as much a social history as a musical one. Reggae is shown as a reflection of influences spanning hundreds of years; as a slave culture’s link to its homeland, with its musical roots in American R&B and African drumming, religious roots in the bible, and its ghetto genesis as a protest against colonialism, oppression and poverty. The book traces the many interactions between music, culture, economics, politics and history. As Prince Buster put it ‘…real life in Jamaica made the music happen’.

Added to this is a heap of information about all the big names, big tunes and big themes in reggae over the last fifty years. Ask for it in your local bookstore, or if times be hard in de ghetto, the Wellington library has two copies available with your card.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ready Or Not

Be sure to be at Bar Bodega this Friday night for the long awaited return of the Ruffneck Souljah Crew. It's going to be a heavy-weight jungle, reggae and hiphop mash-up.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Capleton Cancelled In France

Yet again highlighting the debate regarding homophobia in reggae and dancehall:

Top Ten Selections - Souljah Sensi

Big Up to Souljah Sensi from Ruffneck Souljah Recordings for his top ten of June 2005. Stay tuned for info about the next Ruffneck party, coming soon to Bar Bodega.

1. Holy Fire - Bass Nacho & LiondubNYC (dubplate)
2. Pull Up - Million Dan (unreleased)
3. New York ah Run Red - Ritchie Spice (Dubwise Version)
4. New York New York - Bobby Dread and Jah Rule (Free - Ruffneck Souljah dubplate)
5. Ruffneck Empress - Mikey Dangerous (Dubplate)
6. Bigger Dan Dat - Taktik and Stada feat Bass Nacho - Blacklist Records
7. The Turf's Hot/Crime Connects - Guilty Crime Productions - GCP Records
8. Rcola and Souljah Sensi feat Bass Nacho - Raver Girl VIP - Royal Crown Dubplate
9. The Mixtape - Ruffneck Souljah - Ruffneck Souljah Recordings Street Release
10. Locked Up - Akon feat Styles P - SRC Recordings

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Mellow Dubmarine

A nice thing to do on a Thursday night:

Room 101, every Thursday from 10pm, "DJ Goosebump and guest selectors dropping the very best in downbeat dub, reggae and bass heavy depth charges". No cover charge, drink specials. This Thursday you can check out DJ Art. In the future watch out for DJ Manray, DJ Lemon and the Spotlight Kid, among others.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Yardwise Crew

The Yardwise Crew -

L to R: The Ghetto Fabulous Selecta Misteek, 5-Star General Art Official and Newtown Badman DJ Spin Zero. Missing in Action is the infamous Daddy Topknot.

Back To The Roots

The Roots Foundation Soundsystem presents:

Back To The Roots
Sunday 5th June, Room 101 (underground at Bodega), 101 Ghuznee Street, 9pm
Mu, Lemon, Koa and Goosebump with Master of Ceremonies Imon Star

Make sure y'all check this legendary crew out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Strictly Rocking An Ting: Inna Auckland

Read on for DJ Art’s comments on the Auckland reggae scene:

I paid a brief visit to Auckland recently and was impressed with the changes and developments in the reggae scene, from what I remember from a few years back. I made sure to hit up the usual hot spots for doses of whatever reggae happenings I could find, these came in the form of radio shows, record store visits, and of course getting up inna de dance.

Buying reggae music in Auckland is always something I look forward to. Real Groovy (on Queen Street) still maintains a reggae section with comprehensive and diverse CD titles and a small range of vinyl. If you are lucky you may find some hot second-hand 12"s and albums alongside a few new compilations and LPs.

Beat Merchants (Victoria St - East) is the spot for the more serious record buyers, simply because they order weekly and cater to fans of vintage ska /roots to contemporary-roots/bashment-dancehall. They seemed to stock (still!) the biggest bins of 7", 10", 12", and LPs" of reggae music, not to mention some great CDs.

Slightly further downtown on High St is the petite little record store called Conch. Though the space is not much bigger than a bus-stop (originally started as a market stall in Aotea Square), Reggae heads won’t be disappointed by the superb selection of music. The latest riddims arrive regularly on 7" and a few surprises can always be found in the sale bins. There are also a few CDs and 12"s/LPs that shouldn't be over looked.

Auckland offers more than a few reggae-friendly radio stations and some great 'specialist' reggae shows. BFM, Base FM, Fleet FM, plus a few more all delivered tight programmes featuring various reggae sub-genres.

On Friday 20 May, at the Safari Lounge on Ponsonby Road, the Auckland six piece reggae band, The Midnights, performed a set of original ska/roots/reggae. A good sized crowd were up for the irie tunes and these guys laid it down well and truly proper. One of the country's best vocalists, reggae veteran Tuffy Culture, took to the mic a few times throughout the set and to put it simply, 'blazed fire hotta in the dance'.

'Give Demarun' was the name for a night of dancehall, hip-hop and jungle that went down well at a new downstairs venue called the Viper Room, situated near K. Rd on Cross St. Headlining the bill were Auckland heavyweights Tuff Enchant and Dubhead, and joining them were a host of other performers holding down duties on the mic and dropping big tunes in the mix. Nice contemporary roots tunes warmed up the dancehall before an up-tempo mix of bashment classics and fresh riddims. A guest Hungarian selector had the dance floor rocking and was followed by a DJ who wasn’t shy to include some impressive mixing skills with hot selections. By this stage the crowd were well ready for the jungle selections that came later.

Auckland's reggae scene certainly holds it down when it comes to delivering quality music to the people. I look forward to my next visit and hope this write-up has been helpful to anyone intending to get their reggae stylee on inna Auckland. Respect.

*no P heads were harmed during the making of this write-up*