Giants Behind the Music: Alvin Ranglin

Alvin Ranglin was born in Eden District, Clarendon, Jamaica in 1942. He began his career in music via his District’s Adventist church choir at a really early age. He learned his trade as a radio/television repairman and started working as a technician by the time he had finished his teenage years– later graduating to repair and servicing of Jukeboxes. During this time his passion for music never waned and by the mid- 1960’s he had built and began operating GG’s Discotheque.

Alvin Ranglin

Around the same time, he opened and begun operating a juke-box sale and repair business in May Pen, Clarendon. He later added record sales and opened additional stores in the town of Old Harbor, Clarendon, Half Way Tree, St Andrew, and later Brooklyn, New York, and London, England. In 1971, he acquired the recording studio and vinyl pressing plant known as Record Specialists at Torrington Bridge in Kingston.
Ranglin began producing records around the same time he opened the May Pen store. First, producing singer Trevor Brown, and later with himself and Vernon Buckley as “Vern & Alvin” and later with Lloyd Flowers as “Flowers & Alvin”. In 1969 he established his first record label – GGs (name after the two Glorias in his life – his sister and his partner at the time)
The label produced several popular records by the duo Vern (Buckley) & Son (Gladstone Grant) – later re-named the Maytones. However, the label’s first real hit was Man from Carolina by his studio band – GG All- Stars. This was followed by several hits by the Maytones including Funny Man and Money Worries (which was included in the movie Rockers soundtrack in 1979). In the 1970’s he added Hit label which produced several hit records by both individual artists and the GGs All-Stars. Among the All-Stars hits were Flight 404, Ganja Plane, and Musical Shot. In addition to the songs mentioned, the Maytones recorded several local hits on the GGs label. Songs included a local version of Greyhound’s Black and White and Madness.
The Maytones

In the mid to late 1970s, GGs and Hit labels became home for many of Jamaica’s fledgling artists who went on to become icons in the reggae music industry. Ranglin produced a string of local and international hits with names like Eric Donaldson, Max Romeo, The Ethiopians, U-Roy, Prince Mohammed (George Nooks), Cynthia Richards, Stanley Beckford and the Turbines, Jah Thomas, Dennis Alcapone, Mike Brooks, Jah Stone, Freddie McKay, and Lone Ranger. Among the tracks that became big hits were Soldering (Beckford -1975), Hallelujah I Love Her So (Prince Mohammed-1974) and Barnabas Collins (Lone Ranger -1979). The later went on to hit the #1 spot on the British Reggae Chart in 1980.
Ranglin added Typhoon label by the late 1970s and the three labels became the home of the now legendary Gregory Isaacs. Isaacs gave Ranglin his biggest hit with Love is Overdue. He continued to work with Isaacs throughout the 1970s and again in 1995 on the album Dreaming and in 2002 on I Found Love. Isaacs attracted several of his friends to the Typhoon label – including Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott and Barrington Levy, for whom Ranglin produced a string of hits.
The labels have not produced any hit singles in recent years, but on my recent tour of the operation, I spoke with a man (affectionately called GG by his friends) who still has the passion for producing great music, and both the studio and pressing plant have been fully upgraded and ready to go.
In recent years Ranglin has branched out and has taken advantage of other business opportunities presented him. These include a Spring Water bottling plant and brand, a Bakery, Supermarket, Ice Factory & distribution. On my visit in August this year, he was close to completion of an assembly-line type bottling plant, capable of turning out between 3,000 and 5,000 bottles of product per day. As the older generation in Jamaica like to say – “Stay tuned, he is not done yet”.

Kingston12 Programming Notes

Kingston12 Digital Radio is a 24/7 reggae music channel
(It is available at kingston12.net and on TuneIn/Simple Radio Apps)
Special Programs
Weekly New Releases – Fridays (9:00 PM – 12:00 AM)
Every Friday night on Kingston12: Conscious Reggae Party host Sydney White introduces listeners to the latest reggae releases from countries around the world where reggae music is produced. Artists from Jamaica, Hawaii, Germany, New Zealand and Great Britain are regulars in the playlists. We introduce new music from new artists and the new stuff from the veterans. Remember, if it’s Friday – you will always discover something new and really special at Kingston12.net

Website Audio Player

Friday Night Dancehall Session (12:00 AM – 4:00 AM)
This is an opportunity for multi-DJs to show-off their mixing skills in classic Dancehall mixing. We keep clean, we keep it cultural.
King Viper Sound Presents: Live Dancehall Session – Saturdays (10:00 PM to 4:00 AM)
King Viper Sound System

Tune in to King Viper Sound – the US east coast #1 reggae and dancehall Sound System – heard live on digital radio at kingston12.net every Saturday night form 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM. DJ Lulu, Kevin, the Fluffy Diva and the crew take you into the real world of Jamaican Dancehall.
During this six-hour session, listeners get to enjoy dancehall music in its purest form. The play-list may range from the early nineteen sixties music to releases from the Friday prior to the air date.
The King Viper Reggae Gospel Trane – Sunday (3:00 PM to 7:00 PM)
Every Sunday Fada Lulu and the King Viper crew journey deep into the Jamaican countryside to take you “live” into the Jamaican church. The blend and mix of reggae gospel with other Caribbean and African-based religious songs are presented in a way that transport you mentally to a real Jamaican church on a Sunday night.

How to Listen to Kingston 12 Digital Radio

Our 24/7 channel can be heard via the embedded player at kingston12.net, or on several models of WIFI enabled radios and mobile devices. European manufacturers such as Roberts, Grace, and Armour – manufacturers of the Q2 brand; along with domestic and Asian manufactures of all WIFI models such as C Crane, Livo, Vtech, Cobra, Sangean, Sanyo and Bose have included Kingston12 Digital Radio on their platform. Other manufacturers with Kingston12 built into their products include Bose, Grundig, Hansong, Funai, Denon, Harman, Naim, Onkyo, Phillips, Pioneer, Teac, and Russound.

Our music stream is optimized to enable easy access via tablets, cell phones internet enabled players (radios and auto dashboard) and computers. Bluetooth on devices/phones can connect seamlessly to any Bluetooth enabled auto dashboard or other devices in your vehicle.

Listen Live on Website

You may listen by typing kingston12.net in the internet browser of your Computer, Android or Apple device, and scroll to the music player on the top of the page.

Website Audio Player

Click the arrow on the player and wait a few seconds. The arrow should change and begin playing in 10 – 15 seconds.

Listen Via Audio Apps

Kingston 12 Digital Radio is available on two major radio platforms (Apps). These are TuneIn Radio and Simple Radio Apps for Android and Apple devices. Search the Apple Store (App) or Google Play (App) on your devices for these Apps and download them. Once the download is completed search the App for Kingston 12 Digital Radio and press the play button.

TuneIn App
Simple Radio App

When the station begins playing, touch the star to mark it as a favorite. This will ensure that you always return to Kingston 12 Digital Radio first, each time you use the Apps.

Listeners in Europe who still have access to the Grace Radio app can still find the station there also.

WIFI Radio

Wifi enabled radios (commonly referred to as Internet radio) are devices on which the consumer is provided the option of receiving a traditional FM transmitter signal is from the internet, as long as there is a local WiFi network connection available. The radio can pick up several hundred distant streams of local, national or international stations. It picks up local signals via the internet instead of the traditional transmitter to antenna link, thus enabling the listener to use the radio in home basements or other areas where line-of-sight reception of traditional signal was difficult to obtain.

WiFi Radio
WiFi Radio

Call letters are no longer relevant. Instead, WiFi enabled radios allow the user to search for stations (channels) via location, format or music genre. More than 400 different models are available on the market from major manufacturers such as Sangean, Grace and Logitech. Kingston 12 Digital Radio is easily search via genre (reggae) or location (USA).

Partners

Kingston12 collaborates with technology companies in the US and in Great Britain that specialize in delivering streaming audio (Internet Radio) experience from more than 100 partners to over 200 products. Kingston12 Digital Radio is available on all or most of these products. Such products include Networked Audio, Smart TV, Mobile and Tablet, Automotive, PC and Cloud Music services and game Consoles. They also include many of the new, high end stereo systems such as Bose, Denon, Onkyo, Roberts (Smart Radio), Phillips and Harman.

Yamaha WiFi Radio

Smart Speakers

Kinggston12 Digital Radio is also available on Alexa enabled Smart Speakers – Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.  As of December 2018, Smart speakers had 41% penetration among US household – up from 21.5% the same time in 2017. Amazon Echo continues to dominate the market with 31% penetration.

Amazon Echo with Alexa

 

If you own an Amazon Echo, make sure that TuneIn Live is enabled in the App. If it is not enabled, just open the Alexa companion app on your device (IPhone, Android Phone or IPad); Go to the top-right (top left on 2 generation), select: Skills (Skills & Games) then search for TuneIn Live. Click to enable and ask Alexa to “open TuneIn Live”. Ask Alexa to play Kingston12 Digital Radio on TuneIn

 

Kingston12 HIFI: Carrying the Sound System Legacy into the Future

Kingston 12 represents the postal or zip code in West-Central Kingston, Jamaica that, along with adjacent areas of Trench Town (Kingston 13) and the south-central part of the city, was the axis of the cultural renaissance that gave the world Reggae music. It is the home of the Ambassador Theater – the place that was the flagship for presenting new talent to Jamaica and the world. The Ambassador (Bass), alongside the Majestic, Palace, and Ward theatres, provided the stages for the Vere John’s Hour. This was the talent show that introduced the country and subsequently the world to artists like Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Bob Marley, Don Drummond, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Peter Tosh, Millie Small, Hortense Ellis, Bob Andy, Jackie Edwards, and many more of the stars that became the icons of the Reggae music industry. Kingston 12 was the “Harlem” of the Caribbean – an area that attracted artists such as Jackie Opel and Lord Creator who came all the way from Barbados and Trinidad, respectively.
These artists in late 1950s to early 1960s became the foundation of Jamaica’s Sound System Culture. As early as 1950, Tom Wong, a Jamaican of Chinese ancestry established “Tom the Great Sabastian” in East-Central Kingston. His sound system launched the career of the great Count Matchuki who later joined Clement Dodd’s Sir Coxsone Downbeat. Tom’s main rival at the time was Cyril Braithwaite’s “Count C – the Wizard of the West.” Count C dominated the western end of the city. These two sound systems laid the groundwork for the sound system culture which quickly followed Jamaican migration to England and the United States, and later provided the base for the spread of Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae worldwide.

Sound System Speakers

The sound system culture quickly spread amongst the poorer classes of Kingston and adjacent parish – St Andrew. Several new players entered the arena. The pioneers among them were Clement Dodd (Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat), Author “Duke” Reid (Duke Reid the Trojan), Vincent Edward’s (King Edward-the Giant) and Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell’s (Prince Buster –the Voice of the People). That was around the same time Jamaican journalist, Vere John, started a weekly one-hour talent show, which he named after himself. It was a live performance showcase of fresh, young Jamaican talent. The audio of the show was recorded for a later weekly broadcast on the country’s single radio station: RJR (for Radio Jamaica & Radio Fusion)
From the beginning, there was intense competition among the sound system operators. They competed for crowds, music, and eminence in the local community. Thus, the Vere John’s talent exposition provided an opportunity to identify new talent that could enhance that competition. Few recording studios existed at the time. However, the sound system operators came to the show with the specific intent of identifying new talent that they could use to record exclusive Jamaican versions of American R & B and Jump Blues songs, or sometimes original materials that they played exclusively on their sound systems. These sound systems provided a reasonable alternative for the poorer sector of the population who wanted entertainment but could not afford to hire the live bands that existed at the time, such as Byron Lee and the Dragoneers, Kes Chin and the Souvenirs, and the Percy Myers Combo for their parties.
Leroy Sibbles – One of Kingston 12’s International Reggae Artists

This competition among the sound systems not only laid the groundwork for today’s dancehall “selector culture,” but was also the foundation upon which the entire Jamaican music industry is built. The art of toasting on records flourished during this period. This consisted of rhyming vocal patterns over instrumentals that later evolved into social commentary; it also became an important part of the entertainment. Over the years this legacy has provided roots upon which multiple Jamaican musical genres emerged – from Jamaican Jump Blues, Ska, Rock Steady to today’s Reggae and Dancehall.
Today, many young selectors and sound system operators have embraced the opportunities presented by new technologies to create modern Dancehall – substituting computer-assisted beats and instrument simulation for real instruments and live musicians. This is usually supported by computer-generated playlists via programs like Serato and Virtual DJ – replacing turntables. However, one sound system that has figured out how to master the new technology and new trends without discarding the foundation is Los Angeles, CA-based Kingston12 Hi-Fi.
This sound system is under the direction of the super talented, master DJ, rapper, singer, songwriter, musician, and Reggae/Hip Hop artist Edmund Carl Aiken, Jr. – Shinehead (Jamaican In New York fame). His partner in life and music – Diana Camacho aka DJ Papalotl aka Buttahfly – makes up the other half of the Kingston 12 Hi-Fi team who is charting the path by showing fans how to navigate both lanes without choosing one at the expense of the other.
The sound system is named after the historic LA Reggae club venue Kingston12 which was founded by Richard O’Brian, aka King Richard, a Jamaican expatriate in Los Angeles, California who operated it as part of a restaurant /nightclub establishment. He, along with his family, ran the venue they named after the community in Jamaica that they hailed from, which of course guaranteed the authenticity of the music given Kingston12’s aforementioned musical history.
The Kingston12 enterprise was also the first of its kind on the US West Coast. Richard and his family established a place where for more than twenty years Los Angeles residents and visitors were treated to live reggae performances, and/or club DJ’s playing Reggae, Dancehall, and Hip Hop music, while having an authentic Jamaican meal or mellow island drinks.

Shinehead, a British born Jamaican who was already well established in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Europe, and Japan, met King Richard shortly after he moved to Los Angeles. King Richard became ill shortly thereafter and passed away in the summer of 2014. Shortly after meeting King Richard, Shinehead quickly discovered that they both shared a musical camaraderie. He even played records on a small portable turntable for Richard as laid sick in his hospital room towards the end of his life. Although Shinehead and DJ Papalotl were away in NY performing at the time of his passing, Richard told his family that he needed someone who was committed to the music and culture to carry on the tradition he had established on the US west coast. As such, Richard’s last dying request was that his vast collection of Reggae/Dancehall vinyl records would be bequeathed to Shinehead.
King Richard

His wide knowledge of Roots, Reggae, modern and traditional Dancehall, plus his extensive experience in Hip Hop, R&B, and US rap music positioned him as the ideal candidate not only to carry on the vision of King Richard, but also to expand the foundation instituted by early forerunners Count C, Tom Wong, Clement Dodd and others – a Kingston12 legacy.
Shinehead a former major label (Elektra Records) artist inserted his brand into the Kingston12 Hi-FI concept, and in the four years since 2014, the sound system has become an integral part of world music festivals such as Rototom, Outlook, Reggae Geel, Reggae Sun Ska, and reggae music cruises – including Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock Cruise.
The addition of DJ Papalotl aka Buttahfly to the Kingston12 team allows them to perform at the highest level. DJ Papalotl (a public school teacher) is a multi-media artist, a sound engineer, and a videographer with a passion and skill for mixing music. One might say she brings her “magic fingers” to Kingston12 Hi-Fi.
Her life as a DJ began at college parties and at her college radio station – KSPC 88.7 FM. Here, she developed her mixing skills in Reggae and Dancehall music. She progressed to become the “mix mistress” of the college parties and later graduated to local nightclubs –introducing them to her brand of Roots, Reggae and Dancehall, Hip Hop and R&B. Her extensive technical skills, combined with both her and Shinehead’s knowledge of Roots and modern music, has directed Kingston12‘s path to be able to perform on any stage.
Shinehead & DJ Papalotl aka Buttahfly

Long before Facebook Live was popular among users, Shinehead and DJ Papalotl made it part of their mission to use modern technology to elevate the sound system and Dancehall culture to a higher level. Their weekly presence on Los Angeles based – Diggindaily.com – a collective of local DJ using the digital space to take their music worldwide, together with live programs twice a week on Irish and Chin’s SoundChat Radio have served to expand their worldwide audience, and build an airwave audience with their English partners, Unique Radio UK in London and Stingdem Radio in Birmingham.
Their weekly live Friday night broadcast on Kingston 12 Digital Radio (Kingston12.net) gave sound system culture a presence on two of the major Digital Radio Apps for both Android and Apple products –TuneIn Radio and Simple Radio. In addition, Kingston12 Hi-Fi has also placed the sound system/dancehall culture as part of the audio programming lineup on most new V-Tuner stamped high end stereo system such as Denon, Bose and Yamaha; and on Wifi enabled radio products from manufacturers such as Grace, Sangean and Pico.
In addition to exposing the music and cultures that have provided the foundation for Reggae as an established musical genre, Kingston12 Hi-Fi has continued a sound system tradition that is not often mentioned when dancehall and sound systems are discussed. That is – identifying and launching new talents via the BUTTAHFLY FX show. Much like their forerunners Sir Coxsone, Prince Buster and more recently, Sugar Minott’s Youthman Promotion, Kingston12 Hi-Fi continues to introduce the world to new talent and give established talent a platform to show the world what they have.
In the past year, listeners were introduced to young Hip Hop talent like Banga Brownin, J Niles (the Yung Ruler – son of the late Gregory Isaacs) and were re-introduced to General Smiley of Michigan & Smiley fame. Their careful selection of the music they play, together with interviews with artists and industry practitioners like music teachers from the world famous Alpha Boys School in Jamaica have lent a public media sensibility to their presentation of dancehall and sound system culture.
In the radio business these days we often say that appointment radio is dead. However, in their presentation for a live audience and/or for digital radio, Shinehead and DJ Papalotl are making sure that this does not apply to the sound system. Audience come out to see them live or tune in to their Digital broadcast because they know they will be rewarded with great music, magic mixes and most importantly, they will learn something about the music, the culture and artists.
Kingston12 Hi-Fi continues to live up to its true name – a sound system with the usual customized built set of double scoops and tops that are almost 40,000 Watts of power. Shinehead and DJ Papalotl often take out their four sets of scoops and tops for a variety of events. These events that take place all over Los Angeles, mostly in the different cultural enclaves that appreciate international music and culture. These include the Silverlake and Leimert Park downtown Los Angeles, and at venues in adjacent Culver City. Each event is usually promoted in Social Media with a theme with the hashtag (#SoundFiSound) as part of the movement to incorporate a physical sound system with relevant cultural events and affairs that promotes public service issues such as breast cancer awareness, Jamaican cultural events; and presenting local and visiting DJ’s and artists.

Obesity is a Major Worldwide Challenge: Where does Your Country Rank?

A recent study published at https://renewbariatrics.com/obesity-rank-by-countries/ , estimated that approximately 775 million of the world’s 7.6 billion people – including adult and children are obese. The research suggests there are nearly 650 million obese adults on the planet (as defined as a body mass index (BMI) over 30).

In addition, there are also about 125 million obese children and adolescents in the entire world according to a BMI over 30. The study suggests that the majority of the obesity on the planet resides in a few countries.

Worlds “Best Cities to live” study Neglect Impact of Social Justice

Mercer’s City Benchmark study for 2016 is out and as in previous years, seven of the top ten cities that offer the highest quality of life are in Europe. They range from Vienna, Austria at number 1 to Basel, Switzerland at number 10 (tied). The three outliers are Auckland, New Zealand (#3), Vancouver, Canada (#5) and Sydney, Australia (# 10 tied with Basel). The full list is available at https://www.imercer.com/content/mobility/quality-of-living-city-rankings.html.
According to the Mercer study, Singapore was the top Asia-Pacific city (25), whereas Dhaka – the capital city of Bangladesh was the lowest ranked at 214. In North America, Vancouver, CA (5) was the highest ranked city. It was followed by two Canadian cities Toronto (16) and Ottawa (18). The highest ranked US city was San Francisco (29). Monterrey, Mexico (110) was the highest ranked city in Central America: whereas, Santiago, Chile (84) ranked highest in South America.
Among Middle Eastern countries Dubai (74) and Abu Dhabi (79) ranked highest. Durban, South African (87) was the highest ranked African city. In the Caribbean, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadelope (73) was highest ranked – followed by San Juan, Puerto Rico (75). Among the English speaking islands – Nassau, Bahamas (114) was at the top. Kingston, Jamaica came in at 153.
The primary factors used to predict quality of life were (a) Connectivity to regional and global transportation networks; (b) Economic, social, cultural and environmental competitiveness; (c) Attractiveness to tourists, globally mobile talent and multinational companies seeking to invest; (d) The unique strengths of the city that can be leveraged to distinguish it from other cities: and (e) Overall city infrastructure. However, a most important measure which could have enhanced the validity of this study was not included. Social justice is the norm that describes the fair and just relationship between individuals and society. It is usually measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activities and social privileges.  These measured should be primary factors in any study that attempt to quantify the quality of life in any society.
It is social justice that assigns rights and duties in institutions and enables people to receive the basic benefits and burdens of cooperation. These often include taxation, social security, health benefits, public institutions, trade unions and labor laws, public service and market regulations, and other essential government services that ensure the fair distribution of wealth and other opportunities. While the study provides a good snapshot of destination to expand business operations, its neglect of the vital importance of social justice as an indicator of quality of life makes it a poor gauge for individuals seek to move to an international city.

Nambo Robinson: A Giant who played with Grace

The reggae music fraternity just lost another true musical genius. While he was mostly thought of as a session musician, Nambo Robinson was often part of the horn section that was responsible for making many reggae songs into mega hits. He was a veteran trombonist, all-round musician, vocalist, percussionist and a true professional. He was the ultimate teacher and musicians’ and artists’ musician.
Nambo was born in 1949 in east Kingston, where he began his musical journey playing with the legendary Mystic Revelation of Rastafari band. In the late 1970s he played on several of Bob Marley’s hit albums, including Survival and Confrontation and Buffalo Soldier. He was a member of Jamaica’s top reggae band – Lloyd Parks and We the People for many years. His resume also includes stints with bands such as The Tony D’Acosta Affair, The Boris Gardener Happening and Light of Saba.
He later became a founding member (with his brother from another mother – Dean Fraser) of the 809 Band, which also included singer Desi “Desi Roots” Young and bassist Michael Fletcher. He also played and toured with Sly and Robbie’s Taxi Gang – playing on several of their mega hits with artists such as The Tamlins, Black Uhuru and the late Jimmy Riley.
In addition to Marley, throughout the years Nombo has recorded with most of the top recording artists in Jamaica. These include Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Beres Hammond, Shaggy, and Buju Banton. His international credits include live performances with Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and The Four Tops, and recording sessions with Lauryn Hill. Nambo was as comfortable on the stage playing Jazz and R & B, as he was playing reggae.
He recently launched a series of live stage shows that feature young Jamaica musicians.  The project was designed to showcase young talented musicians while celebrating the various genres of indigenous music such as Mento, Ska and Rocksteady.
Robinson released four solo albums/CDs, titled “Reggae in my Bone”, “Nambone Ska”,” Nambo Sing and Play” and “Raw Roots Rock Reggae”.
Ronald “Nambo” Robinson died peacefully in his sleep on the early morning of January 25, 2017. He was only 67 years young. He is survived by his wife Marcia and three children.

Looking for a Super Food?

The papaya (from Carib via Spanish), papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae.
The flesh (edible part) of the papaya is normally a bright orange color and can have yellow or pink hues. It is deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a soft, butter-like consistency. Inside the inner cavity of the fruit are black, round seeds encased in a gelatinous-like substance.
Papayas, native to Central America, have been long revered by the Latin American Indians. It was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classical civilizations. Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought papayas to many other subtropical lands to which they journeyed including India, the Philippines, and parts of Africa.
In the 20th century, papayas were brought to the United States and have been cultivated in Hawaii, the major U.S. producer since the 1920s. This revered tropical fruit was reputably called “the fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus.
Dr. Janardhana Hebbar, a native of India has provided the following
20 AMAZINGLY SWEET AND HEALTHY SECRETS OF PAPAYA
1. Digestive Aid: Papaya is known to be a natural laxative, relieving habitual constipation, bleeding piles and chronic diarrhea. The digestive enzyme papain along with the high water content and soluble fiber improve the ease of digestibility.
2. Fights Emphysema: If you smoke, or are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, papaya’s vitamin A can help reduce your lung inflammation and stave off respiratory diseases.
3. Prevents Heart Disease: Papaya is rich in fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants, which prevent cholesterol oxidation that can result in dangerous plague formation contributing to heart attacks or strokes. Papaya contains zero cholesterol, and the high content of fiber will also help lower high cholesterol levels.
4. Intestinal Disorders: The papain in unripe papaya is extremely beneficial for those who are deficient in gastric juice, have excess of unhealthy mucus in the stomach, dyspepsia and intestinal irritation.
5. Menstrual Irregularities: Unripe papaya juice has long been recommended to ease menstrual flow in cases of menstruation cessation in young ladies due to cold or trauma. In pregnant ladies, regular consumption of a small slice of papaya helps to cure nausea and morning sickness.
6. Skin Care: Applying unripe papaya juice on open wounds prevents pus formation and swelling and also is also used to treat skin disorders like chronic ulcers, acne and psoriasis. Papaya face packs help remove pigmentation or brown spots, and improve skin texture and elasticity. Papaya is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E and antioxidants like beta-carotene which helps prevent skin cell damage, keeping wrinkles and other signs of ageing at bay.
7. Spleen Enlargement: An ancient remedy to reduce swelling and enlargement of spleen is to consume ripe papaya that has been soaked in vinegar.
8. Respiratory Disorders: A concoction of fresh unripe papaya juice and honey dissolves the “false” air-passage blocking membranes and prevents spread of infection, providing soothing relief against respiratory complaints of cough, bronchitis, breathlessness, over-inflamed tonsils, diphtheria and other throat disorders.
9. Hypertension Antidote: Papaya is also a rich source of Potassium, a critical component in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, relaxing the nerves and aiding blood circulation, preventing heart ailments and hypertension.
10. Eye Care: Papaya is rich in Vitamin A and phytochemicals – lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin, which help protect and maintain healthy cells, and act as antioxidants and filters blocking harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light, and preventing diseases like age-related macular degeneration.
11. Anti-Inflammatory: The anti-inflammatory effects of the critical enzymes papain and chymopapain, along with Vitamins C, E, and beta carotene in papaya, greatly reduce inflammation in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and asthma, and increase the rate of healing from burns.
12. Prevents Colon Cancer: The high water content and rich soluble fiber in papaya binds to cancer-causing toxins, and eliminates them from the body during bowel movements and antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavonoids, and carotenes prevent free radical cell damage causing colon, liver, lung and prostate cancers.
13. Strengthens Immunity Shield: The presence of Beta-carotene in papaya is required for the proper functioning of the immune system, preventing recurrent ear infections, cold and flu. Vitamin C, A and E all powerful immune boosting antioxidant vitamins, help maintain healthy mucus membranes, clear skin, good eye sight, all the while fighting free radicals.
14. Aids Weight Loss: Papaya is a great weight loss diet food as it contains very low calories, zero cholesterol, high water content to hydrate, soluble fiber content that satiates you and boosts the waste management functions, effectively helping you shed the pounds from the inside out.
15. Diabetic Food: Papaya is extremely sweet to taste but surprisingly has low-sugar content. A great food for diabetics and people wanting to prevent it.
16. Stress Buster: Vitamin C in papayas help regulate the stress hormones making it a must food before you start your day or when you want to relax after a tiring, stressful work day.
17. Treats Renal Disorders: The aqueous seed extract of the unripe papaya, stimulates antioxidant and oxidative free radical scavenging, in poison induced kidney disorders, speeding the recovery process.
18. Dengue Treatment: The extract obtained from the papaya leaf increases the platelet count or thrombocytes in patients suffering from dengue fever.
19. Fights Human Papillomavirus: Papaya is rich in vital nutrients- beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein zeaxanthin and vitamin C, which reduce the risk of HPV, the cervical cancer virus, affecting women.
20. Nutritional Powerhouse: Papaya contains a special proteolytic enzyme called papain which is an excellent aid to digestion, and treats jellyfish sting and surgical wounds. It is a rich source of anti-oxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin A and C and flavonoids, B vitamins B1 and B6, folate and pantothenic acid. It also contains small amounts of the minerals calcium, chlorine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, silicon and sodium important to proper cellular functioning and an essential component of a healthy diet.
Side Effects and Precautions:
• Latex Allergy: Like avocados and bananas, papayas contain substances called chitinases that are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. There is strong evidence of the cross-reaction between latex and these foods.
• Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t take papaya by mouth in medicinal amounts if you are pregnant. There is some evidence that unprocessed papain, one of the chemicals found in papaya, might poison the fetus or cause birth defects.
• Carotenemia: Eating too much of a yellow, green or orange-colored food that contains beta carotene can cause a benign form of skin discoloration (yellow or orange) called carotenemia.
• Respiratory Distress: People who eat too much papaya and ingest high levels of papain may develop symptoms consistent with hay fever or asthma, including wheezing, breathing difficulties and nasal congestion.
• Kidney Stones: Consuming more than recommended vitamin C (found in papaya) per day can induce toxicity symptoms, including oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate is a byproduct of vitamin C once the nutrient has been metabolized.
• Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Ironically, the same papain that calms your stomach can cause an upset stomach when taken in large amounts. The high fiber content of papaya can also contribute to unrest of the digestive system when you indulge in too much of the tropical fruit, and the latex in the fruit’s skin may cause stomach irritation.
This perspective on the very popular fruit Papaya is provided by Dr. Janardhana Hebbar, Senior Ayurvedic Consultant at CureJoy.( Knowledge of Life), Mangalore, India. He is author of four books on Ayurveda.

Reggae’s Cuban Connection

Jamaica never really developed formal diplomatic relations with Cuba until Michael Manley’s government established diplomatic relations in 1972. That year Manley established multi-level relations with Cuba that included trade, bi-lateral technical assistance, loans and other direct aid. Today, there are many Jamaicans studying in Cuba – particularly in health-related professions, while there are many Cuban doctors and other health professionals working in Jamaica. The Jamaican tourist industry is also another employer of several multi-lingual Cubans.
However, probably because of proximity (90 miles), informal (people to people) relationship has existed between the two countries for close to 100 years. Many Jamaicans (including two of my uncles) moved to Cuba and established residence there as earlier as the 1940s. Similarly, Cubans have been moving to establish residence in Jamaica since the early part of the century. As a result, some of the giants of almost any industry in Jamaica have roots in Cuba. Their contributions to Jamaica’s cultural industries are well documented. The six icons referenced in this article represent a small but significant fraction of the bi-lateral, cultural exchange that has taken place between the two countries over the years. These are Cuban-Jamaican giants that have provided significant input in the shaping and development of Reggae music – Jamaica’s gift to the world.
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Alvin “Seeco” Patterson
(born Francisco Willie) was born in Havana, Cuba on December 30, 1930 to a Jamaican father and Panamanian mother. He immigrated to Jamaica as a young child and lived in the parish of Westmorland. Most Jamaicans know him as the talented percussionist who played with Bob Marley, but for Marley, he was big brother, life teacher and music tutor. Patterson and Marley are said to have “grown immensely close and forged a bond that would last until the end of Marley’s life”.
It was Patterson who encouraged Marley as he began to experiment with singing – sharing the experience he had gained playing percussion with famed calypso artist Lord Flea, and with several other Mento/Calypso bands. It is said that Patterson was the one who took the newly formed Wailers group, consisting of Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingston and Beverley Kelso to Coxsone Dodd‘s Studio One for their first audition, in July 1964. The resulting recording session, which took place only after Coxsone’s initial rejection of the Wailers, produced the hit single “Simmer Down” – – the record which launched the Wailers’ career.
Over the years Patterson served in the dual role of percussionist and road manager for the Wailers and (later Bob Marley & the Wailers). It is said that he was the “anchor that kept Marley’s music grounded in tradition”, and although not credited, is said to have contributed lyrics to several of Marley’s songs. Patterson was what Jamaicans call a “loyal soldier” who was part of every Marley performance and recording session. He was with him when he collapsed in Central Park and stayed by his side until death. He continued to play with the Wailers Band after Marley’s death until he suffered a near fatal brain aneurism in 1990. Since then he retreated from the music scene – spending his time at home in Kingston and occasionally appearing as guest percussionist at jam sessions.
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Laurel Aitken
was born Lorenzo Aitken in Cuba (of a Jamaican father and Cuban mother) on April 22, 1927. He moved with his family to Jamaica at the age of eleven (1938). Aitken began his career as a nightclub entertainer and was one of Jamaica’s first recording artists in the 1950s. By 1958 he had racked up a number of mento hits including: Baba Kill Me Goat, Swing Low, Nebuchenezer, More Wisky and Low down Dirty Girl. That year Chris Blackwell ventured into the recording business with Boogie in My Bones and Little Sheila with Aitkin for distribution in the United Kingdom.
In 1960 Aitkin moved to Brixton, England and began recording on the Blue Beat label. During that early sixties he traveled between Jamaica and England, recording for producers in both countries – working with the Skatalites in Jamaica and recording for Pama Records – a label established by Palmer brothers, Harry, Jeff and Carl in England. It was during this period that Aitken earned the title Godfather of Ska. In the late 1970s the multi-talented Aitken recorded a few DJ tracks under the name “King Horror”. In the 1980s Aitken move to Leicester, England where he returned to his “roots” as a nightclub performer. That move coincided with the 2-Tone Ska movement in England and Aitken returned to the British chart with a song call Rudi Got Married. He continued to perform until his death at the age of 78 in 2005. He died from complications of a heart attack.
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Rita Marley
was born Alpharita Constantia Anderson in Santiago, Cuba to Jamaican parents Leroy Anderson and Cynthia Jarrett on July 25, 1946. She was brought to Jamaica shortly thereafter – residing in Kingston. In the 1960s she was introduced to Clement Dodd at Studio One and became lead singer of a group called the Soulettes. This group also included her cousin Constance “Dream” Walker and Marlene “Precious” Gifford. It was during this period that she met and married Bob Marley (February 1966). Her group evolved into Rita Marley & the Soulettes and over the years, included singers like Nora Dean, and made hits like Why Should I and Deh Pon Dem.
At the same time, there was another female group at Studio One called the Gaylettes. This group featured Judy Mowatt (lead), Beryl Lawson and Merle Clemenson. They were known for hit records like Silent River Runs Deep, Like Your World and Son of a Preacher Man. In the early 1970s, Judy joined force with Rita and Marcia Griffiths (of Bob Andy & Marcia fame) to form the I-Threes – Jamaica’s premiere female group of the period. They racked up several chart toppers as a group, but were mostly known as the back-up singers for Bob Marley and the Wailers. Rita was injured in the attack on her husband shortly before the 1976 “Smile Jamaica” concert. She continued her solo career after Bob’s death, topping the Jamaican and international charts with One Draw in the 1980s.
In 1986 she founded the Robert Marley Foundation. She is chair of the Bob Marley Trust and the Bob Marley Group of Companies. Since the late 1980s, her life has take a somewhat different turn – towards a life of philanthropy – and giving back. That life includes adoption of children in Ethiopia (35), educational and feeding projects in Africa – particularly Ghana where she presently resides – music education scholarships and multiple projects aimed at alleviating poverty in targeted countries – by way of the Rita Marley Foundation. Her children – Sharon, Cedella, Ziggy and Stephen continue to provide their imprint on reggae music, sports, fashion and other aspects of Jamaican and international life. Two other children – Stephanie and Serita are lending their talents in Rita’s philanthropic efforts.
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Rico Rodriquez
was born Emmanuel Rodriquez on October 17, 1934 in Havana, Cuba. He moved with his family to Jamaica at a very early age and settled in Kingston. He attended Alpha Boys School – a trade and training school founded and run in Kingston run by the Roman Catholic Church in the late 19th century. The school was established in 1880 as a “school for wayward boys”, and became renowned for both the discipline it instilled in its pupils and the outstanding musical education it provided its students. It was here that he met his mentor and teacher – the legendary Jamaican trombonist Don Drummond who was also an older student at the school.
He joined Count Ossie’s band in the late 1950s and played trombone on several recordings during that period. He left Jamaica for England in 1962 where he played with and led several Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae bands – included The Specials, Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and his own band – Rico and the Rudies. His recordings included Man from Wareika, A Message to You, Rudy and the album – Roots to the Bone.
Rico was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for a life of services to music in July 2007. In October 2012 he was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in recognition of his contribution to Jamaican music. He still lives in the United Kingdom and performs occasionally at music festivals.
Roland Alfanso was born Ronaldo Alphonso in Havana, Cuba on January 12 1931 from a Cuban father and Jamaican mother. He moved to Jamaica with his mother at the age of two. He began studying the Saxophone at the “Stony Hill Industrial School” at a very early age. In 1948 he left school to join the “Eric Deans” orchestra and later played with several bands on the hotel circuit. Alfanso became a member of Stanley Motta’s session musicians in 1952. Four years later he began recording for Clement “Coxsone” Dodds’s Studio One. In 1958 he joined Bim & Bam’s touring comedy act. The following year he joined one the more popular Jamaican bands at the time – Clue J & His Blues Busters, while simultaneously leading recording session musicians for both Studio One and Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle recordings.
By 1960, Alphonso had become the primary “go to, get it done” session leader for several early sound system operator/producers – including Duke Reid, Prince Lloyd “the Matador” Daley, Clement Dodd and King Edwards “the Giant”. He played virtually all the saxophone instruments – alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax and flute. During that period he played with several emerging bands including The Alley Cats, the City Slickers, Aubrey Adams Orchestra and the Drew Droppers. In 1962 he left Jamaica for “greener pastures” in the hotel industry in Nassau, Bahamas.
He returned less than a year later to take up the leadership of the newly formed Studio One Orchestra. This band was later rebranded as the Skatallites – a band that has hardly received the credit it truly deserved for building the foundation of Jamaican music. The band included some of the architects of the Jamaican music industry – namely Tommy McCook (died in 1998), Roland Alphonso (died in 1998), Lloyd Brevett (died in 2012), Lloyd Knibbs (died in 2011), Don Drummond (died in 1969), Jah Jerry Haynes (died in 2007), Jackie Mittoo (died in 1990), “Dizzie” Johnny More (died in 2008) and Barbadian singer, Jackie Opel (died in 1970).
The Skatalites recorded their first LP Ska Authentic at Studio One in 1964. They toured Jamaica as the creators of Ska. Among their producers were Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Prince Buster, Vincent “King” Edwards, Justin “Phillip” Yap, Leslie Kong, Lindon Pottinger, Sonia Pottinger and Vincent “Randy” Chin. The Skatalites led sessions with all Jamaica’s top artists of the period – including several young talents that went on to become superstars – such as Delroy Wilson, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Toots and the Maytals and Lee “Scratch” Perry. The Skatellites played their last show as a band in Kingston in August 1965. The music they made during the period they were together continued to top the charts in Jamaica and the United Kingdom long after the disbanded. In 1967, their Ska adaptation of the theme from the film – The Guns of Navarone entered the UK top 40 chart.
The band dispersed and evolved into two super-groups – Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Brothers (later rebranded Soul Vendors) and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. Alphanso suffered a stroke in 1972 at the early age of 41 and decided to migrate to the United States later that year in order to have closer access to medical treatment. However, he returned to Jamaica to record on a regular basis. He kept up this pace throughout the 1980s and 1990s. During this period he also performed live with reggae band – Jah Malla on the reggae music circuit in New York. In 1977, the Jamaican government honored him with the title of Order of Distinction.
In 1983 he rejoined a re-structured Skatallites for several tours and recording sessions until November 2, 1998 when he suffered an aneurism while performing with the band at the Key Club in Hollywood, California. He died at the Cedras-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA eighteen days later.
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Tommy McCook
was born in Havana, Cuba to Jamaican parents on March 3, 1927. He was brought to Jamaica by his parents in 1933. He began playing the tenor saxophone as a student at Alpha Boys School in Kingston. He eventually left school at age 14 to joined the Eric Deans orchestra and later with Roy Coburn orchestra, emerging as a highly skilled jazz player. Between the late ’40s and early ’50s, he also frequently collaborated with Count Ossie, lending his talents alongside those of the Rastafarian hand drummers and chanting vocalists who comprised Ossie’s group.
In 1954, after an overseas engagement with Dean’s Orchestra (in the Bahamas), he decided to stay in south Florida – Miami. It was here that he became exposed to American Jazz legends like John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Upon his return to Jamaica in 1962, he was approached by several producers to record Jazz. This led to his first Jamaican recording session (for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd) titled Jazz Jamaica. Later that year he recorded a Ska version of Ernest Gold’s Exodus. He went on to become a leader of the legendary Skatalites where he was among the most innovative and influential Jamaican musicians of his generation, a prime catalyst behind the evolution and international popularity of ska and reggae music.
After the Skatalites disbanded, McCook founded the Supersonics. This band was soon installed as the house band at Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle studio and became one of the the most sought-after studio unit of the rock-steady era – appearing on classic hits from artists including Alton Ellis, Justin Hinds, and the Techniques.
Tommy McCook remained a fixture of the Jamaican session circuit throughout the years that followed, while simultaneously issuing a number of solo albums for producer Bunny Lee. Among them 1974’s Cookin, 1975’s Brass Rockers, and 1977’s Hot Lava. for producer Glen Brown. In 1976 McCook also issued a blank-labeled LP generally referred to as Horny Dub, and two years later he teamed with trumpeter Bobby Ellis for Blazing Horns.
In 1983 he re-formed the Skatalites nearly two decades after their initial breakup. He relocated them to the U.S. in 1985. A few months later they released their comeback album, Return of the Big Guns. A series of new releases from the Skatalites followed. Their work during this period led to a pair of Grammy nominations. In 1994 they launched their first world tour, which included appearances as part of the Skavoovee U.S.A. tour, a package that included their descendants British Ska band the Specials, the Selecter, and the Toasters. McCook died quietly at his home in Atlanta, GA, on May 5, 1998 at the age of 71.

The Real Dub Masters

Dub is often described as a genre of music which grew out of reggae music in the 1960s, and is commonly considered a sub-genre, though it has developed to extend beyond the scope of reggae with the recent work of producers such as Major Lazer.  The music in this genre consists predominantly of instrumental remixes of existing recordings and is achieved by significantly manipulating and reshaping the recordings, usually by removing the vocals from an existing music piece, and emphasizing the drum and bass parts (this stripped-down track is referred to in Jamaica as a ‘riddim’).  King Tubby‘s added the techniques of echo, reverb, panoramic delay, and occasional dubbing of vocal or instrumental snippets from the original version or other works.
In addition to Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock, three other names must be mentioned among the pioneers of this genre of reggae music. These are Lee “Scratch” Lee Scratch PerryPerry, the late engineer Errol Thompson and Guyanese engineer/producer Neil Joseph “the Mad Professor” Fraser.  What’s common among all four Dub Masters – they were not musicians, they were engineers.
Dub music has influenced many genres of music, including hard rock (most significantly the sub-genre of post-punk and other kinds of punk), pop, hip hop,disco, and later house and techno. Dub has become a basis for the genres of jungle/drum and bass and dub-step.
Traditional dub has survived over the years and two of the originators, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Mad Professor, continue to produce new material. In fact, Ariwa Records – established in the front room of Mad Professor’s house in 1970 has become one the giant reggae music labels in the United Kingdom with artists such as Pato Banton, Sandra Cross, Johnny Clarke recording on the label.  Lee “Scratch” Perry lives in Switzerland these days, but his Black Ark label continue to release new material for several albums each year.