After three years of break due to the pandemic the 35th staging of Germany’s largest Reggae festival Summerjam took place again on the first weekend of July in Cologne. The line-up was superb, fans enjoyed energetic performances by superstars such as Sean Paul, Shaggy, and Gentleman, and the summery sunshine weather topped up the amazing vibes ultimately. Also backstage the atmosphere was joyous and positive and led to a good amount of intriguing interviews with the artists. Konshens, Sean Paul, Nkulee Dube and the family of Max Romeo were just some of my guests on the microphone that shared their latest news and stories with us. All video interviews from the weekend are online on Reggaeville’s YouTube channel now. A particular highlight is the in-depth conversation with French Reggae duo Jahneration that shared their personal history from Rock’N’Roll beginnings, their creative ideas for not just music but visuals and video games, and also gave an outlook on their upcoming Jahneration Fest in December as they were guests of the Wha’ Gwaan Munchy?!? Summerjam Special.
Finally the free digital Festiville magazine is back and filled with actual real life events showcasing Reggae music throughout the globe. Besides the comprehensive festival guide the 2022 issue, that was given away as a free print edition at Summerjam festival too, also includes many interesting in-depth interviews with artists such as Clinton Fearon, UB40 feat. Ali Campbell and Burning Spear, who is finally returning to the stages this summer. My personal excitement rose when I first heard Tanya Stephens’ upcoming album Some Kinda Madness this spring, and so I was extremely happy to interview her about this very personal body of work, her “favorite album” as she stated, for the Festiville mag. The full interview is to be found there, just like an excerpt of an intriguing conversation I had with producer Gussie Clarke. For my new upcoming video interview series Take Me Places, which will drop on Reggaeville after the summer, he invited me to his Anchor Studio in Kingston, where we discusses his personal and Reggae history, and his impact on it.
When I first heard songs from Tanya Stephens’ upcoming album Some Kinda Madness I was deeply touched and greatly excited. What Tanya calls her “personal favorite album” is a musically and lyrically rich and diverse body of work, produced by Tad Dawkins Jr. of Tad’s Records, and created with such amazing musicians as Dean Fraser, Kirk Bennett and Glen Browne just to name a few. All details about the record are in my article in the new Riddim magazine that can now be purchased in stores or online on the Riddim website. Riddim also managed to speak to Protoje about his upcoming album and with Burning Spear about his return to the stages. Additionally the 109th issue includes a festival guide, a Jamaica 60 special with the history of all festival songs, and a beautiful portfolio from the Art Walk in Downtown Kingston.
Life on earth, the One Rock as Groundation call it, is full of challenges these days. How this inspired and motivated the Californian Reggae band on their latest album, singer Harrison Stafford reveals in the latest episode of Wha’ Gwaan Munchy?!? Enjoy his intriguing depictions about the responsibility of Reggae, the relationship with the feature guests and the production process under pandemic conditions, while also catching vibes with Inner Circle just before they and others like Sean Paul, Shaggy, Gentleman and Stefflon Don will be performing at Summerjam festival in Germany. The challenges of humanity are also impressively portrayed in Piero Dread’s latest music video for Treat For The Day.
All together guitarist Ernest Ranglin and saxophonist Dean Fraser experienced and impacted more than 110 years of Jamaican music history. Join the two musicians extraordinaire for Wha’ Gwaan Munchy?!? as they take you on a musical journey back to the days of Ska, Jamaican independence and the beginning of Reggae music, and find out at the same time about their collaborative album Two Colors that is set for release on May 27, 2022. Another joint effort is the new album Com Fly Wid Mi by Shaggy, a Frank Sinatra songbook produced by Sting, that the two discuss also on the episode, while Burning Spear has the fans looking forward to his tour set for the summer.
Rising star Yaksta has been making waves throughout the past couple of years with his motivational lyrics, his role model life style as a farmer, and a positive and inspiring mind set. On Wha’ Gwaan Munchy?!? he introduces himself and his works, looking back on his upbringing and childhood before looking forward to his plans for 2-0-2-2. Release plans have already manifested for Horace Andy and Earl Sixteen as they just released their new albums, while Mellow Mood and Dub Inc. share their music live again.