Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Top 10 Must-See Spots in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Jamaica, has the most attractions in the western Caribbean, as well as some equally enticing night spots. Ocho Rios is now a choice getaway spot for vacationers.

Here are the top 10 must-see spots in Ocho Rios

10. Ocean 11

Owned by businessman Manley Bowen, this ocean-front property, comprising bar, restaurant and coffee museum, is a must-see. Ideally located beside the Urban Development Corporation pier, Ocean 11 is a favourite for cruise passengers and hotel visitors. And now that it boasts Latin night on Thursdays and its signature event, karaoke night on Tuesdays, Ocean 11 is a major part of the town's tourism offerings.

9. White River Valley

Surrounded by lush green vegetation and an ambience to die for, White River Valley is your ideal getaway spot, especially for couples yearning for some quality time. If you are all about picnics, river tubing and horseback riding, then look no further.

8. Fisherman's Beach

Fisherman's Beach is Ocho Rios' version of Helshire Beach in St. Catherine or Little Ochi in St. Elizabeth. Bluntly put, no other place in Ocho Rios offers quality authentic Jamaican seafood.

Whether you are a lobster, crab, fish, conch or sea-cat lover, Fisherman's Beach is definitely the place to go. Nestled neatly between the Island Village Shopping Centre and the Reynolds' Pier, it has come a long way in its aesthetic appeal to visitors.

7. John Crows

If you are into enjoying your meal at a streetside café while listening to a steady flow of local music then this is definitely the place to be. Clean, exciting and blessed with a top class atmosphere, John Crows is now a major hot spot. Like Fisherman's Beach, it is one of those 'new kids on the block' that should be around for a very long time.

6. Ruins at the Falls

Now here is a quality place that is hard to ignore. When you talk about location, ambience and natural beauty, it's not difficult to see why this establishment is considered one of the best that Ocho Rios has to offer. It continues to be the first choice reception spot for newlyweds.
5. Prospect Plantation

Wherever you find camels, ostriches, horses and enough wild life to make you believe you are somewhere in the tropics, then that has to be a must-see. No, it's not east Asia or Africa; it's Prospect Plantation in Ocho Rios, where nature in all its splendour awaits. While this place has not done much by way of local advertising, visitors will be pleasantly surprised at how wonderful a tour of this property can be. It is fun, it is exciting and an experience that visitors will not soon forget.

4. Dunn's River Falls

Still one of the most popular attractions in the Caribbean, Dunn's River Falls is a favourite for locals and tourists.

3. Margaritaville

The real happening spot in Ocho Rios is Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Owned by two of the brightest business minds in the country, Brian Jardim and Ian Dear, there is no doubt as to the establishment that commands the bulk of the nightlife in Ocho Rios. Always very innovative, Jardim and Dear have created a top class signature attraction that has served the resort town very well.

2. Hard Rock Café

While the jury is still out on this new establishment, it should be able to outclass its competitors in terms of quality and international appeal. I suspect the best is yet to come from this internationally renowned restaurant and bar and if anything, it has raised the bar in terms of quality attractions. If you haven't been to Hard Rock Café yet, then hurry, it's worth going miles to see.

1. Dolphin Cove

This is without a doubt the number one attraction in Ocho Rios today. And with the new expansion on the verge of being completed, it's difficult to see how anyone can compete with Dolphin Cove.

Other Places to See:

Spring Gardens Seafood Bar and Grill, Bi Bi Bips, Evita's, Mama Marley's, Jerkin at Taj, and Coconuts.

Written by Garwin Davis, of the Gleaner (Jamaica)

See you in Jamaica

Monday, January 29, 2007

U-Roy - The Very First Dancehall Artiste

U-Roy (born Ewart Beckford September 21, 1942) is a Jamaican musician also known as The Originator and Hugh Roy. He was born in Jones Town, Jamaica.

U-Roy's musical career began in 1961 when he began DJing at various sound systems, eventually working with King Tubby. Tubby was then experimenting with his equipment, in the process of inventing dub music. With U-Roy as his most prominent DJ, King Tubby's new sound became extraordinarily popular and U-Roy became a Jamaican celebrity. He recorded Dynamic Fashion Way, his first recording, in 1969 for Keith Hudson and then worked with almost every producer of the island: Lee Perry, Peter Tosh, Bunny Lee, Phil Pratt, Sonia Pottinger, Rupie Edwards, Alvin Ranglin and Lloyd Daley.

In 1970, Jamaican singer John Holt became enamoured of U-Roy's technique. Working with Duke Reid, U-Roy's fame grew through a series of singles, including Wake the Town and "Wear You to the Ball".

U-Roy's success continued throughout the 1970s, most famously with the album Dread in a Babylon with its iconic picture of him disappearing in a cloud of cannabis smoke while holding an enormous pipe, and a song called Chalice in the Palace, fantasising about smoking with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace. He had become one of the island's biggest stars by the early 1980s, also garnering significant acclaim in the United Kingdom. His latest album is 2000's Serious Matter.

Visit Jamaica and ask about U-Roy

See you in Jamaica.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Patra - Dancehall Artiste

Patra is the stage name taken by Dorothy Smith, a dance music and reggae singer born on January 22, 1972 in Kingston, Jamaica. She first made an impression on the US charts as a featured singer on Shabba Ranks's song Family Affair, which hit #84 on the Hot 100 in 1994.

Her first solo recording, Worker Man, peaked at #53 later that year and hit #1 on the US Dance chart. Her second single, "Romantic Call" (#55 US, #21 US Dance), was a collaboration with rapper Yo-Yo. Her debut album, "Queen of The Pack" (#1 on the Reggae albums chart) also featured the huge hit single, "Think (About It)" (#21 US Rap, #89 US Hip Hop). Her sophomore album, "Scent Of Attraction," sold slightly less but - hitting #2 on the Reggae albums chart - was still a success. The biggest hit was a cover of Grace Jones's "Pull Up To The Bumper" (#60 US) and the sensual title track, featuring R&B musician Aaron Hall. (#82 US) She took a lengthy haitus from the music industry in 1996 but resurfaced nearly ten years later with her third album, "The Great Escape."

See you in Jamaica.

Spragga Benz - Dancehall Artiste

Spragga Benz (born Carlton Grant in Kingston, Jamaica on May 30, 1969), is one of Jamaica's most famous Deejays. He began his career around 1991. Once known to his friends as Spaghetti (tall and slim) but later shortened to Spragga. The Benz in his name comes from the sound system for which he used to work for, L.a. Benz, and it is through this that he found his way into the music business at a Dubplate recording session with Buju Banton. The famed elder DJ was slated to do 4 tracks for L.a. Benz but only voiced two and suggested that Spragga do the other two. Since he was new to recording, he freestlyed a couple of lines of what would then beome Love Mi Gun, a popular tune.

He was the boyfriend of female rapper Foxy Brown.

See you in Jamaica.

Perry Henzell, Movie Director and Writer

Perry Henzell (March 7, 1936, Annotto Bay, St. Mary's, Jamaica to November 30, 2006, Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth's, Jamaica) was most famous for being the director of the first Jamaican feature film, The Harder They Come (1972).

Henzell, whose ancestors included Huguenot glassblowers and an old English family who had made their fortune growing sugar on Antigua, grew up on the Caymanas sugar cane estate near Kingston.

He was sent to a boarding school in the United Kingdom at fourteen and later attended McGill University in 1953 and 1954. He then dropped out of this school, choosing instead to hitchhike around Europe. He eventually got work as a stagehand at the BBC.

He returned to Jamaica in the 1950s, where he directed advertisements for some years until he began work on The Harder They Come.

Henzell also shot some footage for what was planned as his next film, No Place Like Home, in Harder's aftermath, but he went broke before he could finish the film. Fed up by this, and the lack of finance for further production, he went on to become a writer, publishing his first novel, Power Game, in 1982. Both were meant to complete a planned trilogy of films centring on Ivanhoe Martin.

The footage for No Place Like Home was lost. Years later, he came across editing tapes in a lab in New York. Just to have a sense of completion, he worked on the project. When he showed it to a few friends, their response was enthusiastic. He eventually was able to retrieve the original footage. No Place Like Home was screened for the public at the 31st annual Toronto International Film Festival in September 2006 at the Cumberland Theatre; it was sold out. Film leads Carl Bradshaw (The Harder They Come, Smile Orange, Countryman) and Susan O'Meara attended and answered audience questions with Henzell after the screening.

The same film is scheduled to be screened at the Flashpoint Film Festival at the beginning of December 2006 in Negril.

He died of cancer on November 30, 2006, aged 70, and is survived by his three children: Justine, Toni-Ann and Jason.

See you in Jamaica.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Marcia Griffiths - Reggae Artiste

Marcia Llyneth Griffiths (born on November 23, 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica) also called "Queen of Reggae" is Jamaica's most famous female singer. Griffith started her career in 1964. Her song "Electric Boogie" made the Electric Slide, a line dance, an international dance craze.

From 1970 to 1974 she worked together with Bob Andy in the group Bob and Marcia, on the Harry J label. Between 1974 and 1981 she was a member of the I-Threes, a background group which supported Bob Marley & the Wailers.

See you in Jamaica.

Diana King - Reggae Artiste (Contemporary)

Diana King (born November 8, 1970 in Spanish Town, Jamaica) is a Reggae (contemporary), R&B, and pop singer.

After making an appearance on the Notorious B.I.G.'s 1994 song "Respect" on his album 'Ready to Die', she scored a recording contract with Sony Music. King's first single "Shy Guy", from the album Tougher Than Love, was a hit, reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and being certified gold by the RIAA in the U.S.; the single also hit number 2 in the UK, as well as reaching No.1 on the Euro Hot 100 chart going on to sell nearly three million singles worldwide. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the film Bad Boys.

In 1997, her album Think Like a Girl entered Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart at No.1. She also reached's Hot 100's Top 40 with her cover version of the song "I Say a Little Prayer", which was featured in the soundtrack to the film My Best Friend's Wedding. She was also featured on the 1997 soundtrack to the documentary When We Were Kings, where she performed a duet of the same title with Brian McKnight. In 1998 she joined Celine Dion and Brownstone on stage to perform their hit "Treat Her Like a Lady" at the Essence Awards, in which they received a standing ovation. That year she also appeared on Soul Train, The RuPaul Show, and VIBE to promote Think Like a Girl.

By the new millennium, King was in negotiations with Madonna's, Maverick Records label. In 2002 King released her third album Respect, it became a hit overseas, but was never released in the U.S., despite its first single "Summer Breezin'" receiving BET and VH1 video and radio airplay.

See you in Jamaica.

Nadine Sutherland - Reggae Artiste (Contemporary)

Nadine Sutherland's career history fits none of the stereotypes commonly attributed to Jamaican popular music stars. Her records, like those of former mentor Marcia Griffiths, have won her a reputation with reggae (and to some extent, club) audiences from across the board. From roots to ragga, from ballads to r&b, Nadine's sung in all manner of styles with such vivacity (and at times, soul-baring emotional power), it's no wonder she's been widely acclaimed as the best female Jamaican singer of her generation.

She has been blessed with a great melodic voice, beautiful looks, songwriting skills, and a captivating stage presence. This has made Nadine Sutherland an International star. There's nothing, repeat nothing, half-hearted about a Nadine Sutherland tune. When she sings of a broken relationship - as she has done frequently - it's as if her world is falling apart right there in the studio.

Then there's the verve and enthusiasm she brings to any bashment hit, and especially when she works alongside top Jamaican dancehall stars such as Buju Banton, Cobra, Terror Fabulous and Spragga Benz. It was Terror Fabulous who'd had the good fortune to dee-jay on Nadine's 'Action' for Mad House label, as the record became a worldwide, reggae dancehall anthem on its release in 1993; Fabulous having been brought in by producer Dave Kelly at the last minute. Both artistes signed to US major label East-West shortly afterwards. In Kingston, Jamaica, she recorded for Bobby Digital or Fatis Burrell, whose Xterminator label released her Nadine album in 1997. It was an excellent set too. The best female Jamaican vocal album of the nineties by some distance, and showcasing a flair for songwriting that eclipses anything heard from either her precedessors or contemporaries thus far.

See you in Jamaica.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bounty Killer - Dancehall Artiste

Bounty Killer (born Rodney Basil Price June 12, 1972 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall deejay, known for his hard work in combating poverty and helping new artists.

The last son in a family of nine, he grew up in the rough part of Kingston, Jamaica, in a ghetto named Trenchtown. His mother stayed at home while his father went out to earn a living.

He started performing under the name Bounty Hunter but one day, while walking in one of the rough neighbourhoods of Kingston, he was caught in crossfire and hit by a bullet. He spent several days in the hospital, and it was during this time that he decided to change his name to Bounty Killer.

During the early 1990s, Bounty Killer hung around the studio of producer King Jammy in Kingston – encouraged by the moderate success of fellow friend and deejay Boom Dandymite - and finally Bounty Killer got the chance to voice for King Jammy and one of the first tunes to come out from Bounty Killer was “Book, Book, Book”.

Since 1993 Bounty Killer became a household name in Jamaica – due to his well received performance at the annual hardcore festival Sting held in the days after Christmas. His rough lyrics and unique flow. Bounty Killer has tried to protect his individuality and this has caused many problems both on and off stage with various singers.

During the 1990s Bounty Killer has voiced for producers and labels in Jamaica – and has put out songs of redemption like: “Defend the Poor,” “Mama,” “Book, Book, Book,” “Babylon System” and “Down in the Ghetto.” In 1996 the Jamaican government banned his hit song ”Fed Up.” The 90s was also the decade in which Bounty Killer became known in USA and in Europe and ended up with several combinations with big artists like The Fugees, Wyclef Jean, Mobb Deep, Capone-N-Noreaga as well as No Doubt and AZ in 2005.

While the 1990’s was a decade of many albums released, the new millennium seems to be the decade of many singles released. Still working with top producers in Jamaica and abroad, Bounty Killer insists on releasing singles almost on a daily basis. He is without any doubt one of the most productive artists to come out of Jamaica, and he recently put out a best of album and is planning a brand new studio album as of December 2006.

See you in Jamaica.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Buju Banton - Dancehall/Reggae Artiste

Buju Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie 1972) is a Jamaican dancehall, ragga, and reggae singer & producer.


Buju Banton was borhubby children which means Breadfruit. The name is ironic in light of Mark Myrie's slim frame, but it is, nevertheless, the nickname his mother gave him as a child. "Banton" is a Jamaican word referring to someone with a superior attitude and a gift with speech, but it was also the name of a local artist Burro Banton that Buju admired as a child. It was Burro's rough gravelly vocals that Buju emulated and ultimately made his own. Buju's mother was a higgler, or street vendor while his father worked as a labourer at a tile factory. He was one of fifteen children born into a family which was directly descended from the Maroons, a group of escaped slaves who proudly fought off the British colonialists.

As a youngster, Buju would often watch his favourite artists perform at outdoor shows and local dancehalls. At the tender age of 13 he picked up the microphone for himself and began toasting under the monicker of "Gargamel". His first single, "The Ruler" was released not long afterwards in 1987 under the production of Robert French at Penthouse Studios.

Batty Rider is featured on the Reggae radio station K-JAH Radio West in popular videogame Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, released in October 2004.


In 1991, Buju joined Donovan Germain's Penthouse Label and began a fruitful partnership with producer Dave Kelly and is on also on his Madhouse Records label . Buju is one of the most popular musicians in Jamaican history, having burst onto the charts there suddenly in 1992, with "Bogle" and "Love Me Browning/Love Black Woman", both massive hits in Jamaica. Controversy erupted over Love Me Browning which spoke of Banton's preference for light-skinned women: "Mi love mi car mi love mi bike mi love mi money and ting, but most of all mi love mi browning." Some accused Banton of promoting a colonialist attitude and denigrating the beauty of black women. In response, he released "Black Women" which spoke of his love for dark-skinned beauties: "Mi nuh Stop cry, fi all black woman, respect all the girls dem with dark complexion." 1992 was an explosive year for Buju as he broke the great Bob Marley's record for the greatest number of number one singles in a year. Beginning with "Man fi Dead", Buju's gruff voice dominated the Jamaican airwaves for the duration of the year. Banton's debut album, Mr. Mention, includes his greatest hits from that year. 1992 also saw a good deal of controversy concerning the song "Boom Bye Bye" and its homophobic content, concerning which see below.

Banton released the hard-hitting Voice of Jamaica in 1993. The album included a number of conscious tracks. These tracks included "Deportees" a song which criticized those Jamaicans who went abroad but never sent money home, a remix of Little Roy's "Tribal War", a sharp condemnation of political violence, and "Willy, Don't Be Silly" which promoted condom use. Some dancehall fans felt that Banton could have exploded onto the American scene if he hadn`t met with such opposition from the homosexual community based on his older work. Nevertheless he became a household name in reggae music circles.

Late in 1993, Buju was affected by the death of his friend Garnet Silk. This was compounded by the violent deaths of a number of dancehall artists that year. Buju embraced Rastafarianism and started to grow dreadlocks. His performances and musical releases took on a more spiritual tone, and he issued calls renouncing violence. One of such calls can be heard on the classic Murderer later released on his biggest international seller Till Shiloh.

Till Shiloh (1995) was a very influential album, using a studio band instead of synthesized music, and marking a slight shift away from dancehall towards roots reggae for Banton. Buju claimed to have adopted Rastafarianism and his new album reflected his new beliefs. Til Shiloh successfully blended conscious lyrics with a hard-hitting dancehall vibe. The album included a single called "Murderer" which condemned the violence in Jamaican dancehall music, inspired by the murders of dancehall musicians Panhead and Dirtsman. The song inspired several clubs to stop playing songs with excessively violent subject matter. Untold Stories revealed an entirely different Buju Banton from the one that had stormed to dancehall stardom. It is regarded by many as some of his best work, and is a staple in the Banton performance repertoire. Reminiscient in mood and delivery to Redemption Song by Bob Marley, Untold Stories won Buju Banton many favorable comparisons to the late singer. This conscious album had a large impact on dancehall music and showed the hunger the dancehall massive had for conscious lyrics. Dancehall music did not move away from slack and violent lyrics, but the album did pave the way for a greater spirituality within the music. In the wake of Buju`s transformation to Rastafarianism, many artists, such as Capleton, converted to the faith and started to denounce violence.

Inna Heights (1997) substantially increased Banton's international audience as Buju explored his singing ability and recorded a number of roots-tinged tracks. Banton covered the Silvertones' "Destiny" and recorded songs with such artists as Beres Hammond and the legendary Toots Hibbert. The album was well-received but had distribution problems. Also, some fans were disappointed, having hoped for another ground-breaking album like "Til Shiloh." Still, Buju's experimentation and soaring vocals impressed many fans and this album remains a highly regarded work.

In 1998, Buju met the punk band Rancid and recorded three tracks with them: "Misty Days", "Hooligans" and "Life Won't Wait." The latter became the title track of Rancid's 1999 album, Life Won't Wait. Subsequently, Buju signed with Rancid's eclectic ANTI-, a subsidiary of Epitaph and released Unchained Spirit in 2000. The album showcases the most diverse aspects of Buju Banton. It carried little of the roots feel heard on Til Shiloh and also virtually none of the hardcore driving sound that had brought him to public acclaim early in his career. It was a departure that many fans felt uncomfortable with. By now, however, he had been enshrined in the minds of reggae lovers as one of the most notable artists of his time, and seemed to have earned the right to some artistic freedom.

Several singles followed in the start of the new decade, mostly without the trademark spitfire delivery typical of dancehall, but displaying Banton`s talent for a mellower more introspective approach. This soon changed as he became aware of his fading status in dancehall. In March 2003 he released Friends for Life, which featured more sharply political songs, including "Mr. Nine", an anti-gun song that further verified his status as one of reggae's most socially aware artists. The album has a strong political message for the African Diaspora and features excerpts from a speech made by Marcus Garvey. Paid Not Played is included and shows his gradual return to the themes more popular in dancehall. The album also featured some hip-hop influence with the inclusion of Fat Joe.

Too Bad was released in September of 2006. The pure dancehall album shows a clear return to basics. Banton amassed a number of edgy chart-toppers in the recent past and includes them almost as a reminder of the stuff that made him who he is. The most danceable Banton album since Mr. Mention, Too Bad features an unapologetic Buju over hard driving dancehall beats exuding the full essence of dancehall. The title track Too Bad was one in a tidal wave of releases that reestablished Buju as a prominent hit-maker on the hardcore scene. Buju Banton is currently on a promotional tour for the album.

The album Rasta Got Soul, rumored to be a more introspective use of his talent was widely anticipated even prior to the release of Too Bad. The tune Magic City has been an underground hit for Banton, and displays a very musically mature artist. Expectations for the release of this work run high in the reggae community. The album will be released in 2007/2008.

See you in Jamaica.

Dennis Emanuel Brown - Reggae Artiste

Dennis Emanuel Brown (February 1, 1957 – July 1, 1999) was a Jamaican reggae singer. He was one of the pioneer in the lovers rock style of reggae, and with 78 albums to his name was one of the most prolific names in the business. Honoured with the title "Crown Prince of Reggae" by the great Bob Marley, Brown was regarded by many as reggae's greatest singer after Marley.

Music Career

Brown's first recording was "Lips of Wine" recorded for Derrick Harriott (The Musical Chariot), but this was not released initially. He then recorded for the legendary Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and, and Dodd released Brown's first single, "No Man is an Island". Dennis Brown recorded two albums for Dodd, No Man is an Island and If I Follow my Heart, the title track of which was penned by another Jamaican singing legend Alton Ellis. At about this time, Brown recorded further material for other producers such as Lloyd Daley the Matador ("Baby Don't Do It" and "Things in Life") and recorded more material for Derrick Hariott which eventually saw release as the Super Reggae and Soul Hits album. He also worked for Earl Hayles and the Charmaine label (named after his Hayle's wife) early in his career. In 1977 he had a Top 10 hit in the United Kingdom. This led to his contract with A&M Records, and starting his own label, DEB records. DEB records produced a number of hits, including many by Junior Delgado.

His first smash hit was "Money In My Pocket" on the Joe Gibbs label, and by the late 1970s, working for various producers, Brown had recorded and performed chart toppers such as "Sitting & Watching", "Wolves and Leopards", "Here I Come" & "Revolution", many featuring Sly and Robbie as the rhythm section.

As the dancehall era of the 1980s arrived, "Emmanuel" maintained his relevance within Jamaican music, frequently recording with King Jammy and Gussie Clark. By the time of his death in 1999, he had recorded over seventy five albums. Brown was such a prolific recording artist, with many labels and producers. His peak years are generally considered to be the 1970s, the compilation album 'The Prime of Dennis Brown' is a good showcase of his mid-70's period. The albums 'Visions' and 'Wolf and Leopard' are also classics and essential in the collections of fans of 1970s reggae. However, the 1980s showed Brown's enduring appeal, notably with "Sitting and Watching", "The Promised Land" and "Revolution", songs that are the equal of his 70's golden years.

Revolution is featured on the Reggae radio station K-JAH Radio West in popular videogame Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, released in October 2004.


According to some sources, Brown became addicted to crack cocaine, which affected his career and may have lead to his premature death. Jamaican Prime Minister P. J. Patterson and opposition leader Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labour Party both spoke at Brown's funeral, which was held on July 17, 1999 in Kingston, Jamaica. The service, which lasted for three hours, also featured live performances by Maxi Priest, Shaggy, and five of Brown's sons. Brown was then buried at Kingston's National Heroes Park.

See you in Jamaica.

Junior Reid - Reggae/Dancehall Artiste

Junior Reid is a Jamaican reggae/dance hall artist that is best known for the song "One Blood" as well as being the man that replaced Michael Rose as lead vocalist with Black Uhuru. His vocals have been used in the hip hop scene, which first debut as a sample in the "One Blood Under The W" track from the "The W" album by the Wu-Tang Clan which was released in November 21, 2000. He has recently collaborated with West Coast hip hop rapper The Game on the song "It's Okay (One Blood)". The song samples Junior Reid's 1990's single "One Blood". Junior got his initial inspiration from a tough upbringing in West Kingston's Waterhouse district, notorious for being one of the most dangerous places in Jamaica. It was there in the politically turbulent mid-'70's that he recorded his first-ever single "Know Myself" at the age of 14 for the late Hugh Mundell, released in the U.K. by Greensleeves. He then went on to form his own band, the Voice of Progress, and after a local hit with "Mini-Bus Driver" the group scored local success with an album of the same name. He was then commissioned by the great Sugar Minott to record a number of tunes on Minott's Youth Promotion Label, enjoying considerable popularity with tracks such as "Human Nature," "A1 Lover," and the evergreen "See How Me Black See How Me Shine," an uplifting and proud statement which became an anthem to the ghetto youth whom Junior increasingly championed. Junior moved on transferring his talents to King Jammy's stAudio on St. Lucia Road where his fast-growing success rose yet another notch. "Boom Shacka Lacka" was his first UK hit and led to another exceptional album. After a number of fine singles - which included "Youthman," "Bank Clerk," "Sufferation," "Give Thanks and Praises" and "Higgler Move" - his chance of a wider audience came with the offer of replacing Michael Rose in Black Uhuru. Always a strong follower of Black Uhuru, and with a similar vocal style, Junior slipped into Rose's shoes with ease and the collaboration on his first Uhuru-period album "Brutal" was well received by all. Two years and two albums later Junior's interest to produce material for himself drove him back into the solo arena and back to King Jammy's Studio where he recorded and released this title in the early '90s.

See you in Jamaica.

Ronald Moody - Sculptor

Ronald Moody (1900-1984) was a Jamaican born sculptor, specialising in wood carvings.

Moody was born in 1900 in Kingston, Jamaica into a well-off professional family, moving to London in 1923 to study dentistry at Kings College. In London he became inspired by the British Museum's collection of non-Western art and decided to become a sculptor. Early experiments with clay led Moody to teach himself how to carve. He produced his first carved figure in oak. By the late 1930s Moody had accumulated an impressive collection of work and had a solo show in Paris, the success of the show encouraged him to move to Paris (where he lived until 1940). In 1938 twelve major sculptures were sent to the Harmon Foundation, USA to be included in exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Dallas Museum of Art.

Among his most famous works from this period was his great female head, Midonz (1937). Moody's Paris success followed him to London and from 1950 until the early 60s regular London exhibitions brought him a growing presence on the British art scene.

See you in Jamaica.

Maroghini - Reggae Artiste

Maroghini, whose name means optical illusion, is a multi-talented Jamaican reggae artist who has played and taught his profession in over 40 countries in the world, including the Carribbean, North, South and Central America, Europe, Asia, The Middle East and Africa. He is a premier percussionist, and has been initiated a master of the great art of African and Indian drumming in several Ancient rites.

Maroghini has a number of LPs, CDs, and Videos to his credit. Most of these are signed to major recording companies such as EMI Toshiba and a few independent labels.

Early life

Maroghini is Jamaican but his father, Modupe, was born in Nigeria, West Africa. Maroghini speaks German, French, English, and Jamaicanese fluently and can entertain light conversation in West African Wolof. He grew up in a family of musicians. His debut began at an early age, having received his first drum on his third birthday. It was his mother, a prominent music educator who taught him the rudiments of music. As a youngster he started learning the rhythms and instruments of the different afro-jamaican art forms. He became profoundly immersed in the spiritual aspect of drumming. Years later he studied pharmacology at the University Of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica but switched to studying at the Edna Manley College Of The Visual And Performing Arts in Kingston, after deciding that music and not chemotherapy was the panacea for the world. Through studies at the college he got a profound practical training with a theoretical foundation. He left the school with a strong desire for more. As his website states, "It was the starting point of a unique odyssey in search of the roots of the African Art of drumming, which eventually led him to the honoured corridors of spiritual house Africa where he underwent profound training in the esoteric art of drumming." The study of local rhythms there also introduced Maroghini profoundly to West African history. He also pursued studies in Latin percussion and Indian drumming in Europe. He spent years studying Farukhabad gharana tablas under masters from the far east.


Maroghini is a former lecturer at the Folkwang University (Folkwang Hochscule) in Essen, Germany, and a percussionist for reggae legend Jimmy Cliff.

Maroghini has performed with a number of well known groups and leading figures in the music industry among which include movie star Eddie Murphy, Indian Tabla master Trilok Gurtu, Henri Guedon's Percussion Orchestra, Dom um Romao of "Weather Report", Carter Collins formerly of Stevie Wonder, Mack Goldsbury also formerly of Stevie Wonder, Papa Curvin formerly of "Boney M", Dudu Tucci, Jon Otis, Matthias Frey, Albert Mangelsdorf, Wolfgang Dauner, Peter Giger Percussion Orchestra, Family of Percussion, Nana Vasconcelos, Mustafa Tettey Ade, Heinner Goebbels and Tom Nicholas.

Maroghini has also done numerous studio recordings as percussionist for a long list of musicians a few of which include Ziggy Marley, Robby Shakespear of Sly and Robby fame, Sizzla, Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage, Richard Brownie of singer Shaggy's band and countless other Jamaican and international musicians. He has opened for groups such as Julio Iglesias, Boys 2 Men, Ice T, Sean Paul and a host of others.

Maroghini is well known for his extensive facial hair. His beard, according to some sources, hangs almost to the ground, but is usally braided tight and tucked inside his shirt.

See you in Jamaica.

Jacob Miller - Reggae Artiste

Jacob Miller (May 4, 1952 – March 23, 1980) was a Jamaican reggae artist.

Jacob was featured in the film Rockers, alongside many other musicians including Gregory Isaacs, Big Youth and Burning Spear. In the movie, he plays the singer of a hotel houseband, in reality Inner Circle, who are joined on drums by the films hero, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace and play a wicked live version of Tenement Yard.

Miller had close links with Bob Marley, who was known to promote him as 'My favourite singer'. One of Jacob Millers biggest Jamaican hits 'Tired Fe Lick Weed' betrayed his political leanings as can be seen in his performance of the song in the film 'Heartland Reggae', where his open enjoyment of a 'ganja spliff' on stage was intended to be seen as a militant statement.

Millers most potent works are often attributed to the 'rockers' singles of the mid 1970's with the band Inner Circle, with tracks like 'Tenement yard', 'Tired fe Lick Weed' and 'Stand Firm' among them. However the track which has brought him the most lasting recognition is the rockers standard 'King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown' with Augustus Pablo. Other notable tracks with Augustus Pablo include 'Keep on Knocking, 'False Rasta' and 'Who Say Jah No Dread', all produced by King Tubby.

Jacob Miller had a unique vocal style, using staccato motifs in counter play with the rhythm section, a perfect example of which is 'Tired Fe Lick Weed'. Miller was an intelligent and original artist, and recognised his own potential to lead, releasing a re-cut of his own track 'Tenement Yard' with the title 'To Much Imitator', a straight out attack on those trying to copy his style.

With an obvious energy, Jacob Miller was a magnetic presence on stage, and his appearance at the 'One Love Peace Concert' in Jamaica, April 1978 was typical 'Killer' Miller. Mesmerising and full of life, Jacob Miller invited members of the Jamaican political coalition, the 'Peace Committee' on to the stage for a rendition of 'Peace Treaty Special', conducting crowd, band, press and guests all with his customary zeal.

Some of Millers later work has been seen by reggae purists to be too much of an attempt at finding a commercial avenue for his music, with his yearning for success becoming evident on the track, 'I've Learned My Lesson Well', from the Island Records album 'Everything Is Great' from 1979.

This album, from musical point of view, is almost totally unconnected to his earlier 'roots' work, and exhibits the ability of the Inner Circle band to adapt to different genres, using strong disco themes here. It is with some irony then, that Jacob Millers lasting contribution to the reggae genre will be forever focused on those 'rockers' tracks, which are, at least culturally, perhaps more important than reaching 'The top 100'.

Miller who died very young in a car accident, cutting abruptly short a promising career that had already taken young Jacob from 'yard' (Jamaica) to an international record deal with Island Records.

Miller had planned to perform along with Bob Marley and Inner Circle in Brasil and then to tour with them; this tour was cancelled after Miller's untimely death.

See you in Jamaica.

Big Youth - Reggae Artiste

Manley Augustus Buchanan (born April 19, 1949, Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica), better known as Big Youth (sometimes called Jah Youth), is a Jamaican DJ, mostly known for his work during the 1970s. Influenced by U-Roy, he started singing with Lord Tippertone's sound system in 1970. His first LP Chi Chi Run was produced by Prince Buster in 1971.

The name of the band Sonic Youth is in part a tribute to Big Youth.

"Yes, me come inna de music as Rasta, me a de original rastaman who enter it." –Big Youth, Italy, 2001

See you in Jamaica.

Lady Saw - Dancehall Artiste

Lady Saw is a Jamaican singer, known as "the first Lady of Dancehall". She is the first female deejay to win a Grammy (which she did with No Doubt for "Underneath It All" — Best Performance by a Duo or Group with a Vocal), to go triple platinum with the same single, to go gold (with Vitamin C for "Smile"), and to headline shows outside her native Jamaica. She was born Marion Hall in 1972 in a village in the parish of St Mary. At only 15, she took the name Lady Saw after famous Jamaican Deejay Tenor Saw, whose style she is said to emulate. She was soon signed to the Jamaican grassroots label VP Records, now a powerhouse, and debuted in 1994 with Lover Girl. At that time, she guested on the Shabba Ranks track, "Want It Tonight," and her star began to rise.

Her first big successes came at the beginning of the 1990s, when gun talk ruled the dancehalls of West Kingston. Recording for the local Diamond label, she injected a heavy dose of sexually explicit lyrics, known as "slackness", into the music, but from her perspective as a female. The results were early hits like "If Him Lef" and "Stab Out de Meat", which scandalized and enthralled audiences. Indeed, her stage shows usually included picking men from the audience (or sometimes her own band members) to pull on stage and to simulate sex acts with.

However, she suffered for her outspoken ways; she was banned from many events due to her lyrics. Even though male artists were performing similar lyrics and stage shows, it was Lady Saw that became a pariah for it and endured censorship and even outright banning in more than a few Jamaican parishes. She continued to be outspoken though, and often addressed unfaithful lovers, female degradation, and safe sex in the wake of the emergence of AIDS ("Condom"). Subsequent hits like "No Long Talking", "Sycamore Tree", and "Find a Good Man" cemented her position as number one female deejay regardless of what her critics would say.

In 2003, Lady Saw received her greatest mainstream honor, bringing home a Grammy for her 2003 collaboration with No Doubt for "Underneath It All", a slow-burning ballad that used her unique style to great effect. (She has also collaborated with Beenie Man on tracks such as "Healing" and "Bossman" (the latter also with Sean Paul), Cecile, perhaps the Princess of Dancehall, on "Loser", and long-time friend and peer, Tanya Stephens on "Bruck Dem Up". State-side, she has shared the mic with Missy Elliott, Eve, Lil' Kim, and Foxy Brown.) In late 2004, she released Striptease after a 6 year hiatus and presented her most balanced and well-written album yet, with "I've Got Your Man" gaining significant video and airplay in the US.

See you
in Jamaica.

Jamaican Jerk Spice

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats (traditionally pork, but now including chicken, fish, beef and even tofu) are dry-rubbed with a fiery spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. This jerk seasoning typically relies upon two items: allspice (Jamaican pepper, Jamaican Pimento) and Scotch Bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). Cloves, cinnamon, cianna, todd, nutmeg, thyme, garlic and other ingredients are often added. Traditionally, the meat is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earth covered pit over smoldering green pimento wood (that is, the wood of the allspice tree). A grill over an open fire will suffice for a modern rendition, and pre-made jerk seasoning mixes are available.

This method of cooking dates back to the Carib-Arawak Indians who inhabited Jamaica. After capturing an animal and thoroughly cleaning and gutting it, the Indians placed it in a deep pit lined with stones and covered with green wood, which, when burned, would smoke heavily and add to the flavor. But first, the carcass was "jerked" with a sharp object to make holes, which were stuffed with a variety of locally available spices.

Modern Day

Jerking has evolved over time from pit fires to old oil barrel halves as the container of choice. In about the 1960's, Jamaican entrepreneurs sought to recreate the smoked pit flavor, and relatively quickly came up with a solution. The solution was to cut oil barrels lengthwise and attach hinges, drilling several ventilation holes for the smoke. These barrels are often heated by layers of charcoal, which some say lends itself to making the burnt smokey taste. One often encounters street-side "jerk stands" in Jamaica and nearby Cayman Islands, where, often for a very reasonable price, one can purchase smoked meat. This is often chicken, however, pork is sometimes cooked. Often as a side, Hard Dough or Jamaican fried dumpling is served. The starches in the breads lend themselves to counteract the powerful spice of the jerk.

It is often debated around jerk stands about which chef's secret recipe of spices and herbs makes the best Jerk seasoning. Each chef makes his or hers different, and it is well worth the time to sample each chef at least once.

Visit Jamaica and taste Jamaican Jerk spice for yourself.

See you in Jamaica.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Jamaica owns Reggae and Dancehall

Jamaica is the only country in the world that owns two genres of music, undisputed. Reggae and Dancehall have been Jamaica's brilliant contributions to the world of music. It is also arguable that Reggae and/or Dancehall influenced Rap, Reggaeton , and other genres.


Reggae is a music genre developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s.

The term reggae is sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, including ska, rocksteady and dub. The term is more specifically used to indicate a particular style that originated after the development of rocksteady. In this sense, reggae includes two sub-genres: roots reggae (the original reggae) and dancehall reggae, which originated in the late 1970s. Reggae is founded upon a rhythm style characterized by regular chops on the back beat, known as the skank. The beat is generally slower than that found in reggae's precursors, ska and rocksteady. Reggae is often associated with the Rastafari movement, which influenced many prominent reggae musicians in the 1970s and 1980s. However, reggae songs lyrics also deal with many other subjects, including love, sexuality and broad social commentary.


Dancehall is a type of Jamaican popular music which developed around 1979, with exponents such as Yellowman, Super Cat, and Buju Banton. It is also known by some as "Bashment".

The style is characterized by a deejay singing and rapping or toasting over raw and danceable music riddims. The rhythm in dancehall is much faster than in reggae, sometimes with drum machines replacing acoustic sets . In the early years of dancehall, some found its lyrics crude and bawdy ("slack"), particularly because of its sexual tones, singing style, and homophobia, though it became very popular among youths in Jamaica. Like its reggae predecessor it eventually made inroads onto the world music scene.

See You in Jamaica

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cecil Baugh - The ‘Master Potter’

Cecil Baugh – the ‘Master Potter’ was born in Bangor Ridge, Portland in about 1909 and attended the Bangor Ridge Primary School.

During his adolescent years he was given the task to take food for his brother at Long Mountain Road (now Mountain View Avenue.

It was here that he was first exposed to the ancient art of pottery. Young Cecil Baugh watched the women who made and fired the yabbah bowls which were produced by a technique which survived from the days of slavery itself, and was of African origin.

His first efforts were limited to ‘dollyhouse’ items including little clay tables and chairs, which brought him earnings of three shillings a week on average. He soon ‘graduated’into making flower pots and yabbahs. He increased his earnings but more importantly, fuelled the fires of his ambition. After living for a while in Richmond, St. Ann with his brother who had by then become a tradesman and for a while in Montego Bay, Cecil Baugh returned to Long Mountain to make pots. His efforts in other parts of the island were not as successful as he would have liked. The right type of clay was important and that from the Liguanea Plains was ideal.

He was about 25 years old in 1933 when an incident occurred bringing a new dimension to his work and changing the face of ceramics in this country. One night while firing his day’s work he noticed fire escaping through the top of his rude kiln. Not wanting the temperature to drop he quickly grabbed the nearest thing he could find to cover it. It was a sheet of copper. As the copper became increasingly hot, he saw a flame coming from it. It was not orange-red as he was used to, but turquoise. As it licked at the night Cecil Baugh thought it was the prettiest colour he had ever seen, and he thought about capturing that colour in his work. Having no formal education in chemistry he quite often did not get the colours he tried for, but whatever came out was new to Jamaicans and he sold all he could make.

In 1941, in response to a newspaper advertisement Cecil Baugh enlisted in the Royal Engineers of the British Army. He kept in close touch with his art, but because of World War II, work in ceramics was at a minimum. He claimed that in 1942 his Division was sent to Cairo and it was there that he saw the Persian Blue, a colour quite similar to what he had got using copper oxide and glass in Jamaica. He was greatly encouraged.

Cecil wanted to know everything there was to know about ceramics to enhance his teaching skills upon returning to Jamaica. When he returned to Jamaica in 1946 he was not satisfied with the extent of his knowledge. He wanted to return to England to study under the most respected figure in ceramics in the Western world, Bernard Leach, however, no scholarships were available and when contacted, Leach said he had no time for beginners.

Cecil remained undaunted, went to England to study with another ceramist, and would not rest until he managed to secure a one-year term under the guidance of Bernard Leach. It was the beginning of a friendship, which lasted throughout the years. He returned to Jamaica in 1949 and in 1950 mounted his first one-man exhibition. Soon after with Albert Huie, Linden Leslie, Jerry Isaacs and Edna Manley formed the Jamaica School of Art. Cecil Baugh was the last to leave the institution when he retired in 1975.

Strength and simplicity – these two features above all epitomize the feel of Cecil Baugh’s pottery. And for him, this skill was not easily acquired as part of a planned art course, but was rather built throughout the years by ceaseless experimenting with materials available to him and by determinedly seeking to learn from those more skilled than himself in order to improve his work. He gave nearly half a century of his life to pottery – at first discovering and improving his own skills and later passing these skills on to others. Ceramics in Jamaica now have their own unique form, authentically Jamaican, evolved by Jamaicans for Jamaicans.

To have helped to achieve this status for this ancient craft is a life’s work to be proud of. And in more ways than one has Cecil Baugh been the Bernard Leach of Jamaican pottery, for he is also an artist acclaimed both here and abroad for the simplicity, beauty and craftsmanship essential in all of his excellent work.

See you in Jamaica.

Eric Anthony Abrahams - Great Jamaican

Eric Anthony AbrahamsEric Anthony Abrahams was born on May 5, 1940 to Eric and Lucille Abrahams (deceased). He attended Jamaica College then proceeded to the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI), where he studied Economics, History and English. In 1961 he graduated from UWI as a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford University. He has two children; Eric Jason and Tara Elizabeth.

During his studies at UWI, Eric presided as the Chairman of the Students' Union and President of the Debating Society. He also represented the University Students' Conference in Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Abrahams, while at Oxford University participated in several social extracurricular activities and became the second West Indian to become President of the Oxford Union.

Eric has had a successful career. He was:

  • The first black TV reporter at BBC,

  • The youngest Jamaican to have been appointed Director of Tourism - In 1970, one month before his thirtieth birthday,

  • Director of Air Jamaica,

  • Member of Parliament, Eastern Portland, Minister of Tourism - JLP,

  • Minister of Information - JLP,

  • Member of the Jamaica Government Air Policy Committee,

  • Member of the Public Passenger Transport Board,

  • Chairman of the Jamaica Hotel School (1974-1976),

  • Founding Executive Director of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (1970-1974),

  • Member of the Jamaica Senate (1977-78),

  • Director Multi-National Tourism Programme of the Organization of American States (OAS) - 1978-79.

  • Director of Cicatur (Barbados) - 1978-80,

  • Contributing Journalist to the Jamaica Herald (1989-90).

Eric Anthony Abrahams is a successful Jamaican who during his spare time enjoys squash, swimming and tennis.

See you in Jamaica.