Tag: Kingston12

WIFI RADIO: Going from 24 stations to 24,000 stations (Worldwide)

Internet (WIFI) radio has actually been around since the mid-90s. The streams were usually available at the broadcaster’s website (similar to kingston12.net). Theses audio streams were broadcast from all around the world, and all within easy reach via your desktop or laptop computer. Thus listeners who use to have a choice between in-market and a few out-of-market stations now had access to thousands of stations live from worldwide broadcasters. The challenge in the early years of internet technology was that in order to listen, one had to sit in front of a computer.
Portable internet radios have completely changed that. Advance internet technology enables internet radios to pick up a signal from wireless connection – broadcasting from a wireless router. The router in a sense replaces the AM/FM transmitter.  One needs to have a broadband connection to ensure constant, quality audio.  More than five hundred models of internet radios are now available – including several tabletop versions. These connect to the router via WIFI or Ethernet cable.
WIFI radios give consumers the ability and option to listen to thousands of different audio sources. Every imaginable radio format is available. In addition they offer superior audio quality (bit rate as high as 128 kbps – twice that of standard CD quality at 64 kbps). These devices are said to represent the jumping off point for true freedom for music lovers – making it really simple for people to customize their listening experience and enjoy all of the great online content without having to sit in front of a computer. In addition, they provide listeners a great mix of traditional terrestrial stations (most broadcasters also stream their signal simultaneously) and thousands of new internet-only audio services. WIFI Radio (1)
WIFI radio combines mobility, communication, entertainment and ease of use to provide listeners with the very best experience – allowing listeners much broader choices. In addition to music, some believe WIFI radio offers a much wider variety of talk shows than what traditional radio, or even satellite radio offers. According to a recently released study by noted media researcher Paul Jacobs, WIFI radio plays a big part in the digital growth that is changing media habits all over the world.  Jacobs noted that core radio listeners are moving rapidly to digital media – either on gadgets such as WIFI enabled smartphones and tablets or other streaming devices. Traditional radio manufacturers have taken note of this and are now building radios that include FM tuner, WIFI connection and access point for MP3, AMA, WAV, plus multi programmable alarms and integrated amplifier. It appears AM radio is the big looser.
With close to five hundred different models of WIFI radio to choose from, today’s consumer is caught between “entertainment heaven and information overload”. Grace Digital and Sangean (formerly Great Britain’s Roberts Radio) appear to be the leading manufacture/distributors at this time. The prices range from slightly under $100 to $200s at the lower end.  Both models have Kingston 12 reggae channel as part of their line-up of stations. Grace Digital WIFI Tuner
Other manufacture/distributors include Pico, Acoustic Energy, Boston-based C Crane, Inc and Armour – a British company which manufactures a unique model called the Q2 WIFI radio.
The manufacturers of the Q2 which sells for slightly more than $100 approach WIFI Internet Radio slightly differently. It replaces the “bells & whistles” with simplicity. It is based upon a theory (and research findings) that in spite of the fact that the average consumer have access to many thousands of radio stations and channels to choose from on a typical WIFI radio, he/she will gravitate towards just a handful of favorite stations. Q2-Internet-Radio-3-650x650The Q2 WIFI Internet Radio is built with no buttons or controls and has just 4 options for preset stations. The radios are built in the shape of a cube and in order to change station, one simply has to turn the Q2 cube on to one of its sides – 4 sides 4 channels stored. To raise or lower the volume, just tip the Q2 Radio up or tilt it down. The four preset channels are loaded from a Q2 app that is down loaded from the manufacturer’s web site to the user’s computer. See www.q2radio.com for quick demonstration videos.
Home audio manufacturers continue to develop WIFI units with higher levels of technologies that meet the needs and demands of contemporary consumers. Among the latest is the Denon AVR-X 2100W and Onkyo’s TX-NR 727. Each has a WIFI radio receiver that can access upwards of 20,000 digital and/or terrestrial audio channels from around the world. In addition, the units enable the streaming of content throughout the home and stream music from Pandora, Spotify or SirusXM. Each has built-in real-time dynamic EQ technology that provides cinematic experience and can easily stream content at 192 kbps. These units are being sold a much higher price point of close to $400.
WIFI radios are available at the following websites and at several big box electronic stores:
gracedigital.com
amazon.com
shop.npr.org
ccrane.com

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.

Why has it Taken 28 Years?

The Peter Tosh Estate has announced that (April 20, 2015) will be the first annual recognition of the date as ‘International Peter Tosh Day‘, a celebration honoring the Grammy Award-winning reggae legend, musician, and human-rights activist.
The above sentence was taken from a recent edition of the Jamaica Observer newspaper. For those who are not familiar with the work of Peter Tosh let me try to reintroduce him. Peter Tosh, OM was a Jamaican reggae musician. Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, he was one of the core members of the band The Wailers, after which he established himself as a successful solo artist, revolutionary, cultural warrior, human rights activists and a promoter of Rastafarian religion. He was murdered during a home invasion on September 11, 1987.
Peter Tosh
One has to wonder if the sudden push to recognize and celebrate Peter Tosh has anything to do with the fact that he was the first artist to openly advocate legalization of marijuana in the song Legalize It – released almost 40 years ago. Will Peter Touch finally be given what he has deserved for 28 years because of his marijuana advocacy? And because many who contributed to his disrespect now see the potential for financial gains from his legacy? It is with keen interest that I have observed that most of the articles written about this “International Peter Tosh Day” make reference to his work as an advocate of legalization of marijuana, but nothing about the most important areas of his life. Peter Tosh is undoubtedly one of the three most important reggae artists of all time (the others being Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff). He is reggae’s most revolutionary artist in the history of the genre.
I have always thought that the lives of Bob Marley and Peter Touch were somewhat parallel. Very similar to that of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in the civil rights struggles of the United States in the 1960’s. Bob was the Martin and Peter was the Malcolm. Both were advocates and could be described as revolutionaries for the same cause, but with very different approach. However, while one method received “main-street” approval, the other was greeted with fear and uncertainty. As a result one is highly celebrated, while the other is hardly remembered.
It is full time for us to stop waiting for “approval” to celebrate our heroes. The genuine celebration of the life of Peter – like that of life Malcolm is long overdue. This time let’s place his achievements as an artist, revolutionary, cultural warrior, human rights activist and model Rastafarian ahead of his advocacy for legalization of marijuana.

Up Coming International Reggae Music Festivals in 2015

California Roots, Monterry, CA
May 22 -24,
Major Acts: Chronixx, Collie Buddz, Blue King Brown (Australia), Common Kings, Michael Franti, Steel Pulse, Tribal Seeds
Website: www.californiarootsfestival.com
Best of the Best, Miami, Fl
May 24th,
Major Acts: Sanchez, Wayne Wonder, Capleton, Beene Man, Lady Saw and Morgan Heritage
Website: www.bestofthebestconcert.com
Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay, Jamaica
July 12th thru 18th
Major Acts: To Be Announced
Website: www.reggaesumfest.com
Reggae on the River, Garberville, Humboldt County, CA
July 30th thru August 2nd
Major Acts: Collie Buddz, Protoje (Kingston Be Wise), Stephen Marley and the Ghetto Youth Crew, Tarrus Riley, Ce’Cil, and Stick Figure.
Website: www.reggaeontheriver.com
BoomTown Fair, Materley Estate, Winchester, United Kingdom
August 13th thru 16th
Major Acts: Alborosie, Black Uhuru, Matisahu, Baby Cham, Cutty Ranks, Katchafire, Stephen Marley, SOJA, Barrington Levy, Anthony B, Protoje
Website: http://www.boomtownfair.co.uk/
Rototom Sunsplash, Castellon, Spain
August 15th thru 22nd
Major Acts: To Be Announced
Website: www.rototomsunsplash.com/es/
One Love Festival, Popham Airport, Winchester, United Kingdom
September 4th
Major Acts: Michael Rose, MackaB, Randy Valentine, Norrisman, Echo Minott, the Maytones, Little Roy and Dennis Bovell
Website: www.onelovefestival.co.uk

Digging Deep for the Motivation

Many people may have the desire to get fit, but acting on those desires is a completely different story. Oftentimes it involves pressing through mental and emotional challenges that can easily put a halt on your fitness goals, sometimes for years. So how is it that some people are able to find the motivation to work out while others do not? And for those that are struggling to find motivation, how can they get it?
The majority of us are passionate about something. Whether it is about our work, our kids, or our hobbies. Hence, there are just going to be some people that have a passion for fitness and are therefore self-motivated to work out. Still, there are many others who need an extra boost.
During my years as a personal trainer, one of the first things I would do with my clients was determine their whys?  Why did they want to lose weight, why did they want to gain weight, why did they decide that it was finally time to make a financial investment into a personal trainer?  Their reasons varied. To be around longer for their kids, to feel more attractive to their spouse, to gain more energy or to be a smaller size for their upcoming wedding.  Despite their reasons, they all had one thing in common when they came to me for assistance – the motivation to want to make a change. Yet still the challenge would become, how to remain motivated.
Here are the top five things that I found that worked best for my clients which can also be applied to anyone who’s interested in becoming more physically fit.

      (1) Take a Picture of yourself and lay it next to an older picture of you when you were smaller or next to a person’s picture whom you aspire to look like
      (2) Get accountability partners. People that can remind you to stay on track when you are tempted to give up.
      (3) Acknowledge and celebrate small successes. Weight loss takes time. Keep in mind that in order to lose one pound, you must have a caloric deficit of approximately 3,500 calories. Meaning that you will need to burn an extra 500 calories per day just to lose one pound. However, exercise and diet changes will get you quicker results.
      (4) Find a physical activity that you will enjoy. Working out in the gym 6 times a week may not be for everyone. Dancing, bicycling, and rollerblading are great options.
      (5) Pull out a favorite outfit from your closet that you have not been able to wear in years and make it a goal to get in it again.

Unless you are on a reality show Like the Biggest Loser, odds are you are not going to be living with a personal training or with a group of people who are collectively trying to lose weight. However this does not mean that you should neglect your fitness goals, rather, you just have to become more creative in your approach.
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Contributor Renna Reddick is a certified nutrition specialist, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Certifications include: National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) and Aerobics, Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Group Fitness Instruction, and NFPT Nutrition Specialist

Finding the Time to Excercise

Life is demanding and many of us often find ourselves juggling many important things in our lives, whether it is multiple jobs, a family, school, and/or caring for an ill loved one. Whatever the case may be, it is very easy to neglect “YOU” – which ironically, if there is no “healthy” and functioning you”, then you will simply be of no good to others. So why is it that many people always seem to find the time to be the hero for others, but often not for themselves?
One of the common responses that I have heard from people during my years as a personal trainer and also during general conversations with others is that they simply do not have the time. However, although there may never seem to be enough hours in the day, it is no secret that people will create the time to do or accomplish things they TRULY feel are important. Hence, the first step towards getting fit is placing it at a higher value in your life. Just think for a moment about things in your life that you have placed at a high value, and also about what it took to obtain it. Whether it was getting an academic degree, a dream job, or buying something special that you always wanted. In order to make that special something become a reality in your life, you had to first make it a priority mentally.
The second thing that must be done is figuring out how to fit that special something into your life. In the case of physical fitness, one of the easiest solutions is to make it a part of your life style. Another way to say it is, “make it a habit”. For example, most of us probably don’ think twice about daily showers, brushing our teeth, combing our hair or even feeding. It becomes habitual after a while. Hence, if exercising becomes a natural part of your life style, then your mind will less likely resist the idea of it.
The final thing that you can do to generate more time to work out is taking advantage of your surroundings. People may miss out on great opportunities to exercise, and in many cases there are many resources at their fingertips. Whether it is having the convenience of having workout equipment at home, access to a gym at work, or living within close range to a gym or park – yet some people still find reasons for why they cannot exercise. I confess, I was one of those people, was guilty of not taking advantage of my surroundings, and in my case, I had a gym at work! In the middle of completing my master’s program I allowed myself to become approximately 15 pounds overweight (yes, it can happen to fitness professionals too!) The excuse I gave myself was, that I was working two jobs (full –time and part-time), producing a radio program, dealing with the stress of having a mother in a nursing home in a different state, going to graduate school and contending with a host of other challenges that comes with daily living.
Life, to say the least was becoming a bit overwhelming and I began to see exercise as “work”, thus pushing it to the bottom of my agenda. It was no longer a part of my lifestyle. One of the wake up calls for me, was realizing that I could no longer fit into my clothing, and that I was becoming more mentally and physically fatigued. I also saw myself in pictures and realized how much I had changed. Do I still have a host of things going on in my life? Absolutely. However, I have chosen to re-prioritize my life reminding that many of the things that I may desire to get accomplished simply cannot occur without a healthy me!
Contributor Renna Reddick is a certified nutrition specialist, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Certifications include: National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) and Aerobics, Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Group Fitness Instruction, and NFPT Nutrition Specialist

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.
laurelaitken2
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.
RicoP1970s
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.
tommymccook
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.

Giants Behind the Music: Prince Buster

Prince Buster (Cecil Bustamante Campbell) was born in Kingston, Jamaica on May 24, 1938. His work as song-writer and produce during the Ska and Rock-Steady era has made him one of the giant figures of Jamaican music. This work has earned him an Order of Distinction (OD) honor from the Jamaican government. This honor is conferred upon citizens of Jamaica who have rendered outstanding and important service to Jamaica. His body of work as producer is said to have “influenced and shaped the course of Jamaican contemporary music and created a legacy of work that later reggae and ska artists would draw upon”.
Prince Buster, like many Jamaican artist of the time, gained his earliest musical experience from the church. He began performing around Kingston at the “social clubs” as a teenager, and became part of a dance group that performed at the Glass Bucket Club, one of the premier music venues in Kingston at the time. He later joined the crew of “Tom the Great Sabastian”, one of the early sound systems that imported music from the United States – mostly New Orleans. Buster later went on to work with the music legend – Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, the founder of the great Studio One.
His many jobs with Studio One enabled him to learn all the important aspects of both the music and the sound system business. He started his own sound system – named The Voice of the People, and became one of the main rivals of Clement Dodd’s “Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat”. In 1961 Prince Buster started his first record label in the heart of downtown Kingston. That same year he joined forces with drummer Arkland “Drumbago” Parks, guitarist Jah Jerry and Alpha Boys School graduate, Rico Rodriquez (whom he knew from his days at the Baby Grand Club) to release his first record – titled Little Honey backed by an instrumental called Luke Lane Shuffle. That was followed up with recording of the now famous – Oh Carolina by the Folks Brothers. This song is credited with the introduction of Nyabingi Rastafarian drumming and influences in main stream Jamaican music. The song was released on the Blue Beat label in England and went on to become one of the first influential Ska songs released outside Jamaica.
In the 1960s, Prince Buster went on to release several local hits with artists like Alton Ellis on this Wild Bells Label. Among the Ska hits were Wash Wash –which charted in England and Madness which started a kind of Ska revolution around the world. At the end of the late 1960s, after meeting the world heavyweight champion – Muhammad Ali, Prince Buster decided to join the Nation of Islam. He did not walk away from the music business however, and continued to release several rock-steady hits. His song – Al Capone charted at number 18 in the United Kingdom in 1967.Over the years he has had a few cameo roles in movies including The Harder They Come – in which he played a club DJ.
Prince Buster continued to influence Ska revivals in the 1970s and 80s. It is said that the Ska revival of the late 1970s began with the British 2-Tone label’s introduction of his music to a new generation of listeners – some of who were not even born when he was popular in the UK. In 1979 the band Madness released their first single on 2-Tone, a tribute to Buster called “The Prince”. The B-side was a cover of the Prince Buster’s hit song “Madness” from which they took their name. Their second single, released on the Stiff label (“The Prince” was the only single released by Madness on the 2-Tone label), was a cover of Buster’s  “One Step Beyond”, which reached the UK Top 10.
On their self-titled debut album, The Specials covered “Too Hot” and borrowed elements from Campbell’s “Judge Dread” (in the song “Stupid Marriage”) and “Al Capone” (in the song “Gangsters”). The Specials also included a cover of “Enjoy Yourself” on their second album More Specials. The Beat covered “Rough Rider” and “Whine & Grine” on their album I Just Can’t Stop It. Campbell’s song “Hard Man Fe Dead” was covered by the U.S. ska band The Toasters on their 1996 album 2 Tone Army
Prince Buster presently reside in South Florida.

Giants Behind the Music: Chris Blackwell

Chris Blackwell (born Christopher Percy Gordon Blackwell) was born in Westminster, London. His father –Joseph Blackwell was an Englishman who came to Jamaica as a major in the Jamaican Regiment of the British army. His mother – Blanche Lindo was a Jamaican Jew of Costa Rican descent. Chris came from a family of wealth – his father was related to the founders of Crosse & Blackwell, a British food processing and canning company. His mother belonged to one of Jamaica’s famous sugar plantation lines who were the original owners of Appleton Rum and one of the “21 families that is said to have controlled” the island in the 20th century.
Chris spent his childhood in Jamaica and was sent to Britain to continue his education at Harrow School. At the end of high school he opted to return to Jamaica instead of attending college. He became an aid to the Governor and later decided to step out on his own.  At first he entered the real estate business, and later distribution and management of jukeboxes. This later project brought him in direct contact with both ordinary Jamaicans and the music business. It is rumored that Chris’s introduction to “deep roots music” was quite accidental.  Author Brent Hageman (2005) noted that Chris was “sailing off the Hellshire Beach in 1958 when his boat ran aground on a coral reef.
The twenty one-year-old swam to the coast and attempted to find help along the shore in searing temperatures.  Collapsing on the beach, Blackwell was said to have been rescued by Rasta fishermen who tended his wounds and restored him back to health with traditional Ital food. Hageman noted that this experience gave Blackwell a spiritual introduction to Rastafarianism and was a key to his connection to the culture and its music.”
In 1958, at the young are of 22, Blackwell formed Island Records with an initial inheritance of $10,000.  His initial business partner was Jamaican radio personality – Graeme Goodall.  Their first release was an instrumental/vocal album by a Bermudian artist name Lance Hayward. A year later Chris started recording Jamaican popular music with artist like Laurel Aitkens – producing the island’s first locally produced hit – “Boogie in my Bones”, baked with “Little Sheila”
In 1962 Chris produced 26 singles and two albums. At the end of that year he returned to England in search of better production facilities and a larger market. Among the master tapes that Chris recorded that year and took to England was one by a fifteen-year-old Jamaican female singer name Millie Small. In 1964 he brought her over to England to record a Ska version of Barbie Gaye 1956 hit – “My Boy Lollypop”. The rest is history as that song went straight to number one as the very first Jamaican-linked song to make it to the top of the British charts. This marked the beginning of Island Records as the first great independent label.
Chris later joined forces with Stanley Borden of RKO Entertainment – producing some of the greatest artists of our time – artists that has impacted our lives and the music world in ways that can hardly be measured. Among them – Bob Marley, Grace Jones, U2, Steve Winwood and the Spencer Davis Group, Lake and Palmer, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Sly & Robbie, Robert Palmer, Jimmy Cliff, Ike & Tina Turner, Third World, Burning Spear, Black Uhuru, Melissa Etheridge and African superstars Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, King Sunny Ade and Angelique Kidjo.
Blackwell sold his stake in Island in 1989 and eventually resigning from the company in 1997.  He went on to form Palm Pictures, a media entertainment company with music, film and DVD releases. In the late 1990s, Blackwell merged Palm Pictures with Rykodisc to form RykoPalm, a new operation. That same year he purchased Netherlands-based conglomerate PolyGram. He stayed on for a few years to supervise the companies that operated under the Island label.
Simultaneously, in the early ’90s, Blackwell created Island Outpost a South Beach based hotels and resorts company that purchased and managed hotels such as the Marlin Hotel in South Beach, Miami and Jamaica’s Strawberry Hill (1992), followed closely by Bahamian Pink Sands and Compass Point and The Caves, Jake’s and Golden Eye, in Oracabessa, Jamaica. Chris currently lives in Jamaica and has made the island his base of operation for several companies. These include multiple hotel properties – Golden Eye, Strawberry Hill in St Andrew, and the Caves in Negril, Jamaica. In recent years he has had some difficulty staying away from his family’s legacy and in 2009 he introduced his own brand of fine rum “Blackwell Black Gold” to the international market.
In April 2009, the UK magazine Music Week named Blackwell the most influential figure in the last 50 years of the British music industry. When he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, they described him as the “single person most responsible for turning the world on to reggae music”.  Although others like Johnny Nash and Paul Simon have certainly played a part in introducing reggae music to the US, Chris certainly stands out as the individual who took reggae around the world.  Today at the ripe “young” age of late seventies – when most people who have made such significant contributions to our lives are ready to retire, he spends most of his time with his favorite philanthropic organizations.  Among them – the Island ACTS, the Oracabessa Foundation, the Mary Vinson Blackwell Foundation (established in honor of his late wife to whom he was married from 1998 till 2009), and the Jamaican Conservation Trust.

Giants Behind the Music: Vere Johns

Vere Johns (Joseph Vere Everette Johns) was born in Mandeville, a city located in the parish of Manchester in central Jamaica on November 28, 1893 and died on September 10, 1966. He was a journalist/actor and one of the island’s earliest radio personalities. He was producer and host of the Vere Johns talent hour on radio, a program that contributed to the launching of the careers of many of the country’s musical giants. Vare Johns served in the South Lancaster (England) Regiment in World War 1. After the war he moved to the United States where he found work as a newspaper columnist and as host of talent contests.
He returned to Jamaica in 1939 and later joined the Jamaica Star newspaper – where he wrote the weekly column “Vere Johns Says”. Shortly thereafter, he began hosting a weekly talent show on RJR, one of the island’s two radio stations, called “Vere Johns Opportunity Knock”. This show is said to have launched the careers of several artists – among them : Lloyd Charmers, Hortense Ellis, John Holt, Bob Andy, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Alton Ellis, Jackie Edwards, Dobby Dobson, Boris Gardiner, Laurel Aitken, and Millie Small. These talent contests were held and recorded live in venues such as The Majestic, Ward, Palace and Ambassador Theaters.
In addition to showcasing talent, these shows also served as scouting venues for producers such as as Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, Prince Buster and Arthur “Duke” Reid – the primary record producers and Sound System operators of the period. Singers were recruited and taken to the Stanly Motta studio (the only recording studio in Jamaica at the time) to record cover versions of US hits for their sound systems.
In addition to his contribution to the music industry, Vare Johns was one Jamaica’s earliest Shakespearean actors and acting teacher.