Friday, October 31, 2014

Etana Releases I Rise Album

Reggae vocalist Etana has officially released her latest Album, I Rise, on Tuesday, October 28 on the VP Records Label. I Rise is the empowering artiste’s 4th studio album and features 14 original tracks including the singles Trigger and Richest Girl both of which have been getting great airplay locally and across the region. The album is available digitally through VP Records’ Online Store, iTunes, amazon, Google Play store, FYE and and physically through VP Records Store locations.

Etana known as the ‘Strong One’, due to her immense vocal ability and empowering messages is confident in the album as a lot of quality music and hard work went into its creation. The Album is produced by renowned producer Clive Hunt with compositional contributions from musicians such as Dwain ‘Wire’ Campbell from C-Sharp, Ian also from C-Sharpe, Sherieta Lewis, Kirk 'Kirkledove' Bennett and the legendary Sly Dunbar.

“The I Rise Album has nothing but the best musicians and a genius producer, Clive Hunt. The songs on this album are well constructed not just produced. I am really grateful for all the energy spent on the music and in the recording sessions I hope when fans get it (I Rise) in their radio they can feel all the positive energy and hard work that went into this album,” said Etana.

Ahead of the release of I Rise, Etana was busy performing, as the lone female, alongside Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley, Sean Paul, Shaggy and Jah Cure on the first staging of the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise which set sail from Miami on Monday, October 20. The powerful reggae vocalist was also recently awarded with the Princess of Reggae Award at the 33rd International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRWAMA) on Saturday, October 4th at a ceremony in the Coral Springs Centre for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The album is available for purchase from iTunes, amazon, Google Play store, FYE the VP Records Online Store and in digital format as well as physical copies at VP Records shops. Etana’s previous albums include The Strong One (2008), Free Expressions (2011) and Better Tomorrow (2013). 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sean Paul ‘Rocked’ Historic Welcome to JAMROCK Reggae Cruise

Sean Paul gave an unforgettable performance at the first annual Welcome To JAMROCK Reggae Cruise Thursday, October 23.

Accompanied by supporting vocalist Terrence ‘Farenheight’ Harold, the Badda Banz and the Badda Gyalz dancers, Sean Paul treated passengers and crew on the Norwegian Pearl to hits from his latest Full Frequency album as well as crowd favourites Get Busy, Gimmi The Light and Punkie from his previous albums. The artiste had the crowd rocking and singing to his every selection ‘way past curfew’ into the early hours of the morning. The crowd went wild when host Damian Marley joined Sean Paul on stage to perform their hit collaboration Riot.

The Welcome to JAMROCK Reggae cruise was an atmosphere of unity among artistes, ‘One Love’ as they took time off stage to chat and share light moments. “The cruise was a great experience for me, seeing many of my fans of different ethnicity in one place enjoying my set. It was also a great feeling being among my colleagues and being able to share stories with each other,” Sean Paul said.

Friday night the energy in the club was pumping as Sean Paul did a freestyle performance with several other artistes including Marley brothers, Damian, Julian and Stephen. Wayne Marshall, Morgan Heritage, Cham and Christopher Ellis also joined in the fun with DJ Jabba on the wheels of steel. Off the stage the artiste continued to entertain his many fans in the dining room as he hung out with them to answer questions and take photographs. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Soul In The Sun Thrilled on its Inaugural Run

The first ever staging of the Soul In The Sun Music Festival has left patrons elated as the performances by the cast of vocalists were simply stellar. Freddie Jackson was magnificent and the breathtaking Regina Belle brought tears to the eyes of some with her stunning set, while acts such as Dru Hill and LUST brought energetic sets which gave the festival much appreciated variety.

Complete Entertainment Services (CES), organizers of the festival, were pleased with the overall production and performances which is sure to linger in the minds of patrons. Junior Taylor, executive producer of CES was enthusiastic following the first staging and is already looking forward to a bigger and better festival come next year.

“For a first time event I must say I am extremely pleased with the execution, the show was absolutely smooth and the quality of the production was complemented with unique performances. The support we received was really appreciated and we are just looking to improve the product as a leading entertainment brand moving forward. We can only grow from here,” said Taylor. 

Night I, Friday October 10, provided much sparks with the sensational voices of Luckie D, Thriller U, Singing Melody and Tony Curtis together as LUST, giving patrons a performance touted as one of the best of the weekend. LUST engaged the crowd inside The Aqueduct Rose Hall with a series of roots rocking Reggae and Gospel fusion, lover’s rock and soul as they thrilled throughout their entire set. 90s R&B groups Silk and Dru Hill was nothing short of entertaining as they captured both attention and imagination of the women inside the Aqueduct and a special solo performance by Sisqo ensured a lasting memory as he belted out Thong Song, upon request.

The heat inside the Aqueduct was turned all the way up as Keith Sweat stepped up to close Night I. Sweat blazed through a catalogue of hits including, Nobody, Make It Last Forever, Twisted and How Deep Is Your Love before inviting Dru Hill and Silk back on stage to give a incredible finale to the patrons who flocked to the front of the stage.

Night II was indeed worthy of being the closing night as the atmosphere inside the Aqueduct, Rose Hall was lit up with spectacular performances, with Freddie Jackson and Regina Belle leading the way. Jackson crooned his way to a magnificent reception as he delivered a set which had patrons screaming for his return to the stage. Belle despite being the only female on Night II stood tall and delivered one of the night’s best performances and her live duet with Peabo Bryson really did transform the Aqueduct into A Whole New World.

Richie Stephens was energetic and gave patrons a smooth set as expected. Howard Hewitt was also silky in his delivery as patrons rocked to his amazing vocals. Peabo demonstrated why he was one of soul’s best and Jeffrey Osborne showed his worth as the closer. At one point Osborne was in the midst of the crowd as he offered patrons the mic to lead You Should Be Mine (Woo Woo Woo).

The Soul In The Sun Music Festival from October 10 – 11, was a magnificent festival with stunning performances all around. Patrons and organizers alike expressed satisfaction at the shows quality and will be expecting an even better package for a 2015 staging.

Etana Ready To Sail

Reggae Powerhouse Etana will be the sole female act on the first annual Welcome To JAMROCK Reggae Cruise which set sail on Monday, October 20 from Miami. The singer will be sharing the spotlight with Sean Paul, Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Shaggy, Stephen Marley and Joe Mersa among others.

Speaking ahead of the cruise she said guests can expect “a great performance, merchandise and loads of love!”

As the only female on the bill, Etana is already going in with the mindset that she will have to work “extra hard”. Working hard in delivering a perfect set is nothing new to the singer who over the years has scored with hits such as Roots, Wrong Address, and I Am Not Afraid.

Although she has shared stage with the other acts on the cruise, this will be the first time the songstress will be performing in this kind of environment and for her it’s something she is excited about. As she said she is looking forward to “positive vibes, positive energy and happy people.”

The cruise will be the precursor to the release of her fourth album I Rise, an appropriate title to describe occurrences in her career.

The singer recently walked away with the Princess of Reggae award at the recently held International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) which took place at Coral Springs Centre for the Performing Arts in Miami.

I Rise has seen creative input from Dwayne ‘Wire’ Campbell from C-Sharpe who she said put a lot of energy into the recording sessions. “I am really grateful for all the energy he spent on the music, he didn’t make it easy for me at all. He is super multi-talented,” she shared. Also sharing creative input on the upcoming project are Ian from C-Sharpe, Sherieta Lewis, Kirk ‘Kirkledove’ Bennett and “the great Sly Dunbar”. “The songs on this album are well constructed not just produced,” said Etana with a chuckle.

Clive Hunt who holds Etana in high esteem also joined the project. His wealth of knowledge and musical expertise supports the view that Etana has another winner on her hands. “He said he wanted to give the album his best and he did, I am very grateful and I hope when they get this one on their radio, they can feel all the positive energy and hard work that went into this album. More life to reggae music,” said Etana of I Rise.

With all the hard work and talent that has resulted in her album coming to fruition, Etana is not overly concerned about the slump in album sales and remains confident in the craft and her fans. “Recording sales is quite complex. The Billboard chart only covers the United States. My fanbase spans the world. If they don’t purchase a cd on the internet, or in the store, they can get it at the shows. Either way I am not worried because my fan base continues to grow and the venues are never scanty these days so I am grateful,” she said.

With the five night cruise to look forward to and I Rise on the horizon, Etana said she keeps going through by “faith, will, courage and unconditional love for people and love for the music.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Aidonia strikes positive tone with One Voice Foundation

Dancehall artiste Sheldon Lawrence, popularly known as Aidonia, recently launched the One Voice Foundation in hopes of positively impacting the lives of Jamaican youths. The Foundation’s first major undertaking includes scholarship awards, which was announced during a ceremony on Friday October 10 at the Maxfield Park Primary School. Aidonia also shed light on plans which are already underway to establish a computer centre in the Constant Spring area.
The awardee will be chosen following the culmination of the GSAT examinations and will receive a $200,000 grant, per year, for each year of his/her high school tenure. Along with satisfying the academic standing the student must also show exemplary behaviour, attitude and decorum in and outside of the classroom. An additional four students will also receive book vouchers, valued at $20,000 each.

Aidonia explained that programmes such as this are aimed at reducing the stigma of poor education among young persons from the inner city.  

“Honestly we just wanted to do something to remind youths that they can be anything they
want to be in life with the right education. A lot of them are stereotyped because of the areas where they are from and repeatedly told they can’t be this or that, and there isn’t much being done to change that mentality. So this is just to remind them by rewarding their hard work that, there is a lot to be gained from committing to academics,” said Aidonia.

The One Voice Foundation is also currently working with the Constant Spring Police Station to ascertain a site and open a computer centre to serve youths in and around the Mannings Hill Road, White Hall and Red Hills Road communities.

Aidonia recently launched his clothing line, One V and has been working hard with new singles such as, 80’s Dancehall Style, Keep Them Talking Ft. Onton, Ganja Farmer and Youths Dem.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Damian Marley ‘Works Hard’ on Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise

After the Grammy-Award winning artiste’s Set Up Shop compilation, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley is now putting in, ‘Hard Work’ according to his latest single which has been receiving tremendous reviews since its debut. The single is released from the Ghetto Youths International’s Set Up Shop Vol. 2 compilation scheduled to drop this fall.

The lyrical genius goes into business mode as the Hard Work single speaks to the necessary work needed in generating economic income. The wit laden piece reflects a plethora of metaphors and similes as the Marley shows the progression from setting up shop to achieving the goal through hard work.

Damian Marley has teamed up with Norwegian Cruise Lines for his first annual Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise. The five-day voyage sets sail on Monday, October 20 from Miami, Florida with scheduled stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica before its return on Saturday, October 25.

Passengers are in for a treat from some of the world’s top reggae artistes. Marley Brothers
Damian, Stephen and Julian will be joined by, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Busy Signal, Morgan Heritage, Etana, Cham and Ghetto Youths International’s Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley, Wayne Marshall, Christopher Ellis and Black-Am-I.

The live shows will be complimented by a number of parties featuring Jamaica’s finest selectors on the wheels of steel representing Stone Love, David Rodigan, Renaissance and Mighty Crown sound systems.

The Welcome To Jamrock Cruise boasts a dynamic and colourful display of reggae music to be portrayed in the artistes’ own unique styles and interpretations ranging from hardcore to soulful ballads and fusions of Electronic Dance Music.

The Affairs of the Heart singer is set to entertain with his newest single Hard Work along with hits from his massive and eclectic catalogue ranging from his first Album Mr. Marley released in 1996 to his latest project, Set Up Shop Vol. 2 compilation from his Ghetto Youths International label.