Lester Sterling and The Skatalites, photo by Alan Fairless
For many reasons, this eight-day festival is a must for reggae enthusiasts. It showcases the best in emerging and established artists over several stages, has daily reggae universities, a film festival, book launches, great food, and an ‘off’ party on a packed Mediterranean coast.
This all happens under the Spanish mid-summer sun with a fantastic, family-friendly vibe and a lot of extra-curricular activities. It’s neigh on impossible to see even half of what is going on, and hopefully this stage by stage report will show why. (more…)
With all the good music that took place over the summer months, I thought it best to write a review, sharing all the awesome stuff we have been up to in one of the best summers we have had in a long time.
With so many festivals and gigs happening around the country, it was a hard choice deciding which ones to attend. I start at New Year with the ‘Exodus Festival’, located in one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, Papamoa beach. With Preston beaches, camping grounds, and a great backpackers and nightlife, it is a first choice for many young adults and foreigners looking for a true New Zealand new years. With classic bands like Katchafire and Herbs and new ones like L40 and Majic on the bill, we were in for a treat. (more…)
Set in the south of France on the River Ceze, this four-day event (this year 25 – 28 July 2012) is a marathon of pleasure to the ears. Into its twenty-third year the festival attracts big name roots, rub-a-dub, rocksteady and ska artists to its main stage as well as some of the largest and most respected names in sound system culture to the neigh on perfect seven stack Dub Station.
Seeing the original I-Threes and especially Rita in the flesh, who is the queen of Reggae in many eyes is a historical sight no doubt, but I quickly became drawn back to the sound system to see King Alpha and the upcoming French duo of OBF sound and Shanti-D taking the superior sound over the historical spectacles of Bob Andy, Derrick Morgan and the Gaylads. With temperatures in the mid 30s, Ernest Raglan backed by Sly and Robbie kicked off procedures with a guest appearance by the original Lone Ranger. This was followed by Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Pam Hall on the main stage, at the same time that Dubkasm featuring Solo Banton were ripping it up on the sound system.
Driving up to Raggamuffin for the second time in the five years that it’s been running, I found myself a little more nervous and excited then the first time. Not only because I was going to interview some of my favorite artists, or because the line-up was better then the line-up I saw the first time when there was the likes of Lauryn Hill (it was in fact worse), but simply because I was eager to see how reggae heads in Aotearoa would react to a different type of stage show that I knew a lot of them were not accustomed to. (more…)
On Friday 11 March 2011, Wellington was treated to a visit from J Boog, a reggae artist making big waves in the international music scene. Of Samoan descent, born in Long Beach and raised in Compton, J Boog (Jerry Afemata) moved to Hawaii in 2006 and released his debut album Hear Me Roar in 2007.
Connecting with mentors and fellow artists like Gramps of Morgan Heritage and Richie Spice have only helped this artist to launch further into an already impressive career, which I think will take him well beyond the Pacific in years to come.
When the Raggamuffin line-up was announced a few months back I wasn’t overly impressed. Mary J Blige – talented but not really my taste in music. Jimmy Cliff – a legend but a bit played out for me. Maxi Priest – too much synth-drum-loop-machine 80s style reggae. The Original Wailers – when I hear the term ‘Original Wailers’ I think Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, but that’s another story. Ky-Mani Marley and Sean Paul were the saving grace of the line-up for me. So I was very disappointed to hear prior to the festival the announcement that Sean Paul wouldn’t be performing and even more disappointed that Raggamuffin didn’t give any reason for the cancellation.
I arrived at Raggamugffin about halfway through Katchafire’s set. Being a first-time attendee of the festival, I checked out the stalls and shops then ventured into the crowd for Sean Kingston’s set. I’m still not quite sure how or why but I enjoyed his set even though I don’t really enjoy his ‘hit’ songs which he played. DJ Nasty (Sean Kingston’s official DJ apparently) did a good job and hyped the crowd on the mic.
I don’t think I need to give any background info on these guys, everyone knows them and what they are about, and if you don’t then…where have you been? These guys have been spreading the irie reggae vibes around Aotearoa for the last ten years and also more recently world-wide.
Walking into a very packed San Francisco Bath House, I was greeted by the Blackseeds track, Cool Me Down, some Sublime, then the classic Bob Marley tune, One Love all played by DJ Ara. (more…)
Steve Goodman, aka Kode9, is a crucial figure in the world of the dubstep. As well as producing his own brand of dark, futuristic dub music, he runs the Hyperdub label, which has pushed the dubstep genre to new and exciting places with artists such as the Bug, Flying Lotus and the incomparable Burial. To top it off he is also a lecturer at the University of East London, where he specialises in the subject of Sonic Warfare.
With these impeccable credentials, Kode9 was one of the most keenly-anticipated of gigs in the short history of the New Zealand dubstep scene.
This is the third year Sandwiches has presented the Summerset festival at the Basin Reserve. Showcasing twelve hours of local and international music, Summerset is definitely one of the highlights of the year and also signals the end of summer. This year the weather was fantastic, the venue iconic and good vibes were had from a diverse crowd.
When I arrived late afternoon, Bass Kleph from Sydney was amping the crowd up outside on the DJ Stage, playing electro, house and breaks – a little commercial for my tastes but it was keeping the punters happy. The Super Top held the Main Stage and it was huge! I was disappointed to have missed Whisky and Sly who opened up and also to discover that Module didn’t end up performing. When I got there Charlie Ash was in full swing – vocalist Rosie Rigger sure knows how to work the crowd – I loved the Colour Me Badd I Wanna Sex You Up and the Blondie cover. (more…)