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REGGAE ST LOUIS  REPORT

last updated  Sept 13, 2012


email reggaestlouis@aol.com

    Big shows are coming back to St. Louis ...


     Just announced are The Skatalites on October 21, Capleton on October 24 followed shortly by Chrisinti on October 27 -- ALL shows happening @ 2720


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     The roots reggae lion named Zion has a new album -- Different Denominations -- which expands upon his blueprint of conscious, well crafted music.


   The prolific roots reggae artist spent his childhood in Dominica in the Caribbean and his youth in St. Croix.  In the last few years he has performed so often in St. Louis that we in the 314/618 area codes can rightfully claim him as our own.  After self-produced early works Poor Man Crying and African Nation, Zion linked with Professor Skank of Skank Records in St. Louis for Strictly Roots and Crying for Freedom plus a free digital EP, Crying for Freedom bonus disc.


   Different Denominations includes two tracks recorded live at KDHX studios.  The station has consistently supported not only the music of Zion but many other local and international artists of original reggae music. 


   As for his stage name Zion, it is clear that the connection between Desmond Albert and the sacred place of scripture runs deep.


   “It stretched way back to St. Croix, just being around the youth-dem.  I talk about Zion all the time.  Down in the village and whatnot, we always have slang for each other.

The man-dem just call I Zion,” he told KDHX’s Michael Kuelker in an interview in 2009.


     In that newly rediscovered interview, Zion candidly spoke about how he sighted up Rastafari.


     “My mother and my father were real strict Christian.  They didn’t want me around the dread.  But when my mother I was around the Rastas, the man-dem smoking the ganja, playing dominos.  It was always in my heart.”


     “When I came up to St. Croix, I met some Rasta bredren up in a studio called Screwface Records and from there, being around the dread, dealing with the Rastas in the record shop, something was calling me.  Something was telling me, ‘This feels like truth.’  And I wanted to learn more and more about it. More and more, I am growing into it, getting stronger, reading, praying, humbling myself, everyday I’m growing. Everyday I am still getting strength from Rasta.”


     Check more from Zion at his facebook page.


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   Although he has an album -- Time -- less than a year old and still getting attention in the world of reggae, Ashaka is preparing another album of new material, and the artist has plans to record some of it at the fabled Tuff Gong studio in Kingston, Jamaica.  Stay tuned to this space, 88.1 FM reggae programs and, of course, ashakamusic.com.


   Crucial Reggae From Outside Jamaica Vol. 4 was released by the St. Louis-based Skank label in June, and the early reviews are uniformly positive.  Skank’s Crucial Reggae series anthologizes conscious reggae music produced outside the reggae epicenter of Jamaica.  All Skank albums come with high production values and a 16-page booklet.  A portion of the sales of  Vol. 4 will go to support Doctors Without Borders, one of the finest humanitarian organizations in the world.  Check out the full line of Skank releases at the label’s home site.


   KDHX’s Michael Kuelker was an invited speaker at a symposium in Jamaica in August honoring the late seminal Jamaican artist Justin Hinds (1942-2005).  On August 5, a “Justin Hinds @ 70” event was held on the verandah of the Seville Great House, a national heritage site in St. Ann’s Bay; it is not far from Steer Town, where Hinds lived and where many of the singer’s family and friends still reside.  The symposium featured kumina drumming and Kuelker’s commentary on Hinds as a cultural artist and live acoustic selections from the Justin Hinds songbook.  Among the attendees were five of Justin Hinds’ children; Junior Dixon and Noel Drake, who sang backup for Hinds in the Dominoes; Neville Beckford, Warrin Williamson and Maureen Freemantle, all surviving members of Wingless Angels, the nyahbinghi group that included Hinds; Rupert Willington (original member of Burning Spear’s backing vocal group) and Shedrock (formerly known as Pat Simpson of “Two Bad Bull in a Pen” fame).  The event was produced by the St. Ann Heritage Foundation, chaired by Dennis Higgins, who once managed Justin Hinds and handles some of the Hinds business matters.


   Kuelker interviewed many of the artists who came out for the symposium and is integrating that material into a new, occasional segment titled “St. Ann Reggae Vibrations” on “Positive Vibrations” (Saturdays 9-11 p.m. on KDHX 88.1 FM).  St. Ann parish in Jamaica has produced numerous figures of importance, including Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, Burning Spear, Justin Hinds and others.  If you miss any or all of “St. Ann Reggae Vibrations,” the segments will eventually be stitched together for listening via Soundcloud.


   So, you dig REGGAESTLOUIS.net for its unity vibe.  Of course.  But would you click to our sister site, one with a salacious TMZ-style look at the local reggae scene?  Sure you would.  And so, Reggae314-thedirt.com will soon come!  You will be able to see candid videos shot from shaky cell phones of people in OUR reggae scene bitchin’ & backstabbin’.  We’ve got walk of shame photos.  We’ve got blooper videos, side-boob party pics and photocopies of terrible contracts.  Get your previews right HERE and HERE.


ZION performing at 2720 in January (above) and May 2012 (below).  Photos by Kuelker.

Maureen Freemantle and Warrin Williamson of Wingless Angels in August 2012.  Photo by Kuelker.