Wednesday, June 10, 2015

SoNia Ready To Shine

US based Reggae singer SoNia is ready to take her place in the spotlight.
The talented vocalist who has a degree in medical technology, began her professional music career as a member of Byron Lee & The Dragonaires in the early 1980s. She performed with the band for a little over a year before migrating to live in the United States in 1984.

“I’ve been singing since I was three years old, while growing up I was a member of my church choir and I was also as the lead singer of a group called SMC when I was a student at the St. Elizabeth Technical High School. My professional career began in the 1980s, when I was recruited to become a member of Byron Lee & The Dragonaires. This was an awesome experience.”
After leaving the band SoNia moved to live in the US, but she did not leave her singing career behind. Over the years she has performed at weddings and other special events.

“When I moved to America I continued singing, but after a while I kind of slowed down a bit in order to raise my children. When you get married and you have a family things change in a very big way so I had to pause a little, but I still continued to perform at weddings and selected venues,” said SoNia.
After reconnecting with her longtime friend and schoolmate singer/musician Ed Robinson through Facebook last year SoNia decided to resume her music career full time.

“I’ve known Ed for a very long time, we have been good friends from our high school days. He has played a very instrumental role in helping to revive my singing career.”
SoNia is currently promoting a single titled I Am Not Your Helper. The single was released on the Kapras label which owned by Kenneth Llewellyn and is distributed by VP Records.
I Am Not Your Helper is available on iTunes and all other major internet music stores.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Earlier this week John Varvatos revealed he was turning from rock-‘n’-roll inspiration to reggae for his Spring/Summer 2015 ad campaign. The latest campaign features Stephen and Ziggy Marley, who appear in black-and-white family portrait style images that were shot in Austin, Texas by Danny Clinch, and replace last year’s spotlight on Ringo Starr. We’ve decided to use this as an opportunity to revisit an archival interview with Bob Marley, father of the brand’s new faces—Jamaican Patois and all. This year would have marked Marley’s 70th birthday, another good excuse.

Bob Marley: So Much Things to Say
By Glenn O’Brien

Bob Marley, one of the original members of the group, The Wailers, founded the group 13 years ago along with Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston in Kingston, Jamaica. They made over 200 singles and dozens of albums, which makes them the biggest reggae act of all time. In 1975, Bunny and Peter went their separate ways, but Bob Marley and The Wailers went on to release five albums, the latest being Kaya (on Island Records).
GLENN O’BRIEN: What is the first song you ever wrote?

BOB MARLEY: The first song I write, I don’t record it. It’s called “Fantasy.”

O’BRIEN: Is it a love fantasy?

MARLEY: Yeah. [Marley sings] “Hey little girl with those fancy curls, you know you better treat me right…”

O’BRIEN: Your new album Kaya is really a love album.

MARLEY: If “Turn Your Lights Down Low” was on this album it would really be a love album. But it just turned out this way. This album was recorded at the same time as Exodus. We did almost 20 songs. Some of ‘em were songs we always did.

O’BRIEN: Why didn’t you put out “Punky Reggae Party” here?

MARLEY: The record company fight against us. Ya know them don’t like the punk. Them don’t wanna go to a punky reggae party. But we’re gonna find them guilty. Now the people’s piratin’ it. The tune’s a hit tune in England. Why don’t they release it here with “Jamming”?

O’BRIEN: Did you ever see any of the bands play that you mention in the song?

MARLEY: No. Ya see, the man who invent the song is Lee Perry, but me execute it. He did “Police and Thieves in the Street.” And that Clash did that. So him do that, “Punky Reggae Party.”

O’BRIEN: Have you heard any bands besides the Clash?

MARLEY: Yeah, but I don’t know their names. I think I hear the Pistols—the Queen thing. “God Save the Queen.”

O’BRIEN: Did you ever meet Johnny?

MARLEY: Rotten?

O’BRIEN: Yeah.

MARLEY: Him say he no like me. He said that in Jamaica. He say, “I no ‘specially dig Bob Marley.” Him say that at the wrong time. Johnny Rotten is a fool. Him can no dig the king. Ras clot! You say him name, Johnnny Rotten, that mean you don’t expect him to that thing like Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest.” Everything him deal with rotten-like. “I don’t like blah, blah, blah.” Him have to fight this fight diplomatically in England.

O’BRIEN: Do you believe in astrology, Bob?

MARLEY: No Rasta! I believe in the 12 tribes of Israel, which them change and call astrology. Astrology is up there. And then say God is up there. Seen? But where them get astrology from, and the ideas of astrology is from the 12 tribes of Israel, which every man have by tendency. Not by Roman god, but by the sons of Jacob. So man find him root. Cause plenty people say I’m Aquarius—a Roman god—but you check Jacob’s 12 sons and you find the tendencies. Which month ya born?

O’BRIEN: March.

MARLEY: So ya’s a Benjamin. You come from the tribe of Benjamin. Ya rule te feet. There’s 12 parts, one for each tribe. You control the foot, you come from the tribe of Benjamin. Me come from the tribe of Joseph. That rules the leg. Now they would sa me is Aquarius. What them say ye is?

O’BRIEN: Pisces.

MARLEY: Them say ye is Pisces. But me is Aquarius and ye is Pisces and me want to check out now our roots, how can we check out roots of Pisces and Aquarius? You need a root, seen? But we sons of God and we check out Jacob’s 12 sons, and one of the 12, we carry what them carry. Man is a universe. The eye alone can tell you that. Blood clot! By your eye, behold all things. But your eye cannot look within ya, you know? So them say you must look out there. Them trick ya. God never make it so. Go dis within you. That means your mind control all eye. Your mind control everything. Astrology wrong in the sense of the roots, how them carry down. Maybe them purposely do it, maybe them don’t purposely do it. But the Bible is the proof.

O’BRIEN: Have the Rastas ever translate the Bible?

MARLEY: We don’t need to translate it. We just read it and understand it. “In the Beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth, and the Earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon he face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Seen? And it go on forever continually like that, till them say them crucify God, and Him say He shall return as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conqueror and Lion of Judah, Alpha and Omega, you know? One man come with these names and the name is Haile Selassie. Him is the only King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conqueror and Lion of the Tribe of Judah. True. The Bible say when Christ return, He will return in this kingly character. So we don’t need to tranlslate the Bible, cause the Bible state it. And what’s so nice about it is that the white man have to accept the truth of what is written in the Bible, because his King James said, “Yes, this Bible can go out.” Even the white man cannot that Ras Taffari is God.

O’BRIEN: What do you think about reincarnation?

MARLEY: I think when you’re doing one thing you can re-incarnate. But when you know good and evil, no incarnation, ’cause you can live forever, continually. ‘Cause God have the power to do what he want to.

O’BRIEN: You think that once you realize good and evil you don’t have to reincarnate?

MARLEY: When you know good and evil you don’t incarnate no more. If you do good you live forever, and if you do evil you must die. And when you die you return as a dog and a bus lick ya down in the street, and ya return as a frog and a car run ya over, and ya return as a fly and somebody kill ya and ya return as a bird and perch up on the electric and get shocked. If ya don’t do the right thing, but if you do the right thing you can live forever.

O’BRIEN: But what do good men come back as?

MARLEY: Good men no die. Every good man live. If him get killed him do something to get killed. In a sense, some of them is just sacrifices, but them make more experienced.

O’BRIEN: Do you think you’ve lived before?


O’BRIEN: Do you have any idea of what you were before?

MARLEY: Yeah. Joseph. As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end. In the end I am from Tribe of Joseph, and in the end I am from Tribe of Joseph. And that is why I tell ya about the 12 sons of Jacob and not astrology. Because that’s how I realized who I was in the beginning. All the amount of people on the earth is only 12 people, you know. There are only 12 different minds, 12 different tendencies. Them have their own unique ways of doing things, because God create that, but the official man like you now is Benjamin. Your tendency is Benjamin and you cannot be nothing but Benjamin, seen?

O’BRIEN: What do you think about flying saucers?

MARLEY: You ever see one?


MARLEY: Me never ever see one. America can make one. Russia can make it. China can make it. They can make one of those land some little place and some people see it, and them run, go way and say they seen this land. That’s an illusion. That’s in the spirit of madness.
“I Je-sus have sent mind angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spririt and the bride say Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophesy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book, and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophesy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Sure I come quickly. A-man. Even so, come Jah Ras Tarfari…”
That is no illusion man. This is prophecy. All of these impossible things which they say man can make. They say man go to the moon. That’s a little mechanical thing, man, a little gilder. It’s in Genesis, 49, “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the soil.” What does ravin mean?

O’BRIEN: Prowl around, I guess. Sneak around.

MARLEY: Sayest ye! That’s what you do!

O’BRIEN: Yeah, I guess Benjamin is a reporter.

MARLEY: Seen. So they take this and build astrology. They call it astrology, but it’s Ras Tafari. It’s through the laws of mankind. You can tell the tendencies from when they’re born.

O’BRIEN: So your children and my children wouldn’t necessarily be from the same tribes we are from?

MARLEY: Once we can from one tribe, you know. But now it’s just the tendencies that’s left. But from that you can check your roots and read about yourself in the Bible, and see that your father is Ras Tafari.

O’BRIEN: What happens to the tribes in Revelation? It the Apocalypse?

MARLEY: Twelve thousand gather of each tribe…and a multitude a man couldn’t count follow after. One hundred and forty-four thousand people is the full strength of God. When these 144,000 people come together with the one Rastafari, then all of the rest of the people come together.

O’BRIEN: After Revelation are we still going to have electric guitars and motocycles and Bionic Dread?

MARLEY: If ya want! But you don’t praise it this time. If ya want a bicycle you don’t give your heart for it. Seen?

O’BRIEN: Seen.


Bob Marley Archives To Be Opened

This is Bob Marley’s 70th birthday year and, to celebrate, the Marley Family Vaults and Private Collection are planning a number of new archive releases.

Up first is Easy Skanking Boston ’78, capturing Marley’s show at the city’s Music Hall from June 8, 1978. Available February 17, the album marks the first time that the Marley family has allowed access to the personal material from their private collections and vaults.

The set will be released on CD, DVD/CD combination, Blu-Ray/CD combination and via digital download. The video footage was shot with a hand-held camera by a fan that Marley allowed to sit right in front of the stage. The result is remarkable imagery that captures Marley from just a few feet away, allowing one to experience the intimacy of his set. While the cinematographer was shooting with film and forced to change rolls of tape, the gaps in the live footage have been augmented with specially created animation over the existing audio. The animation video elements were produced and created by the animation team of S77 whose credits include recent projects for Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disney, ESPN and many others. The 46-minute video includes seven of the 13 songs in the full set.

Highlights of the performance include a lively Jammin’ and The Heathen, a song Marley and the band didn’t perform during the second set. The show features them at their most comfortable, truly enjoying themselves in the spotlight, basking in the appreciation of the audience.

Track list for the CD:
Slave Driver
Burnin’ and Lootin
Them Belly Full
The Heathen
Rebel Music
I Shot the Sheriff
Easy Skanking
No Woman, No Cry
Lively Up Yourself
War/No More Trouble
Get Up Stand Up
Track list for the DVD/Blu-Ray:
Rebel Music
I Shot the Sheriff
No Woman, No Cry
Lively Up Yourself
War/No More Trouble

American Reggae Group Christafari To Tour Kenya

RENOWN American gospel reggae group, Christafari, is coming to Kenya this January.

With more than 18 albums under its name, the group will kick-start its series of concerts dubbed Kenya Missions Trip, in Nairobi on January 21-25 at the Nairobi’s Calvary Chapel. Then they will head to the International Christian Center, Kibera, Nairobi Chapel and Parklands Baptist Church. They also plan to go to Mbita, Oyugis and Home Bay until January 31.

With over 500,000 albums sold worldwide, Christafari is the top selling gospel reggae group of all-time. Over the years the group has shared billing with nearly every major reggae artiste including Bunny Wailer, Lucky Dube, Big Mountain, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Freddie McGregor, The Wailing Souls, Capleton, Israel Vibration, Culture, Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder. Some of it’s popular singles include Why You A-go Look? and Teachings of His Majesty.

The group – which was formed in 1989 by songwriter, producer and lead vocalist, Mark Mohr – has had its highlight performances at the US 1997 Presidential Inaugural Ball, 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Among their most popular albums include Reggae Worship Volume I, Soulfire, Valley of Decision, No Compromise, Dubshots, Reggae Worship: A Roots Revival and the latest Reggae Christmas.

Bam Bam Tops ITunes Charts

Bam Bam, a three decade-old single from deejay Sister Nancy, is receiving a new lease on life. It currently holds the number one spot on the iTunes Reggae Top 100 Chart.

Recorded in the mid-1980s for producer Winston Riley, the track is from the album One Two.

Bam Bam is one of two Jamaican songs on the soundtrack of the controversial movie The Interview. The Vybz Kartel-penned Pon de Floor, performed by EDM group Major Laser, is the other.

The Interview had a limited release by Sony on Christmas Day in the United States. The comedy, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, surrounds a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

The movie angered North Korea, which threatened military strikes against the United States if it was released. Sony initially postponed the release but it opened it on Christmas Day in only 331 cinemas.

Sister Nancy (given name Ophlin Russell-Myers) is the younger sister of veteran deejay Brigadier Jerry. She is a bank accountant in New Jersey and still performs in North America and Europe.

Reggae Valentine’s Showcase At New Bingley Hall

Freddie McGregor

Reggae Valentine’s Showcase will be coming to New Bingley Hall on February 14.

The event will be an alternative way to spend Valentine’s with some of the most soulful legends from the genre.
Promoter Omar Harrison says: “My partners and I have put together the cream of reggae lovers rock to deliver a sophisticated evening which will put the romance back into Valentine’s.”

Johnny Osbourne

Freddie McGregor will headline the event but you could argue that veteran reggae star Johnny Osbourne, who is also on the bill, could headline in his own right.

Support will come from Christopher Martin and Romain Virgo who have both won Jamaican talent show Digicel Rising Stars.

There will also be performances from Adele Harley and Yashema McLeod who have made waves by charting on the iTunes Reggae Chart and supporting some of the biggest names in the genre.

The event starts at 9.30pm and continues until 4am.

Jimmy Cliff, Headline The New Orleans Jazz Fest On Friday, April 24

Reggae elder statesman Jimmy Cliff kicks off the 2015 edition of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell on Friday, April 24.

Also likely closing out stages that first day with Cliff are the enduring, eclectic Wilco;  Irish singer-songwriter Hozier, whose “Take Me To Church” is up for Song of the Year at the 2015 Grammys, and the Tedeschi Trucks Band, who last visited New Orleans for a gig at the Joy Theater in the fall of 2013. The crafty New Orleans multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Payton returns to the festival in 2015, as does Henry Butler with Steven Bernstein’s Hot 9, a collaboration that made a splash at the 2014 festival.