Rebel Salute 2015, The Preservation of Reggae Music

third world rebel saluteThird Word members Cat Coore, Richard Daley and AJ Brown
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Commentary & Photos by Sista Irie, Reggae Photojournalist 
Republished courtesy of Island-Stage

The Preservation of Reggae Music is much more than a noble cause, it is a national imperative. A country so overwhelmingly rich in talent and recognized the world over for its musical heritage, would only be foolish to not nourish the cultural legacy blessed upon them. Undeniably, Jamaica can use its cultural heritage to stabilize and enhance its society. This is one nation where many need the basics of life, including the opportunity to be successful and to advance as an international leader of influence reflected through the arts and creative industries.

Rebel Salute has grown into Jamaica’s most internationally acclaimed roots reggae music festival. What began as a birthday celebration for Tony Rebel, is now a global attraction, a cultural reflection of immense talent from past and current generations and a perfect blend of ‘all that is right’ with Jamaican music. Twenty six hours across the span of two nights, sixty artists including bands, singers and individually renown musical legends captivate a massive audience from dusk to dawn, an experience when night becomes day like the twinkling of a star. The vital importance of Rebel Salute, a stage show defining musical history from rising stars to historical legacies, goes far beyond entertainment. The quickening pace of the passing of reggae’s founding fathers has made festivals such as Rebel Salute a critical form of documentation and crucial to a future generation’s knowledge of their cultural identity.

This year’s featured headliners includes two bands that have made significant contributions to the quality and influence of reggae music for over thirty years. Third World and Inner Circle played major roles establishing a level of professionalism and creative sound leading to worldwide recognition for Jamaican music. Both have experienced the hurtful loss with the passing of their key singers, Bunny Ruggs from Third World and Jacob Miller of Inner Circle. The reality is their creative spirit cannot be broken and each continues the never ending circle of musical life. AJ Brown performing as lead singer for Third World along with the collaboration of Chronixx performing a remake of Jacob Miller’s Tenement Yard with Inner Circle was nothing short of genius, captivating and energizing the hope and future of reggae music in the hearts of the fans. The future shines bright for both bands and the circle will NOT be broken. Reggae music will continue to be parented and nurtured by the extreme talent of both old and young. What goes around eventually comes around.

chronixx Rebel SaluteChronixx
Roots reggae music known for it’s spiritually injected messages spiced with social commentary has shown it’s endurance over time. Slackness and degradation imposed in various cycles of Jamaican music may occasionally capture the attention of young people who have lost faith in a viable future. However, it is weak in sustainability. The slackness era of negativity is being currently replaced by a resurgence of creativity exemplified in the works of the Rasta youth as they bring forth the fruits of the past while influencing and guiding the heartbeat of the future. The circle cannot be broken once the intellectual tenets of spiritual fullness and self pride fills the gaps of mental vacancy and delivers a consciousness of determination and political militancy.

Some say ganja is the healing of the nation. In my opinion, Rastafari, the very culture shamelessly shunned and oppressed at the highest level by those hired to protect Jamaican culture, is the real healing of the nation. The spirituality of Rastafari is the key to a better world. The belief that ‘I and I’ is a relationship between oneself and the Creator, that unity is the law of life, that understanding one’s history leads to strength and self confidence and that love is the key to living life, are principles that promote peace and justice. There can be no better prophesy for the healing of the world. Salvation is ‘alive and well’ in the heart of Rastafari, and incorporated into prophetic guidance embedded in the music.

As Bob Marley once said:

“Herb is a plant”

“Herb is so good for everything. Why these people who want to do so much good for everyone, who call themselves government and this and that, why them say you must not use the herb? You see, them say you must not use the herb because it makes you rebel…….Against what?” If ganja releases one from mental slavery, then we must defiantly reveal the truth via rebel music. As we begin to experience decriminalization and legalization of ganja on a national and international level, the full circle brings us from a criminal perspective to the recognition of sacred medicinal healing. Roots reggae music will continue to be the avenue to administer and reveal the principles of Rastafari livity”.


Reggae music is the documentary of universal love and happiness. However, this message of love may sometimes be delivered with militancy. It is the voice of the people. The intellectual overstanding of reality and truth will always make it through as society can only take so much oppression and injustice before rebelling. The people will be heard and the obvious difference between right and wrong is clearly evident in the lyrics of roots reggae music. Good over evil will continue to prevail and the circle will remain unbroken.

The hard work of Tony Rebel, Flames Productions and his crew has contributed greatly to the forward movement and recognition of reggae music. In an interview with Tony on The Conscious Party, Tony reveals the intent of the festival is to establish a family event designed to highlight the best reggae has to offer while opening up opportunity to new rising talent. Tony works diligently behind the scenes promoting the critical need for government and corporate support of Jamaica’s cultural and artistic industries.

There were many incredible performances this year at Rebel Salute. Nearly every artist demonstrated the highest level of talent, maturity and professionalism. The rising stars assure us, the circle will remain unbroken, as they are developing wings of the future. A few performances that stood out from an amazing line-up include Inner Circle with a guest appearance by ChronixxThird World with new lead singer, AJ Brown, Jah9Queen IfricaFreddy McGregorJesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid. Another reflective moment came with the release of balloons commemorating the passing of reggae greats such as Bunny Ruggs, Jacob Miller, and all who have been lost over the years. Luciano brings a sense of serene joy and love with the morning sun. Even after 12 hours running back and forth with a heavy camera, I was mesmerized by each performance and filled with the confidence that reggae is in good hands. The circle of love and music will continue to be the lifeline of the future. It will remain impenetrable.

Be sure to subscribe Island Stage Magazine which will feature more on Rebel Salute in the next issue!! www.island-stage.com/subscribe

Enjoy a selection of Rebel Salute Photos in the Gallery below. 

Images Rebel Salute 2015 © Sista Irie Photography

 
 

Photos & Highlights: 11th Annual Montreal International Reggae Festival 8/15 - 8/17

Story and Photography by Empress K (Reggae Reflection)  
PictureMaxi Priest
The 11th year of the Montreal International Reggae Festival (MIRF) officially kicked off on Friday, August 15th with Etana and Maxi Priest headlining the opening evening. I arrived as Maxi Priest was starting his set.  Maxi Priest's last performance at the Montreal Reggae festival was in 2006 so fans were eager to get their chance to see Maxi perform again.  On tour in support of his 2014 Easy to Love album release, he quickly won over the crowd performing old favorites, mixed with new favorites "Easy to Love" and "Holiday" from his new album.   Maxi in high spirits gave what some audience members referred to as an electrifying performance. Backed by his own band and accompanied on several songs by Beniton the Menace, a Jamaican American rapper, Maxi Priest steadily performed hit after hit for the enthusiastic fans.   The audience had a preview of Pinchers in advance of his appearance scheduled for Sunday when Maxi Priest called him to appear briefly as a surprise guest.  Towards the end of his set, Maxi Priest also included  a well received salute to Michael Jackson.  Overall, Maxi Priest's delivery of his unique blend of R&B and Reggae was a great conclusion to the opening night of the Montreal International Reggae Festival.



Taddy P on Bass Montreal
Taddy P on Bass
Maxi Priest Montreal
Maxi Priest
Beniton the Menace Montreal
Beniton the Menace
Sean Paul MontrealSean Paul
Day two of the event for at least as far as I can recall,  has been known as dancehall night.  This  year  MIRF again paid homage to the Soca lovers in the house with the line-up addition of Bajan Soca Queen, Alison Hinds.  Dancehall fans were entertained by up and coming Jamaican artist Kalado who kicked off the headliner portion of the day.   The afternoon sets from Kiprich and QQ kept the audience engaged as Kiprich called an audience member on stage for a "wine" contest and  both QQ and Kiprich made their way into the audience during their sets to greet fans in the general admission section.  As the evening started, DeMarco took to the stage followed by Alison Hinds, and Sean Paul backed by his own band  Badda Banz and the Badda Gyalz dancers.  Even the downpour of rain that increased in intensity during the later sets of the evening  could not contain the excitement of the crowd. Many young Sean Paul fans came early in the afternoon armed with umbrellas so they could secure a front row spot in the general admission area.   Allison Hinds had the crowd moving with her performance of Roll it Gal and Thundah.   Sean Paul's high energy set  closed out the evening as a sea of umbrellas swayed  to the infectious dancehall beats of Sean Paul's  popular songs such as I'm Still in LoveGimme the Light , and Temperature to new songs from Sean Paul's latest album Full Frequency.  

Montreal fans brave the rain to enjoy Day 2 of the Festival! 

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Day 2 -  Soca and Dancehall performances 

QQ Montreal
QQ
Alison Hinds Montreal
Alison Hinds
Demarco Montreal
Demarco
Kiprich Montreal
Kiprich
PictureMarcia Griffiths
For the final day of the festival, it was wonderful to wake up and see the sun shining! I carried an umbrella just in case, however no rain was going to interfere with my last full day in Montreal!   

The afternoon set of headliners was off to a great start when Pinchers entered the stage. Dressed in a stylish red suit and classic bad man style Fedora hat, Pinchers breezed thru his set which included fan favorite songs Enemies (Borderline), Champion Bubbler, and had the crowd singing along with his signature hit Bandolero. 

Looking regal and elegant in a flowing gown of the Jamaican colors of  yellow, green and black, Marcia Griffiths performed well known selections such as Dreamland, Feel Like Jumping and her trademark song and dance Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide). During her performance, a representative from the Consulate of Jamaica in Montreal in conjunction with Eric Blagrove, President of the MIRF presented Marcia Griffiths with a Life Time Achievement Award  for her outstanding music career spanning five decades. She proceeded to close out her set with her popular song No, No, No,  then  brought a living breath to the timeless Bob Marley classic, Redemption Song

I-Octane backed by the Ruff Kutt band  had the crowd in a frenzy as he performed crowd favorite songs including, Gyal a Gimme Bun  and Missing You Like Crazy. He also performed a substantial amount of his set off stage at the sound tent thrilling the audience in the general admission section with hits such as Love Di Vibe and was joined by Exco Levi for More than A Friend.  I-Octane continued to perform a powerful set as dusk transitioned into evening. 

Sanchez was up next  bringing his own band along.   Sanchez sang his classics such as Lonely Won't Leave me Alone, sampling a section of Pass the Kutchie and Live it Up with the audience members enthusiastically singing along.


Pinchers Montreal
Pinchers
Sanchez Montreal
Sanchez
I-Octane Montreal
I-Octane
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Ruff Kutt returned to the stage once again to accompany the evening's headliner, Luciano.  The Messenger delivered an uplifting and spiritual finale to close out the 11th Annual Montreal International Reggae Festival. Luciano certainly made it up to the fans that were disappointed that he could not be on last year's festival by performing many songs that Luciano is known for including popular hits such as Messenger and Never Give up my Pride.  

Luciano Montreal
Luciano
Montreal Reggae Festival audience
MIRF Audience on the Final Night of the Festival
Luciano Montreal


CKUT 90.3FMCKUT Staff interview Richard "Bugs" Burnett from the Montreal Gazette!
Throughout the weekend, DJs including Howard "Stretch" Carr, Pat Dillon, and Janice Dayle from Montreal's leading College Reggae radio station CKUT had a dedicated booth to stream live audio and interview artists after their performance.  A media tent also provided an opportunity to photograph and interview most of the artists. 

Alison Hinds
Alison Hinds
Pinchers
Pinchers
Montreal International Reggae Festival Entrance to MIRF
Last year the Montreal International Reggae Festival reached a milestone anniversary for its tenth year.   Keeping up with the tradition of making the festival bigger and better each year, the Montreal International Reggae Festival proved that once again as the festival has evolved into a premiere destination Reggae Festival.   As always, I am looking forward to see what's in store for next year! 


This year I have included tips on traveling to Montreal.  See our tips below in the Destination Montreal section. 

Press Play to view the  full Slide Show of Photos from The Montreal Reggae Festival

Destination Montreal! 

Old Port Montreal
Tips on traveling from the US 

How to get there

By Car -  Montreal is approximately 1 1/2 hours from  Burlington, VT, 5 1/2 hours from Boston, and 6 hours from NYC.   

From points North , head towards Burlington, VT.  I drive Route 89 from Bow, NH alll the way to the Canadian Border in Highgate Springs, VT.   Exit 21 in Swanton has a few gas stations and convenience stores. It is advisable to fill your tank there before crossing the border. 

By Bus:   Greyhound has service to Montreal. Check online for other services to Montreal. 

By Air:  International flights arrive at the Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeu International Airport which is 20 kilometers (12 miles)  from the location of the Montreal Reggae Festival in the Old Port of Montreal. 

At the Border:    If you are a US Citizen, you must have your US passport with you.  If you are a US Permanent Resident bring your green card and appropriate valid passport.  Check Canada.usembassy.gov/traveling_to_canada.html for specific info on traveling to Canada. 

Where to stay:   Montreal has countless places to stay in and outside of the city.  Familiar hotel chains are common throughout Montreal.  Staying just outside the city is less expensive than staying in downtown Montreal, although the ambiance of staying in downtown Montreal has a lot to offer. This year the "Those Travel Bugz" travel team offered packages combining hotel accommodations and  festival tickets.  Check the MIRF website for more information. montrealinternationalreggaefestival.com/travel-accommodation

What to Bring / Wear:  Check the weather forecast and be prepared for anything!  Typically the weather is quite warm in mid August, however it can be cooler  in the evening.  When rain is in the forecast make sure to have a rain poncho and umbrella on hand.  Bring lots of sunscreen, shades, a hat,  smart phone (my US AT&T service worked great - just remember to turn your mobile data off before you cross the border to a avoid international data charges), and Canadian cash for the food and merchandise vendors.  Outside of the festival grounds, there are banks and businesses in town that take debit / credit cards.  You will not be able to bring any food or drinks into the festival. There are many food and beverage vendors within the festival grounds and you will be able to come and go from the festival .  Each time you enter the festival you will have to go through the security checkpoint. 

Currency and Credit Card Transaction Fees:  Before you leave home it is best to convert some money into Canadian currency.  While many places will accept American dollars, the exchange rate is not always favorable and they will charge you extra to convert the currency.    If you need more money once you are in Canada, you can use your bank ATM card at most of the Candian banks.  Normal bank fees apply and they will automatically calculate the exchange rate and disburse funds in Canadian dollars. 

In addition to the local banks, there are many stores in downtown Montreal that specialize in currency exchange for a small fee. 

Before you leave, check with your credit card company to inquire if there is an additional surcharge to use your credit card in Canada and let them know you will be traveling.  Most companies have an extra 3 - 5% charge per transaction.  I discovered that my American Express card did not have a surcharge, however I also found out that many places only accept Master Card  or Visa. 

Language:  The official language of Montreal, Quebec is French, however in Montreal the majority of people that I have encountered speak English as well and it has never been an issue for me in the 30 + years that I have been traveling to Montreal. 

Area Activities:  There is so much to see and do in Montreal and the surrounding areas. If you can stay for a few more days it will be well worth your visit.  http://www.tourisme-montreal.org

Most of all enjoy your Montreal experience and come back again soon! 
Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 
 
 

Modern Day History at The Apollo Theater for the One Love! Bob Marley Tribute - Photos & Story

Story and Photography by Empress K (Reggae Reflection)  
PictureApollo Theater Marquis
While I was no where near NYC when Bob Marley made his historic debut at the Apollo Theater 35 years ago in October of 1979, I  realized recently I was meant to be there for this special Bob Marley Tribute. Let me digress for a moment.  It’s been somewhat of an emotional year for me. My mom passed away in July after a short illness and I arranged to have her graveside service a month later on August 27th in her home state of Maine.   It was a beautiful small celebration of her life with people representing every aspect of her 85 years including grade school classmates, high school friends and residents in her hometown.  Before returning home to the Boston area, I spent the afternoon in the Old Port section of Portland shopping with my cousin who I found out not too long ago actually attended a Bob Marley concert with 4th row center seats in Boston in 1980!  As we browsed in some of the stores,  a random sighting caught my eye.  It was a replica of an old Bob Marley poster. I looked it over and since the photo of Bob was not that clear I hesitated and put it back.  We proceeded to have lunch and shop a bit more.  As my cousin and I were about to say our goodbyes, I felt compelled to go back to the store with her and buy the Bob Marley poster, fuzzy picture and all.

Fast forward a couple months. I’ve become aware of the Apollo Theater Bob Marley Tribute in NY and immediately decide I will be there for this classic Reggae show right after Thanksgiving. I’ve always wanted to go to the Apollo Theater and this is a perfect opportunity. Thanksgiving morning comes around which is exactly three months to the day of my mom’s service and I am posting online about the upcoming show. All of a sudden, a lightbulb goes off in my head.  Where is that poster that I bought and what show was it?  I locate the poster quickly and sure enough I find that it indeed is a replica poster of a Bob Marley Apollo Theater show in 1979. The month is off, but everything else about the poster is eerily reminiscent of the current flyer design minus the fuzzy photo!   Apparently my universe knew I would be going to this show in NY before I did!

1979 Replica Bob Marley 
Apollo Theater Poster 

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2014 Bob Marley Tribute 
Apollo Theater Poster

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Reggae Ambassadors - Third World takes the stage

Third World Band at the ApolloThird World Band kicks of the evening
The show was nothing short of historic. Keeping with the schedule of the original Bob Marley debut, there were two shows on the same evening. The 8:00pm show which I attended sold out in advance and the 11:00pm sold out shortly thereafter. The Apollo Theater was everything I imagined it to be; a beautiful theater which has obviously been restored to its original glory. 

 The world renowned Reggae Ambasadors, Third World, kicked off the evening appropriately with their popular hit of the same name.  Their charismatic singer A. J. Brown taking on the new lead vocals role did not miss a beat as Third World continued  their set with other classic songs such as 96 Degrees in the Shade and Try Jah Love.  


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Cat Coore - Cello Solo 'Redemption Song'
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Cat Coore, Richard Daley, AJ Brown
Stephen “Cat” Coore performed a beautiful Cello solo rendition of Redemption Song  and they had everyone on their feet dancing when they performed their hit Now That We’ve Found Love.  Special guest Maxi Priest joined them on stage and performed two Bob Marley classics,  Jammin and Turn your Lights Down Low much to the audience’s delight. 
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Cat Coore

The Wailers celebrate with Ky-mani Marley

PictureThe Wailers
Next up was The Wailers featuring Aston "Family Man" Barrett on bass.  Barrett, an original member of The Wailers was present for the 1979 debut performance.  Dwayne Anglin provided lead vocals as the band performed a tight set of songs including  No more Trouble, Exodus, and Heathen among others.   

PictureKy-mani Marley
Ky-Mani Marley making a not so common appearance in NYC was definitely a highlight of the set performing two of his father’s songs. It was beautiful to see Ky-mani perform in front of the giant Bob Marley backdrop overlooking the stage.  Surely Ky-mani was making his father proud during his brilliant performance of  I Shot the Sheriff and Crazy Baldheads.

Surprise Guest Lauryn Hill thrills the audience 

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When the stage crew brought out a few more mics, I’m sure members of the audience were wondering who else was going to come out since all the special guests had already made their appearance. Well, the audience was in for a special surprise!  Lauryn Hill was announced and the fans excitedly rushed to the stage when Lauryn appeared with her three supporting vocalists. Lauryn looking exquisite in a long black and white ensemble with a matching wide brim black hat was spot on with her performance of Zimbabwe followed by Is this Love

One Love Finale

PictureOne Love Finale
The evening ended on a perfect note with a grand finale of everyone back on stage singing One Love.  The One Love! Tribute to Bob Marley certainly made for another historical night at the Apollo Theater.  I’m sure my mom was happy I was there to witness this modern day history.  It was meant to be! 

Tis the Season - Scenes from 125th Street in Harlem

Press Play to view all images in Slideshow below

Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 
 
 

Reggae Lovers Worldwide attend the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise 2014

Story  by Grace Vanriel  Marjorie Flash | Photography  by Empress K  (Reggae Reflection)
WTJRC PartyWTJRC Sailing Kickoff Party aboard the Norwegian Pearl
Miami, Florida…The inaugural debut of The Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise (WTJRC) set sail aboard the Norwegian Pearl on Monday October 20, 2014 filled to the brim with Reggae music lovers representing 42 countries from as far as New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Japan, South America, Europe, various Caribbean islands and of course the USA.  Setting a record as one of the fastest ticket sales of cruise ship passage the much anticipated event  that SOLD OUT in within weeks of its announcement was the brainchild of Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley who produced the event and co-hosted it with his brothers Julian ‘JuJu Royal’ Marley and Stephen ‘Ragga’ Marley.   The 5-day excursion bound for Jamaica W.I. from Miami, Florida stopped in two of the island's breathtaking destinations, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.  As we sailed the high seas, Reggae music featured prominently from morning to sunrise with very short breaks in-between; people could be found rocking and jamming, smiling and vibing at any given time of the day or night on several decks which hosted a multitude of specialty nightclub type venues.   Everyone we encountered, passengers, artists and crew members shared friendly exchanges and many new friendships were forged crowning this trip the ultimate “One Love Boat!”

(Click on image thumbnails below to display larger)
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Departing Miami
Fan from Hawaii
Fan from Hawaii
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Fans from Sweden
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Fans from the US
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Enjoying the music and vibes
Maliika and Grace enjoying a moment at the Press Conference
Colleagues Maliika and Grace enjoying a moment at the Press Conference
Black Am I, Julian and Damian Marley kicked off the first evening concert series with earth shaking performances that set the tone and pulse for performances to come. 
Black-Am-I-WTJRC
Black Am I
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Julian Marley
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Damian Marley
Shaggy-WTJRCShaggy
It was no surprise though that Wailing Souls, Tarrus Riley, and Shaggy alongside Rayvon brought their A game performances on Day 2.  Shaggy celebrated a birthday during the cruise and received a special surprise as the fabulous radio show host Diva Nikki Z of WZMX Hot97 greeted him with a birthday cake as the thunderous crowd of attendees sang happy birthday.  

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The Wailing Souls
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A packed crowd for the evening's entertainment
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Tarrus Riley
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Diva Nikki Z presents a cake in celebration of Shaggy's birthday
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Shaggy closes out his set on Day 2
PictureJah Cure
Day 3 docked in Montego Bay leaving us to explore colorful island shops, local restaurants with enough time for a visit to the pristine beaches; reboarding the ship towards evening the cruise picked up Jamaican songbird, Etana “The StrongOne,” singjay Busy Signal, dancehall deejay Bounty Killer and Reggae crooner Jah Cure whose set was simply spectacular leaving the frenzied crowd begging for more even after a generous encore.  

Busy Signal-WTJRC
Busy Signal
Etana-WTJRC
Etana
Bounty Killer-WTJRC
Bounty Killer
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Jah Cure
PictureIn Port at Ocho Rios
Day 4 docked in Ocho Rios offering yet another well organized fun filled day gathering with fantastic Reggae music at the Margaritaville Bar & Grill followed by more time for exploring the island; after returning to the ship the scheduled show gave us more blazing performances this time by dancehall artists Wayne Marshall, Cham (formerly Baby Cham) and Sean Paul. 


Wayne Marshall-WTJRC
Wayne Marshall
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Wayne Marshall
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Damian Marley joins Wayne Marshall on Stage "Go Hard"
Cham-WTJRC
Cham
Sean Paul-WTJRC
Sean Paul
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Sean Paul & Badda Banz
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Sean Paul and a Badda Gyalz dancer
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Damian Marley joins Sean Paul on Stage "Riot"
WTJRC-FreestyleAn impromptu Free Style Session for the Final Performance.
The final show on Day 5 was marred by some rain but proceeded with stellar performances by Christopher Ellis, Jo Mersa, Morgan Heritage and a brief set by Stephen Marley that brought out the huge crowd before the show was suddenly aborted from the top deck main stage and moved inside ship because of the weather.  Nonetheless, the performances and party vibes continued undaunted as every artist on board took to the stage free-styling until the wee hours of the morning. The free style nature of their performances created a great deal of excitement and was absolutely priceless!

Chris Ellis-WTJRC
Chris Ellis
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Jo Mersa
Gramps Morgan-WTJRC
Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage
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Stephen Marley
Peetah Morgan-WTJRC
Peetah Morgan of Morgan Heritage
Mighty Crown-WTJRCMighty Crown
In-between the high powered lineup of artists, music was spun each night at the various nightclubs by popular sound systems and DJ's like David Rodigan, Stone Love, Bobby Kondors and Jabba, Diva Nikki Z, Renaissance Disco, Liquid, DJ Norie, Notorious VOG & JKool, Mighty Crown, Kingston 12 Shinehead & Papaloti keeping party goers up all night.  This was a sleepless cruise because nobody wanted to miss a single moment! The hard to get next to Marley clan, participating artists and musicians could be spotted nightly at the various nightclubs mingling with the crowd and taking one-on-one pictures alongside their fans.

Jabba-ZJ Liquid-WTJRC
Jabba and ZJ Liquid
Irie Jam Radio-WTJRC
Members of the Irie Jam Radio Family
Renaissance Sound-WTJRC
Ana (ReggaeLives.com) interviews Renaissance Sound
Stone Love-Renaissance Sound-Notorious Vog-Jkool-WTJRC
Rori of Stone Love, Notorious VOG, Renaissance Sound, and Jkool
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Mighty Crown DJ
David Rodigan-WTJRC
David Rodigan
Diva Nikki Z-WTJRC
Diva Nikki Z
WTJRC
The WTJRC can rightfully be hailed an unforgettable experience as evidenced by the fact that applications with deposits for rebooking from this trip’s attendance roster reportedly ran at 95% for the year 2015 “despite” the fact that the dates nor concert lineups have not yet been determined. As reports further go, there is an active waiting list into the thousands and if those numbers are completely accurate then one thing is certain, the Marley’s will have to secure a much larger vessel in 2015 to accommodate everyone interested in booking passage.  Yeahman, the WTJRC was that good!!!

Press Play to view the WTJRC slideshow of images

Grace Vanriel is the founder & CEO of Live Reggae NYC; Co-founder & Strategic Marketing Executive for The Reggaeholics Movement; a Senior Correspondent for  ReggaeReflection.com & TheReggaeVibe.com; Contributing Writer for WhereItzAtMagazine and the Caribbean Correspondent for CitiLyfe Magazine.

Marjorie Flash is the founder & CEO of MyFlash Photography traveling the world as a photo-journalist capturing hard to get photos and providing cutting-edge entertainment coverage; she is a contributing writer and staff photographer for WhereItzAtMagazine, the official photographer for the Reggaeholics Movement, contributing photographer for ReggaeReflection.com and CitiLyfe Magazine.

Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 


Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook

 
 

Photos & Highlights: The Reggae in the Hills Experience #RITH2014 June 13 - 15

Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com
Calaveras CountyWelcome to Calaveras County
Welcome to Calaveras County  -  The sign says it all.  After  a nearly three hour drive through the scenic goldrush country route from  San Francisco to Calaveras County,  I knew that the Reggae in the Hills experience was close by.  The summer Reggae festival season kicked off a bit earlier for me than usual as I headed to the West Coast to experience the 3rd  Annual Reggae in the Hills.   Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, this young and expanding  three day camping festival at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds featured an eclectic mixture of top Caribbean Reggae, Cali Roots Rock Reggae and Hawaiian Reggae acts.   

Reggae in the Hills Line-upReggae in the Hills Line-up
Over the course of 3 days, over 24 Reggae bands were featured on one of the two live band stages.   A third stage located within the main campground area featured additional late night performances, which were hosted by Stay Positive Sound on Friday and Mystic Roots on Saturday.  Gates opened at noon on Friday allowing early guests to set up their campsite in time for the 3:00pm kickoff of live music.   

The headliners for the opening evening included the Californian Roots Reggae Band, Fortunate Youth, back by popular demand for their 3rd year in a row.    New to the line-up this year was headliner Collie Buddz from the Isle of Bermuda promoting his recent hit single "Light it Up".  Collie Buddz  started off his set with his popular song "I feel so good" , which summed up the opening night experience for the crowd at Reggae in the Hills.  He continued that  feel good vibe with a string of well known hits from his extensive song catalog including his mega hits "Come Around" and "Blind to You". 


Reggae in the Hills at the Calaveras County Campground

Calaveras County Fairgrounds Reggae in the Hills
A man made creek winds it way through perfectly shaded stage front areas
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A father and son stroll through the garden mister, a place to cool off mid-day.
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View of the Main Stage

 Fortunate Youth and Collie Buddz headline opening night. 

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Fortunate Youth
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Collie Buddz
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Collie Buddz
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Dan Kelly of Fortunate Youth
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Collie Buddz

Day 2 of Reggae in the Hills

Marlon AhserMarlon Asher " The Ganja Farmer"
Saturday was the longest day of the festival, jam packed  with live music throughout the day.  Live music  started early at 11:00am and went straight through until after midnight.  Bands performed on both the main stage and on the nearby side stage to keep band change time to a minimum. 

King Schascha a native of Trinidad and Tobago kicked off the day with a set on the main stage.  Marlon Asher also hailing from Trinidad and Tobago performed for the 2nd year in a row  spicing up the mid-afternoon with an enjoyable set including  his well known Ganja anthem "The Ganja Farmer".   

Junior Toots  another fan favorite band returned to Reggae in the Hills for his 2nd time and had a great set on the side stage.  Other  popular acts from past years were also present for the 2014 edition of Reggae in the Hills, including Hawaiian and Cali  Reggae bands such as Natty Vibes, Mystic Roots, Arden Park Roots.



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Luciano on tour with  the Cali based Jamaican Reggae band IKronik started with an opening set by IKronik.  Luciano then raised the conscious Reggae vibes to yet another level, delivering a spiritual performance for his many fans.  Fans rushed to greet Luciano after his performance where he took time to have a meet and greet for autographs and photo opportunities. 

Making their debut performance at Reggae in the Hills, the highly anticipated performance of  Tribal Seeds did not disappoint the crowd with their high energy set.  Tribal Seeds, based out of San Diego made their appearance at Reggae in the Hills prior to commencing their tour in support of their 4th album "Representing", released in May.  Best known for fusing Rock with Roots Reggae, their latest release debuted at number one on both the Billboard Reggae and iTunes Charts. 

For a late evening set, there was no better choice than to have veteran performer Junior Reid close out a stellar day of music  with the next generation of his One Blood family on hand consisting of  Andrew Blood, Wada Blood 
and Young JR  "Ju Ju Blood".  Junior Reid's set included many of his  popular songs and a preview of material from his upcoming album. The climax of his set occurred when he performed his anthem song "One Blood" with its powerful message of love and unity in both English and Spanish.  As a final part of his set, the entire One Blood Family joined on stage to end the evening on a dancehall vibe. 


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Lead Singer Steven Rene Jacobo of Tribal Seeds
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Young J.R. JuJu Reid
Jr Toots Reggae in the Hills
Junior Toots
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Luciano
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E.N. Young of Tribal Seeds
Wada Blood
Wada Blood
One Blood Family
One Blood Family
Junior Reid
Junior Reid
Junior Reid Reggae in the Hills
Junior Reid
Kava Jah Ikronik
Kava Jah of Ikronik
Prezident BrownPrezident Brown
The beautiful weather continued for day three with daytime temps in the 80s.    The mood on Sunday was that of relaxed energy as the festival was winding down.  Sunday afternoon performances by Hawaiian Reggae acts Mike Love and Natty Vibes had fans of all ages waving their  red, gold, and green Hawaiian Flags in the air.   Prezident Brown, a Jamaican artist who has a popular presence on the West Coat festival scene closed out the festival  and had the audience dancing  to his infectious beats and positive lyrics.   During one section of a song where Prezident Brown sings to  the audience  "Do You Love Me?", he received a resounding response of "yes" from the audience leaving no doubt that we will see Prezident Brown again soon.

Mike Love Reggae in the Hills
Mike Love performs an acoustic set
Prezident Brown
Prezident Brown

Reggae in the Hills
Fans enjoying Natty Vibes
Reggae in the Hills
Fans enjoying the afternoon set
Reggae in the Hills
Reggae in the Hills provided something for everyone. Plenty of live music with a wide array of food and  merchandise vendors throughout the fairgrounds.  It also featured an indoor skateboard park with a skating contest,  art displays including several live art locations near the stage, daily yoga, a disc golf tournament, and late night after parties.  All of which was offered at a very reasonable price and contained within an intimate setting that allowed attendees to interact with the musicians in a peaceful environment.

From a media and photography perspective, it was a pleasure to be an official media sponsor. I have to give props to the organizers of the festival.  A designated media building was professionally organized with a schedule of  interview & press conference times with band members .  Appropriate photography and videography credentials were given to take performance shots.  This allowed the various media houses present  to provide fans with quality Reggae in the Hills coverage.

Overall, the Reggae in the Hills team thought of everything to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone and certainly the warm hospitality of the entire team and all festival attendees made this East Coast native feel right at home in Northern California.  I'm already looking forward to plan for next year's Reggae in the Hills experience. Maybe one day soon I will also consider camping! 

Faces at Reggae in the Hills

Reggae in the Hills Logistics

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How to get there Angels Camp, CA is just a few hours drive from the airports located in San Francisco,  Oakland, and Sacramento.   I chose to fly to San Fransisco and visit some friends before commencing the 3 hour drive through the scenic rolling hills along route 4 in Goldrush country.   Make sure you have a full gas tank as there are long stretches of road along the way between towns. 


Where to stay:  Reggae in the Hills is a full camping festival with RV and Tent facilities.  The weekend pass included camping at a very affordable price especially when booking at earlybird rates (85 in advance) and 120 at the gate.   If you are like me and are not so much into camping there are several small reasonably priced hotels in Angels Camp to choose from that are only a couple miles away.  It is best to reserve early to guarantee a place to stay.   

Recommended Hotel:  The Travel Lodge just a couple miles away in downtown Angels Camp met my needs perfectly with friendly staff,  and clean and spacious rooms complete with wi-fi access and a free hot breakfast. 

What to Bring / Wear:  Expect desert weather conditions. In mid-June the highs during the day can range from the mid 80s to low 100s and it can plummet to the 50s at night.  If you are camping be sure to come prepared with all your camping gear and warm clothing for the cool desert nights.   Bring lots of sunscreen, shades, a hat,  water,  smart phone (my AT&T service worked great), and cash for the food and merchandise vendors.  There are banks and businesses in town that take credit / debit cards.  

Area Activities:  Stay for a few more days and take full  advantage of the sights of the surrounding areas and enjoy nature in Gold Country at its best.  For more info, check the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce. 


Press Play to view the full slide show of Reggae in the Hills Photos 

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook
 
 

Photos:  Faces of the 22nd Annual Cambridge Carnival September 7, 2014

Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com
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The Cambridge Carnival celebrated its 22nd year on Sunday, September 7th.  Thousands of attendees lined the 1.3 mile parade route to watch the Grand Parade in all its splendor of fabulous costume bands, dancers, and pulsating rhythms that represented numerous Caribbean Islands. 

"Cambridge Carnival is a colorful and festive celebration rooted in African traditions. The highlight of the festival is a grand costume parade and an opportunity to celebrate Cambridge’s diversity, enjoy international foods, and purchase multicultural crafts from around the world!"   -  CambridgeCarnival.org
PictureShawn Jon representing D'Midas International.

The Cambridge Carnival is the last Trinidad style carnival of the summer in the Northeast region.  Other US carnivals in the Northeast precede the Cambridge carnival;  Boston & Worcester carnivals are held in August the weekend prior to the NYC West Indian Day parade on Labor Day weekend.    Many of the MAS Bands participating in the Cambridge carnival are from Boston. D'Midas International, Socaholics, and Soca Associates to name a few also compete in several of the other area Caribbean Carnivals.

A large viewing stage for judges is stationed near Kendall Square along with an international performance stage nearby for live bands, a children’s carnival, and a large array of international food and merchandise vendors at the end of the parade route.  Something for everyone in the family to enjoy on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Faces of the Cambridge Caribbean Carnival

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Press Play to view more photos from the Cambridge Carribbean Carnival

Cambridge Carnival Parade Route & Carnival Links

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook
 
 

Photos:  Highlights of the 25th annual Boston Freedom Rally Day 2  

Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com
Boston Freedom RallyA busy walkway on the Boston Common
Blues skies and late summer sunshine welcomed the Boston Freedom Rally attendees on the 2nd day of the annual event.  Spanning two days for the second year in a row, the 25th Annual Boston Freedom Rally was held on the weekend of  September 13th.  On  Sunday, the event running from high noon until 6:00pm had two main performance areas: a main stage on the lawn of the Boston Common, and the Boston Common Gazebo utilized for the 2nd performance stage.  Both stages featured key speakers from MassCann / NORML and over 15 performers in total from all genres of music.  A  separate Reggae stage made an initial appearance on Saturday, however some issues were encountered that prevented it from occurring on Sunday as well.  The Freedom Rally also included an additional educational component.  For the first time, it included a  Hemposium tent for panelists and speakers sponsored by the Northeastern Institue of Cannabis

Sweatshop
Sweatshop performing on the Hitman Glass Main Stage
Moxa
Moxa performing on the Band Stage
Boston Freedom Rally
MC Dex Ter introduces speaker Dave Tree
Boston Freedom Rally
Live Painting by Kulturez Dyasty and view of the Gazebo Band Stage
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Lead Singer of Abstract Dub Co on the Band Stage
Hitman Glass Stage Boston Freedom Rally
Mighty Mystic performing on the Hitman Glass Main Stage
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Reggae Band Elementary before appearing on the Band Stage
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Aisling Peartree performs with her band on the Band Stage
Boston Freedom Rally
A perfect day on the Boston Common in support of the Freedom Rally

A peaceful day at the Boston Freedom Rally

Boston CommonView from Mount MaryJane on the Boston Common
Despite the introduction of a $250 fine for smoking (tobacco, cannabis or other lighted or vaporized substances) in public parks, scenes throughout the Boston Common were that of peaceful gatherings of a diverse attendance of all ages and backgrounds with few interactions observed with the patrolling police.  Blankets adorned the grassy areas in front of the stages and on the on the hill, better known to 420 enthusiasts as Mount MaryJane.   Pets were a common sighting, mostly man’s best friend; however, more unusual varieties were also spotted including a snake and a parrot.   A perfect day to hang out with everyone.

Police Boston Freedom Rally
On Patrol
Boston Freedom Rally
Enjoying the music on the Main Stage
 A wide array of vendor tents showcased an eclectic collection of  food, clothing, handmade goods, glass pipes, bongs, and  many other Cannabis lifestyle related products including a popular vendor  which had a tempting product display of blazing brownie mixes.

#BostonFreedomRally Vendors on Display

Boston Freedom Rally
A variety of food vendors line a main walkway
Boston Freedom Rally
A vendor from Detroit with his merchandise
Boston Freedom Rally
Blazin Brownies at the Boston Freedom Rally
Boston Freedom Rally
Products for the Cannabis Lifestyle

Mighty Mystic Provides a 420 Reggae Vibe

Mighty Mytic BostonMighty Mystic and the Thunder Band
Just prior to 4:20PM, a countdown on the Main Stage ensued to encourage all to light up in support of the Boston Freedom Rally.  Right on cue, Reggae artist Mighy Mystic & the Thunder Band rolled on stage to provide the ultimate Reggae Vibe for the afternoon. 

Some came for the music, some came to peruse the myriad food and vendor options, some came to support the MassCann / NORML organizations’ efforts to support regulation of Marijuana, and all came to enjoy a  spectacular day on the Boston Common with friends and family while supporting the overall 420 vibes.   


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Boston Freedom Rally Supporter displays his Medical Marijuana patient card
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Vermin Supreme and Lilith Astaroth share a moment backstage
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Enjoy some late afternoon vibes
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a 420 moment on the main stage lawn
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a 420 moment
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420 on the Hill
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Early Evening on the Boston Common
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Bikes were a frequent sighting on the common.
More about MassCann / NORML 

According to the official website for Masscann,  "The mission of The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann), the state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of the Marijuana Laws (NORML), is to build a consensus for a more moral and rational public policy regarding all uses of the cannabis plant" .

Scenes from the 25th Annual Boston Freedom Rally. Press Play to see all the photos from Day 2. 

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook
 
 

Climax to Fun at the 9th Annual Six Flags Great Adventure Caribbean Summer Concert!

Story  by Grace Vanriel  - Founder and CEO of Live Reggae NYC 
Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com
The 9th Annual Six Flags Great Adventure Caribbean Summer Concert  in New Jersey hosted by Trinifly Promotions was in full swing on Sunday, August 10, 2014 and once again the day's events and stage show with its star-studded lineup were absolutely terrific! Absolutely perfect weather added to making the day thoroughly enjoyable. 

Go BIG with Six Flags and TriniFly Promotions

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Year-in, year-out fans from all over the NY tri state area flock to the Caribbean Summer event at Six Flags that's billed as “12 hours of fun” suitable for the entire family. In the years that the ReggaeReflection.com team has covered this event we can honestly report that it's  always an exciting and rewarding experience for all in attendance; fans truly get their monies worth and then some.  If you've never been to Six Flags Amusement Park in NJ don't delay because it's well worth the trip. As the largest operator of regional theme parks in the world Six Flags produces entertainment in fourteen major markets; once on the NJ site you'll find a beautiful, highly manicured and well managed theme park nestled on 3.436 square miles in Jackson, New Jersey.  The Park features a multitude of exciting and colorful rides suitable for young children, families and adults right up to seniors ranging from the Bugs Bunny Camp Carousel and Fender Bender to stomach dropping gut wrenching thrill rides like the 21 story drop of Nitro. Several specialty attractions suitable for all ages like the Wild Safari as well as excellent shopping and dinning facilities are also part of the adventure. In a brilliant move nearly a decade ago, Trinifly Promotions, Executive Producers of the Caribbean Summer had the foresight to partner with Six Flags giving their large and loyal following a star studded outdoor concert featuring top Reggae and Soca acts backed by live bands, with intermissions sprinkled with top DJ's & MC's, all included in the modest price of admission

Reggae & Soca Top Acts Alongside Up-and-Coming Artists in NJ

Jemere MorganJemere Morgan
The 2014 stage production featured several up and coming acts and we arrived in time to catch Dancehall-Reggae singer Kranium on stage. His debut single “Nobody Has To Know” of this well staged artist who we might add is truly easy on the eyes certainly had all the ladies going ga-ga. His set was short but captivating leaving us saying...remember the name, Kranium. Next up was the smooth and easy sounds of Jemere Morgan, the now nineteen year old son of Gramps Morgan and grandson to Denroy Morgan making him a third generation singer from the famed Morgan Heritage lineage. What we liked most about him was his excellent command of the stage including the familiar way in which he interacted with the audience sharing his great blend of Reggae & Soul. Jemere whose name means “dream come true” was the opening act for the next up Morgan Heritage performance and in his own right, definitely another talented artist to watch for over the next few years. Another praiseworthy opening act hailing from Trinidad and Tobago was definitely Lyrikal. This hard hitting artists bowled us over with his new song “Conquer Meh” followed by “25/8” and later in his set running a mini on- stage dance competition between three women to the song  “Part of Your Nature” of which the hands down winner was Ms. Sharita Robinson. Other memorable performances were by Ramajay who easily breaches the borders of Soca, Reggae and Hip-Hop and, tough to ignore high-energy Soca artist 5 Star Akil who sings the great song “To Meh Heart” and others that make you just want to forget about everything else and party!

Lyrikal
Lyrikal
5star akil
5star Akil

FEATURED ARTISTS WICKED ON STAGE

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When Morgan Heritage took the stage the theme for their presentation and emphasis on their selections was “it's cool to be conscious.”  In retrospect, the conscious theme was brilliant because somewhere along the way the perception that conscious Reggae music although continuing with its powerful messages but non-the less relegated to the sideline in place of Dancehall as the “fun” music people want to hear when attending dances or parties.  Nothing could be further from the truth as evidenced by thousands in attendance at the Six Flag stadium who came out to hear conscious music artists and sing out loud at the top of their lungs!  And, by emphasizing just how wonderful it is to be a conscious music lover Morgan Heritage drove home the point with songs like “The Return of Roots & Culture, “You Don't Have To Dread To Be Rasta” and a particular crowd pleaser “Down by the River.” We were unprepared for the outstanding response to  their latest new song “Put It On Me” so if  you've not yet listened to it you're in for a treat.  As to be expected the highly synchronized harmonies of the Morgan Heritage clan made for a rich experience.

Morgan Heritage
Peetah and Gramps Morgan
Mojo Morgan
MoJo Morgan
Peetah Morgan
Peetah Morgan
PictureMaxi Priest
His first time ever performing at Six Flags, Maxi Priest hit the stage running with his ever so popular song “It's A Wild World” and naturally the crowd went wild, which was most appropriate in a location noted for wild rides and attractions!  However what we enjoyed most about his performance was that he gave us a heavy dose of his standard repertoire of hits mixed in with a taste of his new music from his recently released album “Easy To Love” (VP Records June 2014) that included the highly rated title song by the same name “Holiday” another great new song that's part  of Maxis first studio album in five years. With eleven songs on the new album, he left us ready to hear more although by the time he got to “I Just Want to Get Close To You, his mega hit from the 90's everyone was thoroughly satisfied.

After a brief and highly charged intermission orchestrated by DJ Storm out of Queens NY who artfully revved up the crowd in preparation for  Reggae great Barrington Levy who last graced the Six Flags stage in 2012 was as exciting as ever. The audiences favorite song and ours for his set appeared to be “Too Experienced” because the audience enthusiastically sang along, the sign of  true respect and love.

Maxi Priest Six Flags
Maxi Priest
Maxi Priest Six Flags
Maxi Priest
Barrington Levy Six Flags
Barrington Levy
Barrington Levy Six Flags
Barrington Levy
Barrington Levy Six Flags
Barrington Levy
Elephant Man Six FlagsThe Energy God
Elephant Man a.k.a The Energy God was on stage in a rare NY area performance and his red hot performance closed out the the show. In addition to performing his hit songs “All Out” and “Let's Get Physical” to name a few, his on-stage antics are legendary including allowing a beautiful full-figured female fan to jump up on him as he held her up on his side for dear life. It's stunts like that count as true entertainment and Elephant Man added even more fun and excitement to the days festivities and closed out the event with everyone in smiles.

Elephant Man Six Flags
Elephant Man
Elephant Man Six Flags
Elephant Man
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Elephant Man
Whenever we cover a great concert like Six Flags Great Adventure Caribbean Summer the crew can't help wondering how the producers will top it the following year. So far Trinifly Promotions has maintained an excellent track record for delivering everything that they promise so as they say in Reggae, “no worries!” We've already learned that in 2015 Six Flags has plans to add several new rides with names like “SkyScreamer”, Battle of Metropolis” and “Looping Dragon” to give you an idea of what to expect.  And as far as the 2015th annual concert goes, TrniFly will be celebrating ten-years of production and we are sure that it will be a no holds barred event! As soon as the lineup is announced you can count on ReggaeReflection.com and our network of friends to be among the first to let you know. Stay locked!

View the slide show below for all pictures from the 9th Annual Six Flags Caribbean Summer Concert

Grace Vanriel is the Founder and CEO of  Live Reggae NYC and the Strategic Marketing Executive for the Reggaeholics Movement for “REAL” Reggae lovers. She is a Senior Correspondent forReggaeReflection.com and Contributing Writer to TheReggaeVibe.com and WhereItzAt Magazine.

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook

 
 

Reggae Royalty on King Street!  Ziggy Marley in Madison, Wisconsin.

Story and photos by Xavier LeBlanc, Reggae Reflection Correspondent.  Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com
Ziggy Marley
On a refreshingly natural summer August night, a musical trailblazer and reggae icon arrived in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin. The legendary singer Ziggy Marley attracted a capacity crowd during the latest stop in the "Fly Rasta" tour which celebrates his newest album of the same name. Quickly becoming an instant classic, the critically acclaimed Tuff Gong Worldwide release has topped Billboard's Reggae charts several times consecutively . In 2013 Ziggy also earned his second solo Best Reggae Album Grammy and sixth Grammy overall. This concert in particular coincides with the free summer concert series "Live on King Street". The Madison city King street was closed to accommodate an outdoor stage near the Majestic Theater and massive audience filled with thousands of fans. All directly centered with a magnificent view of the Wisconsin State Capitol building and the vista was undoubtedly worthy of the occasion. 

Well in advance before the show's start, the designated crowd area was already overfilled as fans clamored for a spot to watch the global renowned artist. Anticipation, excitement and small clouds of smoke from herb enthusiasts filled the air as eager multitudes made their elation known while Ziggy Marley climbed the stage. The musician calmly picked up his elegant custom guitar with a soft smile as he prepared to deliver positive vibrations and share beloved compositions with his passionate fans. Accompanying him onstage was his talented band which included Ian 'Beezy' Coleman, Takeshi Akimoto, Chantelle Ernandez,  Tracy Hazzard and others. The sound of the initial string being played cued the stage lights' illumination as immense cheers were heard. He then charismatically told the crowd "Love is today's rebellion. Too much anger and hate is in the world anyways you know. So let us make love become the rebel". This provided a smooth transition to the opening lyrics of his popular hit song "Love is My Religion". His unmistakably unique vocals carried the audience and the band performed in great harmony complimenting Ziggy's trademark sounds. The enthusiasm and warmly inviting spirit of the song was palpable.


Photos of Ziggy Marley "Live on King Street"

Ziggy Marley delivers a majestic performance 

Majestic Theatre King Street
The closely aligned layout of the street, stage and buildings gave way to a very intimate and warm experience as the band seemingly played directly to the heart of carefree fans with another notable record, the upbeat "Wild and Free". The mood quickly reflected within movements of the crowd swaying their arms back and forth joyously. Live renditions from his new "Fly Rasta" album included a mellow but heartfelt performance of the well received already popular song "I Don't Want To Live On Mars" with its non-traditional diversely laced sounds. Fans followingly bobbed their heads to the rock elements as the high spirited singer sang the track's Earthly themed tunes with great zeal.

A pleasant ode to Ziggy's early musical career came when he performed the classic 1988 Melody Makers' song "Conscious Party" which was originally part of his family band's third album release of the same name. Toward the second half of the song the stage band elevated the energy even further as members of the group moved across the stage dancing traditionally with great vibrancy to the rhythms of the live instruments and original drum sounds. 

Fully inhabiting the positive mood Ziggy often closed his eyes and seemingly lost himself musically to the instrumental notes instinctively as he performed his iconic father Bob Marley's timeless hit "Could You Be Loved".  Meanwhile, atop the surrounding building structures, fans could be seen on rooftops and open windows dancing along blissfully to this and other undeniably uplifting song performances. Not often does a performer elevate and unite entire city streets like Ziggy did during his unforgettable concert.

After a brief intermission Ziggy returned to the stage to provide the audience with a taste of his currently most recognized single "Fly Rasta" energetically delivering the catchy chorus while playing drums by hand. A fitting second half to the performance was met with spurred levels of enthusiasm and boosted applause as his smallest children joined him to finish the performance. His smallest son Abraham Marley was given a small microphone as he danced with a natural exuberance nearly matching his father's own. The spirit of positively great music is clearly embraced wholeheartedly within this legendary family of gifted talents led by Ziggy Marley.

Special thanks to Michelle for making our coverage of this amazing concert possible. 



Xavier LeBlanc is an experienced media professional currently producing, writing and filming media coverage of national entertainment events. With a deeply rooted admiration for reggae music and the talented artists within, he prides himself in providing diverse coverage for fellow music fans and enthusiasts. For more information or media inquiries please contact at Xavier@CrystalEyesVisuals.com



 
 

Luciano Rocks Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Band Shell

Story  by Marjorie Flash  -  Founder of Myflash Photography. Co-Edited by Grace Vanriel - Founder and CEO of Live Reggae NYC .   Photos by Reggae Reflection & MyFlash 
Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com
Celebrate Brooklyn
On June 28th Luciano opened as the first Reggae act of the summer for the Celebrate Brooklyn 2014 season on a beautiful summer evening and it's really no surprise that this incredible performer sharing powerful lyrics rocked the stage. Jah Messenger (one of his many monikers) gave a scintillating performance at the recently re-opened Prospect Park Band Shell which holds approximately 7000 people. As the evening progressed the Band Shell filled to capacity revealing a melting pot of ethnic and cultural diversity tied together by a common purpose - enjoying the summer gathering with family, friends and neighbors while catching the set of a top Reggae celebrity.   

Produced by the non-profit organization BRIC Arts Media for the past thirty-five years beginning in 1979, Celebrate Brooklyn has been a crown jewel on the free summer concert circuit scene in the NYC area attracting more the 250,000 people from all walks of life to Prospect Park throughout the summer for music and dance ensemble performances. For a small yet optional donation at Band Shell performances of only $3, anyone can enter the park and enjoy the complete lineup; another option is becoming a seasonal patron of "Friends of Celebrate Brooklyn" which may provide such additional benefits as pre event receptions and after parties, special entry and seating at concerts, access to one of two Friends Tents and discount tickets to Galas to name a few of the great membership perks. 


Sandra St. VictorSandra St. Victor
The June showcase kicked off with Sandra St. Victor, a powerful R&B, Soul, Rock singer and songwriter who is the lead vocalist of critically acclaimed Funk/Soul/Rock band The Family Stand.  St. Victor captivated the audience with her music which included a really good medley of Reggae tunes that complimented what was to come and had the audience rushing to the front of the stage to dance.  Her hour long performance showcased her strong vocal range and entertaining abilities as her entire set mesmerized the audience. Following St. Victor's uplifting performance the "Ikronik Band" took the stage cranking up the vibes with some earthy Roots Reggae music that also primed the huge crowd for the appearance of Jah Messenger.  Their short but robust set was enjoyable and well received and left you with a hungry anticipation for more.  


Ikronik Takes the Stage

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Kava Jah of IKronik
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Zai Palmer of IKronik
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Duke Hawes of IKronik
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Eduardo Gross of IKronik
PictureLuciano
At last Luciano enters the stage wearing his signature fatigues and helmet, an unspoken signal which his fans interpret to mean he is indeed a solider in Jah's army and, ready for anything. He never gives less than his all and this set was no exception characterized by a highly energetic presentation (complete with several forward flips) of lyrics and vocals that resonate deep in your soul as he delivers strong spiritual messages.  Hardly able to contain their excitement the moment Luciano appeared on stage the already energized crowd gave him a thunderous welcome and he immediately launched into his treasure trove of our favorite Luciano hits bringing the humungous crowd to their feet in dance.  Throughout his sixty-minutes or so of back- to-back robust Roots Rock Reggae music, Luciano made a strong connection with the audience holding their attention on a spiritual and musical level as they sang along to every song.  It was a magical and memorable evening for all in attendance as smiles of satisfaction and lively comments were heard while exiting the park from a still excited and satisfied crowd.

*Be sure to catch Luciano on his Qabalah Man Tour throughout the U.S

*For more information about Celebrate Brooklyn visit www.BricArtsMedia.org



View the Slideshow of Photos from Celebrate Brooklyn below

Marjorie Flash is the Founder and Lead Photographer at MyFlash Photography. She is also a photojournalist and Contributing Writer/Photographer for WhereItzAt Magazine, and a freelance writer/photographer for ReggaeReflection.com, Reggaeholics and Live Reggae NYC. Ms. Flash has covered major Caribbean and American events throughout the NY tri state area including the B.I.G Awards, International Reggae & World Music Awards, Brooklyn Music Festival, Groovin in the Park, Caribbean Music Festival and the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival.

Grace Vanriel is the Founder and CEO of  Live Reggae NYC and the Strategic Marketing Executive for the Reggaeholics Movement for “REAL” Reggae lovers. She is a Senior Correspondent forReggaeReflection.com and Contributing Writer to TheReggaeVibe.com and WhereItzAt Magazine.

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

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