<![CDATA[REGGAE REFLECTION - COVERED EVENTS / PHOTOS]]>Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:30:36 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Photos & Recap: Good vibes for all at the 8th Annual RI Waterfront Reggae Festival 8/12/17]]>Mon, 14 Aug 2017 19:03:37 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-recap-good-vibes-for-all-at-the-8th-annual-ri-waterfront-reggae-festival-81217RI Waterfront Reggae Festival
Earlier forecasts of scattered showers never materialized at the 8th annual Waterfront Reggae Festival held on Saturday, August 12, 2017. In fact, the sun was shining for a good part of the afternoon as Reggae fans of all ages flocked to Bold Point Park in East Providence, RI to listen to a full day of conscious and uplifting sounds from some of Reggae's finest artists.   

Previously held at the Newport Yachting Center in its early years,  the Reggae Festival made its Providence debut in 2015 at India Point Park in Providence.   This year's event moved across the bay to Bold Point Park where it will be held for at least the next three years.   The premiere waterfront location provided a laid-back peaceful environment to enjoy the day with family and friends.   Many different viewing vantage points allowed the audience to be as near or as far from the stage as desired while all having wonderful views of the stage and close proximity to the various vendors in attendance. 
Taj WeekesTaj Weekes
Promising 10 hours of entertainment, the festival started at noon with the sounds of Omega Sound Djs and Dj Matik keeping the good vibes flowing throughout the day in between full length quality sets of live music.  Local Reggae fusion band Natural Element kicked off the live segment of the program.  Caribbean artist Taj Weekes and his multi-cultural band Adowa then provided an entertaining set for the early afternoon attendees including popular selections from his latest studio album  Love, Herb & Reggae

Taj Weekes and Adowa

Kabaka PyramidKabaka Pyramid
Due to visa issues Kabaka Pyramid explained to the audience that he was not able to bring The Bebble Rockers, his full band to the festival as planned.  Instead, Kabaka delivered a dynamic set with well known Selector Yaadcore backing him as devoted Kabaka Pyramid fans lined the front to sing along word for word. Other highlights of the set included the performance of his new song, Can't Breathe (produced by Genis T) from his upcoming album, Contraband.  He also took time to thank many of the area DJs and the RI Reggae fraternity that have supported his career from early on.  

Selector Yaadcore
Selector Yaadcore

Reggae Scenes 

Jr Kelly
Junior Kelly delighted fans with his energetic set. His contagious smile had the audience smiling and singing along especially when he jumped into the audience to finish a song surrounded by enthusiastic fans.  Other highlights of his set included a powerful duo of Missing You with supporting vocalist, Chantelle.  New songs including High Hopes from his latest album, Urban Poet were well received. 

From the moment Anthony B jumped on stage, it was literally non-stop action.  He drew from his extensive song catalog to perform fan-favorite songs such as Can't stop the FireTease her and his anthem song Raid di Barn during his high energy set.  He played tribute to Gregory Issacs, one of the Reggae pioneers who paved the way for the current generation of Reggae & Dancehall artists.   And in honor of freedom fighter John Lennon, Anthony B sang a touching version of Imagine,  the lyrics never more important than they are right now in today's politically charged climate - injecting hope that the world will be as one.

Freddie McGregor
The final set of the night belonged to Reggae legend, Freddie McGregor performing many of his timeless hits.  Freddie also took time out of his set to honor his close friend the late, Dennis Brown performing the ever popular song, Love and Hate.  By popular demand, Freddie responded to two encores before closing out a beautiful day of music. 

It was a wonderful day to see Reggae fans from all walks of life celebrating peace, love and unity at a time when it is needed most.   Kudos to the festival staff for executing another successful year of good vibes for all.   ​​​

<![CDATA[Estelle Press Conference at VP Records NY]]>Fri, 30 Jun 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/estelle-press-conference-at-vp-records-nyPhotos by Melvin Calender for Reggae Reflection  Estelle press conference vp records
On June 30, 2017,  Grammy winning R&B artist Estelle met with members of the press at the VP records office in NY to discuss her new Reggae single, 'Love Like Ours' featuring Tarrus Riley.    Recently Estelle made a well received surprise guest appearance during Tarrus Riley's set at Groovin in  Park on June 25, 2017 in Queens, NY.   'Love Like Ours' is the first single from Estelle's first full length Reggae album which will be released this fall on the VP Records label. View photos of the press conference below.    

Estelle with Ms. Pat VP Records
Estelle with Ms. Patricia Chin (Ms. Pat) , Co-Founder of VP Records
Jennifer Valentin and Richard Lue of VP Records with Estelle
Jennifer Valentin and Richard Lue of VP Record with Estelle
Dane Bogle of VP Records with Estelle
Estelle with Vp Records
Estelle with members of VP Records
Naisha Urban PR,  Estelle and Jennifer Valentin
Naisha of Urban Relations PR and Jennifer Valentin of Vp Records with Estelle
Sheron Hamilton Pearson and Estelle
Sheron Hamilton Pearson of E2E Radio Network with Estelle
Come Chat wid Mi interviews Estelle
Estelle VP Records
Estelle with members of the media

Listen to 'Love like Ours'  - Estelle featuring Tarrus Riley

Read the VP Records full press release below 
VP Records announces the completion of a new album deal with Grammy(R) winning R&B artist Estelle. The full length reggae album is scheduled for a fall 2017 release. The first single, ‘Love Like Ours’ featuring reggae star Tarrus Riley is available June 16th with a music video to follow.
The melodic and captivating ‘Love Like Ours’ gives fans a first taste of the upcoming album that will showcase the pivotal influence reggae music has had on the London, England born singer. Raised in a religious, Senegalese/ Grenadian household, Estelle’s musical upbringing included a variety of Afro-Caribbean, Gospel, Hip-Hop and dance styles with a healthy dose of reggae music.
Since 2008 and the release of the crossover radio hit “Come Over” featuring reggae star Sean Paul and produced by Supa Dups (Sean Paul, Drake, Party Next Door), fans have been encouraging Estelle to record a reggae album. This project will bring their desires to life with a unique fusion of lover’s rock, afro beats and dancehall flavors anchoring her soulful, R&B vocals. “When I told some friends about doing this album” said Estelle, “they were like – ‘finally!'” She continued, “everyone who knows me, understands the deep connection I have to reggae music.” Estelle has joined forces with Supa Dups again on this project and her fans excitement for the full album is brewing.

“Love Like Ours” draws you in with smooth guitar and keyboard hooks and keeps the listener engaged with upbeat, feel good lyrics. “The song is shaping up to be the lover’s anthem of the summer” said VP records President Randy Chin.
Estelle’s performing credits include multiple nominations and a Grammy(R) win for “American Boy,” her collaboration with Kanye West, The number one radio record anthem ‘Thank You’, a number one hit on the Billboard Top 200 with ‘Conqueror’, the epic duet with Jussie Smollet and a recurring cameo role on the Fox Network series Empire. She is also a featured character role on the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe.
Estelle has shown a wide and expanding range of talent and with this album, will complete the musical circle, showcasing one of her earliest musical influences. The singer concluded, “I’m happy to give the people what they have been asking for and I’m proud to share another piece of my life and art with the world.”
<![CDATA[Photo Gallery:  40th Anniversary of Greensleeves Records featuring Queen Ifrica, Alborosie, Addis Pablo NYC 6/21/17]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photo-gallery-40thanniversary-greensleeves-62117Photos by Melvin Calender for Reggae Reflection  Queen Ifrica BB King Blues Club NYC  Climb
On Wednesday June 21, 2017, VP Records celebrated the 40th anniversary of their UK Reggae label, Greensleeves Records.  The well attended celebration was held at the infamous BB King Blues Club located in Times Square.  The triple headliner bill included Addis Pablo, son of the late dub reggae legend Augustus Pablo; Italian-born Reggae artist Alborosie making his debut NYC performance; and Queen Ifrica with her full band on tour in support of her billboard chart topping new album, 'Climb'.   Queen Ifrica's son Imeru Tafari as well as Lady Ann made  special guest appearances.    View more photos from the celebration below. 

<![CDATA[Video Interview with Raging Fyah @ House of Blues Boston 2017]]>Sat, 10 Jun 2017 22:02:43 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/video-interview-with-raging-fyah-house-of-blues-boston-2017Raging Fyah Boston
Raging Fyah Band members Kumar Bent (lead singer), Delroy “Pele” Hamilton (bassist) ,  Anthony Watson (drummer),  Demar Gayle (keyboardist and musical director) and Courtland White (guitarist) released their third studio album "Everlasting" in May of 2016 which debuted at #2 on the billboard chart.  In support of  "Everlasting", Raging Fyah has toured extensively throughout the US and Europe with bands such as Stick Figure, Fortunate Youth and Protoje.    

Earlier this year, they kicked off a Winter US tour with Tribal Seeds and Nattali Rize.  At their tour stop in Boston,  Empress K had a chance to catch up with 3 members of Raging Fyah to discuss their recent grammy nomination and upcoming tour plans.    Watch the interview below. 

Raging Fyah @ House of Blues Boston  Photo Gallery 

<![CDATA[Photo Gallery - Capleton at BB King NYC 5/24/17]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-capleton-at-bb-king-nyc-52417Photos of Capleton performing at BB King Blues Club NYC 5/24/17
​by Melvin Calender for 
Capleton at BB King NYC 5/24/17
Capleton BB King 5/24/17
<![CDATA[9 Mile Music Festival Miami 2017 Photos and Highlights ]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 14:59:47 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/9-mile-music-festival-miami-photos-and-highlights-2017March 11, 2017  Photos by Empress K and Natty D Photography for Reggae Reflection and Island Stage Magazine.
The annual 9 Mile Music Festival is an annual excursion to Miami for many devoted Reggae fans.  Over the years, the festival has been held in a few locations including the favorite waterfront location of the historic Virginia Key Beach Park where it was held once again this year.  Spectacular weather for the day-long festival paved the way for a diverse lineup of Reggae, Dancehall and Hip Hop artists appealing the large number of fans in attendance for the 24th edition of the 9 Mile Music Festival.  


When we arrived at the festival mid-afternoon,  Matamaba, a Bolivian Roots Reggae / Rock performer was onstage making a dynamic impression for the early attendees  -  even jumping off the stage at one point to get up close with the audience members.   Next up was  Canadian / Jamaican artist Kreesha Turner,  the only female performer on the bill this year.  She made reference to that fact and paid a nice tribute to Tanya Stephens.  Tuner also performed a few crowd pleasing covers before treating fans to a preview of her new song with Shaggy.   



Charly Black 9Mile Music Festival


Dancehall artist Charly Black made his debut appearance at the festival entertaining the audience with his popular material before performing his fan favorite song, ‘Party Animal’ which just recently became the first dancehall song to reach 100 million plays on Spotify.    
Mighty Crown, the popular sound system known as the Far East Rulers out of Japan were on hand to warm up the crowd before the evening started.

 9 Mile Music Festival Fan Gallery (click an image to start gallery)


After an unexpected lengthy technical delay, Mavado performed as the first band set of the evening. Towards the end of his set, he invited Charly Black back on stage and gave him one more opportunity to perform an encore of Black’s smash hit ‘Party Animal’ for the enthused audience. 



Capleton, a longtime favorite performer at past editions of the 9 Mile Music Festival performed a fiery set with all his classic Reggae & Dancehall anthems such as ’Jah Jah City’, ‘That Day Will Come’, and ‘No Guns’ while making sure to deliver conscious messages in between songs.   



Julian Marley was the only scheduled Marley brother to represent the family at this year’s event. He delighted the audience and brought out a few surprise guests including Spragga BenzStephen Marley and Damian Marley with his young son Elijah in tow to spice up his set.  

Elijah Marley


The later acts of the night alternated between the remaining Reggae and Rap artists starting with Hip Hop Legend, DMX.  Surrounded by several security team members as he entered the stage, DMX performed several of his well known fan favorites including ‘Get At Me Dog’,  and ‘Get It On The Floor’.


Sizzla fresh off last year’s very successful return to the US Market is back on the tour circuit again this year. Due to time constraints his set was condensed to a short, but powerful medley of his greatest hits leaving no doubt that fans will be seeking out his additional performances this summer. 
The finale was left to “The Boss,” Rick Ross to close out another exciting edition of the 9 Mile Music Festival.   
In addition to the excellent variety of musical selections, a family friendly holistic village was set up with services including acupuncture, massages, yoga, and body painting as well as nutritionists and life coaches. Enjoy scenes of fans, vendors, and an african drum circle encountered at the festival. 

Since the inception of the event in 1993,  festival organizers have continued their annual tradition of giving back to the community.  This year, the 9 Mile Music festival collected over 15,000 cans of food from patrons to provide to Curly’s House & Food for Life, a Miami based charity.   We’d like to give our thanks to the 9 Mile Music Festival and Florencia, the media coordinator for her assistance at the festival.  The generous onsite media tent with water and charging outlets was very much appreciated by the members of the media covering the event.  We look forward to another fun-filled 9 Mile Music Festival next year. 
<![CDATA[Interview:  Jemere Morgan "Transition" Boston 2017]]>Fri, 10 Feb 2017 22:15:53 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/interview-jemere-morgan-transition-boston-20172/3/17 Interview and photos by Empress K  ReggaeReflection   Video editing by KingiMusic.com PictureJemere Morgan "Transition"
Most know Roy “Jemere” Morgan as the young son of Roy “Gramps” Morgan who has toured extensively with Morgan Heritage appearing as a special guest on various shows and festivals worldwide.     2017 is a year of new opportunity for Jemere - the launch of his debut full length album, Transition, and being featured on JBoog’s coast to coast Wash House Ting tour where he also performs along side Jo Mersa Marley; the tour commencing just 6 days after the release of his album.   

I had a chance to catch up with Jemere at the soundcheck of their sold out Boston show on Friday, February 3, 2017 to chat about his new album and tour.    

PictureJo Mersa Marley and Jemere Morgan in Boston
Much like his contemporary and fellow tour member Jo Mersa Marley,  Jemere is also a third generation artist and was introduced to the music at an early age.  Over the last few years, he has been perfecting his craft and working on music for his debut album.  

His engaging personality and talent shines through on Transition and allows him the opportunity to carry the Morgan family legacy forward with his new album; Transition debuted on the Reggae Billboard Chart in January at #4 and rose to the #2 slot, an impressive accomplishment for this next gen artist.   

Close your eyes for a second, this is a vibe with a message  -  "Shakers & Movers"  Jemere featuring JBoog

Jemere describes the concept of Transition to me as “it’s s a big transition phase…. turning from a kid to a man; it’s a lot of responsibility that I take on now at this chapter of my life.”   Transition speaks to many topics that face young adults such as love relationships and life in general all with a conscious message.    On how he keeps grounded while facing his new responsibilities, he admits it is to “ just focus on the purpose; the purpose is music and this is what we are here for at the end of the day.” 
Some of his best advice naturally comes from his father, Roy “Gramps” Morgan.  “Manners and respect we carry to the world, basically to treat people how you want to be treated. Even the album, I got the album done through love, manners and respect for other people and other artists as well. If you live good with them, they will return the favor to you,” said Jemere.  This is extremely evident on the quality of the album and the people he worked with to complete the project.  The 17 track album showcases Roots Reggae and R&B / Pop infused tracks by various well known producers. International guest artist appearances include his father Gramps Morgan on Try Jah Love and Celebrate Life; Stone Bwoy from Ghana on A.C.B;  and Toian on Bang Bang.   His hit single Neighborhood Girl gets a fresh new mix featuring Agent Sasco, who he shared with me is one of his favorite Djs.  JBoog who has had a long working relationship with the Morgans is featured on Shakers & Movers.  Jemere recalls an early memory of JBoog -  “ I remember JBoog coming over to my house when I was in school. I think I was in the 9th grade.”  And when asked if he ever expected to be on his own tour with JBoog,  he added  “It’s a huge part of my transition because for the past couple years, everyone that I’ve met is now serving a purpose in my life so that’s why I named it Transition."

Jemere Live in Boston 2/3/17

Jemere kicked off the Boston show with a lively and entertaining set of Reggae / Pop infused material from his new album including International Love, Run Dem Out, Good Ol Roots, Shakers & Movers, Celebrate Life, Anything You Want and Neighborhood Girl.  Demonstrating further versatility, he also received a great response when he included a cover of one of Gregory Isaac’s classics, Night Nurse. Surprise guest, Anita Antoinette of Season 7 of The Voice joined Jemere on stage to perform a beautiful acoustic rendition of the Morgan Heritage song Freedom accompanied by JBoog’s guitarist, Carl Noa.

Jemere Morgan, Jo Mersa Marley, Anita Antoinette
Javaughn Bond & Jemere
Jemere’s transition to solo artist is off to a great start and I expect the next phase of his career to flourish given his solid hands on approach with his creative endeavors combined with taking on the proper business responsibility to further his musical journey.    
Jemere’s album,

​Transition is available on Amazon, iTunes & most digital outlets.  

Click here to download on Amazon

****************View our full conversation below *******************

Empress K video interview with Jemere Morgan  - Watch video below (video edited by  kingimusic.com)

Stay Connected with Jemere online  jemeremorgan.com

JBoog / Jo Mersa Marley / Jemere Morgan tour dates 2017

<![CDATA[Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise Experience 2016]]>Sat, 21 Jan 2017 21:14:06 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/welcome-to-jamrock-reggae-cruise-experience-2016Article by Noah Schaffer  for Reggae Reflection  WTJRC  Roof Top Stage DeckRoyal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Top Deck Stage Photo courtesy of WTJRC
Reggae fans endured several rainy days, almost laughably bad food and a few growing pains on the third edition of the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise. But those who were willing to overlook the glitches were rewarded by a week of almost universally strong full-length sets by artists in a lineup that rivaled that of any land-based reggae festival.

After sell-out sailings in the first two years this year’s cruise saw a switch of both carrier and boats to Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. With nearly double the number of passengers there was far less artists mingling than was reported in prior years and no formal meet-and-greet sessions aside from a Stephen Marley CD signing. Most artists got on the boat, performed, and then deboarded at the next stop.

Perhaps more problematic was the stage setup. While many music cruises hold their concerts in sit-down theaters, Jamrock features an outdoor stage on the top deck. Unfortunately the pool area used for staging was filled with obstructions and offered a very limited space in front of the stage. Strong rain and winds forced the music indoors for three of the five nights, and while the ship’s theater was a comfortable room with good acoustics it also meant that those who didn’t arrive early were standing in awkward spaces straining to see the entertainers.

The first night’s departure was delayed due to luggage loading issues. Among those who didn’t get their bags delivered until late in the evening were Chaka Demus and Pliers, who apologized for their lack of stage attire. Although one of the only cruise acts who weren’t working with their usual band, the duo showed that their combination of Chaka Demus’ wordplay and Pliers’ sweet singing is still a potent one as they offered their 80’s and 90’s hits, a few roots covers, Chaka Demus’ 80’s combination with Admiral Bailey “One Scotch” and an extended “Murder She Wrote” which nicely mixed in the riddim-sharing “What A Bam Bam.”

After what would be just the first of several lengthy band changes the Zinc Fence Band appeared and started their segment with Kelissa who has a powerful voice and plenty of lyrical fire. Chronixx  then played a typically tight set that showcased the remarkable number of strong tunes he’s recorded in a relatively short period of time.

There were plenty of hard-partying passengers on board and they ate up the performance by the king of party dancehall, Sean Paul. While in the past I’ve seen shows where Sean Paul had trouble keeping up with his fast-paced hits and his team of dancers, he seemed much more in synch this time.
WTJRC 2016
WTJRC Stage Photo: Courtesy of WTRJC
Toots Hibbert WTJRC 2016Toots Hibbert Photo: Noah Schaffer
By the time Toots and the Maytals took the stage the show was running many hours behind and most of the audience had gone back to their cabins. The few who remained were treated to some vintage ska and rocksteady expertly played by many of the same musicians who recorded with Toots in the 60’s and 70’s. The cruise concluded a long year of touring which saw Toots return to the stage for the first time since he was hit by a bottle in 2013. In the interim his voice and gospel-inspired stage presence have only grown stronger.

The late night sound system dances were held in two venues, the main promenade (which felt like attending a dance in an upscale shopping mall hallway) and an intimate lounge. Legendary New York sound Downbeat the Ruler was playing for fewer than a dozen attendees but that didn’t stop Tony Screw from digging into his crates for some choice cuts which were enhanced by special guest Shinehead.

PictureShinehead photo: Noah Schaffer
Tuesday afternoon saw reggae-themed exercise and yoga classes and the first daytime sets from Hawaii-bred JBoog and an extremely strong live band set from Shinehead, who utilized Dean Fraser and the Blak Soil Band and a jaw-dropping freestyle rapper named Supernatural who made up rhymes about any object that audience members brought to the stage. 

At dinnertime on Tuesday passengers began appearing in some impressive all-white outfits. But a downpour resulted in a last-minute shift to the indoor theater. Although it caused another late start the sound crew did manage the move the entire production down 13 levels quite quickly.

The night started powerfully with Romain Virgo, who brought along a talented band and his large number of recent hits. The Blak Soil Band ably backed Marcia Griffiths who had the audience rocking with her solo hits, the songs she sang with Bob Marley and a giant “Electric Slide.” 

Tarrus Riley CHronixx WTJRCTarrus Riley & Chronixx Photo: courtesy of WTJRC
With almost no break Tarrus Riley bounded on stage and didn’t let up for nearly two hours. He paid tribute to his recently deceased father Jimmy with “Love and Devotion.” J-Boog showed up for a duet as did Chronixx on “Gimme Likkle One Drop.” But even those exciting moments were no match for a wedding proposal which was offered -- and accepted -- on stage during “She’s Royal.”

Mr. Vegas closed out the night and along with his dancehall favorites added the gospel of “I Am Blessed” and  rocksteady covers like “Girl I’ve Got a Date.” The variety was nice although the covers seemed to result in rushed versions of his own hits like “Miss Someone.” 

Wednesday morning the boat docked in Montego Bay. Most passengers quickly decamped for the beach, and given the smells on the boat later that night it was clear that MoBay’s weed hustlers were more than aware that 4,000 reggae fans were spending the afternoon in their city. The stop also provided a chance for Jamaican artists with visa woes to board the ship.

Once again rainy skies forced a move to the theater, with the show starting with two artists who actually can tour the US: Assassin aka Agent Sasco and Sanchez. A late-running dinner caused me to miss most of Agent Sasco. Sanchez’s golden voice and classy stage presence worked well in the sit-down theater environment. (The only hit he skipped was “Frenzy,” and it was notable how the anti-gay themes that dominated reggae a few years back were completely absent all week -- minus a single comment from Mighty Crown during the sound clash.)

Whether Jah Cure would even make the boat was the matter of some speculation given his arrest and court appearance in the Bahamas 24 hours prior to his appearance. The charges, which were related to a hotel fight, were dropped, and Cure ended up appearing third rather than closing out the night (one of several unannounced schedule changes which surprised fans). His impassioned set ended with a rousing “Unconditional Love” and proved that if he ever can put his legal woes behind him and earn a US visa he’ll be a top headliner at any reggae event.

Bounty Killer WTJRC 2016Bounty Killer Photo: Courtesy WTJRC
The night finished with the two 90’s dancehall giants, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, each displaying their very different personas. Bounty, who has perhaps mellowed out a bit, pontificated on both political protests and his favorite kinds of gals. The dapper Beenie Man offered one of the most complete performances of the week, drawing from a wide musical palette that included jazz, rock, the soca anthem “Rum & Red Bull” and “Redemption Song” with guest spots from several members of the Marley family. The excellent vibes continued into the night as King Jammy’s sound played the many early dancehall hits that he created.

Thursday saw the ship dock in Ocho Rios, but heavy downpours meant that few were able to do much exploring of the city. In between showers I was able to patronize the Live Food Lifestyle Vegan Corner, where a fresh salad was a welcome respite from the boat’s poorly executed food offerings. 

Some of reggae’s finest veterans were waiting to board when the shipped arrived into Ochi. Once again the show was moved inside. Unfortunately, despite a good young band and a great catalogue Half Pint’s opening set found him in poor voice. Hopefully it was just a cold. A large percentage of the passengers were from Bermuda, and they turned out in force for Collie Buddz. 

It had been years since I’d seen Steel Pulse and I was delighted to find that David Hinds and co. are now back to using a real horn section. Hinds was one of the few artists who mentioned the election outcome (Buju Banton’s potential release from prison was a more frequent stage patter topic) and their dub-heavy set addressed racial matters head on with songs old (“Taxi Driver”) and new (“Don't Shoot (Hands Up, I Can't Breathe”).

While cruise host Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley was slated to close the evening, it was decided to postpone his appearance a night so he could use the outdoor stage. That meant an earlier start for the sound clash. The ship’s skating rink turned out to be a perfect clash setting thanks to its open floor and a vibe that called to mind the many reggae dances held at Brooklyn’s now-defunct Empire Rolling Rink.

PictureBunji Garlin photo: Noah Schaffer
The clash pitted defending champs Mighty Crown against three other competing sounds: Tony Matterhorn, Fire Links and King Turbo. It quickly became apparent that while the other sounds were mostly playing their usual dubplates or even just 45s, Mighty Crown had been busy recording a special cruise-related dub plate by every performer who had been on the ship. A massive forward greeted a plate by Bunji Garlin in which he reworked “Differentology” to boast about how when Mighty Crown would meet the other sounds “we throw them overboard.” The other sounds quickly crumbled while the Japanese sound picked up yet another trophy.

Speaking of Bunji, he opened the final day with a daytime soca set that revealed his strong freestyling abilities. 

PictureKabaka Pyramid Photo: Noah Schaffer
With Jr. Gong’s set moved, a new schedule was made up which was only partially publicized. (The ship’s in-house reggae radio station mentioned the change but the PA system announcements gave the old times even as the show was about to start.) That meant that some were unaware that Kabaka Pyramid was starting the night several hours ahead of the printed time. Those who caught wind of the change saw a powerful performance full of his own politically charged material as well as a medley of 90’s cultural deejays like Sizzla and Capleton and an MC battle with a band member.

Once word of the early start spread a larger crowd was on hand for Junior Reid, who deftly mixed hip-hop with conscious roots and some Black Uhuru classics. Mavado’s long set show was popular but failed to include the variety his dancehall peers had offered earlier in the week.

Stephen “Ragga” Marley took things down a notch with a laid-back ska and soul-inflected set that included both his new tracks and some rarely performed selections by his father including “Selassie is the Chapel.”

That left it to Jr. Gong to finish the night before the largest crowd of the week with his usual hit-packed set plus his new “Nail Pon Cross.” Special treats included his young son singing Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” a cameo from Dean Fraser and the reappearance of Ragga on “Book of Life” and “Could You Be Loved?”.

While the ship was due back in Florida early the next morning a few hardy souls stayed up for one last taste of Shinehead, this time spinning essential rub-a-dub vinyl rarities with his Kingston 12 sound system cohort DJ Papalotl.
Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise 2017
Cabins are on currently on sale for the 4th annual Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise 2017 which sets sail November 13 – 18, 2017 onboard the Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas.  This year presents another outstanding Reggae and Dancehall line-up including Damian "Jr Gong" Marley, Stephen "Ragga" Marley, Sizzla, Jah Cure, Luciano, Freddie McGregor, Stephen McGregor, Chino McGregor, Bounty Killer, Tarrus Riley, Cocoa Tea, Busy Signal, Popcaan, Inner Circle, Richie Spice, Tanto Metro & Devonte, Pressure, Spice, Raging Fyah, and Iba Mahr.  Sound Systems include:  Stone Love, Renaissance Sound, Mighty Crown, Tony Matterhorn, Kingston 12 HI Fi and more to be announced!   

Noah Schaffer is a freelance digital editor/writer/radio producer and Roots/world music writer for  Artsfuse.org in Boston. 
<![CDATA[Raging Fyah's Road to the Grammys - Press Conference Photos 12/15/16]]>Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:28:34 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/raging-fyahs-road-to-the-grammys-press-conference-photos-121516Article by Empress K  Reggae Reflection and  photos by Melvin Calender  Raging Fyah  Grammys
In November of 2015, Raging Fyah,  the five-piece band from Kingston, Jamaica was signed to the new Dub Rockers label under the VP Records umbrella.   Band members Kumar Bent (lead singer), Courtland White (guitarist) Anthony Watson (drummer), Demar Gayle (keyboardist and musical director) and Delroy “Pele” Hamilton (bassist) continued to make significant strides in 2016.   In May they released their third studio album "Everlasting,"  which debuted at #2 on the billboard chart.  In support of their new album,  Raging Fyah toured extensively throughout the US and Europe with bands such as Stick Figure, Fortunate Youth and Protoje.    

The year ended on an even higher note with the announcement of Raging Fyah's  2017 US  Winter Tour with Tribal Seeds as well as a European Tour in the Spring with UB40.  Exciting news soon followed with a grammy nod for Best Reggae Album for  "Everlasting,"  their debut album with the Dub Rockers label.    While many people may consider them to be a new band that has seen rapid growth over the last two years,  in reality Raging Fyah has been working tirelessly for nearly a decade to earn these well deserved accolades.    

Press Conference at VP Records

On December 15, 2016,  Raging Fyah members Kumar Bent and Demar Gayle hosted a joint press conference in New York with VP Records executives Richard Lue, Director of Business Development; Aaron Talbert, VP Sales and Marketing; and  Ted Ganung,  Dub Rockers Label Manager.  The band's recent achievements were discussed  followed by an interactive discussion with members of the media.  Kumar and Demar then wrapped up the evening with an engaging acoustic performance of "Ready for Love" and "Dash Wata" from their grammy nominated album,  "Everlasting." 
The 59th Annual Grammys® will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET. on CBS.
Demar Gayle Raging Fyah
Demar Gayle
Kumar Bent Raging Fyah
Kumar Bent
Raging Fyah and Richard Lue Vp Records
Kumar Bent, Richard Lue, Demar Gayle
Raging Fyah and Miss Pat Chin
Kumar Bent, Ms. Patricia Chin (co-founder VP Records), Demar Gayle
Raging Fyah  Lukes Morgan
Kumar Bent, Lukes Morgan, Demar Gayle
Raging Fyah - Vp Records
Demar Gayle and Aaron Talbert (VP Records)
VP Records Press Release  

​For immediate Release 
January 9, 2016


Billboard Critic's 2016 Best Reggae Albums Chose Raging Fyah's Everlasting
 "...the album is an all-killer no-filler affair, straight-ahead roots rock from top to toe."  -BILLBOARD
raging fyah tour schedule

Raging Fyah will kick off their 2017 World Tour with Tribal Seeds in the United States on Jan 24th and then with UB40 in Europe in May. See dates below and on http://www.ragingfyah.com. The 5-piece rising Jamaican band is touring in support of their latest album Everlasting, which is nominated for a 2017 Grammys® Award for Best Reggae Album. This is their first nod for the prestigious ceremony. The 59th Annual Grammys® will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 12th, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET. on CBS.

Everlasting, released in May 2016, follows their previous releases Judgement Day (2011) and Destiny (2014) and is their debut effort for VP Records' new imprint Dub Rockers.

<![CDATA[Photos:  Yellowman & Kreema at BB King NYC]]>Mon, 12 Dec 2016 01:43:06 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-yellowman-kreema-at-bb-king-nycPhotos: Yellowman & Kreema at BB King NYC 11/7/16
Photos by Melvin Calender for ReggaeReflection
11/7/16 -  It's been a couple years since King Yellow Man has graced the stage at BB King Blues Club in NYC.  As expected, fans experienced a fast-paced high energy show. Fans were also treated to performances by King Yellowman's daughter Kreema and opening act Arita from Trinidad and Tobago.   Check out our gallery of photos below. 



King YellowMan

Backstage Moments  (click on first image to start gallery view)

<![CDATA[Photos and Report: Black Uhuru at BB King NYC]]>Sun, 11 Dec 2016 00:34:06 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-and-report-black-uhuru-at-bb-king-nycPhotos and Review: Black Uhuru at BB King NYC
Report by Grace Vanriel & Photos by Melvin Calender for Reggae Reflection 
Black Uhuru at BB King
It's almost painfully true, Black Uhuru doesn’t get to the New York City area often but on the occasion of September 22, 2016 the legendary Roots rockers band were the featured act at B.B. King in Times Square. And leaving absolutely no room for disappointment, they drew from their magnificent catalog of hit songs. Featured on stage that night was original Black Uhuru member Derrick “Duckie” Simpson who knows the music inside-out upside-down, upheld the critical vibes that kept the audience rocking while never missing a beat; lead singer Andrew Bees who has the voice of an angel gifted by Jah showered the audience with a magnificent flood of sound that had us floating towards the heavens

That night we also experienced Frank Stepanek on guitar and special guest King Hopeton making for an soul-stimulating/foot tapping night of pure Reggae music tailored from its inception, especially for Roots and Culture loving audiences.  

duckie Simpson
Duckie Simpson
Andrew Bees
Andrew Bees
Andrew Bees & Duckie Simpson
Frank Stepenek
Frank Stepenek
In typical Reggae style the audience swelled as the evening progressed which is unfortunate if they missed the early warm opening act, a young lady by the name of Onesty whose name should be remembered. Currently on tour with Black Uhuru, the Reggae songstress had a captivating flow and did an amazing job as she gently lead an anxious audience eager for the main act, right into the palm of her hands. A true singer with a beautiful voice, Onesty belted out several selections intermittently chatting lightly in-between songs bringing focus to her message. Her set totally complemented what was to come and in appreciation, the audience responded with passionate applause.

PictureDucke Simpson
When the Reggae category was finally introduced to the Grammy Awards in 1985 (at the the time entitled the “Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording” given for songs and albums), Black Uhuru was the first band to win for the “Anthem” album.  As a high-caliber musical act, devoted Reggae fans like me expect to hear an array of their timeless classics and, we all did. Based solely on the noise level barometer of whistles and cheers,  the crowd favorite for the night was the song Sinsemilla. From their Grammy winning album we also thoroughly enjoyed one of the best known songs and guaranteed crowd-pleaser,“Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Natty Dreadlocks).” Interestingly the song was originally released in 1979 on the Black Uhuru album entitled “Showcase” followed a year later by a second reissuing (1980), this time calling the album “Black Uhuru” (the only difference between the first and second releases being the addition of one song); identical to the previous album, the third and final album reissuing took place in 1983 called “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner” using the name of what can now be considered the album’s title song. Trivia aside, their performance was welcomed by the BB King crowd signaling that audiences recognize and shower their appreciation on strong lyrics they can relate to.

​Other musical highlights that had the audience moving and grooving on the dance floor throughout the evening were “System” and “Solidarity” and a sprinkling throughout the evening of songs from Black Uhuru's Grammy Award winning album entitled “Anthem” from which they sang  “What is Life”, “Party Next Door”, “Black Uhuru Anthem” and “Bull in the Pen” among many other incredible songs well performed and received.

From the opening act kicked off by Onesty to Black Uhuru as the featured act, the concert was a exciting night of great entertainment clearly enjoyed by all in attendance. Hopefully they will return to the NYC area more often than they have in the past and when they do, our team will once again be up front and ready to adsorb the solid positive vibes.

Behind the Scenes 

Duckie Simpson & Andrew Bees
Andrew Bees
Andrew Bees
Andrew Bees & Duckie Simpson
Cool Breeze with Duckie Simpson and Andrew Bees

Trading Photos Interview with Andrew Bees and Duckie Simpson

Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggaeholics Movement to preserve and promote Reggae music as a traditional Jamaican art form; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com, CatchTheVybe.com, and  BuildUrBuzz.com. 

Melvin Calendar is a freelance photographer based in NYC covering a wide variety of Caribbean shows and festivals  in the NYC region.

<![CDATA[Photo Gallery:  Halloween Costume Party with Konshens - SOBs NYC 10/28]]>Mon, 14 Nov 2016 03:54:11 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photo-gallery-halloween-costume-party-with-konshens-sobs-nyc-1028Photos by Melvin Calender for Reggae Reflection.


Halloween was celebrated a few days early on Friday, 10/28 at Sounds of Brazil better known as SOB's, a popular nightclub located in the Hudson Square & Soho district of Manhattan, NY.   The Power 105.1 Halloween themed costume party featured Jamaican Dancehall artiste Konshens amidst a club filled with enthusiastic fans dressed in their favorite costumes.   Check out our gallery of photos below.  

Konshens Fans in Costume (click on first photo to start gallery)

<![CDATA[Photos: #Conversations Acoustic performance with Ky-mani and Gentleman at Apple Brooklyn 11/5/16]]>Sun, 06 Nov 2016 20:57:37 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-conversations-acoustic-performance-with-ky-mani-and-gentleman-at-apple-brooklyn-11516Photos: #Conversations Acoustic performance with Ky-Mani Marley and Gentleman at Apple Brooklyn 11/5/16

Photos by Melvin Calender for Reggae Reflection

Gentleman & Ky-Mani Marley
11/5/16  The Apple store in Williamsburg had its grand launch in July celebrating the opening of the  first-ever Apple Store in Brooklyn.  On Friday evening, it played host to a different type of event as fans enjoyed an up-close and personal encounter with Gentleman and Ky-Mani Marley.   Pat McKay of Sirius XM Radio was on hand to host a live interview followed by an intimate acoustic performance by Gentleman and Ky-mani Marley, highlighting selections from their joint collaboration,  Conversations, an 18 track cd released earlier this summer. 

Pat McKay of Sirius XM Radio interviews Ky-Mani Marley and Gentleman
Pat McKay (Sirius XM) Ky-mani Marley, Gentleman
Ky-mani Marley
Ky-Mani Marley and Gentleman
Gentleman Ky-mani Marley
JJ Sansaverino
Ky-Mani Marley
Ky-Mani Marley and Gentleman

Meet & Greet 

Meta Dia
Meta Dia, Victor Lewis Leon & the Peoples
Meta Dia
Meta Dia

Conversations on Itunes  


Gentleman & Ky-Mani Marley  - Signs of the Times  Official Video

<![CDATA[Everything Irie at the Irie Jam Radio 23rd Anniversary 2016 Celebration]]>Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:51:57 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/everything-irie-at-the-irie-jam-radio-23rd-anniversary-2016-celebration
Everything Irie at the Irie Jam Radio 23rd Anniversary 2016 Celebration
Story by Grace Vanriel Live Reggae NYC and photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection


As anticipated, the much talked about Irie Jam Radio 23rd Anniversary Celebration on September 4, 2016 went down in history as the first New York area event featuring "The Return Of Sizzla" staged at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, NY. The concert hosted by the popular radio network that features Caribbean music, news and talk on WVIP 93.5FM was well  orchestrated with the majority of  featured artists on hand and additional surprise celebrity guests that successfully offset the absence of the two dancehall artists who did not take the stage.


Starting from the beginning, Irie Jam Radio must have a magic hotline to heaven because leading up to the event weather reports predicted a hurricane proportion storm; however, the bad weather never materialized. In fact, not one drop of rain fell from the skies and the day was mostly hot leaving attendees to sizzle, with excitement. Chatting with several attendees at the show early in the day, I learned that poor weather reports played a significant factor in deciding whether or not they would attend the celebration and subsequently, their arrival time to the day’s event was evidenced by the line for last minute ticket buyers that swelled into the late afternoon. Luckily for attendees the lines moved swiftly and by 5 PM Roy Wilkins Park filled.  And, from what I could actually see from the limited media assigned vantage point but clearly hear, all the artists that took the stage did an excellent job at entertaining an audience whose whoops and cheers signified genuine excitement.

Short and sweet among the early warm artists that our cameras caught up with were BillyBoy The Jamaican Cowboy, Ky-enie, Khago, Bella Blair, Martina Startina, Tanto Blacks and KConeil along with his trio of dancers. We also caught up with and totally enjoyed performances by Lady Ann, Beniton, the Voicemail duo and Khago (who by the way did an amazing job performing four songs opening with Tun Up and closing out with ‘Hay, Hay,Hay’). Lion Melta was on hand early and later in the show for a cameo appearance with Sizzla.

EARLY WARM FIRE STARTERS (click on each photo to enlarge)

Bella Blair
Bella Blair
Lion Melta
Lion Melta
Billy Boy the Jamican Cowboy
Billy Boy the Jamaican cowboy
Martina Startina
Martina Startina
KConeil and the Danca Family
Lady Ann
Lady Ann
Voicemail Reggae
member of Voicemail Duo
Voicemail Reggae
member of Voicemail Duo



The announcement of the Fire Segment (so named by the producers) kicked off at 5:30 with the Titanium Band. As that section of the program progressed it made for a lively afternoon of great conscious music that continually grew in excitement! The first artist up was Jahmiel who I found very appealing although his set was a bit  too short leaving me feeling that I'd like to hear a full performance of his music  and see more of him on stage before deciding exactly what I liked best about his performance. One thing for sure, I heard excellent content filled lyrics that captured my attention making him someone that everyone should have on their listening radar.


As expected other audience favorites who brought fire to the stage were I-Wayne who was excellent as was Anthony B, Richie Spice and Bugle. Taken individually, I-Wayne who is well-known and loved by NY audiences wore a jacket trimmed in red, gold and green that are widely recognized colors of the flag of Ethiopia and the Rastafari culture.  Throughout his almost forty-minute performance he was in wonderful voice that clearly resounded throughout the park enveloping  the audience with a message that he sang from his heart, directly to us; the sum total of his performance had the effect of reinforcing feelings of spiritual upliftment and increasing one's’ consciousness complemented by beautiful music. While all of his musical selections went off exceedingly well I-Wayne truly captured the audience with his song, “Can’t Satisfy Her.”  


Although last year he performed on Irie Jam Radio's 22nd anniversary we don't get to see Reggae artist Bugle as a featured artist nearly often enough in the NYC area. He was amazing and came ready to rock conscious music and share a thought provoking message to the people both of which he succeeded in doing splendidly.  Bugle is well known for fiery songs with heart piercing lyrics just about everyone can relate to like “What I’m Gonna Do,” “Anointed”  and “Rasta Party.” As fans undoubtedly await the release of the latest great music from Bugle, one can only hope that his new releases garners more stage time in the NYC area too.

AN IRIE CROWD (click on first photo to start gallery)


Richie Spice
Finally having no choice but to make my way into the elbow room crowd for a clearer view of the stage, I'd say that one of my favorite artists of the day was Richie Spice who gave a super-incredible performance to an audience that showed their agreement with thunderous applause. In terms of music and lyrics it's safe to say that Richie Spice is always on point musically although there have been times when I've found his on-stage performance a bit laid back.  At the Irie Jam Radio celebration that was absolutely not the case as he brought his outstanding body of music along with loads and loads of energy to the stage.


Anthony B
Anthony B who is also popular on the NY Reggae circuit opened up with his version of Bob Marley's “Redemption Song” which was in a word, marvelous. Soon thereafter he sang two songs that had the audience cheerfully singing along namely, “Raid The Barn” and “Good Cop Bad Cop.” Anthony B's set was by comparison to some of  the others of respectable duration which, at least by me, was greatly appreciated.  

While the band change for Sizzla was in process, surprise guest appearances were made by top artists Shaggy, Christopher Martin, Tanto Blacks and Gully Bop that were short but certainly spiced up the day’s atmosphere with loud cheers backed by applause. And while for reasons still officially unknown at this writing, Mr Vegas and Elephant Man did not appear; however, the strong lineup that included all those great celebrity guests significantly eased the reality of their absence.
Christopher Martin
Christopher Martin
Tanto Blacks
Tanto Blacks
Gully Bop
Gully Bop


Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for and it was a spiffy looking Sizzla in a stylish dark suit topped off with a yellow carnation who took the stage kicking off a high-energy performance from start to an end that lasted a solid fifty-minutes. After eight years off the US circuit the brethren backed by the talented Gumption Band (currently accompanying him on his US tour) immediately connected with the audience and never missed a beat. Sizzla sang many of the songs we've come to love and kept the audience on their toes signing and dancing. His performance was the perfect end to a wonderful day in every regard. Congratulations to Irie Jam Radio for 23-years in the business and for yet another successful presentation.

Gumption Band

Taddy P
Kevo Will
Dwayne Cahban
Editors Note:  Media access restrictions for many of the photographers, videographers and correspondents covering the show was an unexpected challenge and worth mentioning because it seriously affected the type of full professional coverage that Reggae Reflection and fellow  journalists seek to provide to readers and followers.  

This time our media passes did not allow for unencumbered front stage access leaving most on the outskirts of the VIP area or in back of the stage. Media passes also did not allow us to enter the artist area. While a handful of photographers and videographers including us were eventually allowed front stage access,  it was not clear if there were additional access restrictions such as re-entering that area (which is important in going backstage in-between sets to speak with and photograph artists).  As a result we remained in one area for the entire event and our correspondent and many others were relegated to the back of the stage although not to the area where artists were located. Therefore, absent from our coverage is the characteristic backstage photo highlights and artist soundbites.  While a media tent was set up it was on the exact opposite end of artist area and mostly remained unvisited for photos or interviews.

Generally speaking, earlier this year improvements to at least one other NYC festival better integrated media personnel with performing artists in order to provide more complete coverage that included options for  brief interviews and photo opportunities whenever possible.  By sharing this constructive feedback,  we are confident that organizers will take suggestions into account as they plan their next events.  
<![CDATA[Photos & Recap:  Rain Couldn't stop People's Festival, 7/30/16]]>Tue, 02 Aug 2016 02:00:44 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-recap-rain-couldnt-stop-peoples-festival-73016Photos and article by Natty D Photography for Reggae Reflection 
The 22nd staging of The People’s Festival was held Saturday, July 30th, 2016  along the Christina River at Tubman Garrett Park in Wilmington, Delaware.  Despite the scattered showers throughout the latter half of the day, many patrons celebrated in their tents, under their umbrellas or just danced in the rain until the last performance.  The festival is an annual family friendly celebration to preserve and honor the legacy of Bob Marley. 

PicturePeople's Festival Wilmington, Delaware
The People’s festival was nicely organized and included free parking available in a nearby lot for patrons.  Upon entering, the road to the left was made into a shopping lane with several vendors.  The vendors were selling everything from reggae apparel, oils, incence, jewelry and art.  Dash of Sol had some paintings for sale as well as several remarkable pieces created with canvas and duct tape.  I fell in love with the bindis, tribal necklaces and headwraps that  Nishkami had for sale in their beautifully decorated booth.

Fresh Coconut Vendor
To the right was a lot full of several international food vendors with something for everyone including all types of food, snacks, cakes and beverages to choose from.  One of my favorites was the coconut and sugar cane vendor.  I’m always reminded of a tropical vacation after watching a coconut cut open, then enjoying the fresh coconut water. 

Towards the back of the food vendor section there was also a second stage, where artists performed between acts while the main stage was set up.
Brixton Saint
Brixton Saint performing at People's Festival
The main stage area was lined with people standing, in chairs and in tents.  
Aztec DancersAztec Dancers
The festival had a diverse line-up of many acts including Banda La Union De Mexico, The Limits, Universal Funk Order, Brixton Saint, Spokey Speaky, The Kooligans and Richard Raw.  The crowd was in for a treat before Quinto Sol began their performance. As the Aztec dancers entered the general admission area in front of the stage wearing colorful, beaded and feathered costumes everyone moved closer to get a better view of what was about to happen.  The drummer provided the rhythm and they went on to perform a beautiful dance for the crowd.  Quinto Sol then went on to perform in both Spanish and English.  Alika who is also known for her Spanish reggae was next to hit the stage to get everyone moving. 

Quinto Sol
Quinto Sol Rocks the Main Stage
Quinto Sol
Alika delivers her spanish style Reggae sound
Mykal RoseMykal Rose
 Mykal Rose was up next, and he took the crowd to Jamaica as he delivered a high energy performance singing and engaging the crowd.  The rain began to fall again as Dumpstaphunk hit the stage but as soon as the crowd heard the funky rhythm they were up dancing to the beat.

The rain was back but the section in front of the stage got thick with patrons trying to get a good spot before the headlining act, Ky-Mani Marley, even entered the stage.  During Ky-Mani's hour-long set, he performed several of his hits such as Concrete Jungle, New Heights, Hustler, Get High, Keepers of the Light,  and Rasta Man. Ky-Mani paid tribute to his father Bob Marley performing several classics including Jammin’, Iron Lion Zion and Is This Love.

Yendi Songbird and Debra German
Vocalists Yendi Songbird and Debra German
Ky-Mani Marley
The lights on stage shut off and it set the mood as supporting vocalist Yendi Songbird joined Ky-Mani to perform Turn Your Lights Down Low.  Ky-Mani went on to close his set letting the crowd know he was told he could only perform one more song, before singing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.

At the close of the show; hosts, organizers and co-founder of the People’s Festival, Genny Pitts, came on stage and thanked everyone for coming and sticking it out through the rain.  The crowed chanted Ky-Mani after being asked if they wanted more Ky-Mani Marley.  Ky-mani joined them on stage and closed the show performing the song People's Festival closes with every year, One Love!

Press Play below to enjoy more photos from the 22nd Annual People's Festival

<![CDATA[Photos & Review: Bigger and Better than Ever for Groovin In The Park 2016]]>Mon, 25 Jul 2016 22:04:11 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-review-bigger-and-better-as-ever-for-groovin-in-the-park-2016Article by Grace Vanriel Live Reggae NYC and Photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection

Bigger and Better than Ever
Record Breaking Attendance For Nine Hours of Groovin In The Park 2016

Groovin in the Park 2016 Flyer
Now entering its sixth glorious staging that took place on June 29th, the annual Groovin in the Park outdoor festival held in Roy Wilkins Park clearly continued its commitment to providing high-quality music entertainment. The reward? The festival is fast becoming well known for expertly booking acts that blend an excellent mix of Reggae and R&B musicians whose performances are  suitable for attendees regardless of age, and being in control of one of the hottest must-buy tickets for the summer. And so it should be absolutely no surprise to anyone that this year's Groovin In The Park saw record breaking attendance;  this year’s production also included a broader sampling of R&B acts for the largely Caribbean audience representing various islands. There is long-time awareness that people from the Caribbean are far more diverse in their appreciation of different genres of music than is usually imagined by outsiders.  Groovin in the Park's proven ability to tap-into the listening sensibilities of the Caribbean community and then bring to their stage the music that audiences want to hear is clearly paying off. This year’s festival brought us internationally acclaimed and award winning artists Regina Belle, Peabo Bryson and Brian McKnight fully representing the American R&B/Soul side of the bill, and  top-notch award winning singers Duane Stephenson, Toots Hibbert , Beres and Tessanne Chin falling into the Reggae/R&B/Soul experience for a “groovy” mix of high-quality entertainment.  In addition to the entertainment segment of the festival, vendors were diverse and plentiful with patrons appearing to delight in their purchases.


Early vibes that captured the attention of the audience came from VP Records artist Duane Stephenson, an outstanding singer also recognized as a top-notch song writer with songs like the chart stopping super hit tune written for Jah Cure called Reflections. With three solid albums that to his credit have all reviewed well, From August Town (2007), Black Gold (2010) and most recently Dangerously Roots (2014), Stephenson had a multitude of excellent songs to share which he did in grand style fully basting the stage with style and personality and easy on the eyes good looks. With one of the hardest jobs of the night, opening a star-studded production, he was unquestionably the right man for the task evidenced when the crowd  burst into applause following his exit.​

BackStage Moments with Duane Stephenson

Stan Smith, Grace Vanriel and Duane Stephenson
Stan Evan Smith, Grace Vanriel of Live Reggae NYC, Duane Stephenson
Duane Stephenson
Lavern Tatham Riley, and Duane Stephenson


With her background as a Reggae/R&B/Soul singer, 2013 season five champion winner on NBC's “The Voice” competition, Tessanne Chin very successfully balanced out the lineup. Backed by other incredible singers definitely worth mentioning, she sang Lifeline, and several remakes including her 2013 version of Bridge Over Troubled Water (which charted extremely well on the iTunes “Overall Top Songs” chart). Tessanne also gave us the Aretha Franklin R&B classic Respect and on the Reggae side, her 2006 Reggae/Soul hit debut single Hideaway (taken from her freshman album “In Between Words”) and a sweet-sweet version of the Bob Marley classic Redemption Song. Once again sporting a longer length hairstyle with very modest makeup Tessanne looked gorgeous but more importantly, she took the stage, sang her heart out showing everyone present just what star power truly means.

Thamar  , Tessanne backing vocalist
Vocalist Thamar Williams
Robert Browne guitarist Tessanne
Robert DubWise Browne on Guitar
PictureDr. Una Clarke & Tessanne Chin
 Following her performance it appeared to be a heartfelt moment as Tessanne received a Congressional Proclamation eloquently presented by former Brooklyn Councilwoman Una Clarke, mother of  Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (11th Congressional District, New York) who as it was explained was unable to personally make the presentation because she was on the road with the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Barry G along with Tessanne and Dr. Clarke


They say that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" ” and with the Groovin in the Park appearance of Jamaican born four-time Grammy nominated artist Toots Hibbert (of Toots and The Maytals) the reaction to his being there proved the saying to be absolutely true. His presence follows what has been a considerable absence from the stage following serious injuries he sustained in 2013 when a drunken concert attendee hurled a vodka bottle that connected with his head taking him off the concert tour circuit to recuperate.  Groovin in the Park is only the second concert Toots has performed on since returning to the stage.  With sixty-plus years of solid performance credits under his belt, Toots popped off early warm songs like Dog War and Pressure Drop for appreciative fans who let him know in no uncertain terms they were happy to see him; singing along, dancing and applause by the swollen crowd was the method of delivery that expressed their delight. Toots, oftentimes credited as the originator of the word “reggae” took the audience on a nostalgic journey through timeless music that solidifies his long career as he cemented his endearment to the audience with songs like Sweet and Dandy, Take Me Home Country Road and  “Bam-Bam.”  A truly fun part of his set was his Ska selections like Monkey Man that had a sizable portion of the audience dancing further highlighted by an unexpected demonstration by Barry G (MC for the Festival) who could hardly contain himself and joined Toots on stage to demonstrate  the “right way” to dance to Ska. Near the close of his set, Toots performed his iconic song 54-46 Was My Number from his album Pressure Drop - The Golden Tracks.  Toots looked fantastic, sounded marvelous and his entire well thought out and executed performance was well received by an appreciative audience including a young wide-eyed generation of festival goers. Truly great artists and music are indeed timeless.  Following his performance Toots also received a well deserved Congressional Proclamation awarded by members from the office of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. 

Barry G and Toots Hibbert
Host Barry G and Toots share a laugh on stage
Toots and the Maytals congressional proclamation
Toots received a Congressional Proclamation from the office of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke


Regina Belle
Since her 1987 freshman album All By Myself, Regina Bell has continually amassed a solid bevy of classic hits like the well known song she first gave to the Groovin in the Park audience called You Know How To Love Me followed by other hits like Make It Like It Was along with my personal favorite Baby Come To Me. Her music, combined with a glowing stage presence and lyrics draws you into the storyline then wraps you in the experience. Despite being a long-time fan of her music I've never had the opportunity to see her perform on stage so I was grateful that at last I was receiving the Regina Belle experience. Her  set was short and when it was over I wasn’t ready to see her leave.


Peabo Bryson
Peabo Bryson is another artist who I greatly admire but never have seen him live in concert. He was  equally amazing drawing from his bursting catalog of hit songs.  He shared many of what should be called heart-stopping classics like Tonight I Celebrate My Love, my personal favorite Can You Stop The Rain, and Ain’t Nobody Love Me Better. Bryson already had us firmly in his grasp when he unexpectedly invited Regina Belle back to stage forming a duet of their Grammy Award Winning song, A Whole New World (produced for Disney's 1992 animated feature film Aladdin). Following a suburb performance the romantic crooner looking super cool and relaxed despite the temperature handed out red roses to the ladies...twas a very nice touch and incentive to arrive early with already purchased VIP tickets that provided an up-front view!

Peabo Bryson
Peabo Bryon sings a duo with one of his supporting vocalists

Fans enjoying the performance as well as the roses! 


Beres Hammond
After opening sets delivered from a bevy of exceptional artists, Beres finally stepped onto the stage looking sharp; his warm teasing smile was just like a turn on switch - it lit the stage signaling he was ready to entertain.  Do I really have to say he never disappoints? Beres flowed through selections of countless hit songs that we all know, love and can practically sing in our sleep including Feel Good, Can't Stop A Man, No Goodbye, One Dance and She Loves Me Now.  

Beres Hammond & The Harmony House Band 

Beres Hammond and Tessanne Chin
An impromptu invitation to join him on stage went to his former background singer none other than Tessanne Chin who had been watching Beres from the pit.  Together they sang Step Aside Now and the ensuing roar of the crowd was not only loud but continual. My very favorite part of Hammond's set that afternoon was his tribute to late-great Reggae artists who will forever remain close to our hearts including the Crown Prince of Reggae Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, John Holt, and of course the recognized King of Reggae Bob Marley. A bonafide crowd-pleaser, he had most of the audience singing along to every song so that some might say that if you don't know at least one Beres song, you really don't know very much about Reggae.

Beres Hammond and Tessane Chin at Groovin in the Park
Tessanne Chin serenades Beres Hammond
If by chance you're under the  impression that R&B, Soul and Reggae Roots & Culture ruled the night, well yes they did but you should add to that list Dancehall with the surprise guest artist appearances of Tiger and Johnny P who gave us great music to groove to.  


Brian McKnight
Ladies in attendance did a whole lot of orgasmic type screaming at Groovin in the Park 2016 right up to the very last performer of the evening who was Brian McKnight,  the dangerously handsome super-talented R&B singer who closed the show - what a way it was to end the day! Truth be told the only noticeable hitch of the entire nine-hour production happened before his set and it was the forty-minutes it took to set up the stage, a fact that had some attendees mumbling that perhaps he might be a no-show (an all too familiar reality at far too many other smaller local Reggae events). 

Brian McKnight
Not to worry, McKnight was there and even was spotted on the sidelines with friends watching the show prior to stepping on stage. His performance was highlighted by a splendid  band and the technical enhancements of an overhead projection backdrop that enhanced the feeling of being drawn onstage. Everything considered it was well worth the wait. Granted, his start was slow but as he moved to his mega hit songs like Do I Ever Cross Your Mind and Back At One he totally captured the audience especially the glossy eyed swooning ladies mouthing all too familiar lyrics. McKnight's set was an unending flow of love songs he's well known for such as  Love of My Life, You Should Be Mine and many others.  

Caribbean Food Delights World Jamaican Beef Patty Eating Championship

Sabrina Hosang Caribbean Food DelightsSabrina Hosang of Caribbean Food Delights
To my surprise “Competitive Eating” is actually classified as a legitimate sport and this year's Groovin in the Park featured an exciting competition called the “Caribbean Food Delights World Jamaican Beef Patty Eating Championship.” As the name implies, it was sponsored by the well known and popular Caribbean Food Delights corporation where as they say, “Quality is Our Priority.” A family business under the leadership of CEO and philanthropist Vincent HoSang in partnership with festival organizers, the competition was managed by All Pro Eating Promotions leaders in the field of competitive eating competitions.  

patty eating contest winner molly schuylerMolly Schuyler (this year's winner) being introduced to the competition
At the finish line it was a hands down landslide win for the only female contestant, housewife and mother Molly Schuyler for chucking down a record breaking thirty-eight patties in the allotted eight minutes of competition winning her an impressive cash prize of $10,000. Barely appearing to weigh 125 pounds only Jah know how she could eat so much! The second place winner of $5,000 was taken home by Patrick Bertoletti (aka Deep Dish) for eating 22 and ½ patties; third place and a prize of $2,500 went to Bob Shoudt (aka Notorious B.O.B.) who ate his way through 19 patties very closely followed by fourth place winner Dave Brunelli (aka “Tiger Wings and Things” ) who devoured 18.5 patties. Wayne Algenio (aka Wayney Wonder) captured fifth place by eating 16 patties and took home a cash prize of $500.  

The Door Restaurant  Jamaican restaurant Queens, NY
And speaking of food you would want to eat, I’ve just got to mention the scrumptious finger-licking good food and non-alcoholic Caribbean specialty drinks prepared by the Presenting Sponsors of the festival, namely The Door Restaurant.  I sampled their delicious Jamaican food then fought off serious urges of scouring the park for plastic bags to cart away some for later consumption. Seriously, if you haven’t been already, get to The Door Restaurant located in Queens NY.

Groovin in the Park 2016
It seemed as if nobody wanted the day to end but as it did, I easily eavesdropped snatches of conversations discussing the lineup and rating the experience at the 2016 Groovin in the Park production that could be easily captured by any passerby. My conclusion? Groovin in the Park was a huge hit although I didn’t need anyone’s confirmation. The energy both on and off stage was way up, the weather was hot but accommodating and the flow of smiling faces throughout the day and after a truly wonderful event  are always the final barometer of what actually took place. BIG UP Groovin in the Park, their “major sponsors” TC Tropical Products, TD Bank, Nutrament, and their many excellent event partners who helped make this glorious production a reality.

We'll all have to wait and see what the producers have planned for 2017 however it’s not too early for everyone local and afar to start planning their summer activities to include Groovin in the Park knowing all the while, it's definitely going to be special.

 Press play below to check out more photos in our Groovin In The Park 2016 slideshow! 

Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggaeholics Movement to preserve and promote Reggae music as a traditional Jamaican art form; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com, CatchTheVybe.com, and  BuildUrBuzz.com. 

Empress K is the Founder and Editor of ReggaeReflection.com.  Reggae Reflection features artists and events of interest from around the globe. 
<![CDATA[Photos and Recap Tarrus Riley at Howard Theatre DC 7/18/16]]>Sun, 24 Jul 2016 17:22:19 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-and-recap-tarrus-riley-at-howard-theatre-dcPhotos and story by Natty D Photography for Reggae Reflection  Tarrus Riley Howard's Theatre DC
After the power outage in DC on Friday, July 15th, Tarrus Riley came back to the Howard Theatre for the rescheduled show on Monday July 18th.  Although it was a weekday and the show did not begin until 11:00pm, the room was still packed with Tarrus Riley fans for the just over ninety minute performance.  The Blak Soil Band began to play a melody as the curtain raised prompting the crowd to rush to the front of the stage.  Saxophonist, Dean Fraser, warmly greeted the crowd and welcomed Tarrus Riley on Stage.

​After days of anticipation, Tarrus Riley made his way to the stage and thanked the crowd for their patience and began with “Getty Getty No Want It”.  Riley went on to sing Human Nature, Love’s Contagious, Beware, Start A New, Far Away and Superman. 

Tarrus Riley jumping in concert
Tarrus encouraged the crowd to participate, jump up and down, and clap and sing.   Blak Soil Band’s bass player, Glen Browne, gave thanks for life and delivered a positive message.  From there, Tarrus Riley began to sing Jah Jah Run Things before continuing with his good over evil message singing Lion Paw and Never Leave I.

During the high energy dancehall segment of the show, Tarrus showed the crowd his dance moves comprised of several other familiar dances, which he named The Singy Singy. 

The Blak Soil Band 

Glen Browne Bass Player
Glen Browne on Bass
Mitchum Chin, Tarrus Riley
Mitchum Chin on guitar with Tarrus Riley
Tarrus Riley Blak Soil Band
Mitchum Chin, Tarrus Riley and Glen Browne
Mitchum Chin and Glen Browne
Chris Smith on Keys
Blak Soil Band Pianist, Christopher Smith, performed a solo of George Michael’s Faith with a reggae twist.  Tarrus Riley sang Free Up and  My Herbs before performing his new song
, Nuh Need Fi Worry.   Riley took time to teach the crowd the chorus of My Day and the entire building sang out; “Well it’s my day to do anything I want to, it’s my time and I’ll use it any way I want to, it’s my life and I’m responsible for every action, it’s all mine, my day, my time, my life”.

Riley than sang Powerful with the help of Dean Fraser and Christopher Smith before moving on to Something Strong. 

Perfecto! Tarrus Riley & Dean Fraser
Tarrus Riley reminded the crowd this was their time to sing along as he honored many Reggae classics.  The crowd sang along to Sanchez’s version of Baby Can I Hold You Tonight, Beres Hammond’s Tempted To Touch, Garnett Silk’s Mama Africa,  and Gregory Isaac’s Night Nurse.  After reintroducing himself as Omar "Singy Singy" Tarrus Riley, he let the crowd know that Omar means son of a king.   Tarrus Riley proceeded to cover the song of the king, his late father, Jimmy Riley’s Love and Devotion.  Riley continued the tribute covering Dennis Brown’s Rougher Yet and Marcia Griffith’s version of The First Cut is the Deepest.

PictureTarrus Riley and Chris Smith during the Buju Tribute
The crowd was then taken on a love journey  when Tarrus Riley performed Sorry Is a Sorry Word, Don’t Come Back, Karma, 1 2 3 I Love You and John Legend’s Stay With You. 

​Christopher Smith came forward  and paid homage to Buju Banton singing Wanna Be Loved, accompanied by Tarrus energetically moving across the stage singing in his deep Buju voice, Love Sponge.  Dean Fraser also played his part on Not an Easy Road with Tarrus Riley joining in with lyrics. 

Dean Fraser 

Tarrus Riley Air Singy Singy
The show continued with She’s Royal and it sounded as if the entire theatre sang along to this one.  Tarrus let the crowd know this is the part of the show where you burn calories and that everyone needed to jump up as the beat dropped for Gimme Likkle One Drop. 

Tarrus Riley left the stage, but after the crowd chanted his name he came back and spoke to the crowd about the times we are living in before singing Crazy Love and Good Girl Gone Bad. 

Tarrus Riley has amazing energy and he is a great artist to watch live.  I love his interaction with the crowd and I look forward to seeing him on his next visit to DC.

Click play below to see more photos from the show

<![CDATA[Family Fun and Reggae at first annual DMV Summer Fest Baltimore 7/17/16]]>Fri, 22 Jul 2016 21:29:52 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/family-fun-and-reggae-at-first-annual-dmv-summer-fest-baltimore-71716Story and Photos by Natty D Photography for Reggae Reflection  DMV Summer Fest vendors
The First annual DMV Summer Fest  taking place on Sunday, July 17, 2016 at Lake Clifton Park in Baltimore, MD was a resounding success.  Advertised as a family fun day, this festival was packed with activities for patrons of all ages.  Upon entering the park the first thing I noticed was the large moon bounce for the children attending the festival.  Next to the moon bounce was face painting and henna tattoos available.  The Caribbean influenced festival was full of vendors of various Caribbean islands offering  sugar cane, fresh coconut water, pina coladas, and various Caribbean specialities.  Reggae shirts, hats, music, as well as African inspired clothing were available for purchase as well.

Dancers at DMV Summer Fest
Several local DJs and promoters engaged the crowd keeping the energy high between performances.  Before the headlining acts dancers hit the stage and taught the crowd some new moves.  Kids were also called on stage to participate in a dance contest.  They showed off their skills as the danced to Silento’s Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).  A Reebok representative was at the festival giving out merchandise and even hopped on stage between acts to give out t-shirts and two pairs of sneakers to some lucky patrons. 

Several new and promising local artists opened DMV Summerfest.  This was a great opportunity for the artists to expand their fan base as well as for patrons to get a taste of new music.  ShaMain who goes by ShaMain Music on social media really stood out to me.  She has an outstanding voice and performed a few covers before performing some of her own original music.   ZekeDon also had a great stage presence and a nice polished sound.
The show than moved onto the main acts beginning with Grenadian soca artist Skinny Banton who got the crowd moving.
Half Pint then followed and had the crowd singing along to his classic reggae hits. ​
Next up was Demarco who got the crowd hype.  In addition to his singing he entertained the crowd with his dance moves and finished by bringing some ladies on stage for a wining contest. ​
Demarco dMV summer Fest
Demarco with one of the dancing contest participants
I-Octane at DMV SummerfestI-Octane
As soon as I-Octane entered the stage he jumped out into the crowd to bring the show closer to his fans.  I-Octane walked through the VIP section and hopped over the fence and performed most of his set in the general admission section with the crowd.  He only returned to the stage when his microphone began to malfunction.  After returning to the stage I-Octane let the crowd know he had a strong back and convinced a fan to join him on stage.   I-Octane took a little tumble and dropped her, but she was a good sport and he was nice enough to give her $100 for joining him on stage. 

Mr Vegas
Mr. Vegas was next on the lineup and his performance did not let the audience down.  Mr. Vegas refused to leave the stage until he performed all the hits his fans came to see and included a tribute to several artists during his fast paced segment.  Although Mr. Vegas is primarily known as a dancehall artist, he displayed his versatility as he mentioned "One Caribbean", and had the crowd dancing to dancehall, reggae and soca hits.

Mr Vegas
Mr. Vegas
Mr. Vegas DMV Summerfest
Mr. Vegas
Mr. Vegas at DMV Summerfest
Mr. Vegas
PictureSoca Sensation Rupee
Bajan soca sensation, Rupee, took a chartered jet to Baltimore so he could perform at both the Grace Jamaican Jerk Fest in New York and DMV Summerfest.  Without missing a beat, he ran on stage jumping up and down; his energy was contagious as the crowd moved to all his soca hits. 

Destra shut DMV Summerfest down.  Destra is definitely known as the Queen of Bacchanal for a reason.  Before she entered the stage, she spoke to the crowd through her microphone and her voice alone had the crowd rushing to the front of the stage. Destra mentioned how even with her segment being short on time she wanted to make sure she interacted her fans.  It was amazing to see her literally move the entire crowd right to left, wave their flags, wine and jump up and down as she sang her carnival hits, closing out the innaugural DMV Summer Fest in grand carnival style. 

DMV Summerfest is definitely on my festival list for next year.  I look forward to enjoying the food, music and culture.  I can’t wait to see the line up next year and hope they continue to have a nice mixture of dancehall, reggae and soca.

View More Photos from the Show below

<![CDATA[Photos and Review: Raging Fyah  - Everlasting Road]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:35:32 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/photos-and-review-raging-fyah-everlasting-roadEverlasting Road
Story by Juliana Leal, Photos / Video  in Boston by Empress K  ReggaeReflection.com
Raging Fyah Everlasting Tour
Fresh off the heels of a successful coast-to-coast tour with Fortunate Youth and Stick Figure, Raging Fyah spent the last three months releasing their third studio album, rocking festival crowds, and touring Europe. Now they are touching American roads again, this time headlining their Everlasting Tour in support of the new album bearing the same name.

Released at the end of May, Everlasting is undoubtedly the crowning jewel of the band’s career so far. Recorded live at Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, it is the first LP of a multi-album deal recently signed with Dub Rockers, a modern reggae-focused, California based sub-division of VP Records.

Delroy Pele Hamilton Raging FyahPele on Bass
Bassist Delroy ‘Pele’ Hamilton grounds the Raging Fyah sound throughout the album in his signature thick and deep, confidently syncopated bass grooves. Percussion is relentlessly stylistic and sophisticated. Musical director and keyboardist Demar ‘Demz’ Gayle delves deep into new sounds, particularly dub, as in the track “Raggamuffin:” the band’s proclamation of creating and playing music on their own terms - a straight raggamuffin ting while they “still a chant dung Rome.”

Raging Fyah Kumar and Pele
Kumar and Pele
Demar Demz Gayle
PictureLead Singer Kumar
In true Fyah fashion, powerful lyrics are passionately delivered by vocalist Kumar Bent, wrapped tightly in sweet, rocksteady harmonies. Whether touching upon faith, love, inner strength, or the struggles of downtrodden peoples across waters and borders, every song offers a positive perspective even when questioning the world’s divisive status quo. The album is their first to feature outside artists, with collaborations by Hawaii’s J. Boog, in the easy breezy track “Live Your Life,” Jesse Royal in a true rockers tune, “Humble” (co-written by Jason Welsh, bassist in the super producing duo Notis), and the biggest surprise of the album: “Would You Love Me,” a dance track with heavy electronic influence, brought home by dancehall extraordinaire, Busy Signal.

The central theme of Everlasting is its unifying vision.  This is wholesome, ital food for roots reggae fans worldwide, and it carves a mark for the band on the tree of timeless, ever-inspiring musicianship.  

Holding a vibe with Boston, MA, and South Kingstown, RI

Spyda on Keys Raging Fyah
Somber electronic sounds layered with a solemn war time-like speech projected from the speakers at Brighton Music Hall on Tuesday, July 12th, as the six members of Raging Fyah took the stage for what would be an electrifying performance, extending well over two hours, to an insatiable crowd.

Boston was only the second stop on this 19-city trod, and at thirty minutes to showtime, band members roamed the venue floor, filled only to an estimated twenty percent capacity. The energy in the room was relaxed, as the audience floated between middle and back of the venue.  Keyboardist Spyda was first to take the stage, pacing his corner, occasionally sipping from a plastic cup, telling of his energy building to deliver for the night. Bassy Pele, keyboardist Demz, lead guitarist Courtland ‘Gizmo’ White, drummer Shawn P. (substituting for original member Anthony Watson), and singer Kumar strolled to the stage so casually, most in the audience missed it. As the shadowy recording played in dimmed lights, band members swayed their bodies into gear.

At the sounding horns of title track “Everlasting,” the people tuned in. Cautiously moving at first, the band found their groove as they entered the first chorus. Kumar released his hands from the rhythm guitar, as he would do throughout the night, cupping the microphone, waving his arms to the melody, singing from the heart. The crowd was engaged now, smiles and dance moves feeling the heavy bass lines, the bounce of the keyboards, the subtle righteousness of Gizmo’s guitar, and Shawn’s flawless beat-keeping, pushing the energy of the studio version right into people’s bones.  Before the last note was fully drowned out by claps and whistles, drums kicked in to the second tune, “Nah Look Back,” off their sophomore album Destiny. It was here that the audience caught the groove. Millennials and veteran raggamuffins alike skanked and grinned, strangers now friends, straight into “Step Outta Babylon.” No solo went unnoticed, as the crowd roared for every showcase. Suddenly, the energy in the room was one, and the venue felt plenty full. 
Kumar Bent - Raging FyahKumar
A first pause between songs was taken as Kumar greeted the people right into “Irie Vibe,” with Demz and Spyda barely keeping hands on keys as their bodies swayed to the rhythm. Mid-song, Pele held the riddim for a choreographed dance break. The audience raved, sang along, and vibed straight into the spiritual, newly released single “Milk and Honey.”  The chemistry between band members and their individual connection to each song jolted out of their bodies throughout the night. Raging Fyah is a solid band of skillful musicians who feed off the crowd’s energy and seamlessly tailor the show to this give and take. Boston gave much love, and the band received it with gratitude beamed on wide smiles. 

Kumar Bent Raging Fyah
Pele - Raging Fyah
Shawn P Drums Raging Fyah
Shawn P. on Drums
Raging Fyah
The night shined on with jammed-on-the-spot deep dub sounds, dancehall breaks, ska vibes, and Gizmo’s wailing guitar for fans to cut loose. Whenever Kumar teased the crowd with, “OK, we’re going home now!” the audience, now glued to the stage, cried out, “one more, one more!” The band obliged with flirty, summer tunes like “Ready for Love,” “Dash Wata,” “Happiness” - all off Everlasting, and even the soulful ballad “Brave.”  The night ended on sky high notes with baaad to the bone “Raggamuffin,” and uplifting “Barriers,” and “I and I.” Raging Fyah kept the vibes way up, cool and lively, and the crowd raged as they folded in for a group hug before finally leaving the stage. 

Gizmo - Raging Fyah
Gizmo & Kumar
Kumar - Raging Fyah
Before heading to the heart of the country, they played a second New England show two nights later, at South Kingstown, Rhode Island’s Ocean Mist Bar; a sea-side venue well accustomed to drawing solid crowds with respect and appreciation for reggae music. Fans filled the club early, and while the Rhode Island set was a standard two hour, the band hit the stage raging, and in true Fyah Squad form, kept the crowd clapping, jumping, and skanking along, never missing a beat, always keeping up the vibe, and sharing all the best Jamaican music has to offer. 

With performances like these, planting seeds of genuine upfulness and unity, expect Raging Fyah to grace more - and bigger - stages and airwaves worldwide. Catch them on this Everlasting Tour - it’s a cyaan miss, massive.
Raging Fyah Boston 87.7FM
Kumar, Pele and Demz along with radio personality Reggae Isis of Boston 87.FM

 Raging Fyah
​Everlasting USA Tour Dates 

Raging Fyah Boston Photo Slideshow

Raging Fyah Video Highlights in Boston

<![CDATA[Stephen Marley #FruitofLife Tour - A Summer Night Celebration of Love, Life and Family.]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 03:43:27 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/stephen-marley-fruitoflife-tour-a-summer-night-celebration-of-love-life-and-familyPhotos and story by Empress K for ReggaeReflection.comSTephen Marley Portland, MaineStephen Marley - Portland, Maine
Stephen Marley 
commenced  the Fruit of Life Summer Tour on May 26th in Redway, CA.  The two month tour has stops in 44 cities in support of his upcoming  album, Revelation Pt. II, The Fruit of Life (releasing 7/22)  - the sequel to his Grammy award winning album, Revelation Pt. I, The Root of Life released in 2011.   

Anticipation of his long-awaited new album and supporting tour has been mounting since the coast-to-coast tour dates were announced late spring.  Last summer, history was made as Stephen Marley collaborated with Damian Marley, Tarrus Riley, and Morgan Heritage on the very successful Catch a Fire Tour bringing Reggae music into several new markets.  
stephen marley fruit of life
STephen Marley BostonStephen Marley - Boston
  Continuing towards that trend, Stephen included New England dates in Portland, Maine and Burlington,Vermont as well as Boston where Stephen Marley already has a strong fan base.   I had a chance to attend both the Portland, Maine and Boston shows.

​ The Portland, Maine show held on 6/27 had a smaller yet extremely enthusiastic crowd that fully enjoyed a night of quality Reggae music at the State Theatre, a historic venue in the heart of downtown Portland.  For the 6/30 Boston show, Stephen not unexpectedly performed for a sold-out audience at the Paradise Rock Club where he had last performed a solo show in 2014.  

Long-time fans of Stephen Marley not only look out for Stephen’s works, but they also have come to love and appreciate Stephen’s band members, his family on the road - many that have been with him for over 20 years.  Delighting fans even more on this tour is the additional individual participation of band members that have launched solo projects of their own. 
Nicholas Laraque Sax
Nicholas Laraque - Portland, Maine
The first set of the evening showcased band member solos, starting with the smooth saxophone sounds of Nicholas Laraque, the band’s saxophonist / flautist for the past several years. 

 Lead guitarist Ranoy Gordon was up next, performing his recent release 
Best Friend,  followed by supporting vocalist Rochelle Bradshaw performing her single, Works Must Be Done

Ranoy Gordon Guitarist
Ranoy Gordon - Portland, Maine
Rochelle Bradshaw - Boston
Ranoy Gordon, Rochelle Bradshaw
Ranoy and Rochelle - Portland, Maine
Rica NewellRica Newell - Portland, Maine
Supporting vocalist Rica Newell and drummer Squidly Cole, both long-time Stephen Marley band members (and formerly with Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers) were up next, each highlighting their own solo efforts.  Rica performed Them Fool Have Failed before Squidly affectionately known as the “Singing Drummer” sang I Will Sing Unto Jah from his first album, Babylon Days while providing his own percussion.    ​​

Squidly Cole
Squidly solo - Boston
Jo Mersa MarleyJo Mersa Marley - Portland, Maine
Stephen’s oldest son Jo Mersa who has frequently accompanied Stephen on tour performed his own set and soon had the audience dancing to his well known dancehall style song, Rock and Swing before introducing surprise guest and younger brother Yohan Marley to the stage to perform their song collaboration, Burn It Down.  Jo Mersa then made a touching dedication of his song The World is Crazy to the late Kymani Cole, son of Squidy Cole who recently died in a tragic car accident while the tour was already in progress.   

Jo Mersa Marley
Jo Mersa - Boston
Yohan Marley, Jo Mersa Marley
#Brothers Yohan Marley and Jo Mersa Marley - Boston
Jo Mersa Marley
Boston audience members hold lighters in the air as Jo Mersa dedicates song to Kymani Cole
Stephen MarleyStephen Marley - Portland, Maine
After a brief intermission, tour manager Yussef introduced Stephen Marley to the stage. He opened his performance with the Bob Marley classic, Lively up Yourself before moving into selections from his 2nd studio album, Root of Life:  Can’t Keep I Down,  No Cigarette Smoking (accompanied by Rica Newell), and Pale Moonlight (How Many Times) before performing a Bob Marley medley of Three Little Birds, Buffalo Soldier and Iron Lion.  

Stephen Marley, Rica Newell
No cigarette smoking featuring Rica Newell - Boston
For the remainder of his set, Stephen creatively mixed it up to include songs from each of his studio albums such as  Hey BabyTraffic Jam, and Iron Bars from Mind Control;  and from the upcoming Fruit of Life album, he performed previously released singles Rockstone and Revelation Party. For the latter, he brought his sons back to the stage and reminded the audience to “lead by example and show love” before transitioning to the ever popular Could You be Loved, the last song prior to the encore. The audiences in both Portland and Boston gave thunderous applause and voiced their demand for the expected encore for which Stephen wholeheartedly complied.
Stephen marley
Stephen Marley
Stephen Marley
Stephen Marley
Continuing with the theme of love, Stephen kicked off the five song encore with another Bob Marley classic, Is This Love, followed by his hit single Mission and then gave the audience one more taste of his new album with the brand new song So Strong (out now featuring Shaggy).  Switching back to a Bob Marley classic he then performed Waiting in Vain and for his final song selection, he ended the evening with more of an acoustic feel as he played Djembe drums on It’s Alright, another new and well received song from the upcoming Fruit of Life album fully satisfying the New England audiences with a summer night celebration of love, life, and family.

David "Big Papi" Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox takes a moment to meet Stephen Marley backstage in Boston.  

David Ortiz, Stephen Marley
David Ortiz, Yohan Marley, Jo Mersa Marley, Stephen Marley, Paul -Genius
David Ortiz, Yohan Marley, Jo Mersa Marley, Stephen Marley, and Paul "Genius" of Ingenius Concepts.

Pre-order  Revelation Pt. II: "The Fruit of Life"  (avail 7/22)

Press play below to view all photos from Boston and Maine shows

<![CDATA[Tempo Turns Ten and Turns Up The Heat at Caribbean Week in NYC]]>Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:19:27 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/tempo-turns-ten-and-turns-up-the-heat-at-caribbean-week-in-nycTempo Turns Ten and Turns up the Heat at Caribbean Week in NYC
Story by Grace Vanriel and Photos by Melvin Calendar for Reggae Reflection / Island Stage
Tempo Caribbean Rocks NYC
On Sunday, June 5th in the heart of Times Square, NYC (often called The Crossroads of the World based on its worldwide recognition as a major tourist attraction and meeting ground) TEMPO networks hosted a double celebratory bash in marking both the first annual installment of “Caribbean Rocks NYC” and the fact that in 2016 “TEMPO Turns Ten.” The gathering was nestled inside the spacious main room at B.B. King Jazz and Blues Club on 42nd Street NYC and hosted as part of the popular Caribbean Week in NYC celebrations; the partnership brought out a chic crowd of friends and staunch supporters of the growing TEMPO network that was produced in association with Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), an organization of untiring advocates and promoters of Caribbean travel, arts and culture.  

Sharon Gordon CPRSharon Gordon
The Caribbean Rocks NYC portion of the event squarely delivered a rich sampling of cultural entertainment adding to the incentive to explore the many beautiful tropical travel destinations highlighted throughout the evening.  Sharon Gordon, the host for most of the evening, did an incredible job helping to keep the program lively and emotionally gratifying as it combined artist performances and award presentations to important Caribbean figures.  Key sponsors of the event included the islands of the Bahamas (Platinum) who I'm giving a “special” round of applause for delivering excellent presentations throughout the evening, Barbados (Gold), Turks and Caicos (Silver) and St. Kitts (Bronze); while Jamaica joined the sponsorship roles late, they too enjoyed a welcomed and significant presence throughout the evening.  Caribbean Rocks NYC also received sponsorship support from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, Caribbean Airlines,  American Airlines and Norwegian Airlines with additional special thanks going out for the support received from VP Records.

Live Performances at Caribbean Rocks

Tebby Caribbean RocksTebby
Among the early performers was an American artist of Bahamian descent by the name of  Tebby who shared with the audience her unique blend of pop, calypso, R&B and soul music in a short but engaging performance.  She was followed by Mr. Bagnall representing St. Kitts who gave attendees 10 minutes of incredible entertainment.

Up next was a high-energy artist from Turks and Caicos called Tess who was backed by a riveting group of entertaining dancers.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the Spank Band from Bahamas but must admit that I was floored by the presence of calypso singer and songwriter of international fame, the Mighty Sparrow (oftentimes referred to as the “Calypso King of the World” and rightfully so). Sparrow  made his way to the stage slowly but none-the-less giving us a top-notch vocal performance.

As the evening progressed the audience was treated to a large troupe of talented dancers called the Colors Junkanoo. Completely outfitted in ultra-colorful/larger than life costumes they excited attendees right out of their seats surrounding them on the dance floor to cheer them as they made their way throughout the venue.  

Among the  most anticipated acts of the evening were Jamaican artists Ce'cile and Romain Virgo who both gave spectacular performances that sizzled by way of musical selections and sheer stage charisma. And, I would be woefully remiss for not mentioning other stellar performances well presented by artists Loyal Flames (who joined Romain Virgo on stage), R. City, Ziggy Ranking, Isaac Blackman, RKG Dartiste and Shurwayne Winchester.
Romain Virgo
Romain Virgo
Loyal Flames
Junkanoo dancer
Junkanoo dancer
R City  Rock City
R. City (fka Rock City)

And just as important as the sensational musical performances and dancing were, there were also excellent 

Sharon Gordon Chef Patrick Caribbean Rocks Sharon Gordon and Chef Patrick
 presentations by DJ Warson Skywalker (representing Music Research Lab) who for the entire night shared an outstanding mix of Caribbean music covering every island that kept attendees lining the dance floor.

​Meanwhile behind the scenes, Chef Patrick worked his culinary magic flooding attendees throughout the venue with delicious Caribbean delicacies in generous portions.

In recognition of their considerable achievements TEMPO presented several awards during the course of the evening.

PictureDiedre Kemp (wife of the late Johnny Kemp) and his sons
The first was an Image Award given to celebrity stylist Eric Archibald who hails from Antigua. Archibald is the head stylist for award winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson and was the stylist for Beyonce's Lemonade Tour to mention only two of his major celebrity clients and projects.

In recognition of his life work, a posthumous Achievement Award was bestowed to the late Bahamian artist Johnny Kemp who died accidentally in April 2015 at age fifty-five.  Kemp is best  known for his 1989 Grammy nominated  song “Just Got Paid” in the category of Best R&B Song. The presentation honoring Kemp was made to his wife  Diedre Kemp who was joined onstage by their sons. Her short acceptance speech was filled with emotion and she graciously expressed her deep appreciation for the recognition of her late husband.

Hugh RileyHugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Board
The Leaders Award went to Hugh Riley who is the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Board. As the chief operating officer Mr. Riley has the responsibility of overseeing offices in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and in Barbados where their offices are located. He is instrumental in ensuring the effective delivery of agency services for everything from information technology to tourism development both in corporate and government sectors. To summarize all that he accomplishes here would be impossible leaving me to say, his tenure has favorably impacted the vision and growth of the board.

The Chairman’s Award was given to Abu Alam, Chief Financial Officer of TEMPO in recognition of eight years of outstanding service to TEMPO. East Indian in heritage, his acceptance speech brought warm cheers as he basically explained how much he loves and embraces the Caribbean and considers himself an honorary member.

Frederick Morton Abu Alam Tempo
Abu Alam and Frederick Morton Jr.
Dr. Una Clarke
Dr. Una Clarke
Dr. Una Clarke received the Pioneer Award. Looking absolutely smashing, the former NYC Council Member held her first office in 1991 and for a decade represented the 40th Council District in Brooklyn NY.  For those who don't know, Dr Clarke holds the distinction of being the first Caribbean woman to serve in the City Legislature.  Dr. Clarke was joined onstage by her children:  television producer Leslie Clarke Jr and his wife, and daughter Congresswoman Yvette Clarke who following her mother was encouraged to offer a few words of inspiration which she did extremely well while mentioning the importance of voting and supporting networks like TEMPO.
Yvette Clarke, Una Clarke
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and Dr. Unu Clarke
The Legacy Award was presented to the parents of the CEO Mr and Mrs. Frederick Morton Sr for their unselfish support of their son and tireless support of the TEMPO network. Seen together onstage and off as a loving couple, Frederick Morton Jr. credited them for  always standing by his side and offering unconditional love.
Mighty Sparrow
Mighty Sparrow
Immediately following his stage performance TEMPO bestowed the Icon Award to Grenadian born 40-year veteran artist Mighty Sparrow “ The Birdie” who turns 81-years of  age this year on July 9th.  This adds to his treasure chest of awards and honors including the Chaconia Medal Award (1993), an Honorary PhD from the University of the West Indies and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the government of Trinidad & Tobago in 2013 where his family relocated to when he was age one and where he currently claims residency.
Frederick Morton Jr.
Frederick Morton, Jr.
It was a complete surprise to him and clearly a humbling moment when the final award presented for the evening called the Spirit of Marcus Garvey Award was presented to TEMPO's Founder and CEO Frederick Morton Jr. Needless to say there was nary a dry house in the house when he finished making a short but heartfelt speech bearing his love and continued commitment to the TEMPO organization, thanks and appreciation.
Romain Virgo and Conrad "Sax Melody" Pinnock
Romain Virgo and Loyal Flames

About Tempo

Launched in November 2005, Tempo “the #1 destination for all things Caribbean” was initially owned by MTV Networks and offered as a subscriber based cable program however since 2007 the network has been owned by its founder and CEO Frederick Morton Jr.  The network offers a series of high-quality Caribbean lifestyle programing items in multiple formats including News, Entertainment Music, Sports, Films, Cuisine, Festivals & Travel. Their programs air in the New York tri-state area and in Pennsylvania on Cablevision channel 1160 and at last count on approximately forty-eight stations on various channels throughout the Caribbean.  

Viewership currently exceeds 3 million viewers throughout the Caribbean and countless others throughout the NYC area via Cablevision.  In a recent strategic business move, TEMPO completed negotiations to launch throughout the United State via Verizon FiOs giving them the potential to reach and additional 5 million subscribers who utilize the service on cable or through its mobile applications. Dedicated programming includes shows like: Cross Caribbean Countdown, Cook Up, Rise & Shine (Myles Munroe), Rise & Shine (Jamie Thomas), Badness Outta Style, Tempo Presents, Ocean Style, CANTO Exhibition and TEMPO Sports.  Special events listed on their lineup includes popular events like the St. Kitts Music Festival , Miami Carnival and the NY West Indian Day Parade.

Special events come and go however I predict that in years to come Caribbean Rocks NYC will undoubtedly increase in popularity and hopefully pave the way for  similar events to follow, at destinations across the globe.  Over the course of the next three months Caribbean Rocks NYC – TEMPO Turns Ten plans to telecast the program across TEMPO’s cable television distribution network. Clearly on a mission to highlight the breadth and scope of Caribbean culture to the world, TEMPO passionately states on their website: “Caribbean people are extraordinary. We have made significant contributions to the world, and it is time those contributions be recognized.” I totally agree and advise that you follow TEMPO on all social networks and sign up for their mailing lists.  Subscribe to their channel in your area and if it's not yet there, contact your local cable provider and don't just ask for it, demand it and then encourage your friends to do the same!

Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggaeholics Movement to preserve and promote Reggae music as a traditional Jamaican art form; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com, CatchTheVybe.com, and  BuildUrBuzz.com.

Melvin Calendar is a freelance photographer based in NYC covering a wide variety of Caribbean shows and festivals  in the NYC region. 
<![CDATA[#SunfestFL 2016 Rick Springfield Photos & Review]]>Tue, 21 Jun 2016 20:36:40 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/sunfestfl-2016-rick-springfield-photos-review#SunfestFL 2016 Rick Springfield Photos & Review

Love Is All Right Today 

Story by Sheldon Roberton and Photos by Empress K for Reggae Reflection
Rick Springfield Sunfest
This veteran Australian rocker prefaced his performance with a video retrospective of his acting and musical career, mostly focusing on the first half of the ‘80s when he was both starring on the hit soap opera General Hospital and hitting the top of the charts as a recording artist. Rick then moved from the past to the present, kicking off his show with the song “Party Up” from new album Rocket Science.

Even though he compared playing mid-afternoon to “f_  _ king under fluorescent light”, Rick’s performance in the hot South Florida sun delivered. Familiar smashes like “I’ve Done Everything For You” and “Affair of the Heart” were featured on a set-list that also included a massive medley of  songs such as “Bop Till You Drop”, ”Celebrate Youth”, ”Don’t Walk Away”, ”State of the Heart”, ”What Kind of Fool Am I”, ”Love Is All Right Tonight”,  even a bit of  his signature hit “Jessie’s Girl.”

Rick Springfield Sunfest
In addition to his well-known hits, Rick also highlighted some other songs from the new album. After playing “Miss Mayhem”, a track with a swampy feel and slide guitar, he pointed out appropriately enough a sky banner being pulled over the festival advertising a blues concert featuring Buddy Guy. Other songs from the new album included the tracks “That One” and “Down.” 

Rick also played a couple of surprising covers. After saying he was going to play a “girl’s song” but he was going to make it more rockish, Rick launched into a cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” Some of the concertgoers I talked to afterwards wondered why he would cover such a song but I thought he probably did so as a way to be relevant to younger music fans. I later heard from my friend Gail, a prominent member of the local contingent of Rick’s Chicks, that he also covered Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

Last but certainly not least, Rick’s biggest smash,  “Jessie’s Girl”,  a song that had been teased earlier in the medley he played,  was played in full as the final song of his show, as has been his tradition for thirty-five years. It’s nice to see that some things never change.

Longtime Rick Springfield fans enjoying a moment before the show! 

Sheldon Robertson is a freelance music writer covering the South Florida music scene for his blog The Music Type.  Empress K is founder and editor of ReggaeReflection.com 
<![CDATA[#SunfestFL 2016 Day 4 Photos & Review (Salt n Pepa and The Roots)]]>Thu, 16 Jun 2016 21:34:12 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/sunfestfl-2016-day-4-photos-review-salt-n-pepa-and-the-rootsSALT n PEPA 
Story by Sheldon Robertson and Photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection 

Pick up Those Hips! 

Salt n Pepa
This group from Queens, NY, first hit the charts a few years after the birth of hip-hop. So it was only fitting that early in their Sunfest performance, Cheryl "Salt" James and Sandra "Pepa" Denton would lead the crowd in “ol’ school” chants from rap classics such as “Rappers’ Delight.”

Dj Spinderella
Dj Spinderella
Backing the two vocalists was their longtime DJ Spinderella, and contributing to the upbeat atmosphere was the presence of two muscular and energetic male dancers, doing routines by themselves and also with Salt ‘n’ Pepa. Some of these dance routines took place on the catwalk jutting out into the audience, enabling the fans to get a good look at the group’s dance moves. 

​Overall, the vibe was very fun, with all three women smiling a lot, and Salt ’n’ Pepa chatting extensively with the audience. 
Overlapping sets dragged us away from this show, but those who stayed were treated to such hits as “Whatta Man”, “Shoop” and their signature tune “Push It.” Of  all the shows in what was a very good year for Sunfest, this was the performance I wish I could have watched till the end.
Salt n Pepa
Salt n Pepa

Fans at the Ford Stage enjoying an afternoon of Hip Hop and Soul


 Story by Gianna Mascaro of Knight News.com and Sheldon Robertson of The Music Type,   Photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection 
The Roots
This Philadelphia hip-hop/neo soul group is probably best known for its partnership with television host Jimmy Fallon, having been the house band for his previous talk show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and now The Tonight Show.  But the recording career of The Roots, considered one of the most progressive acts in contemporary music, is just as notable as its late-night tenure. Not only has the group been awarded a handful of Grammys in the Rap and R&B categories, it has also amassed gold and platinum records with their studio releases, some of which have included collaboration with artists such as John Legend and Elvis Costello.

Questlove The Roots
For its Sunfest performance, drummer/co-founder Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson took his place behind his kit, signature Afro pick sticking out of his hair. Questlove (also spelled “?estlove”)  was joined by vocalist/co-founder Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and the rest of the eight-man band in what would prove to be a high-energy performance.  

The Roots
The horn section in particular was showcased, with trumpet solos by David Guy of the Dap-Kings band. Also featured was sousaphone player Damon “Tuba Gooding Junior” Bryson, who wandered the stage as he played, even venturing out on to the catwalk several times. All along, the proceedings were presided over by Black Thought, clad in all white as he rapped over the music and introduced his band-mates to the audience before solos.

Blackthought The Roots
Any late-night show band needs to have a number of covers in its arsenal, and The Roots took the opportunity to show off how much of other artists’ music they know. Sprinkled throughout the set was an eclectic set of covers that included hits by the recently-deceased Prince (“Kiss”, “Let’s Go Crazy”), George Thoroughgood (“Bad to the Bone/Who Do You Love”), Damian Marley (“Welcome To Jamrock”), even Led Zeppelin (“The Immigrant Song”). Most songs turned into extended instrumental jams that tended to flow together. The set concluded with a medley that included “The Seed (2.0)”, the band’s hit featuring fellow eclectic musician Cody Chestnutt.

Sheldon Robertson is a freelance music writer covering the South Florida music scene for his blog The Music Type.   Gianna Mascaro is a music correspondent with  Knight News.com and Empress K is founder and editor of ReggaeReflection.com
<![CDATA[Surprise After Surprise, Oracabessa Festival 2016! ]]>Wed, 15 Jun 2016 22:27:26 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/surprise-after-surprise-oracabessa-festival-2016Surprise After Surprise, Oracabessa Festival 2016!
Story by Grace Vanriel and photos by Melvin Calendar for Reggae Reflection 
Oracabessa Festival Irwine ClareMC Irwine Clare
Memorial Day Monday, May 30, 2016 marked another fun-filled staging of the 3rd Annual Oracabessa Festival in Roy Wilkins Park, Queens NYC produced by IrieJam Productions. Weather reports threatened a whopping estimate of  90% rain showers and not a single drop materialized. Rain or no rain either way did not deter Irie Jam fans from filling the park to full-joy the expected festivities that by curtain-call furnished us with an entire day of surprise after surprise after surprise!


Billed as “a day of Caribbean celebration,” among the most notable early warm performers at Oracabessa Festival 2016 was Ras Attitude who sprang to the stage and immediately commanded the attention of attendees.  He sang songs  like “Please Mr. Police,” and “Most High Protect”  that received thunderous applause in appreciation of his excellent vocal abilities and brief  but high-energy performance. When Ras Attitude was through he left us wanting to hear more and I couldn’t help hoping that next time he'd be elevated to the featured section of the program. Other great early warm performer was Royalty hailing out of Mount Vernon NY who shared original songs like “Can't Let Go” and then “We Can Stay All Day” that was not only timely but well presented. Next up was Lion Melta who is also a NY based artist and one well endowed with an abundance of Roots & Culture vigor and “nuff” talent.  Another well placed early warm artist going by the stage name of Dr. Love was interesting as he sprinkled his performance with light humor that thoroughly delighted the audience.  The segment ended with artist Noah Landale, a Jamaican born  artist who as we learned mainly lives in London but in town to entertain the crowd. He accomplished entertaining us with songs like “Take You To Jamaica” that was clearly an audience favorite; Landale closed out the segment with a song called “Give Thanks for Life” that had many of us up on our feet and gleefully singing along.


In-between performances Irie Jam plied us with plenty of great onstage MC entertainment antics but then came the first of a few surprises.  Nobody expected to be treated to a full performance of legendary Jamaican comedic actor Delcita's original comedy  “Border Patrol” performed with a cast of other stellar actors. Granted, the one hour-forty-five minute production began with a few minor technical bugs involving the microphones that caused a slow start but once the kinks were worked out nobody cared because the play was hilarious making it a great special treat!  Shortly thereafter young African dancers took the stage and in well rehearsed step they gyrated their way into our hearts – these kids were marvelous and Irie Jam is to be commended for giving children an opportunity  to showcase their awesome dance talents.



Around 5PM in a segment of the Festival I call the “inspirational ” Pastor Son took the stage sharing a few songs determined to uplift our spirits.  Closely following his performance the one and only Natalie Evans, who is one of the original Grace Thrillers gave a dynamic performance. Evans is known to have a beautiful voice, and I felt good just listening to her. Fully prepped by Evens uplifting performance and ready for more inspirational music, the audience was not disappointed in performances by Gospel artists Kukudoo,  and Little LeRoy both giving hardy performances. Special guest MC Ragashanti was up to his usual stage antics bringing his fiery humor to the stage.



Jah Lil
An artist previously unknown to me, a 25-year old out  of Jamaica W.I. going by the stage name Jah Lil shared two songs but nonetheless the combination of his lifting performance and cutting edge lyrics provided a crystal clear glimpse into his musical mission. Short of calling him Reggae Gospel, I'm inclined to categorize him as an “Inspirational Reggae” artist based on his artful blend of Roots Reggae and Praise music. The second song he performed was “Siren,” released on the VP Records label in 2015 and it was so good that the next day I started following his artist page on Facebook! 


Afterward came  Kiprich for a short but high-energy set with my personal favorite from his performance being “Let Go Ya Belly.” Now if Delcita's play was not enough of a shocking surprise, when surprise guest artist Gully Bop popped up on stage the audience became unhinged! A woman sitting behind me had been loudly calling out Gully's name wishfully all afternoon and when he made his entrance I turned just in time to see her face light up as she jumped up to scream.  Gully's presence  was unquestionably another Irie Jam, let's see your faces now, surprise moment. 
The next segment of Oracabessa Festival went full circle when artist Barbie, well known for being a hot artist, took the stage and did indeed spice up the evening. Flashing ultra-bright green hair (with fingernails to match) it was a clear signal it was Dancehall entertainment time. After her opening song she offered a loving shout-out to the legendary Sister Nancy Barbie before launching into the song “Turn Me Up.” Barbie looked and sounded great and left no doubt that she can sing and dance equally  hard. 



As for Gully what can anyone say other than the fact he is one artist who knows how to entertain by incorporating his current shenanigans into his music; staged comments like “nuh boy with no teeth have gyal like me” that he then backed with songs like “Every Gyal Ah Wine Off Me.” Yeahman...his set was a huge hit!!
MAVADO gave the longest performance of the day sharing thirty minutes of his rich catalog of hit songs which of course, were expected and welcomed. For an unexpected encore (which given the fadding time was welcomed but not at all expected) he gave us a 100% guaranteed crowd pleasing favorite song, “I'm So Special.”

Somewhere in-between setting up for the next act Irie Jam squeezed in another up and coming artist by the name of 3 Star who in honor of Memorial Day, is also a military man. Decked in camouflage fatigues head to toe he belted out one song but his token performance was also warmly welcomed. 
Javaughn Bond
Javaughn Bond (Mavado's Band) on Bass

Caribbean Heritage Awards

Bobby Clarke Lavern Tatham Jimmy Riley awardBobby Clarke presents Lavern Tatham-Riley with an award for for the late Jimmy Riley
Irie Jam gave out a number of  'Caribbean Heritage Awards' bestowed throughout the afternoon including one posthumously honoring the late artist Martin James Ziggy Norman Riley popularly known as Jimmy Riley, father of Tarrus Riley who died in NY in March 2016 following a long battle with cancer. The presentation was preceded by a short clip of Tarrus performing at Oracabessa Festival 2015 and bringing out his beloved father to join him onstage. It was a heartfelt moment as Taurrus's mother Lavern Tatham-Riley  humbly accepted the award presented by Bobby Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Productions. Another award went to to forty-five (or more) year veteran of radio Gil Bailey who along with his wife Pat are staples on the NY Caribbean radio market. Accomplished Musician / Producer Haldane Wayne Browne better known as Danny Browne was also a recipient of  the Carribean Heritage Award,  and the final Caribbean Heritage Award went to the legendary hit maker Mighty Sparrow who in great style shared with the audience some of his greatest songs like “Mister Walker.”


Oliver Samuels and Mighty Sparrow
Oliver Samuels and Mighty Sparrow


Ken Boothe

New Kid took the stage for another brief set that opened the door for one of the most respected names in Reggae Ken Boothe (aka Mr. Smooth and looking just that from head to toe). Let me just say that as expected his entire performance lasting thirty-minutes was outstanding; the audience pretty much sang to every song he selected, and based on the way he fully moved about on stage, that man in no way appears to be increasing in age. He shared with the audience his philosophy as it relates to his music stating: “songs live forever, people don't.” Along that theme Ken Boothe's rendition of the Nat King Cole song, “When I Fall In Love” Reggae style was without doubt one of my favorite songs of the entire event.  

Oracabessa Festival Fans in the moment! 

Supercat Oracabessa
SUPERCAT joined us next and I can tell you that by the response of the audience, his 15-years away from NY stages has made him sorely missed. He managed to look dapper in a fresh nostalgic red checkered suit (reminiscent of 1970's style) and he too sang from his extensive catalog of music sharing classics like “Guiding Star.” The producers may have been taken aback by some of his lyrical content and sudden reemergence to the stage after his set was cut short but truth be told, the audience expected him to act up and loved every second of the showbiz fracas.  

The final act of the day was to have been Nesbeth but more on what happened next in a minute. Meanwhile, an on-stage Nesbeth still clearly grieving the recent loss of his beloved wife Annmarie dedicated a song to her before his segue to “My Dream,” a song that he was honored to sing at the swearing-in ceremonies for Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. 


By way of explanation as to the last artist that took the stage at the 2016 Presentation of Oracabessa Festival, the final act was Vershon only to be booted off shortly after. Producers let us know, the lyrics were not as wholesome as had been expected. Well, for the very short time that he sang, Vershon was in strong voice and I would have liked to have heard more.

All-in-all Oracabessa Festival 2016 was a success.  Irie Jam Productions is a professional team with a great reputation for delivering what they promise so no surprises there. What was surprising are the great lengths they undertook to outdo themselves in 2016 by introducing so many extras.  Most everyone loves getting more than they pay for and attendees were given plenty.  I left Roy Wilkins Park elated that the producers had put a lot of painstaking time and energy into figuring out how to delight ticket holders, and caring enough to do so.  As always, ticket prices were affordable with special low rates beginning at $25 for early bird purchases and increasing slightly with the approach of the event. Hats off to all the fabulous vendors and of course to loyal and supporters like sponsors  People Choice FurnitureGolden Krust, the Real Estate Authority (who donated and raffled both a TV and radio), WIADCA, Signature 78 Fashion, Moving Forward and Irwine Clare and Team Bickle Jamaica
 for continually supporting a high-quality and well produced event. Jah willing, we all have the 2017 presentation to look forward to with eager anticipation!

Enjoy more photos from Oracabessa Music Festival 2016 in our slideshow below. 

Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggholics Movement to preserve and promote Reggae music as a traditional Jamaican art form; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com, CatchTheVybe.com, 

Melvin Calendar is a freelance photographer based in NYC covering a wide variety of Caribbean shows and festivals  in the NYC region. 

<![CDATA[#SunfestFL 2016 Day 3 Photos & Review  (Joy Formidable, Death Cab for Cutie, Watch the Duck)]]>Wed, 08 Jun 2016 16:24:30 GMThttp://reggaereflection.com/featured_events/sunfestfl-2016-day-3-photos-review-joy-formidable-death-cab-for-cutie-watch-the-duck#SunfestFL 2016 Day 3  (The Joy Formidable, Death Cab for Cutie, Watch The Duck)
Story by Sheldon Robertson and Photos by Empress K for Reggae Reflection / Island Stage

The Joy Formidable - Welsh Girl Power

Rhiannon “Ritzy” BryGuitarist/vocalist Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bry
This alt-rock power trio kicked off its set with the “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade” from the band’s debut album, 2011’s “The Big Roar.”  This upbeat catchy rocker seemed like the perfect soundtrack for what guitarist/vocalist Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan described as a lovely evening, one she admitted was not a common occurrence in the band’s birthplace of Northern Wales. For that matter, the petite blonde’s accent is so lilting, just her talking could have been musical enough.
But the other songs Ritzy sang into her microphone adorned with a mass of light-bulb strings were just as appealing. Standouts include the percussive rocker “The Last Thing on My Mind” and the introspective ballad “Liana”, both from the group’s latest release, the 2016 album “Hitch.”  The short set also featured material from older albums, such as “Little Blimp” from 2013’s “Wolf’s Law.”

Matt Thomas Joy FormidableDrummer Matt Thomas
Drummer Matthew James Thomas was set up in an unusual position: on the right side of stage, so that he faced his band-mates instead of the audience while he bashed away at a drum kit that included a very large gong. Also going against the norm was bassist Rhydian Dafydd, who seemed considerably more animated than the typical player of that instrument, occasionally running over to one or the other of his band-mates during the show.  

Despite getting noisier as it went along, this power trio’s set was surprisingly melodic overall, and definitely worth seeing.  

Joy Formidable
Rhydian and Ritzy
Bassist Rhydian Dafydd

Joy Formidable Fans at the JetBlue Stage 

Death Cab for Cutie - The Ghosts of Flagler Drive

Story and Photos by Sheldon Robertson for Reggae Reflection / Island Stage 
Guitarist / Vocalist Ben Gibbard   Death Cab for CutieGuitarist / Vocalist Ben Gibbard
Ben Gibbard, guitarist-vocalist for this veteran alt-rock band, felt compelled to say the name of his group both at the beginning and the end of the group’s set, a good strategy for bar bands starting out but not one usually employed by festival headliners. Perhaps Gibbard had his own transformation in mind, though. Music fans familiar with the early years of the group’s existence might wonder what happened to its slightly pudgy, bespectacled frontman. But thanks to taking up running and losing the glasses, Gibbard now looks more like a matinee idol than the introspective songwriter that he still is.
Ben’s makeover might be for the best, though, given how energetic the band’s stage show is.  When not singing, Gibbard would run around the stage engaging in guitar duets with his band-mates. Songs like “Crooked Teeth” and “The New Year” are filled with guitars, so both touring members Dave Depper and Zac Rae play guitar in addition to keyboards.

Death Cab for Cutie
Touring Guitarist Zac Rae
Dave Depper Death Cab for Cutie
Touring Guitarist Dave Depepr
PictureBassist Nick Harmer & Drummer Jason McGer
The set featured several tracks from the group’s latest album, 2015’s Kintsugi:  the low-key “Black Sun”, the energetic “Ghosts of Beverly Drive”, and “Little Wanderer”, an introspective ballad with atmospheric guitar arpeggios. Older material performed included “No Sunlight” and “I Will Possess You” (from 2008’s Narrow Stairs ),  and “President of What? ” (from the group’s  1997 debut You Can Play These Songs With Chords ).

Death Cab for Cutie
Gibbard, Rae, Depper
Bassist Nick Harmer
Bassist Nick Harmer
Guitarist / Vocalist Ben GibbardBen Gibbard
The band closed the regular set with one of its best-known songs, the breezy acoustic-guitar rocker “Soul Meets Body”, but thankfully omitted its biggest hit, the hopelessly morbid “I Will Follow You Into The Dark.”

The two-song encore consisted of  “Marching Band from Manhattan” from its popular 2005 release Plans, and “Transatlanticism” ,  the title track of the group’s 2003 release. This was played solo by Gibbard, who abandoned his guitars to sit behind the piano to perform this ballad.

Watch The Duck -  Don't fear the Duck

Photos and words by Empress K for Reggae Reflection / Island Stage 
Watch The Duck
As the band name suggests, there is indeed a duck figure in the band and on guitar at that.   Based in Atlanta, GA, Watch the Duck (WTD) features lead vocalist Jesse Rankins, Dj Eddie Smith III, and guitarist Oscar White aka The Duck.  While the WTD trio has only been around since 2012, they have already made a big impact in the EDM / Trapstep world with powerful collaborations featuring the likes of TI, Dj E Feezy, Pharrell and Steve Aoki.     

Watch The Duck
Dj Eddie Smith III
Vocalist Jesse Rankins
Watch The Duck The Duck and Jesse Rankins
WTD brought a party like atmosphere to Sunfest and had the EDM crowd groovin to their Soul / Funk meets Dubstep unique style of sound.  Jesse Rankins and The Duck took full advantage of the main stage catwalk or should I say duckwalk to keep the party vibes ‘Poppin Off’ as they performed numerous selections from their two EP releases:  2012 debut  “Anatiadaephobia“ (the title referring to a fictional phobia made up by Gary Larson of Farside fame that describes the irrational yet humorous  fear that somehow, somewhere you are being watched by a duck), and 2015 “Trojan Horse” ( Epic  & Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records Release.)  

“Everyone sees the Duck traveling smoothly on top of the water, but no one sees how hard he’s kicking under it to stay afloat.”  Watch the Duck,  describing how the band was named. 
There’s much more to come from WTD including their recent song “Stretch 2-3-4” in a current Propel Electrolyte drink commercial, as they gear up to release their first full length album.  There’s no word on the name yet, however I am sure it will be another fun and clever title. 
Sheldon Robertson is a freelance music writer covering the South Florida music scene for his blog The Music Type.  Empress K is founder and editor of ReggaeReflection.com