Interview with Stonebwoy: “Here is someone who has incredible pride, but a very little ego. That’s the key.” (Rototom Sunsplash 2019)

Gege Vibes met the Ghanaian super-star Stonebwoy for a video interview in Rototom Sunsplash 2019, Spain, after his first performance on the Lion Stage of the Festival. The talented afro-pop, dancehall and reggae singer, winner of several awards such us BET AWARDS (2015), Ghana Music Awards (2015), Ghana Music Awards UK (2016), Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (2017), All Africa Music Awards (2018) and many more, announced to our microphones the release of his fourth album in the early 2020 and the musical collaboration with Rihanna produced by Dj Khaled. The career of the Artist is actually on the rise. He is also well known because of the special combinations with famous names of the international jamaican scene such as I-Octane, Beenie Man, Mavado, Kabaka Pyramid and Chi Ching Ching. As he revealed, we are waiting for an upcoming feature with the reggae legend Buju Banton too. We talked then about the connections between jamaican and african music as two sides of the same coin. Ultimately, we focused the attention about his philanthropic projects and his independent label.

(Watch the video below)

Interviewer: Eugenia Conti Shooting: Andrew Lives Editing: P. Raw

Gege Vibes interviews Sevana / From Jamaica to the main stage of Rototom Sunsplash 2019

Gege Vibes team met Sevana during Rototom Sunsplash 2019 after her show on the main stage of the Festival. Sevana has grown a lot in the last year recording some hits like “Nobody’s man”, sharing the stage with some great singers like Protoje, Chronixx and Romain Virgo, traveling all over the world. “It’s a blessing”, she said about her career and she kept repeating it during our interview. Sevana, alongside with Koffee and Lila Ike, is certainly the new wave of this young women’s movement from Jamaica. She also explained how important it is for females in the same business to support each other and not fight each other.

Interviewer: Eugenia Conti Shooting: Andrew Lives Editing: Drummstudio Audio e video owned by: Gege Vibes Magazine Special thanks to: Rototom Radio

Interview with Charly Black: “God is in control and I’m ready to release my first album for Universal Usa” (Berlin, 2019)

Gege Vibes met Charly Black, together with his Team Unstoppable, during “Happy Zone” – Europe Tour 2019 – and precisely in the German Capital, Berlin, after his performance live at Timeless Thursdays in Bi Nuu Club.

Charly showed us the moves he did from the beginning of his musical journey until now. His hit “Gyal you a Party Animal” , established diamond single, became viral and gave him a different highlight all over the World in his dancehall career. After it the artist got the chance to travel a lot and learn from his overseas tours, always proud to represent for his original community, Trelawny. His debut album will be released in few weeks and it is produced by Universal Records Usa.

Interviewer: Eugenia Conti Shooting: Andrew Lives Editing: P. Raw Special Thanks: Timeless Sound

CASALABATE MUSIC FESTIVAL / Il 4 agosto la sedicesima edizione sul palco al cospetto di Torre Specchiolla (Salento)

Casalabate Music Festival 2019 è la notte dei Massive B, festival salentino che giunge quest’anno alla 16esima edizione con gli ospiti speciali da New York City, il famoso dj e producer Bobby Konders e la sua crew, che si svolge nella località balneare di Casalabate.

Il Festival è esponenzialmente cresciuto negli anni, acquistando di edizione in edizione un pubblico di estimatori e appassionati sempre più folto anche perché, fin dalla sua nascita, ha avuto come “padrino” d’eccezione Sir David Rodigan, leggendario Disk Jockey e giornalista, ospite sempre attesissimo nelle edizioni precedenti, che ha portato alla ribalta la marina salentina con il suo slogan “Casalabataaaa accendino!!!”, diventato poi un vero e proprio must.

Per l’edizione 2019 sul palco al cospetto di Torre Specchiolla, nella suggestiva cornice sul lungomare di Casalabate, si alterneranno alcuni tra i migliori esponenti della scena Reggae nazionale tra cui Rankin Lele e Papa Leu di Adriatic Sound con Morello Selecta, Petra de Sule con Striunizzu dal Salento, Bad Side Massive, Zakalicious, Fireburn, MoreLove, StartaFyah e, per la prima volta sul palco di Casalabate, Brusco una delle figure più importanti della scena reggae italiana con le sue super hits, conosciute e amate da tutti.

Altro ospite d’onore, direttamente dalla città di Portmore, Jamaica, il recording artist Bay-C, noto membro della formazione jamaicana T.O.K. che, dopo aver creato hit di grande successo con il suo gruppo come “Gyals yuh ah lead” e “Eagles Cry”, è attualmente in tour in Europa per il suo progetto solista “Straight outta Portmore” supportato dal potente sound system Yard Beat.

A tenere le redini della serata ci saranno Bobby Konders e Lando Hype dei Massive B, celebre Sound System di New York fin dagli anni ‘80, popolari a livello globale per aver prodotto artisti del calibro di Elephant Man, Burro Banton, Vybz Kartel e molti altri del genere reggae, dancehall e hip hop.

l Festival è diventato anche un vero e proprio progetto di riqualificazione e valorizzazione urbana, integrando nel proprio programma musicale e di intrattenimento anche CAD Casalabate Art District (già avvenuto dal 24 al 28 luglio), manifestazione di street art, che ha visto artisti locali e internazionali riunirsi a Casalabate sotto la direzione artistica di 167/B Street per ridipingere diversi muri della marina. L’evento ha ospitato nella serata finale il live dell’artista jamaicana Tanya Stephens, da sempre impegnata nel sociale e nell’attivismo a favore della propria comunità.

Eugenia Conti

Africa brings its mosaic of cultures on the African Village of Rototom Sunsplash 2019

We all know the big respect that Rototom Sunsplash Festival always showed for Africa creating an program of the African Village that offers music, reflection, learning and dance. African Village represents the more rebellious side of the reggae world, a revolutionary genre that has always been united to Africa and the African cause. This link once again make itself obvious in the 26th edition of the Rototom Sunsplash festival, which has included some interesting changes in one of its most dynamic spaces, without losing its essence. Show, debate, discover and share is the challenge, as well a drinking in the diversity of a continent that fills Benicàssim with vitality. From August 16 to 22, African Village, and the voices that represent it, take centre stage. The Senegalese human rights author and activist Mamadou Dia heads the African Village for the first time, focusing on some of the most important issue that currently matter to the populations of African both internally and externally. All this, with an extra dose of critical thinking, comments Dia, for whom the fact that a reggae festival incorporates a space “to bring Africa closer to Europe and shorten the distances that still separate us” does nothing but “enrich it even more“.

Ataya represents the biggest change in the area. A focal point of direct and close dialogue evolving around the tea ceremony -traditional in the central strip of the continent, from Senegal to Ethiopia- offering space of discussion to prestigious Africans and Afro-descendants, such as the activist Sani Ladan, the writer Desirée Bela-Lobedde and the journalist Lucía Mbomio. Together each day they will discuss, from 16:00 in the shelter of Ataya, the challenges of African dignity from the perspective of cyber-activism -in the talk We will occupy the NET on August 17-; the anti-racist campaign #Wearemore (Sunday 18), which will be present at Rototom along with other initiatives that have sprung up all over Europe, such as the German #WirSindMehr or Love music, hate racism movement in England.

On August 19, it will be the turn of the session Let’s Talk Politics that accepts the challenge of analysing who represents the African and Afro-descendant communities and how they do so. Building a legacy for the new generation (Tuesday 20); Decolonizing the mind and Sustainable Initiatives to create a more dignified, responsible and supportive society (August 21 and 22, respectively), complete the program of debates during the Ataya.

The dancers MakadyIndee Style and Flora (African Dancers Crew) will bring the modern dance moves, with Cumba from Senegal giving a more traditional flavour to the area’s African dance slot, every afternoon from 18:30 to 20:00. They will fuse the day with the dusk perfectly, welcoming in the sonic universe of African Village, which this year offers a musical journey through Ghana, Angola, Senegal and Ethiopia with six leading bands on the bill and DJ sessions at the rhythm of afrobeat and coupé-décalé until dawn.

Every day (except August 22), from 21:30, the African Stage will be the only active stage after the first concert of the Main Stage. A musical epicentre of which the Guinean-Spanish singer Marga Mbande will raise the curtain on August 16, presenting Moulema Beats, a project with electronic sounds, uptempo and touches of afrobeat that also includes the percussionist Jordi Anchobeta Sanz and the DJ and beat maker Ches. On Saturday 17, the Ethiopian vibes will be brought by Qwanqwa, bulwark of experimenting with traditional Ethiopian music and with several festivals and two European tours to their name.

The sounds of Ghana take the African Stage on August 18, with one of the country’s leading bands set to take the international scene, Fokn Bois, that will play their first concert in Spain at Rototom Sunsplash. Their ascendance has been marked most recently by their collaboration with the singer of Blur and the Gorillaz, Damon Albarn.

On August 19, from the same rhythmic universe will be Kwame Ghana High Life. While, on Tuesday the 20th will see Noche Afribuku take the stage, with another of the powerful shows for this year’s edition: the Guiss Guiss Bou and the DJ set with Celeste Mariposa, who will also perform for the first time in Spain on the African Stage.  

The sets of the African Disco will play through dawn at the festival with Dj Douds(Senegal), the area’s resident, who will be joined on Saturday the 17th by N’Zinga(Spain / Nigeria); the Spanish Dj Diego Armando (Sunday 18); Celeste Mariposa(Portugal, August 20) and Betto Snay from Angola (Wednesday 21).

NO RACISM IN ITALY / Gege Vibes & Timeless Sound set up a business involving Gambian and Italian promoters

In this sad political moment for Italy, with a racist leader and hate feeder like Salvini, I was living in London for work and I had promised myself to never return in Italy if the Lega party will win the elections.

Unfortunately it happened with a surprising broad consensus. The monstrosity made by this Government is to see the “brothers of Italy” united through ethnic discrimination towards other peoples. It is because of the Salvini’s propaganda if many Italians have turned against Africans and have started to be obtuse people who point the finger against the immigrants who live in our Country, sometimes without not even a reason.

I was ashamed for Italy every time I saw the BBC News, which emphasize the racism of my country when until few time ago, Italy was considered the Nation of solidarity and acceptance. Here, as our ancestors of Magna Greece have taught us, “the guest is sacred”. Or at least it always has been…

So I couldn’t manage to sit down and don’t do nothing. I decided to use my company of bookings and promotion of artists called Gege Vibes Worldwide Music Group, alongside the established selecta and promoter Timeless Sound, native of Gambia, to involve young Africans (also coming from the communities, from migrant reception centers or from the streets) in the promotion of events in Italy that will host our international singers or Djs so that we can help the kids learn a trade and build their own upcoming brands. Because music unites, generates integration, helps to understand each other, to socialize …

Jereh Njai, aka Mighty Timeless, is a Gambian resident in Berlin, founder of the prestigious Timeless Sound. He has embraced the initiative underlining how the cooperation between the two cultures could even be a determining factor for the entire Italian economy, just as it has been for years in Germany where Europeans and Africans live together and where integration is not a utopia but a fact.

Mighty is a prime example of this: he created a great business in the German capital relating to musical promotion in which people of all races work in team.

I am sure that together we will be able to achieve great results in unity and peace also in our country, Italy: we have shows scheduled for the summer with aspiring Gambian promoters supervised by us in Naples, Catania, Bologna, Milano and Catanzaro. A meaningful example that this project can really unite every latitude here too.

Our goal is also to allow young Africans to become one day professional promoters or successful artists, offering them the right experience and knowledge of the sector. We also want those who come from a more unfortunate background to choose the path of art rather than crime.

And believe me, it’s a really nice feeling to see what the music could create thanks to the universal language that composes it … What better genre than reggae music that always has professed peace and love to unite populations?

“One love” is precisely the concept to feel that we are all brothers and sisters. We want Italians and Africans to meet together in the same party, to dance, make friends and start collaborations. We no longer want to see people with prejudices and immigrants who feel they are only unwanted foreigners without any space in the society. Some days ago I was talking to Curtis, an eighteen-year-old from Gambia who actually lives in the community in Bologna. I met him in a club during a date of my tours. Curtis is so in love with reggae music that he defines Timeless his father and hero. He also called me his mother. He said that he is very proud of my projects, but that he will make me even more proud of him because he wants to reach a high level of education. He confided to me that he wants to enroll in the University to get a  graduation to become an architect. He is learning to draw on his laptop already. You have no idea how these words filled my heart with joy. These guys are called “Ghetto Youths”. Sometimes they arrive in Italy with nothing, only with their great talent. Many of them know how to sing, others can dance, others want to organize events or study at the University. “Ghetto Youths”, make sure me and Daddy Timeless will do everything to help as much as guys possible. We need to be a healthy example for them because everyone deserves at least one chance to prove its own worth. Music is not just notes in succession, music is the most powerful channel for changing the state of things, music is a life mission …

Eugenia Conti