Tag: dancehall

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From Archrivals to Legendary Dancehall Idols, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man Traded Amicable Lyrical Barbs at Reggae Sumfest 2019

In was at the 1993 stage show at Jamworld in Portmore, Jamaica known as ‘Sting’, which used be held annually on December 26th—commonly referred to as Boxing Day—where the entire country was seemingly overwhelmed by pandemonium as, dancehall entertainer, Beenie Man was in the midst of his performance when it was rudely interrupted by a menacing chant ‘People Dead’….‘People Deadd’….‘Deaaddd!!’  A startled Beenie Man quickly realized what was afoot.  That is, the figurative yet sorrowful exclamation which was heard throughout the Jamworld venue was echoing from the microphone of his fierce archrival, Bounty Killer, who had barged on stage as if he was a gladiator to challenge Beenie Man to a lyrical clash live, direct and unannounced at what has become known simply as ‘Sting 1993’.   Well, at Reggae Sumfest 2019 these same two dancehall icons met again on stage, only thing is that this time they were on much friendlier terms—to the delight of the massive audience that was on hand.

Bounty Killer on stage at Reggae Sumfest 2019 – Montego Bay, Jamaica

Born under the name of Rodney Pryce, Bounty Killer, was raised in the gritty inner-city West Kingston community of Seaview Gardens—which lies in the often violence torn area of Riverton City.   Not too far from there is Waterhouse—yet another hard scrabble neighborhood in West Kingston, Jamaica.  Moses Davis, who is popularly known as Beenie Man in Jamaica’s vibrant dancehall scene, hailed from Waterhouse.  Going beyond music and entertainment, it is also noteworthy that Shelly Ann-Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica’s world renowned sprinter and Olympic Champion (as well as World Champion) in the sport of track and field is also from that community.   In switching back to the musical genealogy of Waterhouse, King Jammy, who was a magician where producing reggae and dancehall music is concerned, also has his recording studio based in Waterhouse.  It was King Jammy’s brother, Uncle T, who first noticed a youngster who would always be hanging around outside Jammy’s studio and putting his talents on display for all to see—oftentimes challenging and putting down his competition in quick order.   The young lad who was creating such an impression outside Jammy’s studio went by the name of ‘Bounty Hunter’ at that time.  An audition platform in many ways, there was also an area within Seaview called ‘Superstar Corner’, which was where ‘Bounty Hunter’ had been honing his microphone skills for purposes of deejaying his lyrics in the dancehalls of Jamaica.   In those days, Seaview was no stranger  to spawning big time dancehall acts.  After all, dancehalls first bonafide international superstar, Shabba Ranks, came from Seaview.  And so as a result of Shabba’s rise to fame, ‘Superstar Corner’ was where Bounty Hunter and other dancehall deejays were afforded the chance to prove their worth to producers in the Jamaican music industry.  It became apparent that Uncle T ceded his control over Bounty Hunter to the studio’s owner, King Jammy, once Jammy was impressed and inquired about Rodney Pryce. At some point in that shuffle, ‘Bounty Hunter’ changed his name to ‘Bounty Killer’ in that his competition in the dancehall were not simply going to be hunted, but actually lyrically eliminated.  As it happened, Bounty Killer’s first major studio gem to hit the airwaves was titled, ‘Coppershot’ which was released in 1993 on King Jammy’s 5 Star General Riddim.  Fittingly, as a result Bounty donned the moniker, ‘5 Star General’—among many others that he’d pick up over the course of his much storied career. From then onwards, Bounty Killer’s hit parade then just rolled on and on with songs like:  ‘Down in the Ghetto’, ‘Poor People Fed Up’‘Suspense’, Eagle and Di Hawk’‘Living Dangerously’(recorded with Barrington Levy), ‘Sufferer’‘Benz and Bimma’‘Can’t Believe Mi Eyes’, and ‘Hey Baby’ (recorded with the international pop group, No Doubt).

Meanwhile, another young star in dancehall was on the rise in the Waterhouse community just the same.  Born under the name of Moses Davis, Beenie Man was a musical prodigy in that at the tender age of nine years old he recorded with the famous Bunny Lee.  And so then, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer proceeded to release hit after hit from the studios.  But according to Bounty Killer, it was King Jammy alone who he used as a vehicle to propel his career to the top of the heap of dancehall deejays in not only Kingston, but the world over.  Where Beenie was concerned, arguably his biggest crossover-style hit on the international scene was the infectious ‘Who Am I ?’ (Sim Simma…Who Got the Keys to Mi Bimma?).  That song seemingly took the world by storm.  But before Beenie had risen to those heights, Bounty Killer was convinced that Beenie had imitated his style in many ways—without any acknowledgement.  Well, while that is certainly up for debate it is arguable that Bounty’s belief in Beenie’s thievery of his style and pattern, consequently touched off a multi-decade lyrical war between him and Beenie Man.  All the while, Beenie Man just kept piling up the hits in his own right:   ‘Romie’‘Slam’‘Rum & Redbull’‘Ole Dog’‘Girls Dem Sugar’‘World Dance’‘Memories’‘Dengue Fever’‘King of the Dancehall’, and so many more.

Beenie Man on stage at Reggae Sumfest 2019 – Montego Bay, Jamaica

As an aside, it is worthy of note that Bounty Killer also has an eye for spotting talent and nurturing up-and-coming artists on their way to stardom.  In this respect, it was Bounty Killer who brought up Elephant Man, Mavado, and Vybz Kartel—all of whom had reached mega stardom in Jamaica and beyond courtesy of Bounty’s assistance and tutelage.  And along the way, Bounty Killer also has been referred to as ‘Di Poor Peoples’ Governor’ after the release of his politically laced recordings such as:  ‘Down in the Ghetto’ and ‘Poor People Fed Up’ where Bounty lashed out at the Jamaican government for what he viewed as transgressions against poor people and ‘ghetto yutes’ throughout the Kingston inner-city landscape.  What’s more, Bounty has always been steadfast in giving back to Kingston’s inner-city community by distributing school supplies to the underprivileged as well as lending a hand in painting over the Kingston Public Hospital (which treated him for a gunshot wound he suffered as a 16 year old youngster).  And for that reason, Bounty Killer says he’s forever indebted to the hospital.

Bounty Killer – Reggae Sumfest 2019 – Montego Bay, Jamaica

Against this backdrop, these two dancehall icons, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, treated the masses that gathered to revel in Festival Night I (a.k.a. Dancehall Night) at Reggae Sumfest 2019 in Montego Bay to a performance segment for the ages as both legends strutted their stuff and traded lyrics to many of their songs live and direct against each other—which ignited the Sumfest crowd since the segment was reminiscent of ‘Sting 1993’.  However, this time around Bounty exclaimed during their set that this was not about Beenie vs. Bounty, but rather it was about Moses and Rodney.   And during their joint performance, Beenie Man humorously quipped, “mi a war wid Bounty Killer for over 25 years.”  And so it was, the Bounty and Beenie saga captured in one sentence, but yet their dominance in dancehall endured for over two decades while each artist shall surely forever remain in the annuls of Jamaica’s musical history and folklore in recognition of their sheer dominance.  In the eyes of many, the musical feud between Bounty Killer and Beenie Man served to nourish both of their remarkable careers—which many artists in the industry nowadays can only envy—in terms of the consistency and creativity that they both were able to sustain for so long.  Not to say that it’s not possible, but it is doubtful that Jamaica will ever see such a dynamic duo that went at each other’s throats, and yet became so magnificent after the dust from their many skirmishes has finally settled.   In a recent interview, Bounty Killer stated that it was never personal where the feud between him and Beenie was concerned.  Rather, it was a constant competition and quest that they both undertook in order to show Jamaica and the world at large which one of them was ‘di baddest’!  Now folks, that is another debate, in and of itself, that can easily go on for another two decades.

Bounty Killer and Beenie Man together on stage at Reggae Sumfest 2019 – Montego Bay, Jamaica

Photography by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.

 

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Live streaming garnered millions of impressions from as far as Australia, Dubai, Nigeria, Russia and Denmark

Forbes explained that the return on their investment is largely predicated on serving clients outside of Jamaica, as well as meeting the needs of discerning local clients who target international distribution. The technology was launched at the recent staging of Reggae Sumfest.

As the host broadcaster for Reggae Sumfest, Phase 3 provided its multi-camera 4K coverage of the concert to approved content distributors. Live streaming garnered millions of impressions from as far as Australia, Dubai, Nigeria, Russia and Denmark.

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MoBay Airbnb Hosts Rake In $36m From Sumfest

Published:Saturday | August 3, 2019 | Carlene Davis/Gleaner Writer

As tourists and locals descended upon the Second City in droves last month for the week-long Reggae Sumfest, several small players in the local accommodations sector cashed in offering weary patrons a place to rest their heads.

Those who did bookings through the online service Airbnb received an estimated windfall of $36 million.

With more than 1,800 guest arrivals, Airbnb hosts benefited from a significant increase in bookings for the festival weekend on July 19 and 20, with the likes of reggae superstars Buju Banton, Beres Hammond and Chronixx gracing the stage.

The largest demographic of guests was the 30 to 39 years old category, with an average group size of three persons per booking, staying approximately three nights. Most originated from Kingston, Florida, and New York.

Looking ahead, Airbnb said that it is steadily working to drive tourism in the region and to grow economic opportunity by promoting authentic travel in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.

“The home-sharing community in Jamaica continues to thrive as a growing component of the local tourism industry.

“Local hosts are increasingly opening their doors to offer foreigners and locals alike a diverse, inclusive and sustainable travel experience in urban destinations as well as rural areas. This is yet another example of how Airbnb is able to help cities by adding capacity during large events and helping boost tourism,” said Carlos Munoz, Airbnb’s campaign manager, public policy and communications for the Caribbean and Central America.

Havanah Llewellyn, president of the Jamaica Homesharing Association, the body set up by Airbnb to improve the island’s offering to the sector, said he was excited to see the continued growth as no rooms were left empty in Montego Bay over the concert weekend.

“We are extremely excited when we see those numbers coming in, just like when we had Buju in Kingston that was great for us as well. So to see these festivals that are happening, the partnerships with Sumfest and the Government and Airbnb, that is what is going to bring continued growth to the country,” Llewellyn said. “It’s great for the country because all of this is going right back into the economy. With the hotels being full, where would those other guests go? So now we are able to pick up some of that slack and that then spills over into the restaurants and the taxi drivers.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetise their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs. Airbnb’s accommodation marketplace provides access to more than six million unique places to stay in nearly 100,000 cities and 191 countries.

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Gallery | Reggae Sumfest 2019 Festival Night One

Reggae Sumfest 2019 featuring performances by Chronixx, Koffee, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Spice, Agent Sasco, Dexta Daps, Squash, Spragga Benz, Elephant Man, Munga, Govana, Dovey Magnum, Unknown Gringo, Shane E, Chronic Law, Jahvillani and Shauna Controlla held at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay on Friday July 19, 2019.
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Yes, Jamaica is a real place. That’s a question that commonly pops up on social media because some of the things you see about Jamaica…you can only see in Jamaica. And only understand it in a Jamaican context. I am biased by birth, but I truly feel that the island of Jamaica is magnificent for so many reasons.

A place with beautiful weather, delicious food, the most charismatic people you’ll ever meet, gorgeous landscapes, a tourism industry like no other, a unique style of music that has transcended borders and inspired a multitude of sub-genres within the genre, and an abundance of talent performing, managing, and maintaining the industry that makes this island experience one that millions continue to return to. Reggae Sumfest is one night of the year where Jamaica has the opportunity to put this talent on full display and remind the world just how powerful and influential reggae music is.

Downsound Entertainment, in association with sponsors including Grace Foods, Pepsi Jamaica, Jamaica Tourism, Mastercard, Caribbean Airlines Wray & Nephew, and many other top brands and businesses presented the annual Reggae Sumfest music festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica this weekend, after a week of pre-show festivities. A symposium, social media awards, a sound clash, and themed parties helped to get visitors and locals in a reggae frame of mind before the two nights of performances began.

My experience with Reggae Sumfest has been top notch, and I continue to be impressed by how this machine runs. From the accreditation process, to the online updates, an impeccable social media campaign, and outstanding live coverage during the festival…this weekend has proven to be a master class in event production and entertainment, and I am using this opportunity to take notes on how a large-scale event should run. Somehow, that is what seduced me most about this year’s presentation: how seamless it was.

Surely, Sumfest is not without its issues. Like any event planner knows, what happens on the outside and what happens in real-time with check lists and day-to-day execution is probably quite different. That being said, knowing how complex an event of this size and nature must be, I truly believe that Reggae Sumfest continues to be an essential part of the many highlights of Brand Jamaica that circulate around the globe spreading good vibes and positive messaging about our wonderful country.

I feel proud. Truly. Despite the awesome performances, and the new additions to the Jamaican entertainment story (Friday night with no Squash, and Buju’s return to the festival), I feel proud to be of Jamaican descent. Proud to see the all-Jamaican lineup of artists, and the supporting cast around them like the marketers, the reporters, and the various ambassadors. It felt like success. It felt like a home run. It felt like the perfect packaging of a culture and environment that so many of us love dearly. It felt like Jamaican excellence.

I learned a lot about Sumfest this year. Although it has existed for over two decades, with Sunsplash preceding it: this is no new occurrence. In fact, festivals like Sumfest, and Rebel Salute, and other special events have been drawing specialty crowds to Jamaica for years. This particular year, however, I learned a lot of great facts about the Sumfest brand and what is has become in 2019.

For example, I listened to a Jamaican PR Strategist discuss the changes made to Sumfest so that now Jamaican artists are highlighted, without relying on American/foreign stars to headline the show. I learned about the restructuring of the event to reduce the festival to two nights, yet still providing a full week of warm-up activities to accommodate those who want to enjoy a few days of celebration before the show.

I was able to hear what the Sumfest administrators thought about elements of Jamaican culture like the sound clash, and how reggae lovers from outside of the Caribbean are studying and indulging in the culture, and mastering aspects of it in their own unique ways. As someone that was born and raised in Canada, I enjoy learning about how Jamaican residents perceive their cultural impact, and am also proud to see Jamaican-Canadians like King Turbo Sound, Chelsea Stewart, and others have prominent roles in the weekend’s proceedings.

Hearing Joe Bogdanovich speak about the importance of supporting generational changes in music, and seeing it reflected in some of the performances was interesting, as was listening to his assistant and event administrator Karla Jankee discuss her multiple roles, and how they take her across the world sharing the good news of reggae. From the interviews and pre-show with Kamilah McDonald and Nikki Z, and the engaging social media narrative, Sumfest was off to a good start before it even began.

via @cstewartsings
The show opened with Toronto’s very own Chelsea Stewart backed by the Warrior Love Band, and continued to feature new acts like Mr. Chumps, Celebrity, and Ricky Tee’s. Watching them in interview and on stage, I was reminded of Rygin King and his role in last year’s Sumfest. As mentioned, “you never known who will be the next big thing.” It was interesting to see the news faces and speculate about where they may or may not be by Sumfest 2020. It’s a reminder of the constant creativity in music and the culture, and how quickly legacies are built, or in some unfortunate cases…forgotten.

Harry Toddla provided many great flashbacks, injecting a new energy to the evening from before midnight. DJ’s Liquid and Noah Powa were most definitely entertaining, bringing an element of laughter and parody, and a few impersonations. Also funny: the evening’s host.

Admittedly, I’m late to the Shauna Chin narrative, but after that performance of hers, I think I’m going to go back into blog history and see just how significant her redemption statement really was and why. I believe this may also involve pursuing the Instagram timeline of Foota Hype…and I’m 100% sure the story will be shocking, as were her outfits and her defiant lyrics.

During Shauna Controlla’s performance, my attention lingered on the Jamaican audience and their amazing method of paying extreme attention to every detail on stage, while still appearing to be quite disinterested. I remembered this from my visit to Rebel Salute earlier this year where despite witnessing some of THE most exciting performance of the night, the audience was still hesitant to exhibit extreme enjoyment.

This is one of the elements of the Jamaican spirit that I most appreciate: the ridiculously high entertainment standards, and an acute attention to detail, wardrobe, movements, and nuance. The Jamaican musical audience is probably one of the most aware–and critical–of listeners internationally. Not easily impressed, they truly make the performers work for accolades and earn their forwards.

via @bojtv
Even Munga, performing so many classics that I had to remind myself to give them another listen this weekend. The height of Munga’s career was also the height of my young party life. In a 2007 clip of Munga’s first concert in Toronto (in a mediocre video with abusively terrible audio quality that I should be embarrassed to link back to), I was quite excited to hear “Earthquake” and his other string of hits. I’m glad he has come back to the stage and resurrected his career with style.

via @loopjamaica
Also exciting for a woman of my age: seeing Spragga Benz back on stage, looking as good as ever. Full of charm. A youthful glow. Possessing that same distinguished voice that we all loved some 25 years ago. And whether he was performing “Machine Gun Kelly” (straight from the basement parties of 1995), or his latest hit “Differ”…it was a joy. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one also patiently waiting for him to remove the outer layer of clothing and remind us of how many hours he’s been putting in at the gym. He look proper.

Just before Elephant Man returned to the Sumfest stage, a switch of hosts for the evening presented the lovely Miss Kitty draped in red excitement, and a perfect match for the increase in energy that Ele brought to the venue. My artists! The ones that bring the nostalgia, the dance moves, and the good feelings that go along with each memory attached to their popular songs.

via My Jamaica Today
Elephant Man was fabulous, and everything we needed him to be. He ran. He climbed. He took off pieces of his costume armour, and he reminded us of exactly who he be. A legend of dancehall, and someone that we can always hold in high regard and look at fondly whether he’s performing a new album, or simply making us move with his original classics. We owe Elephant Man a lot. He brought us all so much joy, laughter, and, well…”energy” over the years. He is a treasure, for sure.

Agent Sasco, was excellent as per usual. He is a legend in the making, and that voice of his always reminds me that he is one of a kind. Spice: a consummate performer, with so many outfits and stage moments worth remembering. She truly is on top of her game right now, and it’s nice to see.

Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, Koffee and Chronixx. It almost goes without saying. These are artists that have all proven themselves, in various ways, to be irreplaceable icons in the reggae music industry. So much greatness, and so many great songs to accompany their existence.

With a backdrop of morning sunshine in Montego Bay, Dexta Daps, Govana, Aidonia, and a few other new artists like Shane E, Fully Bad, and Jahvillani closed out the show. As for the 6ixx Squad and Squash…unfortunately his big moment is a thing of hypothetical planning only. According to reports, the police did not approve of the profanity used by other artists, and the fact that the show was running over its permitted time…so they locked it off.

Festival Night 2 brought in a few early acts, before the highly anticipated performance from Dalton Harris took place. One thing is for sure: the man can SING. Like really, really sing. He was definitely a showman. He was for sure a little bit defensive. Dalton had a lot to prove and a lot to say, and in the end…I have to give it up for his talent, which is undeniable. He is a force.

Any appearance from Jah9 and Etana are good appearances, as far as I’m concerned. Those two woman embody grace and intelligence, and I do believe they are an amazing and necessarily element to the music scene. From the Shauna Controlla and Spice sexiness, to the conscious lyrics and messaging of Jah9 and Etana, Jamaican women were presented from all angles.

The women continued to inspire me when Protoje brought out Lila Ike and Sevana as a part of his set. In addition to featuring Jesse Royal and Sasco during his segment, he truly did shine a light on Lila and Sevana in the best ways. Solid. As they sang, as they moved, and as they shared their lyrics, I was so inspired by what they represented, again in another contrast to the previous female performers. It presented such a thorough look at womanhood, and female expression. It felt like big things were about to happen for women in the reggae, and I’m all here for it.

I fully expect Lila Ike to have a role in next year’s Sumfest. Of all the artists, she really left an impression on me as someone who truly deserves an increased in profile.

Uncle Beres. No words. The quiet Jamaican audience from the early hours immediately transformed into a most humbled collective of music lovers and fans. Hit after hit, folks sang along with Beres, cheered to Beres, and praised their artist with the utmost respect and appreciation. A living legend and someone a true reggae fan can never, ever tire of. Beres Hammond was a complete pleasure to watch, as always.

Romain Virgo had another poignant moment of the night, when the young and beautiful Teshae Silvera joined him on stage to sing her cover of Romain’s song calling out child abuse. “You dutty man! You dutty man! Leave the people pickney dem alone!” she sang, to one of the biggest forwards of the night. This angel left an impression on many, and when I first glimpsed her Instagram page she only had 60 followers. I most definitely expect this to be a different situation by tomorrow, now that her handle @Teshae_Silvera is being circulated.

Christopher Martin was excellent. He is always excellent, and in the second-most anticipated appearance of Buju Banton in nearly a decade…he returned to the Sumfest stage to an equally warm reception as his first post-incarceration show. What’s not to love about Buju? He is embedded in our hearts, and it is still great to live in a world where we can see him on road. Also a treat: his new song Steppa was also released this week.

Jamaica has my heart. The island, the people, the food, the culture, the language, the antics, the brilliance, the everything. Most importantly, the music that plays while we live life, while we travel, and while we grow. Reggae music allows an innate appreciation for the culture, just by rhythm alone. The drums and basslines, the horns and background vocalists–from the Warrior Love Band to the Harmony House Band and Singers…it’s all just a spectacular music to take in. Especially on a large scale.

Reggae Sumfest has proven, yet again, to be the biggest reggae show on earth with a great structure, and an even greater pool of talent to select from. Big up to the team involved in executing this year’s event so wonderfully, and for making the experience for a reggae lover living out here in the diaspora, to feel a little bit of home every time I take part in a viewing event like this. From the production value, to the praise for young Teshae, Sumfest was entertaining from beginning to end. It was Jamaican excellence, personified. Next year won’t miss me.

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing’s “Urban Toronto Tales” blog.

 

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Sumfest gets high marks
BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at-Large

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 1 comment

Organisers of the 27th Reggae Sumfest have hailed it as the “biggest and best ever” in its history. They pointed to the massive crowds and excellent delivery by artistes, during its live performance nights last Friday and Saturday at Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay.

“This is just awesome in every way. Spiritually-wise, no violence … and that is what Reggae Sumfest is all about. Last night (Friday) was very, very big, the biggest ever until tonight (Saturday). The good thing is that everybody was all working together, the fire department, the police, the health department,” Sumfest boss Josef Bogdanovich told the Jamaica Observer shortly before the show ended Sunday morning.

Reggae Sumfest co-founder Robert Russell expressed similar sentiments.

“It is the biggest Sumfest ever, no question about that,” he stressed. “It went very, very well, everybody has done very well. The vendors are happy, the massive crowd is happy, the musicians, the security forces … everything has gone very, well this year.”

Russell said the strong line-up of artistes was the main reason for the tremendous support from patrons.

“The line-up is one of the key ingredients for the success of any show, and we had a great line-up, and that manifested itself in the crowd support.”

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Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett has indicated that J$ 1 Billion was generated at the just concluded Reggae Sumfest music festival held at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay.

“This year was arguably the largest Reggae Sumfest in terms of attendance from both local and overseas guests. On the visitor arrival side, we saw approximately 10,000 people coming to the island for the festival which is an increase of 3000 over last year.

More importantly we estimate the revenue impact from the festival to be $J1 Billion based on average room nights stay of locals and visitors and taxes,” said Minister Bartlett.

Reggae Sumfest, which began in 1993, has been described as the largest music festival in Jamaica and the Caribbean, taking place each year in mid-July in Montego Bay. It attracts crowds of all ages from all over the world and locally and has featured a variety of Jamaican reggae artists as well as international acts.

Jamaica Tourism Minister: Reggae Sumfest generates J$1 billion

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (R) engages in discussion with Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness at the Jamaica Tourist Board booth at Reggae Sumfest held at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay. Minister Bartlett has indicated that the estimated revenue impact of the festival is J$1 Billion.


Minister Bartlett added that, “The success of entertainment festivals such as Sumfest augurs well for tourism as it boosts arrivals and has a major economic impact in and around Montego Bay.

Through these types of events, hotels both large and small, attractions and smaller players in the sector get to truly benefit from the extensive value chain of tourism.”

The weeklong festival usually kicks off with the Sumfest Beach Party  which is followed with a series of events including a free Street Dance. Then there are two nights of the main festival with live performances featuring some of the best Dancehall and Reggae Artists in the world.

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Networking A Priority At Sumfest’s Reggae Symposium

Published:Friday | June 28, 2019 | Kimberley Small/Staff Reporter

The synergy between cannabis and Jamaican music; the relevance of radio in the advent of social media; the technical art of sound engineering; the question of appropriation or misappropriation and the correlation between music and violence are all topics to be tackled during the Reggae Symposium, on July 12 at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge on The University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

As part of Reggae Sumfest’s expanded week-long activities, the symposium casts a more scrutinizing gaze on the local music industry, with the hope to facilitate networking and learning opportunities for aspiring music business professionals.

Though he was not a participant for last year’s inaugural symposium, music scholar Clyde McKenzie revealed that he was present at the genesis of the idea to introduce elements that extend Reggae Sumfest into a form resembling major international music festivals.

“The trend is for festivals around the world to encompass as many different features as possible. In discussions with Joe Bogdanovich, I said that a symposium would be a nice feature. He was in agreement because his mind seemed to be going in that direction,” McKenzie told The Gleaner.

He continued: “Joe and Sumfest should be applauded for this initiative because it is another facet of a festival that we need to highlight. You need to be entertained, but you also need to be informed. The aim is for younger people in the business to get the opportunity to network with and learn.”

Free of charge, the symposium only requires online registration for attendants. “There is not a cent charged for it, and we’ll be making sure there will be refreshment and snacks so people are comfortable coming there. There is limited space. There are opportunities to register via the Reggae Sumfest website. First come, first served,” McKenzie said. kimberley.small@gleanerjm.com

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Published:Sunday | June 23, 2019 | 12:16 AMSade Gardner – Gleaner Writer
Ian Allen

Elephant Man is a music junkie, period.

A saunter through his mansion in Havendale, St Andrew, revealed stereos blasting local radio station ZIP 103FM near the poolside while music from a flatscreen TV filled the halls of the main floor.

Ele himself is a walking music library. For almost every life experience he recalled, he trailed off in a beat, thumping his chest, snapping his fingers, and deejaying his best impersonation of Bounty Killer, Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Mad Cobra, Simpleton et al, with joy in his eyes and gratification on his face.

He attained no formal training for a talent that would earn him scores of chart-topping singles. Instead, the Seaview Gardens-bred artiste honed his craft by toasting among friends and isolating himself in a room with Celine Dion on repeat, as he taught himself to reach challenging notes.

“Musically, mi did always know a waa gwaan. My house did deh two gate from Shabba Ranks’ house. Bounty Killer live bout five minutes up the road. Ninjaman never come from Seaview, but anytime him come, we run up the road and look pon him from head to toe cause a our god that. We learn from them man deh, even Supercat. Dem tek music serious and nuh play round wid performance,” Ele told The Sunday Gleaner.

‘We’ included childhood friends Nitty Kutchie and Boom Dandimite, with whom he would later form Scare Dem Crew, with Harry Toddler from Waltham Park Road, Kingston.

Though he had an endorsement from Bounty (he even got a gig cutting grass for his mother, Miss Ivy), Ele’s mother did not approve of his musical ambitions.

Given name Oneil Bryan, the Norman Manley High School student earned his moniker through his ‘Dumbo’ nickname derived from his sizable ears. First deejaying on ‘Vietnam corner’ in Phase One, the 16-year-old took his skills to the neighbouring Waterhouse community at King Jammys studio, where things took a new turn.

“Jammys and everybody start record Killer, and Killer seh him buss, but him friend dem still deh deh. We seh come mek we start Scare Dem Crew cause we nah go buss solo,” he said. “Killer used to call we out pon shows, and a so we start get recognised.”

Ele fashioned the idea of members dyeing their hair to distinguish themselves from other crews, and Toddler was game. Kutchie kept his hair black, but Dandimite later got on board. With tracks like Many Many, Nuh Dress Like Girl, and Girls Every Day, the group bore success before disbanding in 1999.

BIGGEST RECORD
Dancehall was on a new wave by the new millennium, and the following year produced Elephant Man’s solo album debut, Comin’ 4 U, on Greensleeves Records. His biggest record is the 2003 dance number Pon De River, Pon De Bank, which spearheads a slew of dance hits like Signal the Plane, Blase, Scooby Doo, and Fan Dem Off complementing earlier tracks Online and Log On.

His catalogue supports his affinity for music, with a range of sampled works like Bad Man a Bad Man, remixed from R. Kelly’s The World’s Greatest; Willie Bounce, sampled from Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, and Bun Bad Mind, a take on the gospel single Hear My Cry Oh Lord by Marvia Providence.

His star factor was supported by his signature lisp, spirited performances, and variegated outfits, and it did not take long for international acts to notice. His collaborative projects boast names like Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey, Lil’ Jon, and Kat Deluna. He also did a stint at P Diddy’s Bad Boy Records, which released his Grammy-nominated album, Let’s Get Physica l, in 2008.

Growing fame accompanied some bumps in the road. Father to 20 children, Elephant Man’s personal life has been blasted in the media, with claims that he is not an active father. Then there were the court cases, a repossessed car, and other rumours swirled. “We’ve been through it. When you’re a likkle youth coming from nothing to something, people a go talk things, but at the end of the day, never mek a rumour be true,” he said. “Me take care of my kids, but sometimes you and the mother have a dispute, and you know how that go. Memba mi deh ya good one time and dem seh Ele have AIDS. Me seh, weh dat come from? Mi nuh dead, mi deh ya. That’s how people is. Me stay strong cause the fittest of the fittest shall live, and God nuh waan no weakness inna Him camp.”

Now 42 years old, he recently completed a European tour and is getting ready for festivals like Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Rotterdam in July. He still assesses the dance circuit and gives kudos to artistes like Ding Dong and Chi Ching Ching for continuing to spread Jamaica’s dance culture.

And for that little kid or music fanatic who happens to stumble across the history books of the entertainer’s life, he hopes to be immortalised as “that hard-working dancehall artiste who took dancehall to that level like the Reggae Boyz. Just like yuh can pick out the footballers who did certain things, when it comes to dancehall, you should be able to pick out Ele in the top five and say he did this or that. I’ve gotten a fair run. Me sell gold, me get Grammy-nominated, me fanbase large, and there is proof to show it.”

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Ricky Trooper, Pink Panther Prepare For Sumfest’s Global Sound Clash – Local Selectors Say Winning Is A Matter Of Cultural Pride

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2019 | 2:22 PMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

Reggae and dancehall entertainers are oftentimes mentioned for having a competitive nature, whether by their attempts to surpass previous musical achievements or to outdo peers. And over the years, the platform that has thrived off that spirit of competition is the old-fashioned sound clash.
The sound clash culture remains a fundamental part of local music, reaching the global stages, says former Black Kat Sound System selector Di General Pink Panther, who is currently preparing to participate in the upcoming Reggae Sumfest Global Sound Clash, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday night, July 18, at Pier One in Montego Bay.

“Across the seas, sound clash has definitely earned its respect as more people are getting involved – no longer an underground event – its influence is strong and very present,” Pink Panther told The Gleaner.

CLASH RECORD
Before Japan’s Mighty Crown won last year’s Sumfest edition of the Irish and Chin World Clash, Pink Panther held the most titles for the event with six trophies.

“Last year, the emcee made a mistake in announcing my elimination. I was not supposed to come out of the competition but that was just because of all the confusion in voting – it was not a fair decision to me,” he said.

In addition to Pink Panther, this year’s sound clash will feature sound systems and selectors, Yard Beat from Japan, the Canada World Clash champions King Turbo, Germany’s Warrior Sound and Ricky Trooper, who is the other selector representing for Jamaica.

Like the cartoon character from which he takes his stage name, Pink Panther is expected to deliver an unpredictable set.

PINK PANTHER’S CREATIVITY
“I know most of the clashes I have done in recent years have been overseas, but I am ready with songs specifically arranged for the Reggae Sumfest audience and getting the dubs together from all the artistes people can think of to show that unique creativity Pink Panther is known for … this is a straight win,” he said.

Ricky Trooper, who was eliminated in the second round in last year’s clash, says he will be back with a bang.

“For last year, me never take the competition serious and it was cause of the personal vibes me have with Tony Matterhorn – it mess wid me concentration,” he said.

“As much as how people might think when two selectors have a personal vibes gainst one another, it will motivate them fi guh harder, it doesn’t help,” he continued.

For the 2019 staging, the St Mary-born selector says he is focused.

“I am just going there to be my best. Clash is part of my life and the more positive vibes the better,” he said. “One thing fi sure, mi nah mek the sound man dem from overseas leave with this one … it is a matter of cultural pride and pride fi mi country.”

Reggae and dancehall entertainers are oftentimes mentioned for having a competitive nature, whether by their attempts to surpass previous musical achievements or to outdo peers. And over the years, the platform that has thrived off that spirit of competition is the old-fashioned sound clash.

The sound clash culture remains a fundamental part of local music, reaching the global stages, says former Black Kat Sound System selector Di General Pink Panther, who is currently preparing to participate in the upcoming Reggae Sumfest Global Sound Clash, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday night, July 18, at Pier One in Montego Bay.

“Across the seas, sound clash has definitely earned its respect as more people are getting involved – no longer an underground event – its influence is strong and very present,” Pink Panther told The Gleaner.

CLASH RECORD
Before Japan’s Mighty Crown won last year’s Sumfest edition of the Irish and Chin World Clash, Pink Panther held the most titles for the event with six trophies.

“Last year, the emcee made a mistake in announcing my elimination. I was not supposed to come out of the competition but that was just because of all the confusion in voting – it was not a fair decision to me,” he said.

In addition to Pink Panther, this year’s sound clash will feature sound systems and selectors, Yard Beat from Japan, the Canada World Clash champions King Turbo, Germany’s Warrior Sound and Ricky Trooper, who is the other selector representing for Jamaica.

Like the cartoon character from which he takes his stage name, Pink Panther is expected to deliver an unpredictable set.

PINK PANTHER’S CREATIVITY
“I know most of the clashes I have done in recent years have been overseas, but I am ready with songs specifically arranged for the Reggae Sumfest audience and getting the dubs together from all the artistes people can think of to show that unique creativity Pink Panther is known for … this is a straight win,” he said.

Ricky Trooper, who was eliminated in the second round in last year’s clash, says he will be back with a bang.

“For last year, me never take the competition serious and it was cause of the personal vibes me have with Tony Matterhorn – it mess wid me concentration,” he said.

“As much as how people might think when two selectors have a personal vibes gainst one another, it will motivate them fi guh harder, it doesn’t help,” he continued.

For the 2019 staging, the St Mary-born selector says he is focused.

“I am just going there to be my best. Clash is part of my life and the more positive vibes the better,” he said. “One thing fi sure, mi nah mek the sound man dem from overseas leave with this one … it is a matter of cultural pride and pride fi mi country.”