This past weekend was witness to a special event. The Green, who is currently on tour with Rebelution, made a one night only appearance at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn to perform an all acoustic show. For anyone who has not been, the Knitting Factory is worth checking out. It is one of the smaller venues, which give it a beautifully intimate atmosphere and makes it perfect for a show like this.
The opening act, Shoreline, took the stage as the crowd started to gather. A new band, their set was a mix of reggae covers and original tracks. With three stools and three musicians, I was glad that they kept with the acoustic theme of the night. They kept the crowd going with a few tracks from Sublime and Shaggy and played an amazing reggae version of a Snoop Dog track. Not Snoop Lion, but some old school hip-hop Snoop in a new reggae version. Mixing in some of their original songs as well, this band is just starting off, but put on a great set for the crowd. I look forward to seeing them again when they can do a full set of original content.
This past weekend VP Records hosted ‘A Taste of Jerk” the kick-off party for the upcoming Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in New York. For those who don’t know the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is the largest Caribbean food festival in the USA. This year will be the 6th year and the lineup of food and performances is amazing.
The kick off party, hosted at the VP Records retail store in Jamaica, Queens gave the people a small taste both literally and figuratively of what they could expect from the full festival. VP brought in some of the best vendors to offer food for the crowd and celebrity Chef Brandon Walker was on hand to meet with fans and taste some of this year’s contenders.
After the food was eaten it was time for the music. VP’s regular DJs were on had and spinning along with a live feed from Irie Jam Radio. In regular VP fashion the music was amazing and the celebrity guests began dropping in immediately. The first person on the scene was Romain Virgo who had come straight from the airport. Romain Virgo was playing later that night at BB Kings in NYC and gave the fans a little taste with a few minutes on the mic.
This past week Monday, we sat down with Khadan aka Young Souljah and his brother, Koolage Da Lyricist. We talked about music, their label and the coming mixtapes. Make sure you check out the full interview to hear their tracks and when their mixtapes are dropping.
RN: Reggae In NYC
KH: Khadan aka Young Souljah
KO: Koolage Da Lyricist
RN: The single “Love Letta” is out now, how has the feedback to that been?
KH: I can't complain about the feedback, a lot of people like it. They could also relate to it, mostly girls, but even guys like the song. If it sound good to guys and girls, that’s a good thing. That’s even a plus for me, because I did it for both genders.
RN: How did that song come about? Did you have your heart broken?
KH: No, it had nothing to do with my heart being broken. I was just reminiscing about a girl, and then I thought about some words just like this “write you a love letta.” So when I found the beat, it sounded smooth to the beat. So I continued writing the song, finished it in one day. The next week I went to studio, then I started promoting it.
This Saturday, June 18th, The Green will be playing a special acoustic show at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. This is a special event and we were lucky enough to connect with JP Kennedy from The Green before the show to talk about their music, the show and the upcoming album.
RN: Reggae In NYC
GR: The Green
RN: Reggae In NYC was able to see you last week in Westbury, Long Island with Rebelution, Stick Figure and J. Boog in the round, tell us a little bit about that show?
GR: Westbury, that was a bunch of us that were playing a venue, that was different. I think it really showed with the energy and the performance. We all had a blast. I think if you were at that show it was definitely a special experience. That venue is crazy.
RN: What was it like as a performer to play “in the round”?
GR: It was different. We have never played anywhere like that. It was kind of nerve racking at first, we weren’t used to spinning around. But it was sick, the vibes were good, the crowd was good and I actually want to do that again soon. It was badass.
RN: Tell us about the show at Knitting Factory, it’s going to be an all acoustic set?
GR: It’s coming in doing a little acoustic set. Going to be just taking it down with our acoustic guitars. We like to do that because it allows us to showcase the vocals, the harmonies and lyrics. It’s not too crazy more mellow. It should be another Westbury type show, but on the acoustic side.
RN: Any chance we get a guest appearance at the Knitting Factory?
GR: There’s a chance, yeah, there’s a chance. You never know who is going to be in the house. There is always a chance that someone pops up and we jam together. Kanikapila, backyard jam style.
As a New Yorker, I consider the city to be Manhattan and venture out of that area to Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and other boroughs as needed to see great music. This past week I headed out to Long Island to The Theatre at Westbury. [Why you ask?] The only reason to travel anywhere, amazing reggae.
The Theatre at Westbury was hosting an incredible show with Through The Roots, Stick Figure, The Green, J.Boog and Rebelution all on one stage, in one night. For anyone who has not been there, this theatre is worth the drive. Under what looks like an industrial circus tent, the seats are staged in the round, meaning they form a 360 around the stage. The stage itself is a small platform in the center that slowly rotates as the bands perform, making every seat in the house a great seat. In addition they have some amazing food and drinks and a nice outdoor patio for anyone wanting a smoke or a little fresh air.
As we walked in, we passed Anamorphosis Art (www.anamorphosisart.com). Ania Amador and Christopher Morphis had a large canvas set up and were painting along to the music. The piece they were creating was beautiful and captured the vibe of their company which is “committed to spreading a conscious message about peace, love, liberty, and meditation through their collaborative work…”
The Outlook Festival is the largest soundsystem culture festival in Europe, bringing together the biggest names from the most vibrant and cutting edge dance scenes around. When I heard they were hosting a launch party here in NYC I had to be there so see what they had in store for the Soundsystem fans. The press leading up to the event was daunting, Brooklyn’s own Dub-Stuy collective would be hosting the party, brining out their 15,000-watt wooden sound system, The Tower of Sound.
I got off the train in Brooklyn and wandered through the closed industrial buildings, across dark streets to find myself at Paper Box. The Paper Box is an independently owned music and arts complex in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The venue was perfect for this type of event. With a main room for the headlining systems a smaller second room and a beautiful back patio. The crowd swirled through the venue, working up a sweat on the dance floor then heading out to the patio to cool off or have a quick smoke.
The venue was packed when I arrived and more people continued to stream in throughout the night. The main room started by treating fans to great reggae from local soundsystems including Scratch Famous of Deadly Dragon Sound and Dub-Stuy’s resident DJs. For those who have never experienced a soundsystem event, loud does not accurately describe it. 15,000 watts makes the music a physical experience. Something you can both hear and feel as the beat hits you in the chest.
Written By: Anil Batra
The Irie Jam Media Family pulled out all the stops this year at the 2016 staging of the Oracabessa Festival held this past Sunday in Roy Wilkins Park. Everyone was left talking about Super Cat’s forced encore performance of Don Dada – even the closing act Vershon was left in awe.
There were many amazing sights to take in at this year’s Oracabessa Festival. To most the festival kicked off with the Oliver Samuel’s production of a wonderful stage play entitled Border Patrol starring and directed by Andrea “Delcita” Wright, which left the crowd in stitches.
The idea of a Jamaican stage play being performed on a concert stage lacks the authenticity and for many the concept went way over the concert-goers heads. It seemed there was also audio glitches that accompanied the mere lack luster performance. The play should have been performed in an indoor venue, enough said.
After the play we witnessed a few gospel acts from local churches in the community. They most memorable one I recall is Pastor Son. He had ventured off of the stage and managed to get back on, but it took him a while to go through the whole crowd at the front of the stage. Imagine gospel meets dancehall to sum things up about his performance. It’s kind of a fun sense without even having to go to church. After all this is on Sunday. It seemed to work out well.
After debuting at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart, The Movement will be making their way through NYC on tour for their new album Golden next month. They are playing a Rocks Off Concert Cruise, which if you haven’t been is an amazing way to see the city and hear great music. In preparation for their visit we sat down with lead singer, Josh Swain and talked about the new album, song writing and the future of independent music.
RN: Reggae In NYC
MOV: The Movement
RN: In 2014 you released Beneath The Palms, a surprise acoustic album as a free gift to your fans. Tell me about that, why a free album?
MOV: We were having a little lull in the stuff that we had released and we had gone and done these Sugar Shack Sessions in Florida. It’s just like this cool little studio, really low key and they have this outside area where they set up cameras and some mics and stuff. We did like four songs out there. Just one take vibe kind of things. We got some good feedback on that and were like, these acoustic recordings of our songs are actually going kind of well, they are not that bad, and we ended up going back out to Compound Studios, which is our base out there in San Diego and doing a couple hours and recorded maybe eight or nine more songs. Just one take, like that, and ended up putting it together. It was super cheap for us, relatively free and we didn’t make any actual physical copies or anything like that. It was a really easy way to put a digital record together and we got some artwork made for it. We said we don’t really want to charge for this, there is no reason. Let’s just put it out there and see if the fans like it. It was kind of a little low key, not really produced, acoustic record and I think all-in-all turned out pretty decent. The fans really appreciated that.
RN: How did you come up with the sticker project, to make a giant print out of your upcoming album and then divide that amongst the fans?
MOV: That was a promo for our latest record Golden. We just brainstormed on what a good and different way was to promote the record and to make the fans feel a little more involved. We basically blew up the (cover) artwork into a giant print. Then we numbered each little one. I think there were 800-900 pieces per print, we did two prints. We cut them all up, our management team did a great job they did it all in-house at our managers house.
I didn’t think it was that great of an idea at first. Like who really cares? The idea was as you had a certain number you could go to our site and plug it in as a puzzle piece and people could start to decipher what the cover of the new record looked liked. I don’t think it got to where people were actually doing that, but I think the concept was understood and appreciated by everyone. It actually went over better than I thought and the fans really appreciated having it. It was just a different idea when it comes to releasing and made them feel like a part of it.
Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York Offers ‘A Taste of Fun
It’s that time of year again when Jerk flavors will waft in the air as Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York will come alive for the 6th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival. Mark your calendars and get your tickets early to enjoy the all-day event on Sunday, July 17, 2016. This year festival organizers are going all out to ensure that no matter who you are and where you’re from, you’ll “Get a Taste of Fun!” at the Largest Caribbean Food Festival in the USA.
Seasoned Jerk Festival patrons flock to the event every year to enjoy a wide variety of jerk delicacies, the popular Grace Jerk Cook-Off & Culinary Demonstrations, cultural presentations on the Western Union Cultural Stage, contemporary entertainment on the Main Stage while the little ones revel in the Kidz Zone. They also come for family, fun, fellowship and the cool Jerk Festival vibe they have come to know and love.
This year, the main stage will be blazing with the sounds of the internationally acclaimed Reggae Ambassadors, Third World, who will rock Roy Wilkins Park with their string of popular hits and reggae classics. Dancehall sensation Dexta Daps will excite the ladies in his first major New York area appearance. Guest artist Tifa will be on hand to perform their popular hit Jealous Ova. More thrills are in store for the females when Gyptian takes the stage performing his latest hits All On Me and Jiggle Jggle. Powerhouse vocals from reggae singer Ikaya will bring lots of heat to the main stage as well. Soca stars Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons will add even more flavor to the festival’s extensive entertainment package with a live band performance. It will all be spiced with humour from comedian Pretty Boy Floyd.
Advanced tickets to the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival NY are available online at www.jerkfestivalNY.com or at selected retail outlets in the tri-state area. A number of promotional events offering an opportunity to win tickets and other prizes as well as discount offers will be staged in the weeks leading up to the festival by a number of event sponsors.
The 6th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York is presented by Jamaican Jerk Festival NY, LLC, in association with VP Records. Sponsors are Grace Foods, Western Union, Continental Bakery, Vitamalt, Power 106, Reggae King Radio, Street Hype and Tower Isle Patties.
Raging Fyah's new album Everlating is out now and the band has announced it's US Summer tour dates.
Raging Fyah, one of the fastest rising roots reggae artists from Jamaica, just released their third studio album entitled Everlasting on the Dub Rockers imprint. The five-piece Kingston collective recently toured the U.S. with Stick Figure winning over new fans with AXS stating, "Raging Fyah is now poised for a significant impact upon America's vast reggae landscape" and commenting about their live show "...the band never lost touch with the audience throughout the entire performance."
Listen to select music from the album, including title track "Everlasting," "Ready For Love," and "Live Your Life" feat. J Boog & Busy Signal.
The band is performing at the 7th annual California Roots Music & Arts Festival on Sunday, May 29 before heading out for their European tour. Then Raging Fyah will return to the U.S. in July with twenty dates throughout the east coast, midwest, and west coast with key headlining shows and a supporting slot with Jamaican roots revivalist Protoje on select dates.
Most of Raging Fyah's members met at Edna Manley College of Visual & Performing Arts in Kingston before officially forming in 2006. The band consists of Kumar Bent (lead singer), Courtland White (guitarist) Anthony Watson (drummer), Demar Gayle (keyboardist) and Delroy "Pele" Hamilton (bassist) - carries the tradition of the island's enduring roots rock reggae spirit with an expansive vision and fresh contemporary flare.
The band's live show captures their recordings, but also brings a new energy to each performance. Kumar states, "Our sets on this tour will feature songs from Everlasting mixed with some of our classics. Every night feels special because we feed off the energy from the crowd to create unique elements for each show."