Interview with I-Taweh: “My dream is to live long and healthy to see the unification of this human race”

Donavan I-taweh Cunningham was born in the hills of St. Ann, the same parish in Jamaica where the great Marcus Garvey, Burning Spear and Bob Marley all rise from. Like most successful artists, he comes from humble beginnings. Raised in the farming community of Prickly Pole, he spent most of his childhood farming alongside his father and four brothers. As a young child he played music on handmade instruments crafted together from bamboo and sardine tins.
It was the move to Kingston in 1992 that jump-started his musical career. Living between the communities of Mall Road, Grants Pen, Portmore, Rockfort, and Duhaney Park, I-taweh found comfort in the ghetto at the Community Center of The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari.

This was extremely influential for his music and his mission, where he was amongst some of the greatest musicians in the industry including Dizzy Johnny Moore, Earl Chinna Smith, Nambo Robinson, and Bongo Herman. During this time he was rarely seen without his guitar, and was given the nickname Danny Gitz. Along with the name, his skills and reputation as a musician began to grow, until the legendary Sugar Minott took him under his wing as his guitarist and harmony singer.

In 1998, I-taweh became the youngest member of The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, Jamaica’s most influential Nyahbingi, religious and cultural group. With Brother Sam Clayton as the leader, they toured Europe extensively until 2007 presenting traditional Jamaican music and educational workshops.
I-taweh produced and composed his first solo album, Overload, which he released in 2011. He has since gone one to self-produce two more albums, Judgementwhich was released in February 2017, and his latest project, Reload, released on January 3rd, 2020.  He is currently promoting his new single “One too many” that is denouncing the brutality of police against black people in the World. He composed this tune after the tragedy of George Floyd, happened in USA. The Artist underlines that every human being deserves the same justice and human rights otherwise there will be never any peace without any justice.

1. As many great artists you came from modest origins. Could you explain us how did you approach to your musical journey in the first place? 
I started out in a tiny community called Prickly Pole. It’s in St Ann Parrish, Jamaica, just a few miles from the home where Bob Marley grew in Nine Mile. My first real musical approach was playing in the church of my community.
2. Who are your biggest artistic inspirations? 
I would say The Wailers and Kenny Rodgers.
3. You’re a Rastaman. Could you tell us something more about the tour u did in Europe in 2007 to educate people to this culture? How it was the feedback here so far?
 Yah man. I’m proudly a Rastaman. The tours I did in Europe were very good for me especially because I got the chance to visit new places, to meet new people to share my vibrations and Reggae music with.
4. Your last project ‘Reload’ was released on January 3rd. How was working at this project with your team?

My latest album “Reload” was released in the beginning of this year, was a very good experience for me putting it together, I wanna give thanks to all who was there with me for the ride. This album is I-Taweh’s greatest body of work-to-date.

All songs are composed, written, and produced by myself through my independent label Tap Nat Muzik.
5. Do the topics inside your albums reflect any of the main dream of your life? 
The main dream of my life is to live long and healthy to see the unification of this human race. I tried my best to express this message through my latest album.
6. Do you believe in the power of conscious music as a privileged way to give universal messages then? Why in your opinion is important that younger artists keep some great values of the past? 
Yes, I do believe in conscious positive vibes. Since I was a little boy ’till now it’s being a positive uplifting force in my life. Today I’m in a point that hopefully I can reach some young minds and souls with my music.
7. Any Future project as soon as everything will return back to normal?
Well, I am always working on projects, the inspirations keeps flowing which I’m thankful for… so I am constantly in the studio recording new songs. I’ll soon update you.
8. Could you give a special greetings for Gege Vibes Magazine readers?
Eugenia Conti

“Gege Vibes Streaming Show #2” features Interviews with Julian Marley, Bamm Holt and Gmac.

 

“Gege Vibes Streaming show” is the new Gege Vibes Magazine‘s format available on Youtube. The purpose is to keep our press contents up during those hard time of Covid-19. Normally, we travel to realize video interviews with Artists after their shows, in Festivals, in studios or during their tours. Right now social distancing and quarantine not allow us to continue to work in this way, that’s why we have decided to introduce the “video calls interviews”. We believe that in this difficult period is very important to keep the positive vibes alive with home entertainment, good music and information.

The second chapter of “Gege Vibes Streaming Show” is fully dedicated to the cannabis world as long as it was recorded on 4/20/2020. We released some brand new interviews featuring recording Artists Julian Marley, Bamm Holt and Gmac.

Julian Marley talked about his last album “As I am”, the power of herb in those times of captivity for the humanity who is forced in quarantine because of the unnatural corona virus and many more. Bamm Holt, who is John Holt‘s grandson, originally from Jamaica but living in USA, told us about his love for reggae and hip-hop. He got skills in both of the musical genres. He also announced that soon will be out his tribute to John Holt called “1000 volts of Holt” together with his father Junior Holt. And on top of that, he is working to release his first solo album as well. Gmac, real name Garfield Mclean, answered our call from his city Kingston and explained us how we have to handle this quarantine as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and connect with the divine spirit. Basically he suggested us to invest this free time in the best way possible. He also talked about his upcoming album “The legend” produced by the Italian label Morelove Music. In the episode we got some extra special credits. We featured as song premiere of this month “Weed Plan” singed by the historical jamaican artist Mykal Rose, produced by Young Pow Productions and distributed by Ghetto Youths Intl.

Ultimately, we gave a space for the dancers featuring the Italian DHQ from Salento Aurora Rah, who showed us two personal choreographies dancing on Masicka music.

Songs credits (promotional use)
Weed plan – Mykal Rose (Young Pow Prod.)
Energy – Masicka (Genahsyde Prod.)
Ice cream truck – Masicka (1Syde / Mozeeko Records)
Love your life – Gmac (Social Club Riddim – Morelove Music)
Crime – Gmac (StartMeUp Riddim – Morelove Music

Video Directed by Drummstudio

Article and interviews by Eugenia Conti

BLACK ICE PORTRAIT / Brilliant singer among Jamaica’s many musical new generation soldiers

Armed with a philosophy that says, ‘music is life and is not to be taken lightly’, entertainer Black Ice is a brilliant singer among Jamaica’s many musical new generation soldiers, one of those who believe music can make positive change as the art form can transcend the human experience.

During his early years, he said that music was always an integral part of his upbringing. He has always loved listening to all genres of music but said that he was most influenced by the musical legends Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh and Marvin Gaye.

He describes his music as being positive, uplifting, inspiring yet edgy and real. Black Ice believes his inspiration comes from a higher calling.

Currently he’s promoting his latest single, “Red A Red.” Released late April 2018, the track, he said, implores its listeners to be conscious of their surroundings and the world they live in.

“It’s a song about the road I walked and encountering what the system has to offer. It urges mankind to keep their eyes wide open, to see behind the illusions and unveil the truth”; Black Ice believes this single will not only educate and inspire but earn him a new set of fans worldwide. Its available on radio soon to be digitally released to iTunes, Spotify and CdBaby. He will have a cd distribution as well.

It is the title song of his new 4 song EP entitled “Red-a-Red, “which is being distributed in Jamaica. It will include his other hits “Hotta Fyah,”

“We’re Lovers” is the songstress soulful duet with the jamaican recording artist Sophia Brown.

Black Ice’s partnership with Kendall Curlett, “I’ll be Home for the Holidays,” is simply a classic Reggae Christmas song https://youtu.be/aW92pIB-x_0and will continue to be released annually. He is currently writing new songs and working on the video for the songs, “Shotokan Warrior” and “Crossfire”.

IG https://www.instagram.com/blackicemusic/

Yard Groove Records
Gary Palmer
PO BOX 20446
Long Beach, CA 90801
Email address: blk10ice@gmail.com Phone number: 562-472-6012

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

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.