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

 

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.

DJ & SOUND SYSTEMS COLUMN / Out now SUMMER UP BEAT MIXTAPE by Dj Shyybah

 

Shyybah Fm is a Uk online commercial radio station dedicated to reggae, dancehall, afrobeat, hip-hop and more.  “Your hottest station on the net & your phone” because is possible to download the app for free on the different stores.

Dj Shyybah, the radio’s owner, originally from Jamaica and based in London from the 90s, proposes us a new mixtape called SUMMER UP BEAT – AFROBEAT DANCEHALL MIXTAPE – 2018 promoted in exclusive on Gege Vibes Magazine Soundcloud Channel. Dj Shyybah’s selection is interesting because it deepens into the different branches of the Jamaican and African culture and music.

Listen and free download the mixtape :

https://soundcloud.com/user-738180250/dj-shyybah-summer-up-beat-afrobeat-dancehall-mixtape-2018

DJ PELE PRESENTS “REGGAE BOUNCE FROM JAMAICA TO EUROPE MIXTAPE”

“Reggae Bounce from Jamaica to Europe” is the new mixtape mixed by Dj Pele (Young Pow Production) for Gege Vibes Magazine. Dj Pele is a popular selecter from Jamaica. He developed an early interest in music due to the vast array of Sound Systems which were booked for popular street dancers in the capital city Kingston, Sound Systems such as Killamanjaro, Stone Love, King Addies and more. These sound systems showed him from an early stage in his life what he really wanted to do : a disc jockey like no other, versatile as the best of them, one who could be a Selecta(selector) of good music and a microphone DJ as well, one that can hold the crowd maintaining their interests and energies. Moving to St. Ann he went to work for a sound system as sound engineer.

“My job was to ensure that the sound system was in order and that the boxes were ok. After continuous hard work and practice I was given the chance to play on this sound system’s turn table… I remember being so nervous that I broke the needle, which wasn’t a good start, we were still using records at that time. After this initial fail, I did a pretty good job of impressing the boss by my style of play, after that I guess I was on my way to becoming a sound system selector”, he told.

Dj Pele had spent almost 20 years developing and honing his skills as a disc jockey from the days of records, cassettes, CD’s, Virtual Dj to Serato. He got dubplates from a lot of artists : Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Sizzla, Romain Virgo and many more. He becomes known as one of the most rounded disc jockey of his generation in Jamaica being comfortable playing different genres of music, different spaces and different crowds.

“Having a diverse knowledge base of different types of music, it has allowed me to become very good at what I do : music is my passion. Being a DJ isn’t just a job to me but is a part of me, it is what makes me who I am, playing music for different people and seeing them having a great time gives me the greatest thrill, knowing that I can make them feel the way they do”, he claimed. As the great Bob Marley says “When music hits you feel no pain”. Enjoy the “Reggae Bounce from Jamaica to Europe Mixtape” with the music of Damian Marley, Chronixx, Popcaan, Tarrus Riley, Stephen Marley, Sizzla Kalonji, Christopher Ellis, iOctane, Swele, Press Kay, Assassin aka Agent Sasco and many more. Check the Dj Pele’s upcoming European Tour this summer as well powered by Gege Vibes.

SOUNDCLOUD LINK : https://soundcloud.com/user-738180250/reggae-bounce_mixtape-for-gege-vibes_by-dj-pele

DJ’S & PRODUCERS COLUMN / Gege Vibes introduces the young producer Frank Filograna from Salento, Italy (Germaica Digital)

Frank Filograna is an italian reggae dj & producer based on Salento (South Italy). He is 31 years old, but already active from about sixteen years.

At the beginning he was a component of ​”​Selection Master​”​, a very musically prolific crew​ from his area. Secondly, he founded ​his label “Filomuzik​”​ and soon after it becames part of the independent “Unemployment Records”, with witch he realizes many international collaborations publishing roots and dub vinyls.

​Actually he is a member of ​”​Veebrazion​”​, an historic local sound system​ from Salento and​ also responsible for programming and promoting musical events in his peninsula.

His style is a roots/dub with a touch of hip-hop and soul, influenced by the Jamaican and Uk scene.

Among his productions we can often find also remixes. In this field, when Frank is attracted by some specific world success, he tries to reinterpret them in very personal reggae-hiphop key.

This is also the case of “Rockstar”, whose melody of the refrain and the Post Malone flow have captured Frank so much to take him, together with Adriano Sure, to give life to a captivating version of this worldwide hit. Then, Frank Filograna started the collaboration with Fabi Benz, a popular dj’s and producer from Germany. This link up allowed Frank to meet the boss of Germaica Digital (the prestigious german label well known for the production of Riddims as Doctor Darling Riddim) that decided to produce it.

SOUNDCLOUD LINK : https://m.soundcloud.com/germaica/frank-filograna-vs-post-malone-rockstar-ft-21-savage-reggae-remix 

 

MASSIVE B EUROPEAN TOUR / Il 10 Marzo di nuovo in Italia con una data in Salento (Video Interview Credits)

Come ogni anno torna in Europa il prestigioso sound system Massive B con Bobby Konders e la sua crew direttamente da Brooklyn, New York City. Il 10 Marzo sono di nuovo in Italia con una data in Salento, ospiti ancora una volta di Adriatic Sound, etichetta e sound system reggae salentino composto da Papa Leu, Rankin Lele e Morello Selecta. Il party si terrà a Squinzano (Le) nella rinomata black venue dell’Istanbul Cafe’. (Guarda la video intervista per Gege Vibes Magazine)

Il Sound System Statunitense è noto a livello internazionale per le proprie selezioni reggae, dancehall e Hip hop. Sono delle figure rispettatissime sulla scena mondiale dagli anni ’80.
Ogni domenica sera Bobby Konders e Jabba conducono Fire Sunday sulle frequenze di Hot 97 la radio urban di New York, seguita dalla notte reggae rituale della grande mela al The Buzz Night Club dove ospitano settimanalmente i maggiori artisti reggae.

MASSIVE B costituiscono anche una delle maggiori e prolifiche etichette discografiche di musica reggae e dancehall del mondo. Con il suo stile inconfondibile ha rivoluzionato la musica reggae e hip hop fin dall’inizio degli anni novanta quando Bobby Konders, fondatore del sound, all’ epoca dj e produttore di house music, diede alla luce il remix di Ghetto Red Hot del dj toaster jamaicano Super Cat. Non dimentichiamo che il singolo fu prodotto a due mani insieme al giovanissimo Salaam Remi che incoraggiato da Bobby Konders divenne di li a poco uno dei maggiori produttori americani, spopolando le classifiche con cantanti del calibro di Ini Kamoze, Fugees, Nas, Amy Winehouse. I due, Salaam Remi e Bobby Konders, remixando verso la metà degli anni novanta canzoni di artisti jamaicani come Bounty Killer, Cutty Ranks, Junior Demus, diedero vita ad un vero e proprio genere musicale che conosciamo oggi come Ragga Hip Hop, facendo esplodere questi artisti nel mercato hip hop mondiale e allo stesso modo influenzando indelebilmente tutta la scena e il sound hip hop di quel periodo. Forte dell’ esperienza positiva avuta con i remix degli artisti jamaicani Massive B records stamperà periodicamente singoli e riddims dancehall con artisti famosi e meno noti che diventeranno presto la scuderie dell’ etichetta, nomi come King Kong, Chronicle, Half Pint, Nicodemus, e succesivamente Chezidek, Collie Budz, Bunjy Garling, Movado, Vybz Kartel.
Fin dall’ inizio Bobby Konders decidere di metter in piedi il proprio sound system, chiede e trova collaborazione in Jabba, un personaggio molto rispettato nell’ ambiente della dancehall di New York, carismatico ed energetico Jabba diventerà ben presto la voce ufficiale del sound. Si avvicineranno poi al sound Big Dog, Chudney Shotta, Xman.
Negli anni Bobby Konders consoliderà il rapporto artistico con il veterano della dancehall jamaicana degli anni 80’ Burro Banton, il toaster dall‘inconfondibile voce che registrerà la maggior parte delle sue produzioni per Massive B Records, diventando a tutti gli effetti il terzo padrino del sound oltre a Jabba e Bobby Konders. Sono innumerevoli infatti i singoli di Burro Banton di produzione Massive B che spopolano letteralmente in tutti i party dancehall.
Bobby Konders e Jabba si occupano costantemente di produzioni di dubplates, di nuovi e influenti riddims, sono i dj resident a HOT 97 la famosa radio urban di New York, dove ogni domenica sera dalle 9 alle 11 conducono On The Reggae Tip uno dei più longevi programmi reggae di tutti i tempi, e organizzano i più importanti eventi dancehall soca hip hop della grande mela.
Il concerto annuale On the Reggae Tip un format ideato da Massive B è stato una vera e propria piattaforma di lancio per l’ esplosione della musica dancehall e registra ogni anno il tutto esaurito.
Bobby and Jabba sono anche tra gli ospiti fissi del Best of The Best Concert di Miami. Organizzano il Massive B HOT 97 Truck, un camion pieno di altoparlanti con dj, mc, ospiti speciali e ballerine, il più seguito della Labour Day West Indian Parade la più grande sfilata in maschera del Nord America un evento con oltre 3 milioni persone che si tiene ogni anno per le vie di Brooklyn.
Massive B fa ballare ogni settimana New York City all’ evento reggae dancehall della domenica di Brooklyn, il famoso Fire Sunday al Buzz NightClub.
Negli anni sono state moltissime le collaborazioni di Massive B con TOK, SHAGGY SUPER CAT, BURRO BANTON, JOHNNY OSBOURNE, DEAN FRASER, ROOTS RADICS, BOUNTY KILLER, ELEPHANT MAN, tutti questi artisti devono tanto alla passione e all’amore per questa musica di Bobby Konders e Jabba, alla diffusione e alla promozione capillare dei dischi provenienti dal Massive B studio di Brooklyn. I 45 giri della label Massive B, distribuiti in tutto il mondo, sono sempre stati delle perle nella discografia di tutti i collezionisti di reggae music, capaci di accendere party a tutte le latitudini, dancehall, soca, roots, rub a dub, hip hop, con il suo sound inconfondibile e versatile l’etichetta di Brooklyn ha segnato la storia della black music degli ultimi 20 anni. I Massive B possono essere riconosciuti come una vera istituzione nella musica reggae.

Eugenia Conti