Reggae Stars

Kaci in top 5

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Kaci Fennell on Sunday made the top-five cut in the 63rd annual Miss Universe Pageant now under way at the Florida International University Arena in Doral, Miami.

She made the top 15 cut then fiercely made her way across the stage in swimwear to be named first among the 10 most beautiful women in the world.

Now among the top five, will she be able to claim the top spot for Jamaica’s first Miss Universe title?

Top 10 for Ja’s Kaci Fennell

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Kaci Fennell is into the top 10 at the 63rd annual Miss Universe Pageant that is now under way at the Florida International University Arena in Doral, Miami.

She is inching closer to the top spot. Will she be able to bring home Jamaica’s first Miss Universe title?

Mr.Leub – Ayiti Kanaval 2015 Rap Kreyol (Exclusive Mix)

ayiti

Soca meets HipHop. Download my brandnew Haiti carnival mix here. Only rap creole infused tunes from this years season! 42 minutes and 21 tunes in the mix. Warning: rough mixing and low quality tunes!

Tracklist:
01 Piti Rich ft. Back Boy – Mache Ko’w
02 Pi Piti Pi Red – Piwo
03 Blood Camp – Nou fe sa deja
04 Team Vision – Just Fel
05 Britanik – Nou Te Pale Yo
06 Mafia RepubliQ ft. Stael – An JJD
07 Rap In Crew – Nap Montre Yo Kanaval
08 Young Makoutes – (T.K.O) Pa Gen Lobey
09 Zoe Family – Fel Kanpe Djanm
10 Anbouteyaj – Tout Pouri
11 R.N.S – Pran Fo’m Ko’w
12 True Black – Reveye’n
13 Famous Click – Parabol
14 T-Patrick & AJT – Mesye Bwa
15 Katel Atis Yo – W’ap Gentan Konnen
16 Kabic Kolabo – Chill Naval
17 Power Surge ft. Frap La – Nap Manyen Yo
18 Irvington Kolabo – Souke Yo
19 West Family – Met Devan Nan Devan’n
20 Dutty Nishishi – Fo’k Ayiti Chanje
21 Street Papa ft. Gama, Valdex, Mossanto & Ti Babas – Makiyaj

Unchained spirit

DESPITE Wednesday's unsuccessful bid, Professor Charles Ogletree -- part of reggae singer Buju Bantonâs legal team -- is vowing to continue the fight to have his client's conviction reversed.

"We will be fighting for Buju Banton's freedom," said Olgetree, a professor at Harvard Law School, in a written response to the Jamaica Observer's queries.

On Wednesday, a United States Appeal Court dismissed the request to have the reggae artiste's conviction overturned to secure a new trial. But Ogletree, who, along with Max Stern comprise Buju Banton's legal team, is undaunted.

"We have not lost the appeal. The 11th Circuit made it clear that the entire Appellate Court should hear his case. We will present our arguments for a reversal of his conviction to the entire Court in an En Banc hearing later this spring," he said.

Buju Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, is currently serving a mandatory 10-year prison sentence for a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The 41-year-old is scheduled to be released in 2019. He has filed a motion requesting an early release under new federal drug sentencing guidelines.

He was convicted in February 2011, days after winning a Grammy award for his album, Before the Dawn. His other albums include 'Til Shiloh (1995), Inna Heights (1997) and Unchained Spirit (2000).

"We are grateful to the people of Jamaica and around the world who have been steadfast in fighting for justice for Buju Banton!," Ogletree concluded.

Kirk Diamond sparkles in Saskatoon

DEEJAY Kirk Diamond is enjoying some regional success in Canada with the single, Love Inna We Heart.

Produced by French company Galang Records, it has been number one for the past seven weeks on the Rebel Vibez Top Ten Canadian Reggae Chart on CHRY 105.5 FM.

Even though he has had minor hits with Blind to Dem, Need Your Love, Dweet Den and Dem Nuh Real (featuring TG), Diamond says Love Inna we Heart is his game-changer.

The 30-year-old entertainer is originally from Spanish Town. He migrated to Canada at age 11, and currently lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

"I was just always in love with music even while I was living in Jamaica. But I really got involved when I was 17 through producing when a friend heard me deejay and said that's what I need to do, so I did it," said Diamond.

Blind to Dem was the first song he recorded. Released in 2010, it was produced by Demolition Man, a British label.

Diamond, who is a member of the reggae/dancehall quintet Don Dem, disclosed that the reggae scene in Saskatoon is not as prolific compared to other major cities in Canada such as Toronto and Montreal.

"The reggae scene here is small. They have reggae-themed parties like a Passa Passa and a couple reggae bands but it's very small compared to bigger cities like Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton," he said.

Among the Jamaican producers he has worked with are Dre Day, Armz House Records and Digital Vibez. Diamond has also collaborated with German producer Robin Hype, and Smoke Shop Studioz out of France.

He is working on an EP, The Arrival, as well as a mixtape called The Journey.

A crucial comeback

Mystic Revealers emerged in the 1990s, a time when self-contained Jamaican reggae bands were quickly disappearing from the music scene.

They are on the comeback trail. Last week, VP Records released Crucial Cuts, a 13-track set that revisits the band's music from the 1980s and 1990s.

Anthony 'Billy Mystic' Wilmot, Revealers' guitarist and lead vocalist, said the album is also available on iTunes. It is the first time their music has been released digitally.

"We've been getting a lot of demand for the music but all the stuff we did with Ras and Mesa are no longer available," Wilmot explained. "VP approached us to put out the whole catalogue but we thought that was extreme, so we agreed on a compilation."

Mystic Revealers were signed to independent companies Ras Records and Mesa/Blue Moon Records in the 1990s. They recorded one album for the latter (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records) before major label politics saw Mesa being cut from the Atlantic roster.

Wilmot notes VP's involvement is strategic.

"They see that there's a lot of West Coast reggae out there an' none of it is by Jamaicans. The music is popular with surfers in that part of the US, an' because I'm a surfer they thought it would be great to get into that marketplace," he explained.

Crucial Cuts contains Judgement Time, Righteous, Border Line, Got to be a Better Way and That's Life (Jah Works), some of the songs that made Mystic Revealers attractive to labels like Ras and Mesa/Blue Moon. Now in his mid-50s, Wilmot expects the set to spur renewed interest in the band he started in 1978.

"I think it will definitely introduce us to a new generation," he said.

Drummer Nicky Henry, bassist Leroy 'Lion' Edwards and keyboardist Earl Fitzsimmons, who played on most of the Crucial Cuts tracks, are the other members of the band.

Mystic Revealers formed in the St Andrew coastal community of Bull Bay. Their first hit, the ballad Saw You Smiling, was released in 1985.

-- Howard Campbell

All set for Ninja’s bash

DANCEHALL deejay Ninjaman will be celebrating his 49th birthday at Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios, St Ann, today.

The event will take the form of a family fun day and fish fry, followed by a stage show.

"Everything is in place, the stage and the light setting up right now, all the artistes on board and it look like this year will be bigger than last year and the year before that," Ninjaman told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview.

Among the acts set to take the stage are Capleton, Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Busy Signal, Romain Virgo, Nitty Kutchie, Peter Metro, Burru Banton, Josey Wales, Professor Nuts, and General Trees.

But the deejay said many more of his fellow artistes could make their way to the stage.

"Is not about who book fah, but who you mus look fah. Don't watch the poster. There are so many artistes who have been with Ninjaman since the start of my birthday bash and they stand by me over the years and they might just turn up on stage."

According to the artiste, the early segment of the stage show -- between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm -- will be used to expose up-and-coming acts.

The deejay said he will be using his 49th birthday to kick-start a year filled with promise and upward mobility.

"Right now, I feel like 16. When I look and see nuttn' nuh drop off a me and the world accept me for who I am, I have to give thanks. But 2015 is a year when I have to make some big change. I just gonna focus on what make sense," he said.

Born Desmond Ballentine, Ninjaman rose to prominence during the 1980s with tracks including Cover Me and Take Time to Know Her, both collaborations with veteran singer Tinga Stewart.

-- Richard Johnson

All set for Ninja's bash

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Ready for the world

Reggae artiste Oriel announced his arrival on the reggae's big stage last week with a commendable performance at Rebel Salute.

Dressed in white and black with a red, green and yellow scarf around his neck, he entered the stage performing Sticks & Stones to enthusiastic response. He then delivered Bob Andy's classic Too Experienced, before seguing into Cruise, the latest release from his EP, Love SoulJah.

The Dominica-born Oriel showed his versatility on guitar, for Down Where I Live a provocative song about the challenges of ghetto life. He closed his set with Confidence.

Oriel, who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The artiste has been making the moves since his debut EP, Confidence, was released by Afar Music Group in 2012. Since then, he has collaborated with Richie Stephens, Bugle, Ras Maisha and Raine Seville.

Last year, Oriel made strides with the release of the mixtape, Rise Of The Revoluters. It premiered on MTV.com along with the lead single and video, Sticks & Stones.

Big crowd for Sultry’s milestone

WEEKLY club series, Sultry Lounge marked its first anniversary at the Quad nightclub in New Kingston, last Friday night.

The large crowd — comprising trendy, young adults and professionals, partied until the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Jermaine Davis, a member of Team No Shirt (TNS) -- event coordinators for Sultry Lounge, said the large turnout was due to target marketing.

"We have a specific demographic that we target and our weekly themes are fresh and innovative. We have some of the best disc jocks in the business," Davis told the Jamaica Observer.

A cadre of disc jocks from Chromatic and X Factor sound systems provided the evening's music.

Davis said the event's staging is not without its challenges, especially from other hot spots.

"That challenged us... but we've pulled through, all the way to the first year. For 2015, patrons can look forward to a bigger and better Sultry Lounge," he said.


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