There’s just under five weeks to go until Jamaica’s annual ‘Sting’ stage show takes place. Whilst many argue that Gully Bop, Tarrus Riley and Capleton (left) stole last year’s show with lively sets and energetic performances, it came to an abrupt end when the clash segment didn’t go to plan. Specifically, trouble ignited between the entourages of Demarco and Masicka. Shortly after this, a physical altercation ensued between Kiprich and Blak Ryno who appeared onstage for a rematch of their clash which took place the previous year (see review here). Bottles were hurled, gunshots fired, stampedes occurred and many had to run for cover.
Sting’s increasingly amplified unrest has garnered a barrage of criticism. The views of online users such as ‘JA4LIFE’ and ‘simojo’ demonstrate this opposed school of thought (below):
Suddenly – as if Sting’s producers felt their ears burning – news filtered through local media outlets of a new concept for the event ‘From Then Til Now’. Their social media channels have since picked up pace, generating some response from their market audience.
The theme will focus on honouring the show’s major musical contributors. Over fifty acts will grace the stage and the producers will introduce shorter sets, replacing lengthy performance slots. Creative Director Dimario McDowell (left) expanded: “it’s not we alone who do this, so we want to take some time to highlight the ones that help us make Sting what it is today”. The word is that two internationally successful artists are to headline this year and further details will be released in due course. Although the full line-up is yet to be released which is unusual; in times gone by, literature would’ve been distributed by now, outlining who patrons can expect to see perform. Has Sting lost it’s swing?
Bonfire Night is just around the corner, an annual event which is celebrated primarily in the UK and takes place on the 5th November. This is a commemoration of the foiled Gunpowder plot of 1605 which was spurred on by long-standing religious conflict between the Protestants & Catholics. Bonfire Night is usually characterised by the burning of Fawkes effigies and elaborate firework displays.
There is some debate as to whether Fawkes was a freedom fighter or terrorist, however it is clear that he represented an oppressed minority who were treated badly and socially relegated because of their beliefs. Interestingly, he has gone on to become an international symbol of British Culture. Reggae was born from a similar climate of socio-political unrest before its rise to worldwide prominence and mainstream acceptance.
The music offers commentary on said matters, whilst teaching the importance of equality and steadfast tenacity. Taking its cue from Biblical teachings from the Old Testament – synonymous with Rastafarian doctrine – many reggae songs use the analogy of fire as a metaphor for protection against injustice and purification; a symbol of anger and passion, desire and destruction. Let’s look at a run-down of some of reggae’s best fiery nuggets: Continue reading
Over the last few months, the world has seen dancehall artist Gully Bop rise to prominence and he is rarely spotted without his manager and girlfriend/fiancée Shauna Chin by his side. They have certainly been a hot topic; with a 25 year age gap between them and the seemingly sudden onset of a marriage proposal, many have questioned the legitimacy of their relationship, calling the young lady’s intentions into question.
“I have been called a money-grabber and that I was just trying to get fame, but that’s not the case. I love him. We have both been through a lot so we blend well…it’s pure love” – Chin
Whilst patrons far and wide have long been aware of Gully Bop’s musical ability…who knew that Ms. Chin was an artist too? The pair, who have been dubbed ‘Dancehall’s newest power couple‘, released a collaboration last week ‘Over and Over’ – a cover version of the 2007 hit by Jamaican Pop-Reggae artist Tami Chynn.
The couple’s rendition has been racking up a few thousand hits on Youtube, mostly receiving favourable comments; one user commented “this girl is a real singer..listen her notes…dancehall females have competition” and another added “Gully bop can’t flop again. Chin can sing”. You be the judge – check out the track below :).
It has been widely reported that Jamaican reggae artist/actor Bob Andy, aged 71, was robbed of $5000US and his phone last night in Mona Heights in St Andrew. Apparently, he was stabbed when he tried to resist though is thought to be in a stable condition.
Andy kick-started his career as one of the founding members of The Paragons, which was later joined by the late Sir John Holt, before going solo. He has since gone on to spawn many hits which have been enjoyed by patrons all over the world.
A rebellious subculture, known as ‘rude bwoys’, has been synonymous with dancehall since the late 1970s. However, there is a more recent, darker trend forming amongst some of the genre’s young, emergent male artists.
Actor/Singer Jimmy Cliff as his notorious character “Ivan” (from ‘The Harder They Come’) in the classic “rude bwoy” stance
From dangerous cosmetic procedures such as skin bleaching to the tattooing and piercing of their face, these individuals are resorting to extreme tactics in order to ‘stand out’ and attain the all-important ‘buss’.
The music industry, as a whole, is male dominated and reggae/dancehall is no exception. With that said, there have always been some tenacious, talented women who literally make their voices heard, break records and make them. Not only are these achievements of musical value, but also hold social and cultural significance too. Here are just five of the lionesses who led 2014, in no particular order.