Tag Archives: Öland Roots

Mr. Williamz on dancehall culture

British deejay Mr. Williamz has dropped several scorching tunes for producer Curtis Lynch in the past years. A few months ago he also put out his debut EP titled Last Night. In mid July he performed at Swedish reggae festival Öland Roots. I saw him strolling around the premises after his set and asked for an interview.

Among other things we talked about the importance of dancehall culture. Check the interview over at United Reggae.

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Chezidek prefers European producers

Chezidek is one of the top reggae artists and has recently released the acclaimed album Judgement Time. After his concert at Swedish reggae festival Öland Roots, Reggaemani had a chat with him about his new album and the reggae scene of today.

Chezidek released his first album Harvest Time in 2002 and has since delivered several strong efforts. He has worked with producers from Jamaica, the U.S. and Europe.

He has a unique delivery and fragile voice that may not suit everyone. But he has managed to become one of the brightest stars among the new generation of cultural singers and is currently in the forefront of the international reggae scene.

Chezidek performing at Öland Roots. Photo by Anna Thunander

I meet him about 20 minutes after his performance at Öland Roots. He is noticeably calm and in a cheery mood where he’s sitting backstage with a spliff in his hand.

This is his third festival gig in Sweden. The first two were at the Uppsala Reggae Festival.

− I remember the first time I was in Sweden. It was in 2005 at the festival in Uppsala. A very special occasion. I sat on my knees on the stage praying and suddenly rain came streaming down, says Chezidek philosophically and takes a puff.

His last two albums were recorded in collaboration with European producers. At last year’s I Grade, he worked with Guillaume Bougard from France and on this year’s Judgement Time Dutch Not Easy At All Productions was behind the controls. Both records have been praised by critics around the world.

Judgement Time has very natural vibes. The producers have a clean energy and they really love the music. It’s not about money for them, Chezidek says and continues:

− It’s a deep roots album and it’s very special for me. Easy and natural.

He believes that his latest album is substantially different from its predecessors, especially Inna di Road from 2007.

Inna di Road was a serious album. I wanted to reach the people, to move and connect, he says and starts singing Dem A Fight We.

Chezidek has also made several notable songs with French production team Irie Ites, including Bun di Ganja and Mr. Officer, a duet with Lorenzo.

− Irie Ites take music back to the roots and they really love reggae. I’ve known them for a long time. I used to sing with Lorenzo when I met them in Jamaica in 2002. He followed them to Europe. I was supposed to come along, but stayed and recorded Harvest Time with producer Phillip “Fatis” Burrell, he says.

Chezidek explains that Europe has better vibes than Jamaica and that is why he works extensively with European producers. In Jamaica, he says, it’s all about dancehall and hip-hop rhythms.

− There is no reggae scene in Jamaica today. Everything revolves around money, money, money. The more expensive it is, the better. I sing about life and that type of music is not played on the radio or on sound systems. It’s like climbing a mountain backwards, he says, and continues:

− People want to hear the music, but no one plays it in Jamaica. It’s all about the negative sounds. Bad people claim the space and spread negative energy, while the good ones are in the dark.


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Jah Ark Manifest split the price money

The soundclash at Sweden’s Öland Roots Festival had a bitter ending when Denmark’s Firehouse questioned the judges ruling which led to some debate. Reggaemani has talked to DJ Shirkhan, one of the judges.

Jah Ark Manifest admitted that their win wasn’t completely fair and offered Firehouse a new “dub fi dub” session. The promoter had even arranged a new round. However, Firehouse rejected, but accepted nearly half the price money that Jah Ark Manifest offered, writes DJ Shirkhan to Reggaemani, and continues:

− We were very pressed for time at the end of the soundclash. However, Sammy K was clear on the fact that the last dubplate would determine the winner.

If you’re curious about the soundclash, check out Safari Sound’s audio recording.

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Chezidek shines in the encores

The last day of Swedish Öland Roots Festival was darkened by lightning, thunder and heavy rain. But that didn’t stop the concerts and the audience could enjoy acts such as Chezidek, Zareb and Fantan Mojah.

Chezidek is first out and enters the stage at 9pm supported by Denmark’s Roots Harmonics Band.

He trots onto the stage dressed in a black wind jacket, sunglasses, a rasta scarf and blue jeans. There’s a meagre crowd in front of the stage, most likely due to the weather. But Chezidek does his best to boost the crowd and delivers tunes from most of his almost a decade-long career.

He performs a stripped-down version of his hit song Inna di Road and at the end of the Leave the Trees, does a brief imitation of the late Jacob Miller, which generates great applause.

Chezidek has a delicate voice that cracks easily, and doesn’t hit all the notes – particularly the highest ones – perfectly. But this evening he uses his whole voice range and succeeds surprisingly well.

The beginning of the show is a bit sleepy and dispassionate, but over the course of the concert Chezidek’s energy steadily increases, and by the end he skips and runs back and forth across the stage. Although he puts in a high gear for the two encores Bun di Ganja and Call Pon Dem, I have to say Chezidek’s performance was all in all too laid-back to ignite the Öland forest.

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Jah Ark Manifest are – after all – Kings of the Island

Last night at Öland Roots Festival Norwegian Jah Ark Manifest were crowned Kings of the Island in a soundclash between Sweden, Norway and Denmark. In addition to the title, Jah Ark Manifest won SEK 10.000 and a huge trophy. The tension rose during the battle, and afterward the judges’ questionable ruling broke out in a lengthy and heated argument.

The first night of Swedish Öland Roots Festival featured a massive soundclash between three Scandinavian sounds – Swedish Stereo Steppers, Norwegian Jah Ark Manifest and Danish Firehouse. Hosts and judges were DJ Shirkhan and Sammy K from Safari Sound.

The competition was divided into three sessions, only allowing dubplates. During the first session there were no eliminations, and the sounds had ten minutes each to flex their muscles.

For the second round the teams had 15 minutes each and one sound was to be eliminated. After an audience vote, it was clear that Stereo Steppers were out, even though they certainly got the crowd cheering with a dubplate from legendary Swedish reggae artist Peps Persson.

The sounds put on some tough dubplates with artists ranging from foundation fathers such as Johnny Osbourne and Leroy Sibbles to newer talents such as Natty King, Konshens and Fantan Mojah.

The final was a seven tune “dub fi dub” session. And it was a tough one. The score was 3-2 in favour of Firehouse and things were heating up a bit. The judges had a hard time reading the audience’s votes, but decided after some deliberation to name Jah Ark Manifest the winner. The Firehouse crew – and parts of the audience – questioned the ruling.

According to judge DJ Shirkhan a two hour argument followed on the question of the rightful winner. He admits that it was an unfair draw, but that it was fair win. Reggaemani congratulates Norway on the win (although I personally voted for Firehouse).


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Reggaemani attends Öland Roots

Öland Roots is Sweden’s next biggest reggae festival. And this year, the crew behind the “cosiest festival in Sweden” has really outdone themselves. Apart from well-renowned domestic acts such as Helt Off and Kapten Röd, they’ve managed to include Konshens, Chezidek, Fantan Mojah and Zareb.

The festival starts on Friday July 16th and ends on Saturday July 17th. Reggaemani will cover the festival and I’ll hopefully be able to write both concert reviews and interviews.

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Reggaefestivalerna du inte vill missa i sommar

Så här i vårtider börjar många att planera sommarsemestern. Blir det Sverige eller utomlands? Blir det en aktiv semester eller ligga vid poolen och slappa?

För de med stort musikintresse går delar av semestern åt till en eller flera festivaler. I Sverige finns det mycket att välja bland – Hultsfred, Peace & Love i Borlänge eller Way Out West i Göteborg för att nämna några.

För oss som inte roas av långhåriga metalfans eller deppiga emokids, så står hoppet till Öland Roots, som i år stoltserar med bland annat Pablo Moses och U Roy, och Uppsala Reggae Festival, med artister som Heptones, Alpha Blondy och Busy Signal. Inga dåliga alternativ, men knappats tillräckligt om man är inbiten reggaefan.

Därför kan det vara värt att blicka utomlands, till länder som Italien, Tyskland och England. Kombinera besöket på Öland eller i Uppsala med en tur till någon av dessa:

Rototom Sunsplash
Italiensk festival som pågår i hela 10 dagar. Mänger av stor som små namn att bekanta sig med. Vad sägs om landssonen Alborosie, Skatalites, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Twinkle Brothers, Barrington Levy, Horace Andy, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Capleton, Pablo Moses, U Roy och Anthony B. En gedigen blandning av gammalt och nytt, roots och dancehall. Förköp pågår och biljetterna kostar från 25 (en dag) till 130 (tio dagar) euro.

Reggae Jam
Festival i tyska Bersenbrück. Drar igång 31 juli och avslutas den 2 augusti. Har en bra mix av artister, från modern dancehall med Busy Signal och Mr. Vegas till klassisk dancehall med Macka B, Lt. Stitchie och Papa San samt hederlig roots som Third World och Cocoa Tea. Om du åker dit skulle jag också rekommendera att se Little Kirk – ganska okänd sångare från mitten av 1980-talet som spelade in makalösa skivan Ghetto People Broke. För samtliga dagar betalar du 63 euro.

Reggae Summerjam
Festival i tyska staden Köln med över 20 år på nacken. Pågår 3 till 5 juli. Kända artister som Bunny Wailer, Bitty McLean, Freddie McGregor och Groundation spelar tillsammans med hederliga two tone band som The Beat och The Busters. Förköp pågår och biljetterna kostar 88 euro (inklusive förköpsavgift).

Reggae Geel
Festival i Belgien utanför staden Geel som pågår 31 juli till 1 augusti. Stora namn som Turbulence, Don Carlos, Anthony B och Cocoa Tea uppträder tillsammans med mindre kända akter som Top Cat, Brother Culture och Ziggi. Förköp startar den 15 maj och biljetterna kostar 15 (en dag) eller 25 (båda dagarna) euro.

One Love Festival
Engelsk festival i Sussex som fokuserar på såväl reggae som dub och elektronisk musik. Pågår 21 till 23 augusti och hedrar Bob Marleys kända One Love Concert på Jamaica för 31 år sedan. Huvudsakligen engelska artister och soundsystems, exempelvis Adrian Sherwood & Brother Culture, Macka B, Nucleus Roots och Alpha & Omega samt legendariske David Rodigan. Biljetterna kostar 25 (fredag), 35 (lördag) och 25 (söndag) pund. Totalt 85 pund för en helg full med den tyngsta dubmusiken.

The Notting Hill Carnival
Stadsfestival med anor. Började redan 1966 i stadsdelen Notting Hill i London. I år pågår den 30 till 31 augusti. En bred blandning av karibisk musik – soca, calypso, reggae m m. Tidigare har storheter som Burning Spear och Wyclef Jean spelat här.

Bergen Reggae Festival
Festival i norska Bergen som går av stapeln redan den 4 juni och avslutas den 6. Blandning av internationella och nordiska akter, bland annat Alborosie, Desmond Foster och Zion Train. Biljetter till samtliga dagar kostar 790 norska kronor.

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