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Posts Tagged ‘reggae’

World Music News Wire

Rocky Dawuni walks the talk. Fist held high and dreadlocks flowing, the Ghanaian reggae artist is a rebel among rebels, tackling serious social issues with uplifting ballads and reggae rockers. All while working to challenge everything from infectious diseases to clean water to poverty across the rural communities of his homeland.

On Hymns for the Rebel Soul, Dawuni’s infectious, groove-driven music refuses to play by the rules. He sings about the struggles against corruption, war, and despair, drawing on his own experiences while melding bluesy Motown horn lines with Afro-beat grooves and Arabic percussion. Add highlife afro-pop guitar mingled with polyrhythms and Scandinavian melodies and Dawuni re-imagines a fearlessly global, one-love reggae with contemporary African ingenuity.

Let’s rewind a few decades to where Dawuni’s instinct to innovate emerged in the middle of an army camp under a military government. Under a dimly lit African sky, Bob Marley’s iconic “Uprising” album blares from P.A. speakers at an outdoor bar crowded with soldiers; a little boy takes note of the politically charged lyrics and a rebel is born.

As music entwined with his passion for speaking truth to questionable power, he “went pro,” he says, as a young psychology student at the University of Ghana. “My first band was an accident,” he laughs. “In my first year, I met these four guys who were students there and musicians. Everyone was saying, ‘Why are we in the University if we want to be musicians? Why don’t we form a band?’” And the seeds were planted.

In the late 1990s he took the plunge, and soon Dawuni found himself traveling the world – ultimately releasing multiple CDs and working with musicians like Bono and Stevie Wonder, as well as providing music for U.S. television shows including Weeds, ER and Dexter.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Some bands have truly made their mark on us. Their staying power has far outlived anything their original songs were meant to make us feel in one single moment. In some cases, the legacy can live on, even after a lead singer’s death.

I’m talking about Sublime, a punk-ska-reggae band from California that still holds a place in many fans hearts, especially after lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death from a drug overdose in 1996. But now, 14 years later, the rest of the band members want to give it another go, but this time, with a new singer.

Rome Ramirez, the newbie singer of Sublime with Rome.

Rome Ramirez, the 21 year old newbie, will replace Nowell’s vocals and guitar. The rest of the band says he has a creepy resemblance to Nowell, both in his singing and guitar skills. Rolling Stone Magazine reported that Ramirez had been playing solo around California, and then had a chance to jam with Sublime originals Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh. The three hit it off, and now have scheduled seven tour dates. If all goes well with that, the band says it will start touring regularly and making albums.

The band had to change its name because of a previous lawsuit made by Nowell’s family. Now, they will play as ‘Sublime with Rome.’ But the name change is welcomed because a Sublime without Nowell needs a fresh start.

The first tour date will kick off in Los Angeles on none other than April 20 (4/20 for the potheads in the audience). Some things never change.

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