Your Man on the Street

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New York
Image by HeySandra via Flickr

Well the summer season is upon us and, needless to say, there are many different things going on.  Up until this point, this blog has dealt with mostly three different categories.  The Atlanta reggae scene, the worldwide reggae scene, and Highlanda Sound System.  Well I am here to add yet another category, the New York scene.  While I will be concentrating on mostly Caribbean topics, I will be covering an array of things.  It will be a true representation of what’s happening in New York from a Caribbean-American’s point of view.

Some of you are probably wondering who is Crisis Don.  Well I am one of the co-founders of Highlanda Sound System, along with Kahlil Wonda and Super PEC.  I have lived in New York City most of my life and I have a deep appreciation for the city.  You will find out more about my sensibilities as I delve into various topics.  And what are some of those topics you ask?  Well there are parties, clubs, lounges, promoters, artists, music, fashion, dining out, and just hanging out, to name a few.  So check in from time to time to see what we are doing and what you should be doing.  You won’t have to wait long for my first post.

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Chino Nominated For IRAWMA Award

Reggae and Dancehall artiste Chino has scored yet another achievement. The artiste who has accumulated a number of awards including those at the EMEs, Youth View Awards and Magnum Stone Love Awards in recent months, has again been nominated, this time for an IRAWMA award.

Chino, whose correct name is Daniel McGregor, was nominated in the category ‘Most Improved Entertainer’ at this year’s 29th International Reggae & World Music Awards, (IRAWMA). Chino says, “When I heard I couldn’t help but smile. I feel really blessed for people to appreciate my work. I’ve been in the music industry for as long as I can remember; some people may remember me as ‘Cappachino’ an’ dem time deh a lot of people refused to even give a second glance no matter how good a song was. But nothing beats persistence, and I stuck with it. It’s been a long journey, an’ as we say ‘from mawnin wi a hustle an’ put we all in’. It’s not just a song. It’s my life; so I’m really appreciative to the fans, the media, the selectors and everybody both here and overseas for showing love.”

The singjay who is known for hits ranging from From Mawnin’, Protected, Ruff It Up, Pon Yuh Head, and more, will attend the event staged by Martin’s International & Associates on Sunday, May 2 at the York College Performing Arts Center in New York. This year’s IRAWMA ceremony is dedicated to the People of Haiti and Health Awareness.

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Buju Banton Nominated For Three 2010 International Reggae and World Music Awards

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Gargamel Music, Inc. is thrilled to announce that Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton, has been nominated for a trio of  2010 International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA): Recording Artist Of The Year, Best Album for Rasta Got Soul and Best Crossover Song for “Can’ t Be My Lover,” his recent hit collabo with R&B star, John Legend.

Banton and the Gargamel Music family sincerely thank IRAWMA founder Mr. Martin Ephraim, the entire IRAWMA staff, and of course, the fans for the love and continued support at this time. The 29th Annual International Reggae & World Music Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 2nd at York College Performing Arts Center in Jamaica (Queens), New York.

In other Buju Banton music news, the one-off single,  “Time And A Place”  (John John) on the scorching Coming In From The Cold riddim has skyrocketed to #1 on both the New York Top 30 Reggae Chart and South Florida Top 25 Reggae Chart. The album Rasta Got Soul is currently #2 on both the New York Top 20 Albums Chart and the South Florida Top 15 Albums Chart. The new “Optimistic Soul” single (plus bonus instrumental) will be released digitally on March 23rd.

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Jamrock Reggaefest with Beres Hammond & Friends Saturday – July 18, 2009 in NY

Jamrock Reggaefest

Musical legends Frankie Paul and John Holt join Beres Hammond on stage at the 12th Annual JAMROCK Reggae Fest! Come seeFrankie “Dancehall” Paul, the father of Rock Steady, John Holt along with the originator of Lover’s Rock, Beres Hammond, all on one stage. Newly added acts are Culture featuring Kenyatta Hill and Lenya Wilks along with Natural Blacks. This classic lineup is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser with phenomenal performances at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York, on Saturday, July 18, 2009. Tickets are now available through Ticketmaster, Reggaefest.com and various locations through out the tri-state area with ticket prices starting at just $49.99!

Kenyatta Hill is the son of the late Joseph Hill, front man of Culture, the legendary vocal trio whose 1977 record “Two Sevens Clash” helped define the roots reggae genre. In August 2006, while on tour in Berlin, Germany, Joseph Hill suddenly fell ill and passed away. Kenyatta has since carried the torch successfully performing as the front man for Culture and paying tribute to his father with every performance.

Natural Blacks, the Guyanese-born roots singer has made a persistent stance in reggae with songs like “Far from Reality” and “Never Leave You Lonely.” His style and personality has made him a favorite among some of the top record producers and fans in Jamaica, and throughout the Caribbean.

Frankie Paul is often referred to as Jamaica’s Stevie Wonder, and not just because of his visual impairment; like Wonder, he was a talented multi-instrumentalist with a tremendous vocal range. He was also extraordinarily prolific; part of the first wave of dancehall artists, he started his recording career in earnest during the early ’80s, and has since flooded the market with product, releasing countless singles and well over 30 albums. Fans can look forward to hits like “Tidal Wave,” “Sara” and “Slow Down.

John Holt has delivered timeless reggae classics like “Police in Helicopter,” “Stick by Me,” and “Ali Baba.” The former lead singer of the Parogons still stands head and shoulders above the rest as one of Jamaica’s sweetest singers and enduring songwriters. He has voiced and penned so many of the country’s classics that in a way, Holt has defined the island’s sound.

Known to many as the “Otis Redding of Reggae,” Beres Hammond has been writing, producing and pouring out his smoky-sweet voice over soulful reggae riddims for over three decades. From his early days as the lead singer of the ’70s funk-reggae infused band Zap Pow, Beres has consistently produced hits and number one singles. As the cornerstone to Lover’s Rock, he has inspired the next generation of reggae soul singers and international superstars like Wyclef Jean and Alicia Keys. Fans can look forward to hearing timeless classics like “Tempted to Touch,” and “Rock Away,” as well as material from his latest album, A Moment in Time.

Tickets are now available through Ticketmaster, Reggaefest.com and at various  Tri-State area ticket locations. Log on to www.reggaefest.com for more information and location details.

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Irie Jamboree – North America’s Premier Reggae Festival

Sean Paul, Queen Ifrica, Freddie McGregor, Mr. Vegas, Assassin, Laden, Tony Rebel, Spice and Chino are among the reggae/dancehall acts confirmed for Irie Jamboree – North America’s premier reggae festival organizers announced recently. The event takes place on Labor Day Sunday, September 6, 2009 in Queens, New York.

Bobby Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Radio, co-producers of the event said that “Sean Paul’s appearance will help the festival attract not only traditional reggae/dancehall lovers but mainstream fans who have now embraced music from the islands. He has established himself as the top artiste from the Caribbean and has consistently demonstrated his ability to score international hit songs, having done so with Deport Them, Hot Gal Today, Gimmie the Light, Get Busy, Like Glue, Temperature, We Be Burning, Baby Boy and Come Over” Clarke noted. The Grammy winning artiste recently landed his 13th entry on Billboard‘s R&B Hip Hop Singles charts, with So Fine, the first single from his forthcoming album.

Cultural artist Queen Ifrica, who was in New York recently to promote her new disc “Montego Bay” is also confirmed for Irie Jamboree 2k9. With a growing fans base and hits like Daddy, Lioness on the Rise, Keep It To Yourself and Below The Waist getting significant airplay in North America and Europe, the Fyah Muma is primed and ready to blaze the stage with another commanding set. Also gracing the Jamboree stage will be Big Ship recording artiste Freddie McGregor who will shear the stage with his son Chino and label mate Laden, who garnered the spotlight with “Time to Shine.”

Mr. Vegas, who recently electrified reggae lovers in France and who is enjoying another phenomenal year with his brand new chart hit So Blessed and favorites like Hot Wuk, Tek Wey Youself, Heads High and We Nuh Want Nuh Friend From Dem will grace the Jamboree stage once again along with Assassin and Spice.

One significant change that will be instituted by Team Irie Jamboree this year, is the moving of the event to an outdoor facility at York College on Guy R Brewer, located a few miles from Roy Wilkins Park, home of the event for the past six years.

“We really believe that we have found a home at York,” said Steven Williams, CEO of Black Emperor Entertainment, co-producers of the event.

“Roy Wilkins has been a great venue for us however we could not ignored complaints from patrons about the lack of substantial park which is the main reason for the move” Williams said.

York College has a municipal park in close proximity and is just minutes from the NY Subway and Long Island Railroad which will greatly improve accessibility for many patrons who use mass transit to get and from the event annually.

“Our goal is to make the whole Irie Jamboree experience a memorable one for patrons and with this calculated move, we are one step closer to achieving our ultimate goal” Williams reiterated.

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Ras Penco Hits #1 With New Single

RasPenco

Reggae artist Ras Penco scores his first number one hit in Jamaica with the romantic ballad, “Thousand Miles,” a poignant promise mimicking his life as a traveling musician far and wide, who vows to never break his loyalty to his true love.

The Uprize Music artist humbly welcomes his very first berth at the top of the reggae singles chart (Jamaica Weekly Countdown). “It’s a good feeling. I’ve been trying to get here for quite a while, about six years, and it took a lot of hard work.”

“Thousand Miles” has been gaining momentum on the airwaves in Jamaica for over two months, as quality music recently garnered its fair share of airplay amidst a ban on “indecent” dancehall and soca music on the nation’s airwaves. This made room for quality and positive music such as Ras Penco’s, catapulting him into the limelight. The ensuing video lit up television sets and has also enjoyed rotation, much to the delight of reggae lovers. “I wrote it and from the moment I finished recording it in the studio, I knew it was a great song and that people would love it.”

Ras Penco
is receiving the adulation from fans firsthand. He recently starred on RE-TV’s High School Tour, taking his sounds into the schools around Jamaica. “I’ve been getting crazy love from fans. The song has touched them.”

He journeys to Miami next month for the Best of the Best concert, which highlights Caribbean and hip-hop acts at the top of their game. In fact, Ras Penco is only one of two reggae artists booked for the show, and will be sharing the stage with the likes of Rick Ross and T-Pain. “It’s a great feeling to be on the show,” reveals Ras Penco. “The line-up is mostly dancehall and hip-hp artists, so it’s special to be included.”

Tune in to the special sounds of Ras Penco, check out the video for “Thousand Miles,” and look out for his upcoming singles at www.myspace.com/raspenco.


For more information on Ras Penco, including bookings, please contact:

UPRIZE MUSIC

Richard Myrie
US: 1-954-931-2679
richard@uprizemusic.com
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The 2009 IRAWMA Honors the Best in Caribbean & World Music

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IRAWMA Finale

The 2009 IRAWMA saw a star-studded affair at the York College
Performing Arts Center in Queens, New York on Sunday, May 3, 2009.

– Photography by Khayyam Pitts –

Rainy weather and cold temps did not put a damper on the 28th Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards, which took place at the state-of-the-art York College Performing Arts Center in Queens, New York on Sunday, May 3, 2009.

Celebrities filed into the venue hours before the show began, to walk the red carpet and give media their undivided attention. Then the curtains went up and the show was first emceed by Copeland Forbes, pinch hitting for Tony Rebel, who later turned up to take over his hosting duties.

The audience was entertained all night with exciting performances from some of the top names in Caribbean music, including Tarrus Riley, Calypso Rose, Beenie Man, Machel Montano, Alison Hinds,Tony Rebel, D’Angel, Gramps Morgan, Duane Stephenson and Barbee, all backed by the Dean Fraser Band.

The awards presentation saw some funny moments as fans screamed their choices and awardees teased each other. Beres Hammond, Mavado, Machel Montano, Queen Ifrica and Etana all walked away with two trophies each. Tarrus Riley won “Best Male Vocalist,” Beenie Man took away the “Best Male Deejay” prize, Alison Hinds scored “Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer,” Stephen McGregor nabbed “Producer of the Year,” and Shaggy was honored with the “Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award.”

“I first want to extend a note of thanks to each and everyone for your hard work,” stated Ephraim Martin, president of Martin’s International & Associates and producer of the IRAWMA. “I value and appreciate all of your hard work and effort in making the 28th IRAWMA a success.” As the curtains closed on the 28th IRAWMA, everyone present at the awards applauded, paying respect to one of the longest running awards ceremony in the world that honors reggae and world beat music.

2009 IRAWMA Winners

Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year
Beres Hammond

Recording Artist of the Year
Mavado

Best Male Vocalist
Tarrus Riley

Best Female Vocalist
Queen Ifrica & Etana (TIE)

Best Song
Mavado – “So Special”

Best Album
Etana – Strong One

Best Crossover Song
John Legend & Buju – “Can’t Be My Lover”

Best Gospel Song
Stitchie & Elephant Man – “What A Mighty God”

Best Female D.J./Rapper
Queen Ifrica

Best Male D.J./Rapper
Beenie Man

Best New Entertainer
Serani

Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer
Alison Hinds

Best Reggaeton Entertainer
Daddy Yankee

Best Latin Entertainer
Shakira

Best Compas Entertainer
Nu-Look

Best African Entertainer
Alpha Blondy

Best Soukous Entertainer
Awilo Longomba

Best Hip Hop/R&B Entertainer
Lil Wayne

Outstanding Contribution to World Music
Wyclef Jean

Most Outstanding Stage Personality
Machel Mantano

Best Music Video
Stephen & Damian Marley – “The Mission”

Best Poet
Mutabaruka

Most Educational Entertainer
Morgan Heritage

Most Outstanding Show Band
Machel & HD Band

Most Consistent Entertainer
Calypso Rose

Most Promising Entertainer
Lutan Fyah

Most Improved Entertainer
Tanya Mullings

Best Instrumentalist
Dean Fraser

Best Backing Band
New Kingston Band

Most Popular Selector
Stone Love

Concert of the Year
Irie Jamboree

Promoter of the Year
Sumfest

Producer of the Year
Steven McGregor

Songwriter of the Year
Beres Hammond

Award for Spiritual Service through Music
Lutan Fyah

Community Service Award
Ziggy Marley, U.R.G.E.

Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award
Shaggy

Best Song in Tribute to Barack Obama
Cocoa Tea – “Barack Obama”

SPECIAL: Int’l Reggae & World Music Hall of Fame/Lifetime Inductee
Clive Hunt, King Short Shirt, Sweet Honey in the Rock

SPECIAL: Master of the Caribbean Award
Mighty Sparrow

SPECIAL: Martin’s International/Inter-Culture Award of Honor
Granville Straker

SPECIAL: Award for Contributions to Music, Arts & Culture
Hon. Olivia “Babsy” Grange
SPECIAL: Producer’s “Respect” Award
Usain Bolt
SPECIAL: Awards of Appreciation for Contributions to Music Industry
Owen Dalhouse, Brigadier Jerry, Road Int’l, Heavy D

For more information, please log on to www.irawma.com
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Destra Garcia makes New York HOTT With New Album

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destra-with-jabbaInternational soca star Destra Garcia successfully launched her latest studio effort, HOTT, in Manhattan last Saturday, April 25, 2009. A sold-out crowd packed SOB’s, as New York City‘s premier nightlife promotions team – Upscale Crowd Entertainment and Caribbean Fuse – presented the launch of her sixth album to longtime and new fans.

The versatile vocalist, songwriter and performer did not disappoint the packed Manhattan venue. Without her Atlantik band and joined by only two of her dancers, Destra drove the crowd into a bacchanal frenzy. With rags, flags and shirts waving in the air, she thrilled them with her soca staples like “Carnival” and “Bonnie & Clyde,” and new hits from the album, including the title track “Hott,” and “Bacchanal.”

HOTT is a brilliant introduction to who Destra is, for those who are unfamiliar with her, and is a must-have addition to the ‘Destra’ collection for
fans and soca-lovers everywhere. “I think this album shows growth as a performing artist – a combination of my musical styles and versatility – past, present and future,” discloses soca’s ultimate female ambassador. Boasting 10 sizzling tracks, HOTT is poised to take soca fans by storm as Destra brings this indigenous sound of the southern Caribbean to music aficionados around the world.

She will first hit the masses at the Best of the Best concert in Miami in May, where she’ll share the stage with Rick Ross and T-Pain, and represent as the only soca act on the dancehall/hip-hop bill. Her tour dates for the summer include stops to celebrate Caribana in Toronto, Crop Over in Barbados, and Notting Hill Carnival in London, just to name a few of the world’s biggest music festivals.

While in New York, Destra met with members of the media, including TRACE TV, was featured on Irie Jam Radio and on New York’s urban mainstream giant HOT97, with Jabba, D Life and Bobby Konders. She also headlined at PACE University last Friday, then shocked the crowd at Caribbean Fridays at Club Element with an impromptu performance.

Celebrating 10 years in the business, Destra revealed she is ready to move forward, accepting new challenges with the aid of musical skills already acquired. And if this album celebration proved anything, it is that Destra’s fans are ready to join her journey, wherever she goes. The club was filled to capacity hours before she hit the stage at 3am, and promoters say they had to turn away almost 500 people. “This is the best experience I’ve had in New York, in all the years I’ve been coming here,” stated an exorbitant Destra, following her rousing showcase. “From the sold-out crowd in the club to the radio interviews and meeting with the media and fans, it definitely was my best trip here.”

For those who missed the soca queen in action, she will be back in New York in late May. Tune in to her new singles and tour dates by visiting www.myspace.com/officialdestragarcia or www.mydestra.com.

Log on to www.upscalecrowd.com to stay updated on more exciting events, brought to you by Upscale Crowd Entertainment and Caribbean Fuse.

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Dancehall Now 19 – Spring 2009 New Releases

Buju Banton performing at New York's Apollo th...
Image via Wikipedia

This is the latest episode of the syndicated Dancehall Now podcast produced by Highlanda Sound System for March 27, 2009 featuring the very latest dancehall music in a full stereo radio broadcast format.

Dancehall Now is in keeping with Highlanda Sound’s stated mission to entertain and promote reggae music world wide. This show may contain language that may be considered by some to be offensive. Views expressed by artists and guests on this show are not necessarily shared or endorsed by Highlanda Sound.

Featured artists this week include Mavado, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Damian Marley, The Game, Tarrus Riley, Beenie Man, Erup, Jay-Z, Screechie Don, MIA, I-Wayne, Marcia Griffiths, Busy Signal, Bragga, Buju Banton, Junior Reid, Assassin, Ding Dong, Anthony Cruz, Bounty Killer, Laden, Macka Diamond, Unicorn, Million Stylez, Prodigal Son, and Gramps Morgan.

Right Click the file and select “Save As…” to download the entire mp3 file or just click to listen to the audio stream now. We sincerely hope you enjoy the selections. Please send music, press information, comments, feedback, and requests to kahlil.wonda@gmail.com or feel free to comment here. If you like what you hear please subscribe to get automatic updates when new shows are added.

Direct MP3 Download Link (click link to download)

Playlist

1 So Blessed (Remix) – Mavado/Busta Rhymes
2 Enemy – Wyclef Jean/Damian Marley/The Game
3 Back Bitter (Remix) – Tarrus Riley
4 Trample Dem – Erup/Nature
5 You Have It – Beenie Man
6 New York New York – Erup
7 Brooklyn We Go Hard (Remix) – Jay-Z/Screechie Don/MIA
8 Book Of Life – I-Wayne (live)
9 Automatic – Marcia Griffiths/Busy Signal
10 Dagga Dat – Bragga
11 Buy Love – Buju Banton
12 Some Say – Junior Reid
13 Wanna Be Gangsta – AK
14 Child Molester – Assassin
15 Man A Galis – Ding Dong
16 Different From Fi Dem – Anthony Cruz
17 Mama’s Love – Bounty Killer
18 Really Rate Me – Laden
19 Think Pon Mi – Macka Diamond/Unicorn
20 Everyday – Million Stylez
21 Head Caan Hot So – Prodigal
22 Wash The Tears – Gramps Morgan

Empire ISIS’ break out album “Brand New Style”

Dubbed one of Canada‘s Break Out Artists of 2009 and having 11 Award Nominations for her debut LP “Sound The Trumpets”. Empire ISIS returns to begin 2009 with her Sophomore Album “Brand New Style” .

Empire ISIS – Music Video – Won’t Surrender

Click To View

CTV Montreal Interview – Jan 17, 2009


“Brand New Style” is Empire ISIS’ break out album that reflects the life and places Empire ISIS has been as well as the cultures that have inspired her. From Jamaica to Latin America, Casablanca to New York City, if you listen closely you will hear the Dancehall influence and Reggae vibes, the pounding New York style bass lines and Empire ISIS brand of World Pop. This Boss Lady attitude coursing through her veins connected to you through these stories, digested from her time running the streets from Buenos Aires to Bogota, Kingston to London. Some may find it strange or hard to understand, but for Empire ISIS “Brand New Style” is the code she lives by. Vision, Power and Dedication are the tools and foundation that charge her engine. Empire ISIS has grown to a Four Star General of International Gangstress music. Meaning that any barrier, wall or obstacle you encounter is welcomed as a chance to prove you are a warrior ready to defend your program.

Album iTunes Purchase Link

www.empireisis.com

www.myspace.com/empireisis

Facebook Group – Empire ISIS

Click on cover for FREE mix tape.

mixtape2_120_120

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