How ‘Reggae in the Sun’ concert went down in Nairobi for Kenyan reggae fans

How ‘Reggae in the Sun’ concert went down in Nairobi


Reggae fans had an afternoon to remember on Saturday during the 8th edition of the ‘Reggae in the Sun’ concert which went down at the Godown Arts Center in Nairobi under the tagline My Style is Rasta Style.

The event attracted almost 700 fans with the likes of Kare, Fidempa and Lavosti, all performing on stage with a full live band.

And what’s a reggae concert without MC’s on stage? MC Phillipo and MC Junior Dread hyped each of the DJ sets to all of the music played.

The reggae gig is a brainchild of three huge fans of the music and also industry heavyweights consisting of John Amollo aka Johnnie Be Good, MC Phillipo and Musical Sheriff.

The three have created a platform for Kenyan reggae fans to go somewhere to enjoy our very own blend of reggae music.

Reggae artiste Lavosti on stage during the 8th edition of the Reggae in the Sun concert held at the Godown Arts Center, Nairobi on May 5, 2019. PHOTO| FRANCIS NDERITU

The event is showcased for the appreciation and promotion of local homegrown reggae music.

“It’s a day to night event with nothing but pure reggae music to bring out the best of our reggae artistes by offering a platform for them to showcase their music and grow their fan base,” said John Amollo.

By Francis NderituMay 5th, 2019  1 min read

Julian Marley, son of reggae pioneer Bob Marley, at Norwalk’s Wall Street Theater

Julian Marley, son of reggae pioneer Bob Marley, at Norwalk’s Wall Street Theater



ulian Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Barbados-born Lucy Pounder, is wrapping up his most recent tour with shows at Norwalk’s Wall Street Theater Saturday, May 18, and at Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall on Sunday, May 19.

The Grammy-nominated performer, backed by The Uprising Band, is on the road to support his top Billboard charting “As I Am” album, featuring such hits as “Are You The One,” “Straighter Roads” and “Hey Jack.” Subatomic Sound System opens both dates.


In the same tradition as his father, Julian “Ju Ju” Marley is a devout Rastafarian whose music is inspired by life and spirituality, the venues note on their websites.

Wall Street Theater, 71 Wall St., Norwalk. $45-$15. 203-831-5004. Infinity Musical Hall, 32 Front St., Hartford. $44-$29. 866-666-6306.

Barbados Reggae Festival Featuring Buju Banton, Busy Signal and Sizzla Kolanji Bridgetown, Barbados, April 27 to 30


While Toronto and other parts of Canada were experiencing the final bouts of winter to close out April, hundreds of people escaped their respective cities to Bridgetown, Barbados for their 15th annual Barbados Reggae Festival.
The three-day festival, which took place between Pirates Cove and Kensington Oval, highlighted reggae and dancehall through the eras. From basement jams to freedom songs, it was an eclectic lineup of both old and new artists who provided performances for all generations. This year’s Barbados Reggae Festival also marked a special event — the return of Buju Banton (pictured).
Taking place on Saturday (April 27) at Kensington Oval, Buju Banton was warmly welcomed back to the island by a sold-out crowd for his first performance since 2006.
Banton, who was released from prison in 2018 after seven years for drug-related charges, performed in Jamaica for the first time this past March and followed up with performances in the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago shortly thereafter. Albeit his past, Banton, who is in the midst of his “Long Walk to Freedom” tour, has been praised for his socio-political, religious and spiritual music for over 25 years and has served as an agent of change for the West Indies at large.
Before touching the stage, Bajan-born Buggy Nhakente, Wayne Wonder, Agent Sasco and Spragga Benz shared the stage — the latter of whom performed his own major hits, such as “Hunting,” “We Nuh Like” and “Movin’ Up the Line.” But it was “Hills and Valleys” artist Banton, who started his performance at 1:30 a.m., that immediately took the crowd aback. It even brought out hometown hero Rihanna, who casually posted on social media from backstage.
Coming out to “Our Father in Zion” wearing a blue-collared shirt and with his locs flowing freely, the crowd screamed and cried as Banton appeared on stage. For over 90 minutes, Banton took fans through his catalogue, performing songs such as “Not An Easy Road,” “Give I Strength,” “Hills and Valleys,” “Driver,” “Psalm 23,” “Wanna Be Loved” and even brought Wayne Wonder back on for “Forever Young.” Banton took a minute to thank fans for their support, and reminded them that he once performed to a club of 100 people nearby, not the thousands that were in front of him. More importantly, he also paid tribute to those before him: Bob Marley and Beres Hammond, respectively.
The celebration that took place at Kensington Oval was one of life, music and legacy, but just the first night of the Barbados Reggae Festival. While day one was historic for the country’s music scene, day two would prove to be just as satisfying.
Though the event started early in the day, performances kicked off at 8 p.m., starting with the likes of Just D, Hollabak, Stiffy and Marzville. Despite the thousands of people in attendance, the crowd was relaxed and perceptive to the newer acts who warmed them up for what was to come: veteran artist Busy Signal and headliner Sizzla Kolanji.

Similar to Buju Banton, Busy Signal also made his first return to the island in over a decade. Performing songs such as “Unknown Number,” “One More Night,” “Sweet Love” and crowd favourite “Stay So,” Signal marched back and forth the stage in a Versace shirt, engaging with the eager crowd. The hour-long set went by quickly, leaving fans energized and satisfied for the next act.
Coming onto the stage with the 1998 hit “Like Mountains,” Sizzla Kalonji immediately grabbed the crowd’s attention. With a career spanning over 25 years (similarly to Banton), Kalonji wasn’t short of hits to perform. “Got It Right Here,” “Holding Firm” and “Be Strong” were immediate crowd-pleasers, but he went the extra mile and called the previous night’s performers (Agent Sasco, Wayne Wonder and Spragga Benz) to perform with him. Nearing the end of his hour-long set, he performed a medley so that, if you hadn’t heard your favourite song yet, you wouldn’t walk away disappointed.
The Barbados Reggae Festival closed out with a Vintage Reggae that featured the likes of Admiral Tibet, George Nooks and the legendary Barrington Levy, which as we were told, was for the “older folks who don’t business with young people.”
From start to finish, the Barbados Reggae Festival reflected some of the most important cultural icons in Caribbean music history. Taking over 40 years of music history and packing it into three days is no small feat; however, the 15-year-old festival did just that — paying tribute to the old, re-celebrated the classics and made space for the new. While it’s unsure what next year’s festival will hold, for the attendees that flew from one side of the world to the other and everywhere in between, this year’s festival will be hard to top, and for that, we’re thankful.

Reggae Legends review: Some of the finest reggae artists of all time

PUBLISHED: 11:05 07 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:05 07 May 2019

Jamaican music legends Max Romeo and Eek-a-Mouse delivered Jah motion to the dancefloor with a virtuoso showcase at the Waterfront on Saturday night.

The two artists were also supported by the Mighty Diamonds and Big Youth as part of the Legends of Reggae tour that entertained a packed audience in Norwich.

Adorning a full Zorro exterior, Eek-a-Mouse, whose top hits include Wa do dem & Rude boy Jamaican, performed his full repertoire of sizeable hits through the ages since bursting into the music scene in Kingston, Jamaica, in the late seventies.

Fellow titanic Reggae star Max Romeo’s, whose signature track Chase the Devil, that was later sampled as part of The Prodigy’s drum and bass smash hit ‘Out of Space’ in 1992, did not disappoint.

The 74-year old melodist reeled off other classic hits including ‘War ina Babylon’ and Selassie I Forever, rounding off the evening with a rendition of the late Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ as gig goers were treated to a four hour showing from some of the finest reggae artists of all time.

• For more Norwich music check out our dedicated page every Thursday in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News or follow Enjoy Music More on Twitter and Instagram



‘Original raggamuffin’ Jah Stitch, pioneering reggae vocalist, dies aged 69

Sound system toaster, DJ and selector, known for his understated delivery and immaculate dress died in Kingston

Jah Stitch on Princess Street, downtown Kingston in 2011.
 Jah Stitch on Princess Street, downtown Kingston in 2011. Photograph: Mark Read

The Jamaican reggae vocalist Jah Stitch died in Kingston on Sunday aged 69, following a brief illness. Although not necessarily a household name abroad, the “original raggamuffin” was a sound system toaster and DJ who scored significant hits in the 70s, later working as an actor and appearing in an ad campaign for Clarks shoes.

Born Melbourne James in Kingston in 1949, he grew up with an aunt in a rural village in St Mary, northern Jamaica, since his teenage mother lacked the financial means to care for him. He later joined her in bustling Papine, east Kingston, but conflict with his father-in-law led him to join a community of outcasts living in a tenement yard in the heart of the capital’s downtown – territory aligned with the People’s National party and controlled by the notorious Spanglers gang, which James became affiliated with aged 11.

In his teens, James began selecting records on a new sound system called Fingertone, initially a small community sound system established by a man known as Finger. Later, the sound was renamed Tippertone and became one of the most popular sound systems in Jamaica. Tippertone had a reputation for exclusive dub plates, especially from the Studio One catalogue, and Stitch was renowned as a selector of great skill, with exquisite sequencing and timing. Female fans gave him the nickname Stitch because he was always immaculately dressed, which morphed to Jah Stitch for his Rastafari orientation.

In the early 70s, Tippertone launched the careers of fellow toasters Big Youth and Doctor Alimantado, and Stitch and Big Youth began toasting together on the sound and elsewhere, both employing an understated delivery and Rastafarian focus, with Stitch’s rhymes delivered in a gruff baritone. However, financial disputes caused Stitch to quit Tippertone and shift to the new Black Harmony set, established by a friend on Ninth Street in Greenwich Farm. Big Youth was already making a strong impact as a recording artist and when Stitch was ready to begin his recording career in 1975, he started things off with a bang, voicing two hit songs on the same day: Danger Zone was made for the bassist and vocalist Errol “Flabba” Holt and the Killer for hit-making producer Bunny “Striker” Lee, with whom he enjoyed a long and fruitful association. Placing Stitch atop hit rhythms previously voiced by Horace Andy, Cornell Campbell and Johnny Clarke, Lee produced popular Stitch tunes such as Greedy Girl and Give Jah the Glory, while Strictly Rockers and Judgement were issued by visionary associate Yabby You.

Stitch’s career seemed on an inexorable rise, but trouble arose in April 1976 when an ill-fated plan was hatched for a sound clash between Black Harmony and Tippertone. Black Harmony had relocated to a rough patch of slum ground called Fletcher’s Land, where some residents were aligned with the Jamaica Labour party, drawing indignation from some of Stitch’s former Tippertone associates. One afternoon near Chancery Lane, a Spanglers member demanded that Stitch abandon Black Harmony and when he refused, the man tried to stab him with a knife; rebuffed after a brief scuffle, he soon reappeared with a gun. Stitch was cornered in a bar behind the Wailers’ record shop on King Street and shot through the mouth, managing to survive when the bullet somehow ricocheted and exited.

Hospitalised for four months, he emerged with a contorted oral cavity and a fearsome hunger to record, reportedly voicing 19 songs for Bunny Lee in less than an hour. His 1976 debut album, No Dread Can’t Dead, celebrated his survival and elevated his profile in Britain; Watch Your Step Youthman (1977) and Moving Away (1979) consolidated his reputation, the former having strong commentary on Jamaica’s volatile political situation on songs such as Dread Inna Jamdown, The Rod of Correction and Under Heavy Manners, the latter proclaiming his individuality on Different Fashion and Moving Awayfrom the Rest of the Field.

Jah Stitch toured Britain in 1977, notably appearing at the Hammersmith Palais with John Holt and Johnnie Clarke, backed by the band Black Slate. His recorded output dwindled in the early 80s, shortly before he became the chief selector on Sugar Minott’s Youth Promotion sound system under the moniker Major Stitch, mentoring Yami Bolo, Nitty Gritty, Tenor Saw and Daddy Freddy.

UK label Blood and Fire’s retrospective album Original Raggamuffin introduced Jah Stitch’s work to a new audience in 1996, taking him to Austria to perform at the Steirischer Herbst arts festival. The following year, he appeared in Don Letts’ and Rick Elgood’s film Dancehall Queen, playing an incidental street tough; Elgood also cast him in the 2009 television drama, Mi and Mi Kru. In 2015, he appeared in a Clarks shoes campaign, organised to correspond with the publication of One Love Books’ Clarks in Jamaica.

In recent years, Jah Stitch coached upcoming talent at Song Embassy, near Papine, where I was fortunate to interview him in 2017. He kept in touch thereafter, regularly updating me on developments in Kingston’s ever-changing music scene. One of reggae’s ultimate survivors, it is truly hard to fathom that he’s gone.

SugaFest 2019 in ATL Memorial Day Weekend!

Get Ready ATL!

SugaFest 2019 is coming your way Memorial Day weekend!

More info coming soon!


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There’s a voice that keeps on calling me

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me. Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down, Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

Hey there where ya goin’, not exactly knowin’, who says you have to call just one place home. He’s goin’ everywhere, B.J. McKay and his best friend Bear. He just keeps on movin’, ladies keep improvin’, every day is better than the last. New dreams and better scenes, and best of all I don’t pay property tax. Rollin’ down to Dallas, who’s providin’ my palace, off to New Orleans or who knows where. Places new and ladies, too, I’m B.J. McKay and this is my best friend Bear.

80 days around the world

80 days around the world, we’ll find a pot of gold just sitting where the rainbow’s ending. Time – we’ll fight against the time, and we’ll fly on the white wings of the wind. 80 days around the world, no we won’t say a word before the ship is really back. Round, round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world.

I never spend much time in school but I taught ladies plenty. It’s true I hire my body out for pay, hey hey. I’ve gotten burned over Cheryl Tiegs, blown up for Raquel Welch. But when I end up in the hay it’s only hay, hey hey. I might jump an open drawbridge, or Tarzan from a vine. ‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood look so fine.

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.

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