Monday, November 19, 2018

Koffee's Serves Up a Hot Piece of "Toast"

18-year-old Jamaican native Mikayla "Koffee" Simpson, releases her debut 
single "Toast" on Columbia Records. Produced by Walshy Fire of Major Lazer and iZyBeats,
the new track arrives as an ode to everything Koffee is thankful for in her life:
her family and friends and the "blessings" that surround her on a daily basis. The
song's colorful accompanying visual is directed by Xavier Damase and offers a candid
first look at Koffee's world, with cameos from Chronixx and Protoje, told through
the lively streets of her hometown.

Born in Spanish Town, just outside of Kingston, Jamaica, Koffee began writing lyrics
in her bedroom having been inspired by the likes of reggae legends Protoje and Supercat.

In Janurary 2018, reggae hero Coco Tea brought Koffee onto the stage at Rebel Salute;
her idol Protoje also asked her to perform with him, while Grammy-nominated Chronixx,
one of Jamaica's biggest contemporary reggae stars and another huge inspiration,
invited Koffee to join him on Seani B and Mistajam's recent BBC 1Xtra shows broadcast
from Tough Gong Studios.

Although small in stature and disarmingly unassuming, Koffee's modesty -- and height
-- belies huge amounts of talent. The 5'0, self-described "sing-jay-guitarist" is
one of the most exciting, forward-thinking, globally-focused teenage talents to 
emerge this year.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Mortimer's new video "Careful" via Easy Star

Following on successful songs "Warning” (2015), “Ganja Train” (2016) and “This Feeling” (2017), roots reggae vocalist Mortimer is back with his latest track produced by Winta James (producer of Protoje and many successful riddims). 

"Careful" is a brooding, dubby track with cautionary lyrics that recall Jamaica's deep roots traditions (Johnny Clarke, Cultural Roots, Viceroys, Wailing Souls etc.).  Check the video below and album soon come!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Chronixx's Tiny Desk Concert Showcase's His Music's Maturity

Watch young roots sensation Chronixx and his band, Zinc Fence Redemption light it up at the offices of National Public Radio with this Tiny Desk Concert -- a live set in the office of NPR Music.

Set List:
"Skankin' Sweet"
"Spanish Town Rockin'"

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Roots from All Nations

Roots reggae music continues to thrive and evolve from all different corners of the planet.

From Jamaica, Chronixx (pictured left) embarks on a major tour, supported by his comrades in the reggae revival movement,  Jah 9, Jesse Royal, Kelissa, Mr. Williamz and Exco Levi. The Chronology Tour touches down across the entire United States from March through April.

From France comes Conquering Sound (via Irie Ites distribution) latest riddim set -- a tribute to the late Yabby You, and this one does the "Jesus Dread" justice with a stellar troupe of artists and a modern take on the "Deliver Me From My Enemies" track that Yabby originally recorded.

Hear the My Enemies Riddim - Megamix below.
Tracklist :
1 - SPECTACULAR – Jah Rise 0.00
2 - LION D – Deh Yah 1.03
3 - DJANTA – Steppin’in 1.50
4 - LMK – Some A Dem 2.46
5 - LUTAN FYAH – Modern Day Traitors 3.36
6 - SIR JEAN – Together We Stronger 4.30

British band Gentleman's Dub Club have a packed touring schedule ahead in 2017 following their breakthrough album The Big Smoke. Now signed to US label Easy Star, GDC will release Dubtopia on April 7. The Leeds band is made up of many well-rounded musicians specializing in every step of the composition process ensuring every detail of the band’s vision is seen through from the rehearsal room down to the mixing board. Gentleman’s Dub Club is a nine-member group including Jonathan Scratchley (vocals), Tommy Evans (drums), Luke Allwood (Keys), Nick Tyson (guitar), Toby Davies (bass, synth), Niall Lavelle (percussion), Matt Roberts (trumpet), Kieren Gallagher (sax), and Harry Devenish (sound). Listen below and grab the free download from SoundCloud.

Jamaica and Slovakia link up via the Jah Ova Evil collective's new track and forthcoming album, "Forever Judah," which features up-and-coming female singjay Hempress Sativa.

Jamaica's Jah Ova Evil was originally the artist name of it's founding member  J.O.E a.k.a. Alty George Nunes, and has now evolved into a collective united around strong and committed human values; their conscious music delivers messages of love, equality and solidarity. They aspire to a world where poverty no longer exists and where everyone lives in harmony with their environment.

Jah Ova Evil is comprised of the Nunes family, including twins The Gideon (Aijah Nunes) and Selah (Jahnoi Nunes).

This collective is well known very involved in the cultural life of Kingston and organizes weekly events during which young and old artists gather and share in reggae music collaborations.

Jah Ova Evil collective's music has contributed to the birth of the reggae revival trend as well as the merging with jazz, soul, hip-hop and electronic music.

This album is produced by Batelier Records, a young reggae music label based in Slovakia who were drawn to work with Jah Ova Evil collective because of their common values: "We believe in the potential of these artists who work together in order to influence our world!", "Our main effort is to support artists and producers who are struggling to bring those vibes to the people" said Renaud Devaliere, Founder of Batelier Records.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Jah9's New Video for "Humble Mi"

Rising roots empress and devoted yoga practicioner Jah9's new video for "Humble Mi" (directed by Ras Kassa) is out now. Her sophomore album 9 does not disappoint; its thoroughly steeped in conscious messages, organic and retro-roots flavored riddims and 9's searing, beautiful vocals. Her style is poetic, elegant and educating. See and hear more below.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Protoje Goes Royalty Free

Modern roots artist Protoje continues to push things forward with innovative lyrics and crisp production that draws on both one-drop reggae traditions and everything from contemporary R&B to electronic music. Enjoy this sample-heavy set of free downloads from one of reggae's progressive pioneers.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bunny Wailer: Still A Blackheart Man - From NPR

Bunny Wailer: Still A Blackheart Man, story on NPR.

Born Neville Livingston, Bunny is the last living original member of the legendary reggae group The Wailers, which he founded along with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley in the early 1960s.

From his signature composition "Rastaman Chant" to other Wailers classics, and a few new songs as well, Bunny Wailer delivered a powerful trip down memory lane that night, and showed that he's still very much in the reggae game. So what made him tour after all these years?

"Well, the time was calling, you know," he says. "It's a long time I haven't been out, and the fans are calling. The promoters are calling. So what do I do?"

That night in New York, he said he was enjoying the tour so far, despite a few hiccups: "I got little flu. You know you come out sometimes and the weather changes, but I'm getting over that."

This was his first U.S. tour in more than 20 years, though he did have to cancel the last few shows due to illness. The tour was billed as a 40th anniversary celebration of Blackheart Man, his first solo album, released just after he and Peter Tosh left the Wailers.

"Well, the blackheart man is something that is related to our culture, custom and practice," he explains. "There was a kind of nickname that was given to the Rastaman: the blackheart man. Parents used to tell us, 'You be careful where you go. Watch out for the blackheart man.' So we grew up with the blackheart man being that kind of a challenge. Where we are concerned, we still maintain the order of the blackheart man."

As a kid, Bunny was clearly unimpressed by warnings to stay away from Rastas.

"I've been a blackheart man since four years of age," he says. "I used to play in the gullies, and one day we were there playing, and we just saw a foot come out of a manhole — just a foot. And every man, every youth, run from the scene. And when he came out, he had a flour bag shirt. ... He looked at me and said, 'So why you don't run?' I said, 'For what?' And I became a Rastaman from that day. From then on until now, my dreadlocks touch the ground when I stand."

Listening back to early Wailers records like Burnin' and Catch a Fire, you can't miss the vocal chemistry these guys had, with Bunny taking the high tenor voice.

"Bob, Peter and myself, we are totally responsible for the Wailers sound, and what the Wailers brought to the world, and left us a legacy," he says. "The thing about the Wailers is that we are always rehearsing. Always! Until we parted."

All these years on, Bunny Wailer has no plans to retire. In 2013, he released an album called Reincarnated Souls with 50 tracks. They were all new songs, full of rebel politics and old-time Rastafarian religion, set to classic ska, rocksteady and reggae beats.

Here the rest on NPR or below via the player.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Dennis Brown: The Prophet Rides Again On Tribute Album

Freddie McGregor, Maxi Priest, Romain Virgo, Raging Fyah, Jah9, Christopher Ellis, The Green, Katchafire and Jah Cure are just a few of the top flight artists that will put reggae's Crown Prince, Dennis Emmanuel Brown, back in the spotlight.

We Remember Dennis Brown drops June 3 on VP Records and will highlight the Jamaican singer's storied career. Although he he passed away in 1999 (age 42), Brown was a major influence on several generations of artists.

Early in his career he found success covering American R&B hits; his mid-career found him equally successful in roots and especially lovers rock idioms, and toward the end he successfully scored hits in the dancehall arena.

He worked with legendary producers, from Joe Gibbs and Niney The Observer, through Gussie Clarke and King Jammy. In many ways Brown was second only to Bob Marley in his overall impact on reggae, hence his title as it's Crown Prince.

Through rub-a-dub anthems like "Your Love Got A Hold On Me" (covered by Sanchez), or thoughtful conscious numbers like "Wolves and Leopards" (redone by Richie Spice), you get a sense of the scope of the man's work. It was immense and impactful: He rejected violence with "I Don't Want to Be No General," and created uplifting spiritual anthems ("To The Foundation") that receive heartfelt deejay spins to this day.

Few artists receive the posthumous acclaim that Brown has, and in his case, it's more than worthy and warranted.


  1. Iba Mahr, Jesse Royal, Keznamdi, Chronixx, Exco Levi, Kelissa, Jahmiel, Kabaka Pyramid & Rockaz Elements - I Need Your Love (Rasta Children)
  2. Bushman - Don't Want To Be No General
  3. The Green -  Promised Land
  4. Raging Fyah - Milk and Honey
  5. Christopher Ellis - Created By The Father
  6. Mutabaruka & Marla Brown - Words of Wisdom
  7. Chino - Melting Pot
  8. Yahsha - The Existence Of Jah
  9. Jamelody-  Halfway Up, Halfway Down
  10. Freddie McGregor - Little Village
  11. Mykal Rose - Easy Take It Easy
  12. Jah9 - Bloody City
  13. Richie Spice - Wolves and Leopards
  14. Shuga - Black Liberation
  15. VP Hit Team - To The Foundation
  16. Romain Virgo - Caress Me
  17. Marsha Ambrosius - Have You Ever
  18. No Maddz - Rocking Time 
  19. Maxi Preist - Love Me Always 
  20. Jamelody & Ikaya - Love Has Found Its Way
  21. Sanchez - Your Love Got A Hold On Me
  22. Katchafire - If I Had The World
  23. Etana - Should I
  24. Jah Cure - Ghetto Girl
  25. Christopher Martin - Baby Don't Do It
  26. Gyptian - How Can I
  27. Ikaya - For You
  28. Dalton Harris - No More Will I Roam
  29. Jah Vinci - Money in My Pocket
  30. VP Hit Team - Silhouette

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ska Supergroup Release New Single

True to their name, Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra is both a West Coast-based ensemble and combine hearty 1930s/40s big band jazz touches with lively Jamaican ska arrangements. Their new EP is available now as a limited vinyl release and digital download from Rare Breed Recordings.

WSTSO's cover of Derrick Harriott's "Monkey Ska" features Greg Lee and Alex Desert of Hepcat, while their remake of The Wailers' "Love and Affection" features LA revivalists The Expanders.

The full orchestra consists of jazz musicians who currently perform with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Luckman Jazz Orchestra, Bob Mintzer’s Big Band, and The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Get Ready to Rocksteady on Record Store Day!

Get ready to rocksteady! The soulful Jamaican music style sees its 50th anniversary celebrated with a commemorative vinyl 7" box set available on Record Store Day, April 16, 2016.

The collection on 17 North Parade Records (VP Record's archive imprint) features tracks by The Gaylads (pictured left) Hopeton Lewis, Errol Dunklrey, The Heptones, The Paragons, The Ethiopians, The Melodians and more.

The music that followed Jamaican's speedy ska craze famously arrived one very hot summer in 1966 when audiences needed a slower-tempo music to groove to. Many point to Hopeton Lewis' "Take It Easy" as the first rocksteady song, but many can stake a claim as developing soul-drenched, American R&B-influenced genre.

The 14-track, seven-disc vinyl package includes postcards, stickers and other memorabilia in addition to the sought-after tracks. The label will also issues a broader 20-song CD collection for International Reggae Day in July. The set includes versions of songs that haven't easily been available on vinyl for years.

The label describes rocksteady as a music style that "used elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), jazz, ska as well as African and Latin American drumming, [and] was a successor of ska and precursor to reggae."

Indeed, rocksteady has had an enduring legacy, spawning new bands like Hepcat, The Aggrolites and others, movies and even club nights such as San Francisco's popular Festival 68.