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Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise 2014 Makes History

Welcome-to-Jamrock-Reggae

WELCOME TO JAMROCK REGGAE CRUISE 2014

MADE HISTORY ON THE HIGH SEAS

The First Annual Sold-Out Voyage Breaks New Ground for Genre

The first annual Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise broke new ground by captivating nearly 2400 passengers with an entire week of authentic reggae experiences aboard the Norwegian Pearl ship.

WATCH: Video recap of what transpired on the 5-day voyage:

The cruise, which set sail from Miami on October 20 with stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica before its October 25 return, sold out within one month after it was announced. People came from all over the world. Even though the ship embarked from the United States, 44% of the passengers were international representing almost 50 different countries.

“There was such a unique blend of people. It meant a lot to see the music bring unity between such a diverse group of people,” observed Damian Marley.

Filled with jaw-dropping performances from reggae’s top artists to legendary jam sessions from world-renowned DJs and sound systems, Jamaican music was celebrated on every spectrum. From themed movie theater selections (Dancehall Queen, The Harder They Come and Third World Cop), to pick-up soccer (football) games, to poolside jerk chicken, the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise also made sure to give passengers a slice of the island’s culture every day.

“Nothing like this has ever been done on this scale in the reggae genre. Never before, have you been able to see legends of this level touch the stage for five straight days in such a contained intimate setting. One minute you are eating breakfast next to Sean Paul, then watching a soccer game with Christopher Ellis and Wayne Marshall. Later in the night, you are witnessing a 2-hour set from Bounty Killer, then an historical session with King Jammy’s, Shinehead and Damian Marley at 4 am. This is the only place to create these type of vibes, period,” states cruiser Maya Mitte.

On the main stage, Damian, Julian and Stephen represented the Marley family, as well as their label Ghetto Youths International, with solo performances from the entire crew including Jo Mersa, Wayne Marshall, Christopher Ellis and Black-Am-I. There were more live sets from legendary bands like the Wailing Souls and Morgan Heritage, multi-platinum pop stars like Shaggy and Sean Paul, roots reggae singers like Etana, Jah Cure and Tarrus Riley and dancehall’s biggest names like Busy Signal, Bounty Killer and Cham. On the last night, not even the rain could stop the vibes. Stephen “Ragga” Marley continued his set inside the Atrium and brought out all the artists still on the ship for a 3-hour freestyle session, arguably one of the most epic performances in the history of reggae.

Whether patrons wanted to hear dub, ’90s dancehall, roots or today’s hits, there was something for everyone from sunrise to sunset at the various clubs and stages on board and even on-land in Jamaica. Hailing from across the globe: London’s David Rodigan, Japan’s Mighty Crown, Los Angeles’ Dub Club, and Jamaica’s own Stone Love, Renaissance and King Jammy’s were some of the renowned sound systems and DJs that took over the decks throughout the night. Those who stayed up after midnight witnessed rare jam sessions with surprise performances from some of the artists on deck.

COMMENTARY: Cubans love Music; Is ‘real’ Reggae Music finally seeing some light in the largest Caribbean Island?


Photo/Caridad

Views expressed are solely the opinion of the writer, and when of others is clearly quoted, and not (unless specifically stated as such) that of www.nataliemonique.com.

by Natalie Monique

The Republic of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean (over 11 million inhabitants), having gained formal Independence from the United States in 1902. Cuba has always been known for its rigid Communist regime under Leader Fidel Castro, causing a huge lack of Freedom for its citizens. After Raul Castro became President in 2008, he promised that there would be more freedom in Cuba, of which there has been progressive changes. Though slow in movement, one can say there seems to be a ray of hope. There are still major restrictions for example, Computer ownership/Internet use and Travelling to name a few, and there is still a high rate of Illegal Emigration. However, the island does boast a highly rich Culture (understandable being a highly multi-ethnic region), offers the best worldwide healthcare, a 99.8% literacy rate and a lower infant death rate than most developed countries, but many of the benefits are not equally distributed.

A huge part of Cuban Culture is Music, right now various types of Music though not definitively known as Genres are enjoyed more in the island. Besides Cuban produced Music, local Cuban musicians also tend to adapt worldwide Popular Cultures such as Hip Hop, Reggae, Reggaeton and Rap, while still maintaining their own vibe through content and lyrics representing current Social and Political issues.

Approaching the 1990’s, Cubans began listening to Reggaeton, a ‘form’ of Reggae Music (blending Reggae, Electronic and Latin beats) which many original Reggae Lovers feel can never come remotely close to the authentic and meaningful Genre. Reggaeton is mostly popular in the Latin American Culture and spreading to other regions especially where Latin American communities exist, I would be lying if I say it doesnt get me moving. There is nothing more satisfying and relaxing even somewhat holistic, than some real, unadulterated Reggae Music seeping through your body. However, I think its great when persons try to emulate this beautiful Genre, I’m all for diversifying, creating an eclectic blend, mixing cultures, as long as the original is still maintained and respected…I do agree however, we can never say it is actual Reggae Music:)


Holding Cuban and Jamaican Flags – Photo/Caridad

Some Cubans have actually criticised Reggaeton as being ‘too explicit’ and sexual, and publicly yearned for Reggae, and original Reggae lovers there have made efforts to push the actual genre, however limited by Resources and support. When say Reggae, I am not referring to Cuban Reggae, which is a mix of Hip Hop, African Beats and Reggae, but the original ‘Jamaican born’ Reggae. In Cuba, Reggae is largely associated with the Rastafarian culture, as is in many other societies, hence Reggae is represented and promoted by the small cross section of Rastas in Cuba. Reggae? We all instantly think of the Jamaican King of Reggae, Bob Marley who was a convicted Rastafarian, spreading Reggae Music worldwide, touching the lives of persons from various races, cultures, age and class.

Most of the Rastas and Reggae Musicians reside in in the Eastern part of Cuba, where it is believed mostly Jamaicans live, and a huge Caribbean influence exist. However, Cuba does not permit the ‘public’ Rastafarian practice, namely smoking Cannibis, which is considered a main part of the faith. There has been controversy as Reggaeton is more popular (not without criticism though) than Reggae, the original genre from where it was even created. There are a few Reggae bands/artistes in Cuba, main ones such as Remanente and Paso Firme, and others on the rise still trying to keep the genre alive.

I recently bumped into an article in the Havana Times, where the author Dmitiri Prieto said he met with Raudel, a local Musician who pleaded for ‘the advance of pacifistic non-conformist spirituality in support of reggae and against reggaeton, which he said represented the corruption and perversion of the music that gave it its birth.’ He also highlighted the fact that Rastas are unable to freely practice their belief due to Law enforcement.

Check out this Documentary trailer, directed by Susanne Moss ‘Ras Cuba’:

He mentioned that the Mass Media has also been airing more Reggae promotions and even Bob Marley which is a good sign for the well loved Genre. To highlight progress, he also made reference to a recently published Cuban book ‘La Cultura Rastafari en Cuba’ (Rastafarian Culture in Cuba) by Cuban Researcher/Author Samuel Fure Davis. I also came across another interesting online narrative by Fure wrote back in 2005, ‘Lyrical Subversion in Cuban Reggae’ and and his in-depth ‘Reggae in Cuba’, a presentation at the University of the West Indies, UWI, Jamaica. Prieto also mentioned an upcoming conference on ‘African-based’ beliefs of which he says will include the Rastafarian Faith, for the first time.

Reggae means different things to different person, to Cubans it is synonymous with Rastafari. I am not a Rasta nor smoke Marijuana, (not every Islander smokes meds by the way), but those who know me well, KNOW I deeply enjoy the natural mystic/outdoor vibe, nourishing and healing the body with herbs, seeking knowledge, eating organic and healthy AND I am an avid fan of my Island’s Reggae and Dancehall Music! Despite what Reggae means to you, we here at nataliemonique.com are determined to keep this island gem of a genre alive and taking the authentic Caribbean culture to the World:)

We love the move, the word is getting out…Free Up Reggae maan! Its not ‘just’ Music, it is a euphoric experience! We may like Music, but everybody needs a little Reggae!:) Who better to explain what Reggae is all about than the King of Reggae himself: (Watch Videos below) Feel free to comment/share your thoughts:)

New Music (Listen): Reggae-Soul singer Etana releases sultry ‘Trigger’

Etana

Jamaican singer Etana recently released her latest single, ‘Trigger’.

The single explores a tale of survival, and the songstress herself describes it best: “I think it’s different to view things from the perspective of the man holding the gun. This song doesn’t say he actually pulled the trigger, but he’s thinking. That’s what he has to do, due to circumstances. It’s metaphoric, a deep song that is real to some.”

Etana says she got the inspiration from, “someone I met long ago who had a similar story, but never picked up the gun. Instead, he chose the books. However, some aren’t so fortunate to even find assistance to continue their education.”

The lyrics were penned by Shauna ‘Etana’ McKenzie Morris and Sherieta Lewis and produced by C-Sharp Keyboard Player, Dwain “Wiya” Campbell on the Barbwiya and Etana’s Freemind Music labels.

Of working with Wiya, Etana says, “He’s just super talented. First he had to love it! Then he came up with the intricacies of producing a “love” track. Selecting the right musicians etc. I enjoyed working with him.”

Etana is also set to release her brand, new video ‘Thy Will Be Done’ on VEVO on March 8th, featuring grandson of Bob Marley, JoMersa Marley.

‘Trigger’ is available on iTunes and Amazon and other digital music stores.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO REGGAE LEGEND BOB MARLEY!!!

Today we remember an icon who has left his mark on the entire universe through soulful Reggae music.

Robert Nesta Marley ‘Bob Marley’ (Feb. 6, 1945- May 11, 1981) gone but never forgotten…

Two other late Reggae legends Dennis Brown and Bunny Rugs, lead singer of International Reggae group also shared this birthdate. R.I.P to all

Reggae music..ONE LOVE!! “None but ourselves can free our minds” – Marley

Watch a very insightful interview also posted below Music videos:

Video: No Bars Hold! Jamaica’s Bobsleigh team makes first Olympics since 2002

JA Bobsledteam

After first gaining recognition on ice on entering their first ever Winter Olympics, Calgary in 1988, Jamaica is once again proving there is no stopping for the little island on the map! Taking the Caribbean to the world

From previous legends and onwards, including but by far not limited to the great Bob Marley, Usain Bolt, Tessanne Chin to name a few…the 2 man tropical Bobsledding team, Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon are ready to melt the ice in Russia, at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

For those not familiar with the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ which gave an account of the controversial Bobsleigh team coming out of Jamaica, see video below (includes snippets). Jamaica is ready again…the previous team may not have won but certainly had the world talking in awe of their brave achievement.

…Jamaica’s Bobsleigh team Coach Tom Samuel is certain the islanders can do it, efforts are currently underway and with the well needed funding, the team is ready to prove their worth on ice…check out video below:

PS. Follow link to official crowdfund page to help contribute to Team Jamaica’s Bobsled team https://www.crowdtilt.com/campaigns/help-the-jamaican-bobsled-team-get-to-sochi?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Tweet&utm_campaign=JamaicanBobsledToSochi

Video: Actor and Producer Will Smith give major reference to Bob Marley in ‘I Am Legend’ film

IAmLegendWillSmith

Award winning actor/Producer Will Smith brought showed his respect and admiration for Bob Marley in his 2008 flick, ‘I Am Legend’.

Throughout most of the film, several positive Marley tunes could be heard on the movie’s soundtrack, and notably the popular ‘Three Little Birds’ was evident in a major scene.

Smith’s character even presents the Bob Marley album collection, ‘Legend’, saying it was the best album ever made.

Smith’s character was Robert Neville, a military scientist who believes he is the last man left on earth after an outbreak of a deadly virus. The film tells of his personal struggle to survive with his dog by his side.

In the end, Neville is saved from the mutants by a woman and baby, now discovering he wasnt alone. Neville tells the womna, Anna of his daughter who had died, who he named, Marley.

The plot of the film is aligned with the struggles that the King of Reggae himself experienced, in his desire and attempts at spreading positivity through Music to the world.

Check out an in-depth Marley inspired clip (below), as Will Smith’s character narrates:

“Bob Marley had this idea…kind of a virologist idea…he believed that you can cure racism and hate; literally cure it, by injecting music and love into people’s lives. When he was scheduled to perform at a peace rally, a gun man came to his house and shot him down. Two days later he walked on stage and sang..”

ALSO: Will and Jada Pinkett Smith spend Thanksgiving Day 2014 with friends and family in Jamaica