Monthly Archives: June 2008

Battle-Ska Galactica – 21 June 2008, Wellington

Battle-Ska GalacticaThe New Zealand Ska scene has grown heaps in the last couple of years. Acts like The Managers and The Yoots have really come to the fore with their infectious rudy grooves and this year saw the launch of our first homegrown Ska festival – Toots and Grooves. Another band which is really moving the Ska scene forward is Wellington-based Battleska Galactica. 

As you might have guessed by their name, Battleska don’t take themselves too seriously. But they do play some seriously good music. Their sound draws heavy influence from both the original Skatilites Ska sound, and the second wave ‘two tone’ movement spearheaded by the British band, The Specials.  (more…)

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Vital Sounds Hi-Fi

Vital Sounds Hi FiThis Friday 27 June sees the country’s first custom built reggae sound system launched at Bar Bodega – Vital Sounds Hi-Fi – run by long-time reggae selector, DJ Manray.  NiceUp spoke to Manray about the process of building a system, future plans for the sound, and what has inspired him to forward reggae music in Aotearoa. 

When did Vital Sounds form and can you give us a bit of history about yourself and the sound?

Vital Sounds was formed in early 2003 after spending time with the Roots Foundation who I served my deejaying apprenticeship with. Vital Sounds has featured a range of selectors and MCs including Topknot, Ras Stone, Danny Lemon and The Mighty Asterix just to name a few. (more…)

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Roy G and the Bivinators – For the People

Roy GIf ever an irie selector needed something with a little jazz-matazz flavour to uplift a serious, roots-heavy floor, here it is.

Maz Herman has composed and produced a delightfully summery-scented EP with tracks that would fit as easily into a Giles Peterson show as a Reggae set. ‘Timeless’ seems self-referential with its genre-flux of hip-hoppy beats, D’n’B-like breaks, R’n’B-ish smooth chordal representation and jazz-felt horn lines and licks. (more…)

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Ooklah the Moc meets Koko – Struggling Soldier

Struggling SoldierThis is a review that I have been keen to write for a long time. But ’nuff spliff can affect your motivation levels so its been a while coming. I spent much of last year living in Hawai’i on a University exchange and I was privileged to see plenty of of high quality roots-reggae. The Hawaiian airwaves are completely dominated by roots-reggae with the likes of Katchafire on high rotation on most commercial stations. So as you would expect, there is a massive local reggae scene too.  (more…)

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House of Shem – Keep Rising

Keep RisingThis is the long-awaited debut from Wanganui based reggae group House of Shem.  The band’s strength is their phenomenal tightness and precision playing combined with the sweetness of their vocal harmonies.  Like other popular local groups Kora and Katchafire, this is no doubt down to genetics.   It’s most definitely a ‘whanau thing’ with Carl Perkins (Dad) steering the ship. 

Carl has been writing and playing reggae music for more than thirty years and as a member of such legendary groups as Herbs, Mana and The Twelve Tribes of Israel Band amongst others, his credentials are impeccable.  He is joined in this band by two of his sons, Te Omeka and Isaiah who not only both provide vocals and keyboards, but also share the song-writing duties with each contributing a third of the album’s songs.  (more…)

Sizzla and The Firehouse Crew – 23 May, Munich, Germany

Sizzla posterMy wife and I arrived in Munich two months prior to this gig.  Unfortunately I overlooked how hard it is to settle into a new city, in a new country. All the while we have been waiting for the ship with our personal effects including my records, tables, bikes and toys etc to arrive. Also making friends and contacts takes time, so naturally I was feeling a little down and out. But then I saw it, near the Munich Underground – an old dirty wall covered with tags and old posters with a fresh new poster on it ‘Sizzla and The Firehouse crew’!


DJ K-Note – Dutty Bass Vol. 2

Dutty Bass Vol. 2DJ K-Note’s mission statement for this mix was ‘to broaden the boundaries’ and ‘include a bit of mainstream music’ with reggae/dancehall links. The result is a well rounded and nostalgic journey through the last twenty-odd years of reggae music, concentrating mainly on the 90’s and new millenium dancehall sound, including some big new tunes.

From the opening track – Akon’s ‘Mama Africa’ – K-Note’s willingness to drop more commercial tunes, to broaden the appeal of the mix, is evident, but is never overbearing. The track is a good opener for the mix, combining Akon’s distinctive voice, R&B elements and an authentic reggae riddim, it should appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. (more…)

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Dubwize presents Snypa Levi – The Sojourner

The SojournerA sojourner, do you know what that means?  A pilgrim soldier like me, operating as an MC…I’m just a a stranger here, this place is not my home to stay.  – The Sojourner 

Snypa Levi: Californian ex-pat, reggae vocalist and Rasta believer is a living piece of Aotearoa’s reggae history.  After almost two decades in the business, his debut solo album ‘The Sojourner’ has been a long time coming.  The album is the culmination of years of work, creativity and inspiration from this stalwart of the Aotearoa reggae scene and vocalist for Dubwize.  It is also worth celebrating as the debut release on new label Reality Chant.  Produced by Messenjah, the album is tight. The riddims are top ranking. ‘The Sojourner’ reveals the full spectrum of Snypa’s talents and Dubwize’s heavyweight sound.  (more…)

Jnr Ranks Top Ten – June 2008

Jnr RanksJnr Ranks is a DJ/Producer from the Capital city with a dread reputation.

Having grown up in and around some of the key players in the early Wellington and Porirua reggae scenes he developed a taste for dancehall music during his teenage years with the likes of Shabba Ranks, Shaggy, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man receiving heavy rotation on the old stop start mix tapes.


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