By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston Observer
WITH over 40 years in the music under their belt, Inner Circle has just about seen and done it all. Recently, the band launched their latest, and arguably, most important, initiative.
Their dissatisfication with contemporary Jamaican music inspired the Saving The Reggae Music campaign.
Bass player and founding member Ian Lewis warns that “unless proper steps are taken, then we are going to lose the best thing that we ever had.”
Lewis says current reggae is too influenced by American hip hop. In light of this trend, the group is pushing their latest song, This Is Reggae Music, a cover of the Zap Pow band’s hit song from the early 1970s.
According to Lewis, the song is “very appropriate” to get the band’s message across.
“We think it is a key song to express to the world our sentiments,” he said, adding that an accompanying video will cement the quartet’s message.
Lewis believes Jamaican youth have lost touch with their culture, and foregners have noticed this.
“In America alone, there are over 400 white reggae bands, they are the ones enjoying nine months out of the year tours,” said Lewis.
Recently, Billboard Magazine did a feature on the rise of American bands like Rebelution and Groundation, who have made a name through constant touring.
Lewis hopes the Inner Circle mission will go viral and influence real change among Jamaican youth to get back to basics as far as reggae is concerned.
Formed in the early 1970s, Inner Circle retains three of its core. Lewis’ older brother, guitarist Roger, is another founding member while keyboardist Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey has been in the band for over 35 years.
Led by singer Jacob Miller, the band had a string of hit songs such as Tenement Yard and Everything is Great. Miller died in 1980, putting the brakes on Inner Circle’s career.
They made a remarkable comeback in 1993 with the big hit songs Sweat (A La La La La Long) and Bad Boys. They won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album the next year.
Read more: Jamaica Observer
FREE SHOW August 19, 2012 :: NY SummerStage: Inner Circle / Israel Vibration / The Mighty Diamonds / DJ Carter Van Pelt
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence with this day of Jamaican reggae music.
To anyone who’s familiar with Inner Circle, the GRAMMY® winning band’s 20-year-plus history in reggae has had a long string of successes. Inner Circle’s special brand of pop-oriented Jamaican beats and energy-filled live performances have allowed the band to transcend the traditional reggae niche and enjoy widespread crossover appeal. From the launch of their first album in 1978 entitled, Everything Is Great, to the launch of the album, Bad Boys which became an international hit featuring the title track as well as the dance party favorite “Sweat,” Inner Circle’s brand of unforgettable hooks and island beats has kept the band a mainstay in the reggae world.
The story of reggae group Israel Vibration’s success starts out with their humble beginnings as children battling polio in a Jamaican rehabilitation center. Cecil Spence (Skelly) and Lascelle Bulgin (Wiss) bonded through music while in the clinic and quickly became friends. As the duo got older, they found the faith of Rastafari and created songs which expressed their spiritual beliefs. Since then, the duo’s music has been spellbinding audiences for over two decades with their mix of traditional roots reggae and deeply spiritual messages such as the critically acclaimed album, On The Rock and its follow-up Free To Move, which reached number one on the CMJ New World charts.
The Mighty Diamonds are the most consistent and long-running reggae trio in Jamaican musical history. For over forty years the group has been entertaining and educating the world with their conscious lyrics, soulful harmonies and polished performances that led them to become known as the reggae group with the Motown sound. Their debut album Right Time, has become a reggae classic while the single, “Pass the Kutchie” from the album Changes, became an international hit and has since been covered by reggae group, Musical Youth whose version “Pass the Dutchie” also garnered fame globally. With over forty albums released, the group remains a favorite of the dance hall crowd, roots and progressive audiences.
Head DJ of Eastern Standard Time on WKCR 89.9 FM in New York City, DJ Carter Van Pelt is a true student of Jamaican music of every era, from ska to dancehall. He’ll celebrate Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary with far-ranging selections covering every era. His WKCR program has earned a worldwide reputation for bringing artists to the studio for historic interviews, augmented with deep cuts, all played from vinyl. Van Pelt is the founder/producer of the popular Coney Island Reggae Soundsystem Series, held each summer on the iconic Coney Island Boardwalk. He also hosts a program on the Internet station Radio Lily.