Reggae Stars

Keeping it clean

DESPITE the emergence of environmental groups in the last 15 years, singer/activist Lee Tafari believes Jamaica has a long way to go before it gets a 'clean' bill of health.

Tafari is a founding member of No Littering, a fledgling organisation whose ultimate objective is to rid the country of widespread garbage.

He told the Jamaica Observer that No Littering presently comprises himself and 'a few others", and continues to attract members.

"Right now, we are in a structural stage. We are getting people aware dat we have to take care of Moma Earth," he said. "We can't wait on the government, is not the government throwing the bag juice pon the road an' in the bush."

The 38-year-old Tafari (Trevor Lee Jnr) is from St Thomas. His family are owners of Lee's Unlimited, a popular sound system that has been around since the late 1960s.

He says he has been environmentally aware since the mid-1990s when he moved to South Florida.

"I used to hear people getting fined $500 over there for littering an' thought it was extreme," Tafari recalled. In Jamaica, he finds the authorities are not as vigilant.

"Jamaican people are not nasty yuh nuh. They jus' think their yard stops at their gate."

Tafari, who has been recording for four years, has done an acoustic song called No Littering to help push his organisation's message.

He says No Littering is planning events to introduce the group to the public before year-end.

Lee Tafari is one of the selectors for Friday's Iration Ites Vinyl Series, dubbed 'Original Diamond Socks and Clarks Edition', at Tuff Gong in Kingston.

Sun sets bogus tickets

THE ticket scam which greeted Soul in the Sun music festival organisers has been shut down.

"The individuals producing the counterfeit tickets were traced and their operation shut down. The police are doing their investigations," Junior Taylor, the festival's executive producer, told the Jamaica Observer.

Soul in the Sun is set for October 10-12 in Montego Bay. The event features two nights of performances at The Aqueduct in Rose Hall, followed by a beach party.

Taylor disclosed that early-bird electronic ticket sales were negatively affected by the scam.

"Previously, we were selling tickets online, but persons were hesitant about such purchases because they would not be getting a physical ticket in their hand. Pre-sold tickets are now available for sale," he said.

Soul in the Sun is timed to fill the lull in visitor arrival following the busy summer months and ahead of the winter season.

"When we looked at the calendar, we did not want to compete with the other summer festivals and therefore went in to coincide with two major holidays in North America -- Columbus Day in the United States and Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

The line-up for the festival comprises American R&B acts Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle, Howard Hewett, Freddie Jackson, Johnny Gill, Keith Sweat, Dru Hill and Silk. Jamaicans Richie Stephens and the quartet LUST are also part of the event.

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Lukie D lusts for more airtime

IN between his busy touring schedule, singer Lukie D still finds time to record. His self-produced single -- Crying Over You -- has found its way on the playlist of several radio stations.

However, he feels it deserves more airtime.

"It is being played, I've heard it. The rotation is not at the level where I would want it. Good music is good music. Once you record a great track, your fans will eventually hear it," he told the Jamaica Observer.

The 42-year-old singer says he intends to release an album next year. His last solo album, Deliver Me, was released in 2006.

"The album will be mostly originals, perhaps one cover track. But new stuff will be coming out by year-end going into the new year," he said.

With the decline in record sales globally, Lukie D says touring is a viable option for artistes.

"In addition to a drop in record sales, there is also drastic reduction in the number of local stage shows. So, you have to look outwards in order to survive. You have to tour," he said.

Since the start of the year, the singer has racked up shows in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Grenada. However, he holds a particular location close to his heart.

"Hawaii is like my next yard. They really appreciate good reggae music. I've performed in O'ahu, Kaho'olawe, and Waikiki," he said.

The Polynesian archipelago is home to a number of reggae bands including Malino, The Green, Rebel Souljahz, Rootikal Riddim and Sashamon.

Lukie D, whose given name is Michael Kennedy, is also part of the vocal quartet LUST. They are scheduled to perform at Soul in the Sun slated for The Aqueduct in Rose Hall, just outside Montego Bay, on October 10 - 12.

Lukie D's solo hit songs include Center of Attraction. With LUST, his chart hits include Sweetness of Your Love and a cover of Air Supply's Just As I Am.

JA tops ENCORE grand finals

JAMAICA employees of the Sandals group were in top form at ENCORE Grand Finals held at Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa in Westmoreland, on Saturday night.

The 11-year-old talent and modelling competition saw the local contingent stave off their Caribbean colleagues best efforts to secure six of the seven categories that were up for grabs.

Shadeky Mitchell, 22, entertainment coordinator at Beaches Negril, lead the haul by winning Best Costume and Best Female Model categories.

"This is awesome. I feel great, especially with the support I was getting from the audience," Mitchell told the Jamaica Observer.

Having a clear home-court advantage, the cheers and screams from placard-bearing fans ripped through the Le Cabaret Theatre at the mere announcement of Mitchell's name. And she did not disappoint.

Singer Andre Palmer's soulful rendition of Ben E King's I (Who Have Nothing) earned him a standing ovation and had the audience cheering way after he exited the stage.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this competition, as is opening the doors for me to realise my dreams of becoming a world-class singer and to inspire others," said the lanky entertainment coordinator at Beaches Grande Riviera.

Shana-Kay Ergas, Best Female Vocalist (Unique Vacations); Jolon Jones, Best Instrumentalist — keyboard, (Sandals Royal Caribbean — Montego Bay); and, Scion Derby, Best Dance Performance (Sandals Montego Bay) rounded out the local contingent's haul. St Lucia's Yannick Thomas copped the Best Male Model category.

"My confidence was high. I do some modelling back home and worked on a couple of fashion shows in St Lucia," he said. "However, next year, I'll come back for the dance title."

Joel Ryan, group manager of entertainment at Sandals, had high marks for the competition.

"ENCORE has superceded its purpose by breaking down the walls of xenophobia in the Caribbean using the creative arts. People don't see countries, people see expression of great joy," he said.

Conceptualised by Sandals's creative director, Weston Haughton, the competition is staged throughout the Sandals/ATL Group. This year's finals saw contestants from Caribbean regions of The Bahamas, St Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, and Turks and Caicos.

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