Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Reggae Niceness Radio

Tune into the “Reggae Niceness” Radio Show on Munt 88.5 FM (Massey University Station), every Friday from 2-5pm. This is a new show hosted by Far-I, GecKo and DollaMix and is dedicated to spreading good vibes, as well as keeping Welly up with the freshest sounds hot out of Jamaica. Guaranteed to nice-up the area on your Friday afternoons!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Soundsplash 2006

Waitangi weekend (Feb 04-05) sees the yearly Soundsplash Festival take place in Raglan, put on by the Motherland Collective. With a line-up featuring international guests, Big Youth, Third World and DJ Earl Gateshead (Trojan Soundsystem UK) and local artists including Yardwise, Katchafire, Cornerstone Roots, DLT, The Mighty Asterix, Stinky Jim and many more, this is sure to be a weekend of high-grade reggae in the most picturesque of surroundings.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Weekend Phat Beats

Friday 27 - One Vibe (from Nelson) @ Bodega (and Bluenote on Sat 28)

Friday 27 - Spicetraders @ Good Luck

Saturday 28 - DJ Lemon @ The Last Supper Club

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Richie Spice Interview Exclusive

Tune into Radio Active 89 FM’s Roots and Culture show this Sunday to hear DJ Art Official’s exclusive interview with Fifth Element artist, Richie Spice.

Richie Spice has emerged as one of the most talented reggae artists of the 21st century. Born in 1971 in St. Andrew, Kingston, Spice comes from a strong musical family, including brothers Pliers (Chaka Demus and Pliers) and Spanner Banner (also on the Fifth Element label). In 2000 Spice released his debut album, Universal, on Heartbeat Records. He spent the next few years touring and recording singles, until meeting Devon Wheatley, the CEO of Fifth Element Records, who signed him onto the label. In 2004 “Spice In Your Life” was released, with the album, and Spice himself receiving widespread acclaim throughout the world, among critics and dancehalls alike. Spice’s powerful and conscious lyrics and themes reflect his and Fifth Element’s beliefs, and “…aim directly at the upliftment of our youths, who will represent the generations to come”.

In this interview exclusive, listen to Spice talk about his musical beginnings, how he was introduced to reggae music and influenced by people such as Bobby Digital and the Tuff Gong family. Hear him speak about his collaborations and influences and his soon to be released new album. Produced and hosted by DJ Art Official, this show will also feature some of the highlights of Spice’s discography.

Listen in to the Richie Spice interview exclusive, this Sunday 29 January, on Radio Active 89FM’s Roots and Culture show, 4-7pm.

“…growing up I always look out there in the world at the changes going on – gun violence, the youths out there on the street hungry, cannot find food, cannot go to school, the whole world war that’s going on. Physically, spiritually, the whole meditation come upon the universe so we just put all of those things together and put the words together to speak of things that are going on around us” – Richie Spice.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Channel One Soundsystem

The yearly “Big Day Out” took place in Auckland at Ericsson Stadium on January 20th and this year New Zealand reggae-heads were blessed to have the opportunity to hear and see Channel One Soundsystem from the UK.

For this session, Channel One founder, Mikey Dread, was joined on the mic by Terry Gad, who is formerly from Gloucester based soundsystem, Jah Trinity. Residents in Oz will be familiar with Jah Trinity, as Gad’s brother runs a sound by the same name based in Adelaide.

Channel One Soundsystem began around 25 years ago. After Dread inherited a soundsystem from his father and brother, he set about adding to it and building his own in his mother’s basement in London. Mikey was raised in London, but returns to Jamaica every few years to maintain connections and visit family. Channel One are an integral part of the legendary, old-school UK roots soundsystem circuit and play with other sounds such as Jah Shaka, Aba Shanti, the Iration Steppas and Jah Youth. They have played, and occupy prime position for the last 22 years at the 2nd biggest street festival in the world – the Notting Hill Carnival, held every August in London. They regularly tour around the UK and Europe, an all-time favourite gig being around 1994 or 1995 in Marseille, France, with Burning Spear, the Mighty Diamonds and Dennis Brown. A foundation goal of Channel One is to influence and inspire the youth in positive ways. Their shows are characterised by floor to ceiling speaker stacks, the heaviest of bass power and sessions with other sounds lasting for up to eight hours of classic UK roots.

Channel One played at the Lily World stage in Auckland, which was nicely sheltered from the main BDO stages and the sprawling rock crowds, which luckily meant the sounds did not interfere with each other. Channel One took to a nicely set stage bearing Jamaican flags and greenery and the crowd had a large grassy area to skank on – a perfect outdoor dancehall setting. Their set lasted for just over two hours during which time the crowd was treated to an energetic and spirited performance with Dread dropping tunes and both performers on the mic, filled with conscious messages and calling for peace and unity. Two hours was not nearly enough time to capture the true Channel One vibe, as it was obvious there was so much more to come, but it provided the large and enthusiastic audience a taster of an authentic UK roots session.

When asked for three favourite Channel One tracks, Mikey stated that Bounty Hunter by Barrington Levy, No Peace by Tena Stelin (to be released in March), and Natty Dreadlocks by Colour Red are heavily on rotation.

As this was their first visit to this part of the world, and due to their gruelling flight schedule, Mikey stated that they approached their visit to Aotearoa with a bit of apprehension. However they found the country warm and inviting and enjoyed giving the people a sample of their sound and message. When asked what he thought of the New Zealand reggae soundsystem scene, Dread was positive and analogously compared it to the New Zealand landscape when he said “It’s kind of like a volcano that’s ready to fire…you can feel the vibes…it’s like there is an underlying thing ready to happen, if it sparks it’ll blow up, and you want to be a part of that”. They expressed their strong desire to return to Aotearoa next year, with Wellington being a favoured destination spot, to experience the New Zealand sound and to help our own sounds to grow and develop. He also expressed a strong interest in learning more about Maori and Rasta culture in New Zealand.

It was a true privilege to have the opportunity to experience the Channel One sound in Aotearoa and we give thanks and praises to Mikey and Terry for making the journey. Lets hope the New Zealand reggae massive can work together to get them back to Aotearoa next year.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

More Fire

Big Ups to current resident-in-Melbourne, Art Official, for his report on More Fire - Melbourne's biggest monthly reggae party.

Chant Down: MORE FIRE! session #54. Jan 14, Melbourne

Last Saturday night inna Melbourne town, Australia, saw Chant Down Productions present: MORE FIRE! Session #54 of Melbourne's monthly reggae/dancehall blaze up, a session which has been burning hotter and hotter since April 2001.

Soundmen Jesse I and Ras Crucial (Chant Down Soundsystem) hosted and headlined the night with guest selectors Housewife's Choice, Christar, Bonnita, Delay, and A13, later on vocalists Damajah and Riff Raff joined the selectors on stage. Tearing up dance floors in 2 rooms of the Mearcat, Queen St, the main room underground was packed with enough sound power for a heavy, heavy reggae bashment session. The second room was upstairs and had a balcony overlooking the Victoria Market, which certainly pleased the irie intentions of some.

By the time I arrived, A13 was dropping some big tunes downstairs, from Gregory Isaacs 'Rumours', to Ninjaman's 'Mad Again'. Chant Down Soundsystem then took to the stage to blaze things up with nuff dubplates and conscious roots dancehall. Upstairs, Housewife's Choice were pushing tough riddims like 'World a Music' and 'I Swear'. MCs Damajah and Riff Raff joined Jesse I on the mic to close the impressive Chant Down set. With the crowd wanting more, Bonnita took to the tables and threw down some big ragga hip-hop and dancehall which was followed by some heavy, heavy dub selections by Jesse I.

Overall a wicked night with everyone enjoying the nice vibe and great tunes. Big up to Chant Down! They are online at, which has info and audio from some More Fire sessions. But even better... if you are in or near Melbourne, on the second Saturday of the month, More Fire is a sure shot.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Kaikoura Roots Report

Masses of respect to DJ Spin Zero from the Yardwise Crew for his report on the Kaikoura Roots Festival which took place last weekend.

Our expectations of the "Kaikoura Roots Festival" have been far surpassed. "Misteek and the Yardwise Soundsystem" eventually made it to the venue despite some serious vehicle trouble. Huge respect for Toby and Esther for coming through on that one. From a 5-star backpacker in an emergency rental car, to encountering four different guys called Paul, we made it to the grounds.

Saturday threw an incessant easterly at the venue, but the quality and volume of the session in progress more than made up for that. The crowd was out in all their irie glory, and not even the threatening rain deterred them from what was to become a perfect treat for bass lovers.

Through various bands, sound systems, producers, selectors and singers, the evening heated up with the sound of Ladi6 and selector's husky tracks, Kora's magnificent sunset and full harvest moonrise set, toward the brilliance of Salmonella Dub, Fat Freddy's and into the heavyweights of Kapisi, Digital and the night-time selections.

Dubwise Soundsystem got the crowd suitably rocking on Sunday morning, Papa Levi, Tuff Enchant and Messenjah busting out their magic from irie rootsy licks to serious dancehall growls. Polished and invigorating, the crowd was given an ultra downbeat rest of a few minutes by the likes of Son.sine, only to be compelled back to the dance floor by the sound of Wellington's frontrunners in reggae-dancehall, Yardwise.

Somewhat apprehensive of how our sound would be received at such a prestigious festival, we were humbled by the support and appreciation we received by way of the packed out dance floor and boundless energy of the crowd. Being called back by the inimitable "Kunte Kinte" trombone line, the crowd were quick to respond.

MC Kthrnak managed to communicate all our respect for the reggae massive through his toasts, versions and stingers while Jhan delivered heart-melting versions of "Bam Bam", "Truth and Rights" and "Tenement Yard" among other songs.

Slamming through our set from classic to contemporary, our set peaked with the bass-killer track "Dust Another Sound"; the only person we could see not going wild was the poor soundman, making sure we didn't rupture the bass bins with that one.

Over almost before we knew it, our 40 minute set delivered a sampling of what Yardwise represents, and hopefully expressed our Wellington and worldwide flavour. Massive thanks and praise to the South Island massive and all the travellers who made it.

But the star of the show was the one and only Mighty Asterix, with three billed sets and many unlisted, with many respected artists such as DLT, Cornerstone, Sunshine Soundsystem and others. That Upper Hutt sound which is so familiar in Wellington and Aotearoa, permeating the roots festival in his own unassuming way, was the perfect celebration of Roots in NZ.

Sadly the last one at that site, the Kaikoura Roots Festival was a definite 10/10 session. Respect to Andrew and the organising team who came through with not only a seamless musical event but quality stalls and facilities as well. Hoping that such a high grade event can be continued in the future. Bless.


Top Ten Selections - Spikey Tee

Now a resident of Australia, Spikey Tee originally hails from London where he developed his first-class DJing, MCing and vocalist skills. He first came onto the New Zealand scene with some big gigs at Phoenix, Indigo and Sandwiches and has most recently toured as a guest vocalist with Sola Rosa. He is well-known for his heavy selections of drum and bass, jungle, dancehall, reggae and tight skills on the mic. Watch out for his up-coming tour with jungle/drum and bass crew Congo Natty Outernational. Nuff respect to Spikey Tee for his favourite tracks (in no particular order) for January.

1. Warm Weather - Pieces Of A Dream
2. Jahoviah - Twinkle Brothers
3. Let Jah Be Praised - Peter Tosh
4. Embrya Album - Maxwell
5. Locust - Ed Rush and Optical
6. Moulding - Ijahman Levi
7. Feel Like Jumping - Marcia Griffiths
8. Padlock - Gwen Guthrie
9. Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
10. War Of The Gods - Billy Paul

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Rebel Salute Review

Article from the Jamaica Observer reviewing this year's Rebel Salute festival, which was held at Port Kaiser's Sports Club, St. Elizabeth on Saturday 14th January. This festival is a yearly event organised by Tony Rebel as a celebration of Jamaican roots music, and artists on the night included Luciano, Richie Spice, Burning Spear, Inner Circle and Third World.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

JAVAA's New Home

Article from the Jamaica Gleaner about how "The Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA) (has) officially opened its new home" and will stage its first concert - Remembering the Crown Prince of Reggae, A Birthday Celebration, in honour of Dennis Brown.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Big Youth Album Review

Shout-outs to Miz Ninja for her review on Big Youth's classic album, Screaming Target.

Big Youth (Manley Augustus Buchanan to his mother) made it big back in 1972, with his debut album, Screaming Target. Although just 17, Big Youth had by this time built up a solid following in Kingston, as the resident DJ for one of the biggest sound systems, Lord Tippertone’s.

Screaming Target progresses through a solid line-up of classic rhythms which roll gently under Big Youth’s laidback toasting flow, punctuated by the occasional exclamatory yelp or nerve-shattering scream. Among the tunes given the Big Youth treatment on this album are ones originally recorded by Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and Augustus Pablo, and the title track samples KC White’s ‘No No No’. The rootsy, steady pace of Screaming Target allows Big Youth’s chatty, chanting vocals and rasta-inspired lyrics to dominate.

This album established Big Youth as a hugely popular, innovative and influential reggae sound, who added to the growing Rasta consciousness of the dancehalls in the early 1970s. Rasta morals seep through his lyrics in songs such as ‘Honesty’ (‘you’ve got to help the old while you are young’) and ‘the Killer’ (‘you should never do a ting dat is wrong’).

The album is undoubtedly a classic, and is well-worth a listen for any reggae aficionado, or those interested in the man who many credit with providing an early but important influence on the development of American hip hop vocal styles.

Waitangi weekend this year gives reggae fans of Aotearoa the chance to catch a flash of Big Youth’s red, green and gold jewelled teeth at Raglan’s Soundsplash festival.

Miz Ninja

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Check It

This weekend:

Thurs 12 - Budspell @ Room 101
Thurs 12 - Digital @ Sandwiches
Friday 13 - Duke Willis @ The Matterhorn
Saturday 14 - DJ Lemon @ The Last Supper Club

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Nice-Up Tracks Of The Week

Youths Well Cold - Assassin, featuring Freddie McGregor

Born and raised in Papine, north-east Kingston, Assassin began DJ’ing around the age of 4, and gained his stage-name from musical clashes with friends at school. His talent was later recognised by fellow artist, Spragga Benz. This track is from his recently released album - Infiltration - and is produced by Donovan Germain for Penthouse Productions. Also look out for another big Assassin track, “God Nuh Sleep”.

Classic Track - Hot This Year - Dirtsman

Dirtsman was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica in 1966. Sadly, his life ended violently when he was shot dead in 1993, after having recently signed a recording contract with BMG. This track was released in 1991 and still remains a dancehall classic.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sunday Sessions

Come on down to Seam Bar, 48 Courtney Place, Sunday 8th, for the Sunday Reggae Sessions with GKO and guests, 4-7pm. Chilled vibes and phat beats guaranteed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reggae Xplosion Museum

Article about how the "...history of Jamaica's music, covering reggae, ska, rocksteady, dub and dancehall, is preserved in the Reggae Xplosion Museum at Island Village, Ocho Rios, St. Ann".

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Foundation For Musical Pioneers

Article from the Jamaica Observer reporting on Delano Franklyn's (The Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) call for the establishment of "...a foundation within the music industry to assist musicians who have passed their productive years in terms of performance and recording".