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

Interview with Walshy Fire: “Whatever platform I’m getting, I try my best to bring my Jamaican culture along with me”.

We interviewed Leighton Paul Walsh, better known by his stage name Walshy Fire via Skype. Grammy Award Winning Jamaican American DJ, MC and producer, Walshy Fire had so many memories to share with us. His musical journey is very long and full of accomplishments. He started with his first sound called Change Disco when he was 18, then he continued to play with CoppershotBlack Chiney and 9 years ago he started his prolific union with the brand Major Lazer. This collaboration made him travel all over the World smashing up every single place. He used a mainstream formula to promote jamaican sonorities and that’s the key of his huge success. Walshy Fire would like to see a different highlight for Jamaican artists internationally like it’s happening right now with his ward Koffee. Not by chance, he got the Grammy to produce her major hit “Toast”.

Walshy Fire with Koffee in Usa (contributed)

 

Walshy produced a whole lot of music and riddims in his career featuring Artists such us Chronixx, Kabaka PyramidCocoa Tea and many more. Right now, he is focused on the online business due the Covid-19 emergency advertising his format “Quarantine Clash”, together with Warrior Sound, to teach more about the soundclash culture in a streaming way on Youtube, Facebook and Twitch. The Quarantine Clash grand finale was on May 31st and the popular jury established as winner of the 2020 Editition Chiquidubs from Panama.

 

Interviewer: Eugenia Conti 

Songs (Promotional use only)

Watch out for this – Major Lazer

Que Calor – Major Lazer

Video directed by Drummstudio Salento

VALENTINE’S DAY RELEASE/ “Lovers” – Christopher Martin – Prod. by Soundbank music

Christopher Martin, one of the most sensational vocalists from Jamaica, released his new single titled “Lovers” today 14th of February which matches perfectly with Valentine’s day. The single produced by Soundbank Music, based in Stockholm (Sweden), is available on all major digital platforms worldwide and distributed by The Orchard/SwingKids. Check it out. 
Eugenia Conti

Interview with the recording artist Bamm Holt: “I’m ready to tour the World keeping the heritage of my grandfather John Holt alive”

Bamm Holt, recording Artist from Jamaica, based in the U.S., 27 years old, well known as John Holt’s grandson and Junior Holt’s son, is ready to tour the World keeping the message of his great predecessor alive but showing his own musical skills as well. We interviewed Bamm while he is in studio recording his new album that will be released early in 2020.

“Bamm Holt is ready. Mi neva waan people hear mi song dem an’ sey, ‘A John Holt grandson dat an’ him soun’ suh?!’ Right now, mi ready fi di world”, you declared in a previous interview. How much do you think is important to continue to preserve the heritage of your grandfather, the legend John Holt, to impact the World in a positive way?

It’s very important to keep the heritage of my grandfather alive. His influence on the reggae world is so emblematic. His songs gave you messages of love, encouragement and even a party vibe. It’s a honour to be his grandson. That’s why keep his name alive is my main goal right about now.

“Mi glad to finally get it out. Wi making different music, something dat people can look forward to listening”, you told the american medias.You sound like a very versatile artist. You can easily switch from reggae, raggamuffin to hip hop. Which is the musical genre that you feel you are most used to?

 I feel like I’m most used to Reggae, as it was the first type of music I heard the calling of reggae from the day I was born. Coming to America at a young age I grown to love hip hop. But reggae will always be my first love.

“One Thing” is your song produced by Gold and Goals Productions that got great feedbacks online. We could appreciate you in a brilliant reggae-fusion version. Your father, Junior Holt, is gonna be also a big inspiration for you. What is the main thing that you learn from him in this artistic journey?

Thank You. “One thing” is also one of my favourite songs.

Yes, my father is a main influence on my career. He taught me to never give up. In life, music, doesn’t matter.

You keep to represent for Spanish Town, your parrish in Jamaica, but from a while you are living in New York. As you said the approach with this city make you understand your attitude for hip-hop music too. Which are your biggest influences of the USA hip-hop scene? And with who would you like to have a feature in the next future?

When it comes to hip hop I don’t really have an influence. I just figured out that Jay Z and Kanye West sampled one of my grandfather’s song in one of their albums. I think it was Encore. It would be a pleasure to work with them.  

You are actually working in the American market already and you are ready to drop your new album early in 2020. What do you expect from the European market and what are your goals in this side of World?

I really don’t know what to expect from the European market but I hope my music will get a good reaction over there too. I know they are in love with reggae. I just want to provide them with that musical genre. My goal is to hopefully tour that side of the World soon, by the grace of God. In the meantime look out for the “1000 Volts of Holt”, a tribute/remake for John Holt with me and my Father Junior Holt.

What is the main message you want to convey to your peers who are trying to undertake your same career?
The main message I want to convey to my peers is that music lives in all of us: young , old, new and the faded ones. It’s just you to find your right tune.
Can you give a special greeting for Gege Vibes Magazine?
Big up Gege Vibes for this interview. Major plans for the future. Going to mash up the new year.
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