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

 

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

Romain Virgo’s LoveSick Album and European Tour 2018 Reviewed by Gege Vibes

“LoveSick” is the new Romain Virgo’s album, released last March 30 2018 and mainly produced by his manager Niko Browne of LifeLine Music. We already knew that Romain was a talent, but it seems that this time he has improved his artistic skills more. The album, composed of 16 tracks, is a nice tribute to the strongest feeling on Earth : the love. The artist from Saint Ann, Jamaica, talks once again about the sentiment that has the strength to move the World. A lot of important jamaican names gave their credits on this project as Donovan Germain of Vp Records, Dean Fraser, Sting International and more.The LoveSick’s track that really makes me crazy is “Still” onSkyscraper Riddim by Richie Stephens. In “Still” the artist asks her partner if she is still in love with him. The meaning of the song is very beautiful because it shows a Romain Virgo able to express the most sensitive part of himself without filters.

TRACKS

  1. Face To Face
  2. Lovesick
  3. Cruise
  4. In This Together
  5. Day In Day Out
  6. Cannot Close My Eyes
  7. Sweet Liar
  8. Unbreakable
  9. Trouble
  10. Hold On
  11. Will You Be There
  12. Now
  13. Still
  14. Heartbeat
  15. Stay With Me
  16. Caress Me

We followed as Gege Vibes Magazine two shows of the European tour of Romain Virgo: on April 1st in Amsterdam during the event Reggaeville Easter Special and on April 8th in East London at Scala. If the album enchanted us, the live concerts were even better. On the stages the sound was a sweet reggae, contaminated with pop and soul. The melodic voice of Romain was accompanied by his very good band. The audience was involved and passionated in a no-stop show of almost two hours. We also really appreciated the voice of the young female artist in open act Sevana, from Kingston.

At the end of the days, what struck me in a positive way are especially the contents of the album’s themes. Romain addresses the “subject” of the love to the fullest singing about the lost and found ones. This topic may seem something obvious and too used in the songs, but I think that in today’s society is a rarity that young artists still compose lyrics like those. Today it seems that everything is about the money, the success based on the fake appearances and the mere fun. Romain, with LoveSick Album, teaches or reminds people that only when we are in love we could see the things with different eyes transforming the everyday routine into something of unique and unrepeatable.

Eugenia Conti