Friday, July 12, 2013

UB40 "Getting Over the Storm" Album Out September

Bits 'n' Pieces

UB40 releases their twentieth studio album entitled, "Getting Over the Storm" September 2, 2013.

The British reggae/pop band formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England hit big with it's version of the popular Red Red Wine single which topped UK singles chart 1983 and Billboard 100 chart in 1988.  The original version written by American artiste Neil Diamond peaked at #62 on Billboard 100 chart.

UB40's Brian Travers said of the groups new album, "it's an honest music, just like reggae."  Travers plays sax.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Japanese Animation Film Festival Attracts Large Crowd in Kingston

Bits 'n' Pieces

"I am honoured to see so many participants in front of me.  I take it as an indication that you are truly fascinated with the Japanese pop culture of Aime," said Ambassador Takase to the large audience in attendance more

Monday, July 8, 2013

Digital Sale Increase Reported for Jamaican Performers at the 2013 BET Awards

Interesting observation relating to increased digital sales on tracks performed by Dancehall/Reggae artistes Dawn Penn, Beenie Man, Chacka Demus and Pliers at the 2013 B.E.T. Awards have been reported. 

Billboard's Digital Reggae Singles Charts now reflects an increase in download for Chaka Demus and Pliers 'Murder She Wrote' single which has moved nineteen places up from #40 to #21 on the Digital Reggae Singles chart, selling 1,234 downloads compared to 617 the previous week and have sold 264,339 copies to date.  'Murder She Wrote' released in 1993 peaked at #57 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

Beenie Man's, 'Girls Dem Sugar' are back in the charts at #66 selling 408 copies compared to 219 copies sold the previous week and an overall sales total of 103,528 to date.  The track was released in 1997, remixed featuring US RnB/Pop artist Mya in 2000 and peaked at #54 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Beenie Man's other track performed entitle 'Who Am I,' re-enters the chart at #74, have sold 367 copies from 129 copies the previous week and total sale of 58, 938 to date.  Importantly 'Who Am I,' released in 1997 was featured on Beenie Man's Many Moods of Moses album that sold over 250,000 copies to date.  The track which was released in the US in 1988 went #40 on Billboard's Hot 100 and #15 on the RnB/Hip-Hop chart.

Singer Dawn Penn's ever popular 'You Don't Love Me' digital sale is also on the increase after her performance at the BET Awards.  The single which was recorded in 1969 and peaked at #58 on Billboard Hot 100 chart and #10 on the Dance Music Club Play chart has increase its sale from 140 copies sold the previous week to 428 copies. It has re-entered the Digital Reggae Singles chart at #60 and records a total overall sale 48,952 to date.

There has been no reported digital sale increase for Elephant Man up to this time.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Is Dancehall Safe?

Elephant Man/Beenie Man 
"The big man a B.E.T. sey, we haffi have a Reggae/Dancehall segment pon B.E.T. every year" disclosed Elephant Man and Beenie Man.

The year 2012 ended with even much more heightened speculation and doubt about the future of Jamaican artistes, their music Reggae and it's offspring Dancehall, despite insurmountable interest, growth and increased popularity across the world for the genres.  The questions regarding the future of Jamaican entertainers and whether Jamaica is 'still the Reggae capital of the world" were raised when music sales plummeted to an all time low or so people are lead to believe. So dismal are the predictions that some Jamaicans bought into these opinions and doubted, some continue to argue among themselves about the various changes that need to be implemented to arrive at a solution for the immensely gross problems found with the artistes and their music despite daily revelation that Jamaican Dancehall and Reggae artistes continue to break boundaries across the world.  Shabba Ranks, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Patra, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw, Vybz Kartel, Mavado among so many others too many to list, have put in work that impacted the industry significantly reaching the pinnacle of prestigious charts such as Billboard and/or collaborations with some of music's biggest names.  Shaggy and Sean Paul sold millions yet some believed that these achievements amounts to nothing.  One wonders how hurtful it must be for local artistes each time they hear a prognosis of the future of a music they inherited and upheld without them included in it.

But although disheartened, the Jamaican artistes remains hopeful, steadfast and relentless in their drive to remain relevant, after all, it's their music and their future. Several artistes of different genres, international demand and calibre continue to display vested interest in the local brand.  What are they searching for? Such question was answered long ago by the King of Reggae himself, Robert Nesta 'Bob' Marley, the legend who said in a 1979 interview with New Zealand Journalist Dylan Taite when asked if the music (reggae) can be copied.  Bob Marley responded that it can be but, "it's not the copy is the feel."  The music's influence is  great but it's roots is in Jamaica it's home and the 'feel' as Bob Marley put it comes from the people which inspires and motivates others.  This very important element (the feel) of the Jamaican genres rest among Jamaican artistes of whom can never be irrelevant to the growth and significance of Reggae and Dancehall despite the doubts and fears.  

Serious Doubt

Beenie/Ele Performing on BET Awards 2013
Critiques greatest fear however does not rest with Reggae but Dancehall, a colourful musical display of Jamaican culture. Many say Dancehall is not going anywhere even though it has spread across Europe, the United States and the continent of Africa.  Vybz Kartel and Mavado's Gully/Gaza feud which is relatively similar to the late Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur's negative and positive impact on America's music and fans, propelled across continents to further increase Dancehall's fan base that have already been on the increase with the success and popularity of many locals including Shabba Ranks, Patra, Super Cat, Mad Cobra, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw Elephant Man, Sean Paul, Shaggy and others.  

Dancehall is Safe
The future of Jamaican artistes and their music has been solidified twice this year, at the 2013 Grammy Awards where Ziggy and Damian Marley were invited to perform a tribute to their dad and Reggae's King Bob Marley, with Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Sting and more recently the BET 2013 Awards. The BET Awards proves that Dancehall has not become popular but has been and it's future is already written. In an interview with Winford Williams 'Onstage,' a local television entertainment program aired weekly on CVM television, Beenie Man and Elephant disclosed that after their performance at the 2013 BET Awards, where they along with Dawn Penn, Jabba, Chaka Demus and Pliers were given standing ovation for the first ever Reggae/Dancehall segment, "The big man a B.E.T. sey, we haffi have a Reggae/Dancehall segment pon B.E.T. every year 

So as it now stands, Dancehall is a working progress, much work is yet to be done the most urgent in this writer's opinion is financial gain 'Talk that Talk' but the Jamaican artistes and their music will forever be significant to the process, growth is inevitable. Fear not! Jamaica's Dancehall and Reggae artistes and their music (Reggae and Dancehall) are safe.

By: Sophia McKay