Tag Archives: shaggy

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! Dancehall artiste Konshens switches up things with new Soca tune ‘Ole Digger’

Love this! Konshens teams up with J. Capri in vibesy Soca song, ‘Ole Digger’

” I want you to dig so deep, that the building stand tall forever…” lol @ Pervert in the end, haha

‘Ole digga, ole digger… Carnival turn uppp!!;-)

Check it out:

Sean Paul’s new album ‘Full Frequency’ debuts #1 on Billboard Reggae Album Chart

SeanPaulFullFrequency

On Tuesday, February 18th, Jamaican pop/dancehall superstar Sean Paul released his sixth studio album Full Frequency on Atlantic/VP Records. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae charts and is anchored by the lead singles “Want Dem All” Ft. Konshens and “Riot” ft. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, which is currently the #1 song in Jamaica.

The project also debuted as the #1 album in Japan while charting high in multiple territories. In anticipation of the release, Sean embarked on a US promo tour including a performance on ARSENIO.

Full Frequency also includes “Entertainment 2.0” ft. Nicki Minaj, 2Chainz & Juicy J and the Benny Blanco and Cataracs produced “Other Side of Love.”

Full Frequency is the next step in Sean’s continual pop dominance and joins a wave of classic albums that includes the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning classic Dutty Rock and the platinum smash The Trinity, alongside Stage One, Imperial Blaze and Tomahawk Technique. With an undeniable track record for crafting hit singles as a solo artist, including cuts like “Get Busy,” “Gimme The Light,” “Like Glue,” “We Be Burnin'” and “Temperature,” as well as a history of taking other artists’ songs to the next level through tracks like Beyonce’s “Baby Boy,” Jay Sean’s “Do You Remember” and Eve’s “Give It To You,” Sean Paul has established himself as one of the seminal pop voices of his generation. These successes have earned him a plethora of awards including the 2006 American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist.
(Media Release)

Soca King Machel to make Carnival 2014 even sweeter with Soular Gourmet Chocolate

Machel chocolate

Machel Montano has long been known for his love of collaboration. From his early releases with David Rudder and Shaggy to his upcoming song with Boyz 2 Men, he enjoys tapping into established talent and seeing what results. This time however, the collaboration comes with a twist. A sweet one. Instead of bringing a musician into his world, he brings a local, artisan Natural Foods company. On Monday February 24th, at the Machel Monday concert, a Limited Edition dark chocolate bar – made by Soular from the highest quality Trinitario cocoa beans – will be made available.

Who are these two players? The globally feted Machel is celebrated for vibrant perfomances and innovative concerts that, while diverse, are no doubt focused on predominantly younger hip crowds. On the other hand Soular, operating quietly out of the hills of Maracas Valley, has been concentrating on a small audience of discerning customers through the local gourmet and health food sector.

What then brings these two unlikely parties together? Michael Parris, one of the company’s co-owners believes it’s because “it’s a collision of two of Trinidad’s greatest offerings to the world – our chocolate, our music. Machel’s theme this year is Happiness. And chocolate, unknown to many, is a natural antidepressant. ”

Even after Carnival Tuesday is long gone Soular will continue to offer its products – goods such as sun dried bananas and cocoa nibs – through Machel’s M Store in the airport and other select local outlets. But this project, the chocolate bar with Machel’s image emblazoned on the front, is a Limited Edition for Carnival 2014. And when it’s gone it will be gone…
(Press Release)