Interview with Courtney ‘Bam’ Diedrick – Grammy Drummer touring the World with Damian Marley

(Cover Photo credit: @radiantsun9)

Courtney Diedrick, also known as “Bamdrumz”, is the official drummer for Damian Marley. We meet him in O2 Academy Leeds (Uk) during Stony Hill European Tour 2018. Straight from Jamaica, and exactly from Brown’s Town (Saint Ann), “Bam” informs us about the legendary drummers who inspired him during his journey: Carlton Barrett from Bob Marley & The Wailers, Sly from Sly and Robbie, Squidly Cole from Stephen Marley, Deleon White also known as Jubba from Dubtonic Kru and many more. He feels good to inspire the new generations today, especially in his community, because he believes this is the meaning of playing music.

Secondly, he underlines the attachment with his family and to the brothers John, Rayon and Sean. All his siblings are musicians and they helped in molding his career prior to furthering his studies at Edna Manley College of Music in Kingston. His older brother John met Damian in Montego Bay and later introduced Sean aka “Young Pow” for the audition as keyboardplayer, who surprisingly saw that drummers were also being auditioned, so he passed on the news to “Bam”. His history began much earlier when he started playing in church at age of 16, later on in Hotels, teaching music in high school and now touring the world with “Jr Gong”. He still remembers his level of anxiety when he went to audition to play and he could see a long line of drummers from around the world waiting for their turn. Despite the insecurities of the moment, Courtney “did his thing” and reached the goal. He discussed the importance of never forgetting that positive vibration that musicians should feel when playing their instruments. He tries to treat every opportunity he gets to play with passion as if it was his first time playing the drums: “Playing with Damian is a great feeling that will never leave me because the moment you lose that feeling, you lose everything”. 

Then we talk about the most beautiful memories of his tours in the world: “We have a lot of highlights and many other stuffs that have happened on the road, but to visit the Mother Land Africa was a huge deal for me, it was always my dream even before I started touring.”. “Bam” tells us how much his origins have influenced even his style of playing. Reggae is a music full of feelings that reminds us of the past, for example slavery: “You can feel emotions in reggae – he continued – and my playing has a lot to do with my roots and my culture”.

Courtney is the Grammy Drummer of this year with “Stony Hill” Album. Nicely, he gives thanks to all the fans for it sharing with them his happiness about this result:“I rememeber all the nights that we spent in the studio with my crew without getting any sleep and now this great joy finally pays off”.

  (Photo Credit: @itseltonbrown)

He didn’t work only with Damian Marley but with several international artists as Mick Jagger, Nas, Kieth Richards, Eric Clapton, Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Playing for Change P.F.C., I-Taweh, Jah Cure and many more. Playing for Change is a project between street musicians and mainstream ones from all over the World. This group is the perfect example to show people we are more alike than different and it doesn’t matter our culture or the color of our skin. Reggae music is a universal language.

One of Courtney’s future projects is to give more light to the jamaican drummers featuring them on a documentary. Another project is about his productions that are in a pause right now, but will be out soon.

Passion, talent, determination, attitude, gratitude and humbleness are just some of the features that makes Diedrick so popular and respected in the actual worldwide musical scene. We are waiting to hear his riddims and to appreciate him in the role of producer as well.

Eugenia Conti

 

ROTOTOM SUNSPLASH 2018 DAY 01 / Stars of the main stage : Julian Marley, Cocoa Tea Ft Koffee and Ben Harper

The first night of “Rototom Sunsplash 2018 – 25 years walking together” was explosive. The day one of the biggest European Reggae Festival started last evening with high-level performances. On the main stage there were Julian Marley from Jamaica, Cocoa Team ft Koffee from Jamaica and Ben Harper from Usa. Julian Marley & the Uprising gave us a great show as usual. “Juju” conquered the spectators reinterpreting some Bob Marley’s hits like One Love and Exodus. The brand new album of Julian Marley will be out very soon. Then there was the turn of Cocoa Tea that smashed up the stage. His energy was incredible for the whole performance and his special guest Koffee was the real revelation for the Rototom’s crowd. Koffee is only 18 years old, but her talent and intelligence is impressive. She was defining herself blessed to have the opportunity to share the stage with a veteran name of the Jamaican music as her mentor Cocoa Tea. Last star on the main stage was Ben Harper. Ben leaded the massive during the show with his historical band the Innocent Criminals and the sound of his own guitar. After it everyone moved in the dancehall area to enjoy Spice’s performance and the New Level Bcn Crew, sound system from Spain. Spice confirmed yesterday in Benicasim her title of “Reina of Dancehall” and we must give a big up to her official dancer Rebel as well. Tonight we’re attending legendary names on the main stage: Groundation (Usa), Sly & Robbie, Yellow Man, Johnny Osbourne, Bitty McLean (Jamaica/Uk) and “dulcis in fundo” Jimmy Cliff (Jamaica).

Article Eugenia Conti

Photo Gallery Noctis

“HOT WORLD”, new official videoclip for I-Octane’s Reggae Sumfest experience

The featuring of this week on our web magazine is dedicated to a Jamaican hype reggae artist: I-Octane. After the release, in march 2018, of his solo album “Love and life”, he decided to self-produce a single called “Hot World” for his own label Conquer The Globe Productions.

There will be a day when I just want to ease back and watch the fruits of my labour. This label is already doing that with this song. Production is a very important aspect of the music, and when you sit back and bask in the fact that you created this art from scratch, both vocally and musically, the feeling is great,he said to other Jamaican newspapers.

I-Octane is satisfied about the positive feedbacks about this song. He believes that people can easily identify to his song thanks to the conveied message: work hard until your dreams come true, even if it happens later than expected.

The track is already getting good exposure in Jamaica. After his experience as a performer on the main stage of Reggae Sumfest 2018, the biggest Reggae Festival of the World located in Montego Bay, he launched the official videoclip of “Hot World”  that summarizes his best moments during this week-end. I-Octane wants to share with his fans all the happiness that he is feeling thanks to their recognition.

Eugenia Conti

 

Richie Stephens & the Ska Nation Band to perform at the National Stadium in Kingston

Kingston, JA: Singer Richie Stephens and his 17-member Ska Nation Band will headline this year’s Grand Gala, the premier entertainment event for the celebration of Jamaica’s 56th Independence at the National Stadium in Kingston on August 6, 2018.

The entertainment event will be attended by a number of Jamaican dignitaries, including Governor General Sir Patrick Allen; Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange; Speaker of the House Pearnel Charles; Chief Justice Zaila McCalla; Jamaica Defence Force, Chief of Staff Major General Rocky Meade; Police Commissioner George Quallo; and Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams.

“To be invited to perform at Grand Gala for the people of Jamaica ranks as one of our biggest and most important assignments since the group was formed two years ago” Stephens disclosed.

The ‘Life Your Life” singer, who has travelled the world and performed as a brand Ambassador for the Jamaica Tourist Board, (JTB) spoke about the significance of this assignment.

“Ska is big internationally, especially in places like Japan, parts of the USA and Italy but we don’t celebrate it in Jamaica anymore. This is an opportunity to educate the youths of Jamaica about Ska and let them know that this beautiful music originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and was the precursor to rocksteady, reggae and dancehall music. In fact Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff, all started out playing ska as teenagers. Ska is the mother of reggae. Without Ska there would be no reggae” he explained.

Stephens said his passion for ska was developed as a youngster.

“My dad was the person who introduced me to Ska. He was one of the baddest ska dancers in town,” he confessed.

Ska Nation Band member Papa Leu, who is from Salento, Italy spoke about performing at Grand Gala.

“This assignment has historical and cultural significance” Leu confessed.

“We in Italy love Ska music. We are elated that the government of Jamaica has given us this platform to showcase music that was originally created in Jamaica. It is my dream that this performance set the stage for some sort of cultural exchange between Italy and Jamaica” Leu reasoned.

Rankin Lele of Ska Nation and Adriatic Sound in Italy spoke about the opportunity to perform in Jamaica again, having performed at Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay last summer.

“Performing at Sumfest last year was a life changing experience. In everything we have done since we always represent Jamaica. We feel we are unofficial ambassadors of this beautiful county that gave us this great music Ska” he noted.

In 2016, Stephens & The Ska Nation Band released their debut studio album titled “Internationally.” “Root of the Music” – the title track and lead single from their second full-length album will be released in August. The lyrics bear testament to the many genres Jamaica has gifted the world, while the musical arrangement seamlessly blends these styles together.

OFFICIAL VIDEOCLIP OUT TODAY / Chi Ching Ching – Rope (Dutty Rock Prod.)

The official videoclip of Rope, the new Chi Ching Ching’s Single included in his debut album Turning Tables, that will be released on the 21st September and produced by Dutty Rock Productions, is online today on Youtube.

We already well known the tune  that has become viral among dancers in every dancehall party for the routine. We really enjoyed this shooting with Chi Ching Ching in Far West Version. Obviously, in the video you can’t miss special guests as Sean Paul and many popular dancehall Queens and dancehall Kings from Jamaica like Famous Dancer, Kimiko Versatile, Paul Energy Thompson and more, plus dancers from various countries. A year ago, Chi Ching Ching told to our microphones that he was living a different light in the life. This light seems to be even brighter at this moment in his career. And the wait for his first album is increasing more and more.

Eugenia Conti

Rototom History / I 25 anni del Festival reggae più grande di Europa riassunti in un video ufficiale

Dal 16 al 22 agosto 2018 si terrà la venticinquesima edizione del Rototom Sunsplash a Benicassim, Spagna. Per celebrare il quarto di secolo la produzione ha pensato bene di mandare online un video riassuntivo di cosa è accaduto dal 1993 ad oggi. Correva l’anno 1994 quando si teneva il primo Rototom Sunsplash considerato al contempo il primo raduno reggae nazionale in Italia. Un two days Festival con ospite di eccezione il tanto amato Buju Banton che potremo finalmente rivedere in tour a partire da Dicembre 2018. Dai 1000 spettatori del ’94 si passa ai 3000 del 1995. Bisogna aspettare il ’98 perchè il Festival si sposti in una delle sue location storiche ovvero il Camping Girasole di Lignano Sabbiadoro. Gli spettatori cominciano già a salire ad un numero di 20000 ad edizione. Nel 2000 il Rototom si sposta ad Osoppo ed è il vero trampolino di lancio per il Festival che da evento nazionale si erige ad evento internazionale. Nel Parco di Rivellino per la precisione, la durata del Festival si estende ad 8-10 giorni e la venue’s capacity si allarga a 250000 persone. Un vero e proprio salto di qualità. Nascono tutte le attività satelliti al Festival come il Foro Social, dedicato a trattare problemi relativi alla società odierna; la Reggae University, uno spazio in cui vengono impartite vere e proprie lezioni concernenti il mondo della reggae music; Vivir la Energia, dedicato alla meditazione ed allo joga, Magico Gioco, per i più piccoli ed African Village, un’area dove la cultura africana viene riprodotta in tutte le sue forme, dalla cucina alle percussioni, ai tipici hair-styles. Un’altra importante iniziativa promossa sempre dalla Produzione è l’European Reggae Contest (svolto dal 2002 al 2014) tra Francia, Germania, Uk, Italia Spagna, Svizzera, Danimarca, Portogallo ed altre nazioni. Nel 2010, il Rototom si sposta in Spagna per dare vita ad un evento ancora più di stampo mondiale e creare quindi un macro Festival. Nasce il Latin Contest dedicato a paesi del Sud America come Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and more. Iniziano anche i Launch Parties di presentazione all’evento che si estendono in Europa ed in America in città come New York, Londra, Praga, Roma, Bogotà, Marsiglia, Ibiza, Berlino ed altre. A Benicassim il Festival assume una valenza familiare ottenendo il titolo di Family Friend Festival. Ovviamente, anche in Spagna si continuano a mantenere i valori guida del Festival, ovvero la difesa della pace e dei diritti umani. Lo slogan dopo 25 anni dice ancora “Un altro mondo è possibile”.

Eugenia Conti