Inner Circle gives you an in-depth look at their European Leg of their One Love Reggae Revolution Tour this month ! Inner Circle wants you to feel the vibe of this wonderful experience ! They traveled all around the world, and now its time to let the media, the fans, and everyone else into their world ! ONE LOVE!
Afro-Caribbean Festival in Bredene Belgium… It was a HUGE SUCCESS ! We brought the Roots Rock Reggae to a crowd of over 7,000 people& headlined the festival!
The International Reggae All Stars are brothers from other countries.
Despite having members from different parts of Jamaica, Trinidad, Venezuela and Ghana, IRAS (pronounced Eye-Rahz, as in ‘Rasta’) considers the Minneapolis reggae scene to be its home. Though the band formed in the early 1990s, all of its members migrated to Minneapolis in time for the Twin Cities’ emerging pop, R&B and reggae communities in the mid-1980s, when dancehall and traditional reggae acts like Shangoya and Ipso Facto were established on the scene.
“There’s always been a reggae scene and support system,” drummer Brian Alexis said of the metro area. “The Twin Cities music scene has always been very vibrant underneath. I don’t care what type of music you’re playing — it’s always been there.”
The International Reggae All Stars began as a one-off collaboration between Alexis, percussionist Tony Paul and singer Lynval Jackson, among a wider group of area reggae musicians in 1991. Read more
“I wanted to be Bob Marley since the first time I saw a picture of him and I still do; what I mean by that is conscious music needs to have a spotlight on it and he did that bigger than anyone who ever lived,” explained Jacob Hemphill, lead singer/songwriter of the Washington D.C. based American reggae band SOJA, in a late July interview with Billboard following their performance at Manhattan’s Pier 97, as part of the Michael Franti/Spearhead led Soulshine tour.
“I’m not mad that all I hear on the radio are songs about strippers and planes to Ibiza,” Hemphill added, “I just want conscious music to have a place at the table, too.”
If contemporary reggae with a forthright social conscience has a chance of impacting mainstream radio, SOJA is likely the band to accomplish that feat. On August 12th, the eight-piece outfit released their sixth album, Amid The Noise and Haste (ATO Records), and scored their highest chart debut position to date, No. 20 on the Billboard 200, selling 12,213 copies according to Nielsen Soundscan, slightly less than debut week sales for their 2012 set Strength to Survive. Like its predecessor, Amid The Noise and Haste premiered at No. 1 on the Reggae Albums chart. Hemphill’s impassioned delivery of topical lyrics include a compelling rebuke of the American system’s negligence towards soldiers returning home from war (“Promises and Pills” featuring Alfred The MC of the DC go-go group Mambo Sauce), supported by the band’s multilayered sonic montage, firmly anchored in reggae’s drum-and-bass-driven pulse. The subtly polished enhancements courtesy of Jamaica born producer Dwayne ‘Supa Dups’ Chin-Quee (whose credits includes Bruno Mars and Rihanna) facilitates the band’s broader aspirations.
Bands are often criticized for selling out and going mainstream, but we are trying to change the mainstream so that some artists played there have substance,” says SOJA’s manager Elliott Harrington, whose relationship with SOJA goes back to their high school days in Arlington, VA.
SOJA currently has four singles in rotation on radio stations in Hawaii (a major reggae hub that boasts the sole reggae-formatted station in the Clear Channel cluster, KDNN-FM Island 98-5) including “Your Song” (featuring Damian Marley) and “I Believe” (featuring Michael Franti and Nahko). “I Believe” is also in rotation at Triple A and Alternative formats throughout the U.S. and gaining traction on Hot AC stations.
For many of us, Jimmy Cliff’s 1973 song “The Harder They Come” was the first reggae piece we’d heard.
Reggae grew out of two earlier styles of Jamaican music, ska and rocksteady. And these were both preceded by the Jamaican folk/pop music of the 1950s, a style called mento. Here’s AlerthBedasse’s “Rough Rider” from 1955.
While Jamaican musicians were playing Mento, though, they were also listening to R&B music from New Orleans and Memphis. Folks like Louis Jordan, Fats Domino and Rosco Gordon. Here’s Gordon’s from 1952, with a song called “No More Doggin’.”
So what the Jamaicans were picking up on in songs like this Rosco Gordon track were the offbeats. So if the song is going 1-2-3-4, what they were hearing was 1-and-2-and-3-and-4. And that’s important because that offbeat would go on to become the basis of Jamaican ska music.
And ska held the seed of reggae. Accenting the offbeat and playing songs at a fairly brisk tempo made ska a wildly popular dance music. This is The Wailers with “Simmer Down” from 1963.
The next step in the evolution towards reggae was a form of music called rocksteady, which was basically ska slowed down. This is Alston Ellis with “Rocksteady” from 1966.
This sounds a lot like reggae. What’s the difference between this rocksteady that we’re listening to and the reggae we’re going to hear in a moment?
The sonic differences between rocksteady and reggae are small. But while the music may not have changed much, the world was changing around the music. Jamaica became independent in 1962, there were a lot of economic struggles related to that. And there was a religious aspect to reggae; most of the reggae artists were Rastafarians. And also at the same time, the black identity movement was happening.
So what started out as dance music wound up as protest music you can dance to.