Mario to Perform at St. Kitts Music Festival
Popular entertainer and Billboard Award Winning artist Mario will be among the premier acts at the 12th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival, which will take place on the island from June 26-28, 2008.
Currently appearing as a contestant on the hit ABC television show Dancing with the Stars, Mario was just 15 when his debut album, “Mario,” was released. The album’s two hit singles, Just a Friend and Let Me Love You, earned him various accolades including a 2005 Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Award for Top R&B/Hip-Hop Single, a Billboard Music Award for Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year and nominations for the Grammy Awards, BET Awards, Vibe Awards, MOBO Awards and the Soul Train Music Awards. His acting career includes leading roles in the films Step Up and Freedom Writers. Mario’s most recent album, Go was released in November 2007 and his fourth album is tentatively scheduled for release in September 2008.
“I am very excited to make my first trip to St. Kitts this summer,” said Mario. ȁI’ve never been there and I hear from everyone how beautiful it is. I am also looking forward to bringing my band and doing an amazing show for everyone. It`ll be a great weekend. I have heard that the St. Kitts Music Festival is one of the big highlights of the summer in that part of the region and I look forward to performing at the Festival.”
“Mario is an exciting young artist and we are extremely pleased that he will be performing at the St. Kitts Music Festival,” said Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister responsible for Tourism, Sports & Culture. ȁHis remarkable talents make him an excellent addition to the existing line-up, which showcases a mix of musical styles for all ages. Mario will be a significant ingredient in our Festival’s unique flavor, with performances from top-selling international musicians as well as exciting local and Caribbean acts who showcase our culture on each night, making the St. Kitts Music Festival an experience like no other.”
Now in its 12th consecutive year, the festival attracts both locals and visitors alike. It features various musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel and Contemporary music. Past artists have included such prominent acts as Michael Bolton, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Ashanti, Shaggy, Eve, Bobby Caldwell, DMX, Hugh Masekala, Xtatik, the Temptations, Chaka Khan, Maxi Priest, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson and Busta Rhymes.
US based music lovers looking for a great vacation experience can get to St Kitts on American Airlines on a non-stop service from JFK, New York and MIAMI or from Atlanta on Delta Air Lines, and from Charlotte on US Airways as well as via connecting service through San Juan on American Eagle.
Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s sugar plantations, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at one of St. Kitts’ two casinos or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. Guests can select from accommodations ranging from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels or resorts.
Tickets to the 12th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival are US $50.00 per person, per night and will soon be available for purchase on www.stkittsmusicfestival.com.
For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail [email protected] or visit the website at www.stkittstourism.kn.
Source: Adams PR
St. Ann Gears Up for Digicel Rising Stars
Digicel Rising StarsHailing from the St Ann community of Nine Mile, Bob Marley became an icon with his infectious beats and thought-provoking lyrics.
This Saturday, May 24, Digicel Rising Stars auditions will be coming to Marley’s home parish, St. Ann giving talented performers the chance to take their own gifts to the world. Set for Hibiscus Lodge Hotel in Ocho Rios the audition is expected to attract the best talent in the parish.
Celebrated as the garden parish because of its natural beauty, there are high expectations for talent in St. Ann, since it has had a long tradition of entertainment due in part to its vibrant tourism heritage. “Because the people of St Ann have been welcoming and entertaining the world for so long I think that the talent is usually at a very high standard for the Ocho Rios audition,” said Tahnida Nunes, the executive producer of Digicel Rising Stars.
Since the start of the series hopefuls have had to adjust to a new look with auditions moving indoors but the keen-eyed producer feels that results are well worth it. “With the auditions indoors we can do a lot more to ramp up the visual style of the show. We’ve taken cues from other world class reality talent shows and I think the audience is going to love what they see,” said Nunes.
According to Nunes, the change to indoor auditions does not eliminate all the familiar features, but in some cases refines it. ȁWe provide television monitors for people to watch under tents so for us it is more like an evolution of the way we showcase the talent in Jamaica. It looks good on screen.”
Contestants should come prepared if they intend to impress the judges and move closer to securing the top prize and appropriate song selection is a key area that they must pay attention to.
This year’s winner will receive $1 million, the opportunity to release two singles and a music video. The first runner up will receive $600,000 and a single, while the second runner up is set to receive $400,000 and a single.
Digicel Rising Stars is open to anyone over the age of 16, who is not currently signed to a management or recording contract and is a citizen of Jamaica or has a visa entitling them to enter and work in Jamaica. At the auditions, participants may either perform individually or in groups of up to six. Participants who are unsuccessful at one audition location have the option of auditioning at another location, since there are six audition dates this year.
After Ocho Rios, the final stop will be in Kingston on Saturday, May 31, when Digicel Rising Stars takes over the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).
An “Underground” Movement
Rootz UndergroundWith a skank and demeanor similar to that of Reggae Icon Bob Marley, it’s evident Rootz Underground front man Stephen Newland, with the help of his band, has major plans to secure a spot in the history of the reggae Movement.
Last Saturday fans turned up at the Hope Gardens Bandshell for the much anticipated release of Rootz’ debut album, Movement, and were treated to a thrilling reggae composed ride.
Taking centrestage, to the harmony of Time Is An Illusion, Newland greeted his audience and then simultaneously broke into song. Swinging his shoulder length locks, devoid of inhibition, Newland’s voice echoed throughout the venue, while his fellow band members rocked – playing their instruments – visually into the vibe.
By the time the band launched into songs such as Hammer and Victims of the System they had the ample crowd mystified by their aura, with some singing their tunes word for word.
“This band is good, and I suspect their following is just going to continue to grow,” said visiting Caymanian resident April General. The band’s strong stage presence continued with a stirring rendition of Fade Away.
“Is everybody feeling good?” Newland asked before commencing Slumberland, after which it was announced that, as previously advertised, Wayne Armond of Chalice and Dean Fraser would no longer be performing due to previous engagements. But even with the announcement of Armond and Fraser’s absence, the crowd was not perturbed and seemed to be more interested in hearing more from Rootz Underground.
With a cover of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Midnight Train, Newland removed his long sleeved jeans shirt to reveal a black merino and really got the crowd moving with In the Jungle.
Abruptly finishing their set and exiting the stage, the Rootz Underground mesmerised audience demanded more, chanting, “We want more Rootz Underground,” until the band came back and continued to fill their fans’ reggae fix with a few more songs.
“Thank you so much for coming to this album launch,” expressed Newland just before for the last time existing the stage. “Dem boy yah a di real deal, and I feel like I just watched the early stages of something that is going to be big in the future,” declared a patron while existing the venue, “Something big!”
On The Events Scene
Style Week Jamaica 2008 Ignites Global Excitement
Saint International proudly presents the internationally recognized Style Week Jamaica (SWJ) 2008 commencing on Friday, May 23 – Sunday, May 25. This year’s staging is creating global excitement as international brands, designers, models, celebrities and media are signing up to experience the inimitable affair.
SWJ 2K8 will create history by presenting for the first time on the Caribbean runway, the highest number of high profiled international designers from the major fashion capitals Paris, London, New York and Amsterdam. B. Michael, Bas Koster, Ed Hardy, Favvette and Julia Clancy are only a handful of the international designers who are ecstatic to be on board this year.
Saint International will be bringing home Jamaica’s and the Caribbean’s most successful supermodel ever as well as their own top models to grace the stage and be the easels for the display of the fashion glitz and glamour. Georgianna Robertson’s homecoming will be an impressive one considering the phenomenal career she has had. Saint International superstars Sasha, Canise, Jotasha, Sosheba, Jermain, Sigail, Tafari, Kevin and Venecia are, indeed, honoured to share the same stage.
Celebrities are also jumping at the opportunity to witness the event that journalists worldwide consider to be among the top three best fashion shows globally. But that is no shocker as the one hundred and fifty (150) feet catwalk spectacle, which blocks a major business thoroughfare is one to be seen.
Principal sponsors, Digicel, Gillette, Mitsubishi, Air Jamaica, Island Outpost, Strawberry Hill, The Caves, Heineken, Old Spice, Ferrero Rocher, Skyy Vodka and TVJ are the most powerful lifestyle brands that have rallied their support for the event.
The blockbuster and internationally acclaimed Fashion Block is the biggest and most glamorous fashion event in the Caribbean – and is considered the single most influential fashion event in this side of the world.
The four-day extravaganza, Style Week Jamaica, with its multiple after parties, VIP cocktail receptions, seminars, supermodels and glamorous runway shows appeal to the die-hearted fashionistas from around the world. Visit the event’s official website, www.styleweekjamaica.com for additional details.
Source: NIA Concepts
Jamaica Festival Song Competition Returns
The Festival Song Competition after an absence of ten years is back for 2008 under the theme, ‘Festival Song Come Back Again …What a Bam Bam.’
Ten finalists have been selected with original songs which speak to the diversity of the Jamaican society. Vernon Derby the Chairman of the Festival Song committee is excited about the selection and says that “these songs will help to lift the spirit of Jamaicans during the Independence season.” He highlighted that Clifton ‘Specialist’ Dillon, known for producing Grammy Award Winners, has assisted with the production of the songs. Past festival song winner and producer Tommy Cowan will also be assisting in producing the Festival Song Shows across Jamaica.
The 2008 Jamaica Festival Song Album will be launched on Tuesday, May 27 and road shows featuring all ten artistes will be held at strategic points across the island, culminating with the National Finals, which has been scheduled for Saturday, July 12 at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
Source: Jamaica Cultural Development Commission
School of Music Jazz Workshop
The School of Music at The Edna Manley College present ” SOM JAZZ ” , a end of semester concert on Thursday, May 22, 2008 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Christopher’s Jazz Cafe in New Kingston. The featured performers will be the second year Certificate and Diploma JAZZ IMPROVISATION STUDENTS of guitarist and lecturer Maurice Gordon.
This is a concert to showcase and examine the talent and efforts of all students involved in the study of jazz and improvisation at The School of Music/ Edna Manley College. This concert will feature several groups performing in Piano Trios or Quartets with the addition of singers and other instruments. Students will be evaluated by lecturer Maurice Gordon and a panel. They will be graded on their ability to swing, spontaneously create music, and to perform with some authenticity in the idioms studied.
Jazz Improvisation as taught by jazz guitarist and lecturer Maurice Gordon at School of Music, involves the study of improvising over a variety of jazz styles and related music which is performed in the context of jazz. The students study the technique of improvisation and learn a common repertoire to help prepare them for the working world. Gordon uses various musical styles as a vehicle for improvisation, these include, mento, reggae, blues, Jamaican Popular music and various jazz styles.
Funds contributed will be used towards the expenses for students and the purchasing of equipment and books for the Jazz department.
The Edna Manley College is the centre of excellence in the arts and provides a physical and academic environment that epitomizes the spirit of the arts.
Braddies Bar Open Mic Series
Bradies Bar Open Mic NightThroughout the course of the past seven weeks Pyramid Entertainment Management Inc in Barbados has been giving upcoming artistes a much needed forum in which to practice and improve their craft.
This company which is more revered for its management of reigning Party Monarch King Lil Rick of Caan Wait Fame, enigmatic Peter Ram and stalwart Biggie Irie have recognized the plight that emerging artistes have faced in getting that much needed experience on stage. It was the recognisation of the shortage of stepping stones for inexperienced artistes which propelled the conceptualization the Open Mic series. These sessions have seen persons performing all genres of music and were also extended to include poets who traditionally do not get the type of exposure which they desire.
Many talented artists were unearthed. These included the energetic Prosperity Yout and talented rapper Vio who brought her electricity to the venue whether on stage or just vocalizing encouragement from within the audience.
The efforts which Pyramid has been making in this area have been repeatedly commended by the artiste and more recently by Jamaican artistes Pinchers who was on the island recently for a show. He also offered words of encouragement and advice to those in attendance.
Registration forms for these sessions which are held on Thursday nights from 9pm until 1am at Braddies Bar in Bath Village in Dover Christ Church Barbados are available online.
Exciting Times at the First Extatic Fridays
Absolute Entertainment and XS Promotions proved Friday night gone that Sexy Shorts & Skirts are still ABSOLUTELY in style. The production was breathtaking from decor, to orientation, to sound quality, to bar service…everything was on point. A few minor changes will be made for this Fridays event “Lollipop”, so every week patrons can come to experience a new venue layout, exciting theme and with the new cable company FLOW onboard can also expect great things to be unfolding throughout the upcoming events.
If you missed out on the opening night, you can still catch some of the fun this Friday, May 23 at the Pantry, New Kingston as the excitement continues with LOLLIPOP The Sweet Sensation. Ladies enter FREE before 12am, plus free lollipops and chocolates. Sweet sounds from Coppershot Disco, the party animal Kurt Riley and uptown’s new sensation Richie Ras.
Based on the patronage last Friday, the promoters have arranged additional FREE and SECURE parking at Super Plus on Dumfries Road, which is on the same road as the Pantry.
Christopher Martin Wants To Be A Driver
Would you believe Christopher Martin wants to be a driver? Christopher Martin DriverWell that’s what the soulful singer would have you believe in his latest video for hit single I’ll Be Your Driver.
The single which has been burning up the local charts represents an eclectic mix of the genres R&B, Reggae with a sub-genre of Lover’s Rock that Christopher is best known for.
The video boasts cutting edge technology with approximately 85 percent of this 4 minute “mini movie” was shot in front of a green screen. The video features Christopher telling a woman upon on meeting her that he is willing to take her anywhere she wants to go, he’ll her driver.
Directed by “The Guru” himself Ras Kassa, who has been the go to director for artistes such as Damian Marley, Sean Paul, Willie Nelson and Beenie Man. It opens with a sepia gold overlay motif with Christopher gazing through a car window when he spots a lady strutting down the street with shopping bags. He alights from his car and engages her in lyrical dialogue. In the opening scene we see the interjection of animated graphics which adds for viewers, playful and direct visual expression.
The video continually cuts between the following six scenes, Christopher “chauffeuring” his established female love interest in a topless car while grayscale shots of the Jamaica flickers in the background; Christopher crooning while she dances in a unfurnished blue lit room; the two engaging in teasing banter over the telephone with side by side screen shots of them both; and the two other scenes are of Christopher is by himself singing.
Towards the end of the video Christopher rips off his t-shirt to reveal his toned, muscular body a definite high note for his female following.
According to Kassa who took full creative control, it was very easy working with Chris. He indicated no resistance from the singer was felt as he understood the artistic direction of the production. Kassa wanted the video to do all of the following things for viewers, to tell a story, have an abstract playful appearance and give you the feel of an old Hollywood film. He explained that the type of graphics used in the video were very deliberate as he wanted female fans of Chris to go back to a personal memory of possibly having a bad day and a pick-up line from a stranger they ran into cheeredExclusive them up. That was the feel he wanted to create in the beginning of the video.
The video was innovative, well shot with distinct elements that give viewers the feeling that they are watching a short film rather than a music video and sure stand out from other videos being released currently.
To book Christopher Martin please contact Headline Entertainment (876) 754-1526 or [email protected]
Timeka Free to Jamaican Radio
Timeka Marshall“Young, sexy and single”, all describe songstress Timeka, but her recent collection of producer collaborators would start with “talented”.
While in Jamaica recently, Timeka hit the studios hard. The result: a collection of radio friendly tracks due for release this summer. Veteran producer, Clive Hunt worked closely with Timeka to develop three very distinctive tracks. The up-tempo, free spirited Free is the first of these tracks to be serviced at radio.
Timeka also collaborated with Stephen McGregor, widely referred to as “The Genius”. Stephen exploited her dynamic range, first exploring her smooth side with a lovers’ rock inspired track, then swinging it from the opposite end, with a potential club banger.
Her musical mission continued with mainstream producer Colin “Bulby” York and newcomers Equinox music to develop her “Caribbean vibes with international appeal”. She can also count Devonte (of Tanto Metro and Devonte), Dean Mundy and Don Corleon as collaborators.
In between her recording sessions, Timeka graced many stages at events across the island. Her midriff bear, she sang in stage in Negril at Jamfest; dressed in Jamaican colours Timeka hit the stage at Smile Jamaica in St. Ann; and clad in the ever-sexy black she showed her groove at the Campion High School Barbeque. During her performances in Guyana, Timeka’s catalogue of songs included, We Shall Separate and Nothing At All which was well received both on radio and television airwaves.
With an impressive assortment of recordings and concert appearances, Timeka caught the eye of local media. She was featured in the popular afternoon tabloid, Chat and performed live on TVJ’s Smile Jamaica.
ExclusiveCurrently, Timeka is back in Guyana for a brief rejuvenation and to complete contracted duties for her local telecom sponsor. Upon her return to Jamaica in early summer, Timeka will embark earnestly on promotion of her new singles. “Success is not easy,” she wisely asserts, “but with time, energy, dedication and hard work, it will come.”
Cezar Takes Jamaican Music to a New Fan Base
CezarIt was the dance remix of Bob Marley’s Sun is Shining in 1999 that brought a positive reggae message to the attention of a new age of young club goers and now in 2008 Cezar is doing the same. Under the direction of his new management RHH Music Corp., Cezar’s award winning single Keep On has now been remixed by German house music production duo Peter Spencer and Josh Hill aka Spencer & Hill, transforming Cezar’s pure reggae message into a Reggae Electro remix and new club sensation.
Rodney Hill, CEO of RHH Music Corp. and Cezar’s manager, explains the rationale behind the remix: “This remix opens the door to having a reggae soul artist heard in house clubs throughout the world where at any given time there are thousands of clubbers, creating a new fan base. The sky is now the limit for Cezar.”
The remix was commissioned by Ultra Records, a leading independent electronic label based in New York, who bought the licence for the original reggae version in 2007. The original reggae version of Keep On, written by Cezar and produced by David Kennedy, caught the attention of Ultra Records after copping second place at the International Song Writing Competition in May of 2007.
With nearly 15,000 hits on YouTube in just two months, the remixed track has been getting incredible attention internationally not just because of the club appeal but also because of the international message. With lyrics like: “You just got to keep on trying, and keep doing the best with the hand that you get. Don’t give up that fight,” Keep On is an uplifting anthem of perseverance, hope and ‘active optimism’.
Keep On, an ideology for all ages, has now been remixed to attract a new Electro Reggae fan base, taking Jamaican music and its positive message to a new generation of music listeners and club goers. The remixed single has already been receiving heavy club rotation in the US and Europe especially making a sensation in Russia, Hungary and Brazil.
Source: Alykhat PR
Trinidadian Roots Artiste Drops Debut Album
Planet Reggae always finds room for a great roots vocalist, and Be Prepared, Jamelody’s 15 track VP Records debut CD, showcases a rare voice—soulful, gritty, with echoes of Dennis Brown and Garnet Silk, as well as Stevie Wonder. But Jamelody is clearly his own man, and he sings not just for one audience, but for the whole world.
Whether working out over Be Prepared’s first halfhardcore foundation-style reggae tracks, produced by legendary mixing board master Bobby “Digital” Dixonor the CD’s “New Roots” rock/pop/R&B hybrids, orchestrated by Carl James, this genre-busting talent is a sure shot for international stardom.
As everyone knows, Trinidad/Tobago is birthplace to soca/calypsothe music that motors the twin islands’ Carnival, the most spectacular party on earth. Yet young Michael wasn’t feeling his native sounds. As a young teen, he and a few friends formed acapella group Brothers with Voices. Michael took the leads and arranged their covers of R&B favorites like Boys II Men, Take 6, Brian McKnight, and older groups like the Temptations.
Then Jamelody was introduced to Selassie I, which took his career into a special direction. Jamelody began to sing solo reggae performances locally. After the positive reception from his native country, his manager Zakri Esau rushed him to record in Jamaica. Legendary Producer Bobby Digital instantly recognized Jamelody’s perfect pitch, kamikaze energy, and golden boy appeal. VP signed Jamelody and put the beguiling Digital-B-produced Give Thanks on their Strictly the Best 38 compilation CD.
That tune, along with Be Prepared’s title track, a roots-rocking hit-in-the-making that vibrates with Jamelody’s serpentine vocal, announces to listeners exactly what this breakout talent is all abouta New Roots messenger blending classic reggae with contemporary R&B, rock, and pop in order to reinvigorate reggae’s vintage call for “truth, rights, justice, and One Love.
Other classic reggae tunes like Ithiopia and Pressure mine rich Jamaican reggae themes about the sufferah’s plight and the yearning to leave island exile for return to Mother Africa.
On the New Roots tip, Jamelody flexes on Carl James-produced tunes like All that I Pray For; the rock-infused Since You’ve been Away; the uptempo Joy; and an original traditional gospel penned by Donald Lawrence, When the Saints Go to Worship. Wanna be There, written by Jamelody, is a straight-no chaser R&B cut that bears a quintessentially Jamelody reminder that each of us has our God-given place in life. And just to show he can do it, the CD contains a gorgeous Bobby Ditigal-produced cover of Stevie Wonder’s Living in the Sky and a stunning revamp of Boys II Men’s It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye.
Source: VP Records
Mr. Vegas Blazes Three New Music Videos
Mr. VegasAfter recently performing before thousands of diehard U.S. college fans on the Irish and Chin produced Campus Rave tour, Mr. Vegas has returned to the dancehall scene with a vengeance and three new steamy videos in tow.
As if dancehall artiste Mr. Vegas couldn’t get any hotter in 2008, he just wrapped up the production of a video for his newest single Daggering. On this sizzlin’ track, Mr. Vegas delivers piercing lyrics over the Remembrance riddim, produced by Kirkledove of Tek Weh Yuhself fame. Like its predecessor, Daggering is destined to spawn a dance craze. In addition to Mr. Vegas’ Daggering, you can catch the recent and ever-so-popular Hot Gal Nuh Fight Ova Man and Mus Come a Road videos in heavy rotation on various television media outlets.
“Daggering is based on a dance…,” said Mr. Vegas enthusiastically on the set of the video shoot. “It’s a man and woman dance, in contrast to just an individual ting … everybody can get involved. We have taken this one way back and have modernized the Mento,” added Vegas. “It’s quite a different feel compared to the one million ‘daggering’ songs in the dancehall… “
The Daggering video was a creative project from hot-shot director Jay Will, the man behind loads of top-notch dancehall videos including Vegas’ popular Tek Weh Yuhself and Hot Wuk. Daggering was shot at both the Caymanas Mineral Bath in St. Catherine and a dance/club scene was shot on location in Kingston.
Mr. Vegas is scheduled to soon wrap up the Irish and Chin produced Campus Rave tour with a final stop at UCLA. Soon after, he will jumpstart a Canadian tour, dropping in on several cities.
Mr. Vegas, dancehall’s singjay, is clearly one of the industry’s mainstays. He made his debut on the scene over ten years ago, with the break through hit Heads High. For over a decade, Mr. Vegas has kept up the momentum by entertaining fans with timeless hits. His most recent studio album Hot It Up, distributed by Delicious Vinyl, has been embraced by the massive. Notably, the racy single Hot Wuk landed on the Billboard charts. In August 2007, Mr. Vegas signed onto Irish and Chin, Inc. to manage his career.
Source: Garrick Communications
No Sound yet Still Dancing
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission will be hosting the National Deaf Dance Competition on Thursday, May 22 at the Little Theatre in Kingston, starting at 2:00 pm.
The competition’s aim is to create a level playing field for the hearing impaired and to encourage a greater level of confidence and self expression in persons with disabilities. The JCDC’ s Deaf Dance Competition presents an opportunity to the Deaf to demonstrate to Jamaica and the world that they can achieve once given equal opportunity for participation.