Thursday, May 14, 2015

Prosecutors drop firearms charge against reggae star Buju Banton, currently serving 10-years

Federal prosecutors have agreed to drop a firearms charge against Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton, who is already serving a 10-year sentence.

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday that a deal with Buju Banton calls for his waiver of all future appeals related to his 2011 conviction on a cocaine distribution conspiracy charge.

Banton is scheduled to be released from federal prison January 2019, at which time he will be deported to his native Jamaica.

Banton's attorneys previously argued that he should be released early under a charge in federal drug sentencing guidelines. But the charge didn't apply to most minimum mandatory sentences.

Buju's 10-year sentence is the minimum mandatory sentence for his conviction stemming from a 2009 arrest following a sting operation.


Trinidadian reggae/gospel artiste makes Billboard Top 10 with new album

Gospel/Reggae artiste Joel "Positive" Murray debuts on Billboard with his new hit album 'Stand And Be Counted.' The album made its debut entry at #9 on Billboard Reggae Albums chart, the first ever Billboard chart entry for the inspirational artiste. 

Hailing from the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Positive garners international spotlight for the niche Gospel/Reggae genre and reinforces his reign at its forefront. Embodying a triple threat - an extraordinary singer, prolific songwriter and genre-bending producer - Stand And Be Counted showcases his seasoned vocals, lyrics and production skills as his divine talents shine on its 15 glorious tracks.

"It is absolutely remarkable to be charting on Billboard and I'm ecstatic because of what this means for Gospel Reggae and for the music of Trinidad and Tobago on a whole" states Positive.  "It isn't just for me but also for everyone who supports the Gospel and good music we are in the top 10 of Billboard's Reggae Albums chart. The entire globe is listening so we will keep sending inspiring messages as we seek to make a positive difference in the world. This is a call to Stand Up and Be Counted!"

The album also debut at #1 on iTunes Trinidad and Tobago national top Albums chart and peaked at #21 on iTunes US Reggae Top Albums chart. Stand And Be Counted sees collaboration with American Gospel star Jonathan McReynolds on its lead track "All Over The World," co-produced by Dwayne "Supa dups" Chin-Quee, American Christian pop singer V. Rose on "Scars" and boasts production from stellar names in pop, gospel, reggae and soca music such as Jason "J-Vibe" Farmer, soca heavy-hitter Precision Productions along with JLab Pro and Deer Panteth Productions from Trinidad and Barbwiya Music from Jamaica joining forces with Positive's independent label Bricksvale Records


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sophia Squire keep dem coming; the singer release two more hard hitting singles

When Sophia Squire sit down to write, it's no ordinary thing.  She is arguably one of the best songwriters in Jamaica's music industry and yet, one of the most under-rated artiste. She has written and recorded a catalogue of timeless songs that include tracks such as, Nature and the remix Nature's Calling featuring Tarrus Riley, Rat-A-Tat-Tat, Love, Give Me Your Love, Got a Date featuring U-Roy, Nah Fight Ova No ManLove Don't Hurt, Slow MotionReal Love and Next to Me. These tracks are a drop in the bucket out of countless tunes this artiste has written and recorded. 

With a double EP out, CD 1 entitled, Rhythm and Soul, CD 2, Roots Rock Reggae on VP Records label, Sophia Squire is still working towards attaining international recognition. As she continues to make wholesome reggae music, the humble, soft spoken mother of two said in a recent interview on Newstalk 93 FM, that she is content with writing music to uphold the reggae genre and has no intention of making commercial songs for the sake of earning quick bucks. A former background vocalist for the late Gregory Isaacs, Squire said her experience touring with the late icon has provided her with irrefutable evidence of the alluring power of reggae music. A well rounded singer/songwriter and entertainer, the Spanish Town base artiste also produce, compose and arrange music and is strictly adherent to her personal motto, 'live, love and let peace reign.' 

With even more songs still worth mentioning, Sophia has called for the return of rub-a-dub to the reggae genre. A characteristic accredited for the strong 'sex appeal' the music once had. She should know the effect 'rub-a-dub' has with fans. After all, she has toured with the 'cool ruler' for a number of years. To this call, her 3 year old song entitled, 'Sweet Reggae' produced by Dubtonic and Jah Snowcone on the Susumba riddim

as well as the hard hitting Rock n Come Een track among others that she sang in the sexy undertone she is known for, extends this message.

Ms. Squire continue to appease her fans with even more hard hitting songs, be it social commentary or lovers rock, her ideas are welcoming and demonstrates what authentic reggae music is. 

With her, every track is a potential hit! Bredroc Music Head Audley Allen, who manages Sophia Squire, announced a few weeks ago, that they were getting ready to drop another track. But as it turned out, fans were not ready to receive not one, but, two new tracks! In full blown promotion mode, the 'Slow Motion' singer/songwriter has once again hit the streets promoting new songs, "Me Nuh Kno," which universally speaks for struggling mothers/women and "Know Nutt'n," a song she says is a deterrent for 'band-wagonists,'  that person or persons who latch themselves onto entertainers the moment they make a big break.  

When the great Bob Marley was making music in the 70s, he concentrated on just putting out music.  Such is the mentality of Sophia Squire, "I am driven spiritually, there are times when I rise in the wee hours of the morning just to make note of the inspiration I have for a new song.  Absolutely no pressure, I love doing this, and I love even more, the fact that I get to share these thoughts through music with the universe," she said.

By: Sophia McKay

34 Years After Death, We Need Bob Marley Now More Than Ever

Written by: Tom Barnes

When Bob Marley was buried a week and a half after his death on May 11, 1981, he was laid to rest with three items in his casket, a red Gibson Les Paul guitar, a bible opened to Psalm 23 and a stalk of marijuana.That trinity sums up much of the legacy Marley left behind - the spiritual wholeness, the celebration of marijuana and the faith in music to bring us together. Marley's death day is all the more tragic today 34 years later, not a single musician has managed to take up his revolutionary legacy. No one has been able to create music as universally evocative and politically incisive as Marley's. No one has become an international symbol for liberation and peace to the same degree as Marley has. And at no time have we needed him more.

Marleys birth and death days are observed around the world - his birthday is even a national holiday in Jamaica. His music is also an integral part of New Zealand's independence celebration, Waitangi Day. Often though, the man they celebrate is very different than the stoner legend lionize in the West.

"In the U.S. and U.K. Bob Marley may have been taken up by the middle class as a slightly 'right on' symbol but, in developing countries he is sincerely considered a voice of protest and righteousness, "Chris Salewicz" author of Bob Marley: The Untold Story, told Quartz earlier this year. "After all, in China you don't really hear Bruce Springsteen, but you will hear the songs of Bob Marley."

"Me a rebel, man." That's why it's important to remember Marley as he really was. The vast majority of Marley's music was radical and politically uncompromising, stretching far beyond the reductive stone version in the Western popular conception.

His main targets were the Western capitalist system and the decay caused by greed and exploitation. He described the conditions for people in the world's worst ghettos on songs like "Concrete Jungle" and "Johnny Was." He enumerated the realities of racism on tracks like "War." "Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently, discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war" Marley sang, paraphrasing a speech given by former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie.

Out of the injustices he saw, Marley offered ways to channel frustration and rage into productive action. "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds," he told the world over the sunny strumming of "Redemption Song."

True Activism: Marley backed his music with real political action: In 1976 he played at a tense politically motivated, two days earlier. Nearly 18 months later, he returned to Jamaica and forced representatives from two violently opposed political parties to join hands with him and promise peace.

In 1980, he played at an independence day celebration in Zimbabwe, creating a spirit of resillience in a crowd that had earlier engaged in a violent conflict with police.

When asked by a New Zealand interviewer if "dabbling in politics" was a good idea considering the mortal risks that often followed his activism, Marley responded, "You say dabble in politics? I don't know what that is. You say dabble in politics? I don't know what that is. You say stand up and talk fi [sic] my rights? I know that is. See? And I don't care who the guy is....because my right is my right. Like my life. You know? All I have is my life."

A legend: Bob Marley was a true musical revolutionary. He fought for causes that inflamed passions and divided opinion - not simply playing "political" rallies dedicated to causes no one in their right mind would would disagree with.

In the process, Marley helped turn reggae into a "soundtrack for political dissent," as Carolyn Cooper, professor at the University of the West Indies, explained to Fox News Latino.

"He spoke to the oppressed and the downtrodden," Don Letts, a filmmaker who knew Marley in the 70s, told Quarts. "In other words, he still speaks to 90% of the planet. Bob's messages are more important now than they ever were. For every one of those middle-class white guys or girls playing "One Love,' there are a million more around the world who are playing 'Get Up, Stand Up.'

Reggae doesn't have the same urgent visibility it once did. Our next global political revolutionary will likely come from hip-hop, which shares reggae's ability to provide a voice for the oppressed and it is currently pushing music into bold new sonic territory. We have many artists with the potential to be that voice. But before they try, they best look at Marley's life and legacy for instruction.

Source: Music.Mic
Tom Barnes is a Staff Writer for's music section. A graduate of NYU, he's worked brief stints with Columbia Records and Miracle Music. He believes the mind needs music like the body needs food and water and he always feels the thirst.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Inner Circle to show off culinary skills in new Caribbean cooking show television series

Members of world re-known Reggae band Inner Circle, will be showing off their culinary skills in the first Caribbean cooking show, 'Taste the Islands' with Chef Irie in the US. Since April of this year, 'Taste the Islands' show has been broadcast across Los Angeles, San Francisco, South Florida and Denver of the United States.

The 'Bad Boys' of Reggae will be cooking a gourmet version of a Jamaican codfish staple at their studio and will also be sharing stories of life on the road including and what their diner plates looked like before they became a global success.

"Inner Circle is a legend in our community and around the world. Fortunately they already knew several members of our production team, knew our track record, and were fans of Chef" said Calibe Thompson, Executive Producer/Director of the Blondie Ras Productions series. "As the first Jamaican production team to achieve this reach on public television it was important to us to incorporate personalities the mass market audience would know and admire. It was a big help that they're also loaded with humour and personality."

Watch this clip of Inner Circle on Taste the Islands

The Taste the Islands Caribbean Cooking series present with each episode an opportunity for viewers to learn about Caribbean cuisine. Chef Irie and his celebrity guests will be sharing their home islands favourite meals.  Other guests to appear on the show are Maxi Priest, Ato Boldon and Kevin Lyttle. Behind the scenes snipets can be seen on