Tag Archives: Uppsala Reggae Festival 2010

Irie Up in a store near you

In Irie Up’s latest issue I’ve contributed with two articles – one on the Uppsala Reggae Festival and one on Pete Holdsworth, founder of re-issue label Pressure Sounds.

Uppsala Reggae Festival is the biggest reggae festival in the Nordics and has been hosted by many great artists. This year was no exception.

I interviewed Pete Holdsworth about a year ago. In the interview he talks about his love for reggae and what projects he’d loved being involved in. If you haven’t got any releases from Pressure Sounds in your collection, I strongly recommend you to head over to their web site and purchase several of their essential albums, for example Kool Roots by Earth & Stone or the compilation Life Goes In Circles (Sounds From the Talent Corporation 1974 to 1979).

The latest issue can now be bought in stores around the globe and if you live in Stockholm, you can purchase Irie Up at Downbeat Sounds.

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Reggaemani contributes to Irie Up

In the latest issue of Irie Up magazine Reggaemani’s editor Erik Magni contributes with an article on the biggest reggae festival in the Nordics – Uppsala Reggae Festival. The article is accompanied by great art by Stefan Gunnarsson from Reggaefoto.se.

Apart from several other great articles on reggae festivals all over Europe, you can read an in-depth article with the Berlin-based recording artist and producer Ras Perez, an interview with veteran deejay U Brown and several reviews of the latest releases from all over the world.

Irie Up is sold in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, Japan and North America. If you can’t find a copy in your local store, you can always order one from the magazine’s web page.

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The third day of Uppsala Reggae Festival – several highs and one all-time low

The second day of Uppsala Reggae Festival offered lots of great roots reggae and it was almost a veteran get together. The third and final day was a more mixed bag of artists and range in quality.

Saturday in Uppsala is grey and drizzling. When I walk into the festival area about 6pm, the area is much muddier than the day before. But it is not raining, not yet anyways.

When teen favourite Jah Cure enters the main stage about half an hour late the rain has both started and increased in strength and many people are soaked. But several defy the weather and attend the concert. In particular girls, who are heard loud when Jah Cure sings some of his languorous ballads, which are gladly enough mixed with heavier songs such as King in This Jungle and Sunny Day, a tune that turns into heavy dub excursion. The shrilling cries increases when he starts to undress – from black jacket and white shirt, to a white tank top, to bare chest.

When Alborosie performed at the festival in 2008 he ran into legal complications that led to the song Operation Uppsala. It’s therefore probably no coincidence that he starts off with two songs about drugs – No Cocaine and Herbalist. He of course also plays Operation Uppsala. To get extra strength behind the message, he sings parts of the verses a cappella to great applause. The audience is caught on during the show and if it wasn’t so muddy because of the rain, I would probably have had knees up to my chin during the entire performance.

Busy Signal at Uppsala Reggae Festival 2010. Photo by Stefan Gunnarsson/Reggaefoto.se

Dancehall superstars Busy Signal and Mavado makes one fifty-minute concert each. Busy Signal is up first. He jumps onto stage backed by a lonely dj and tears of a veritable hit song extravaganza with favourites such as Unknown Number and Wine Pon the Edge. Best is Hustlin’ on the heavy Baddaz rhythm. The crowd sings the entire chorus in Hustlin’ as well as in the Commodores cover Night Shift, a song that Busy Signal does not really do justice. He seems to have throat problems and when he sings it doesn’t nearly sound as good as it should. But it certainly doesn’t seem to bother the crowd when he takes off his sunglasses and wiggle his hips.

One that also has problems with his voice is Mavado. He makes a Busy Signal with throat problems sound like Celine Dion. Many had looked forward to see him live, but he did not do any of his hit songs justice. He moves back and forth across the stage and sings randomly to pre-recorded material. He makes less than a minute of each song, which helps the energy. But it hardly helps when both pre-recorded parts and live singing is so false it’s embarrassing.

When I leave the rainy festival area to the sounds of World A Music by Anthony B the bass echoes over the outskirts of Uppsala. This year was the tenth anniversary and hosted a magnificent line-up. Hopefully the festival will live on at least a decade longer and that this is only the beginning of a proud Swedish tradition.

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The second day of Uppsala Reggae Festival belonged to the veterans

Abyssinians performing live at Uppsala Reggae Festival 2010. Photo by Stefan Gunnarsson, Reggaefoto.se

The second day of Uppsala Reggae Festival was a night of highs and lows, from big acts to smaller ones. But the night belonged to the reggae veterans – from Abyssinians and Bunny Wailer who have been in the business since the 60’s to Midnite and Peetah and Gramps Morgan, who started in the later half of the 80’s.

The elderly gentlemen behind monster tune Satta Massagana made for Friday’s high point. Their concert was backed by a young and hungry band with live saxophone and trombone who treated the audience to lots of great music from their well filled treasure chest, for example Declaration of Rights with its haunting organ and three versions of Satta Massagana. The last version bursts out into a bass pumping percussion extravaganza by Bernard Collins and the Manning brothers.

The big disappointment was VI roots reggae pioneers Midnite. Their concert began ten to seven, ten minutes ahead of schedule. This probably surprised many of the attendants, and although some rushed to the area, it never got crowded below the stage. This was perhaps also due to Midnite’s lack of energy, humour and vitality. Front man and lead singer Vaughn Benjamin seemed distant and may as well have been sitting in his car singing songs of freedom, oppression and propaganda to himself. Sure, Midnite’s music is introvert and unusually monotonous, which makes it difficult to convey live. However, it doesn’t get better when they insist on playing all their songs at full-length, which means no more than ten songs in 70 minutes. Not surprising, the audience decided to do something else.

This evening’s biggest surprise was Voicemail, a dancehall outfit on European tour to honour their recently deceased member O’Neil Edwards. The group tours with talented songstress Alaine who charmed the audience for the first part of the concert. When Voicemail took the stage they showed amazing energy and skilled showmanship, and got the entire audience to follow almost every move or call and response they made. It actually seemed like a very few wanted to leave the tent scene when Bunny Wailer entered the main stage.

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Dubmatix vill till Uppsala Reggae Festival

Kanada förknippas oftare med ishockey och lönnsirap än reggaemusik. Men faktum är att på 60-, och 70-talen emigrerade flera jamaicanska artister dit. Producenten Dubmatix håller fanan högt med sitt mjuka, elektroniska sound.

Dubmatix heter egentligen Jesse King och har varit i musikbranschen i över 20 år. Han har bland annat spelat trummor och bas i flera olika reggae-, funk-, blues- och acid jazzband.

För åtta år sedan bestämde han sig för att göra sin egen grej och har sedan dess producerat och mixat reggae i sin studio Dub Factory i Toronto.

– Det som fick mig att börja experimentera med musik på egen hand var tekniken. Helt plötsligt gick det att spela in och mixa på egen hand, berättar Jesse King som nyss kommit hem från en turné i Frankrike, Tyskland och Storbritannien.

Jesse King spelar nästan samtliga instrument själv och alla hans inspelningar görs live i studion. Ljudbilden ska vara tung med mycket bas och gärna påminna om hur det lät på demonproducenten Phil Spectors plattor på 60-, och 70-talen.

– Jag vill inte att min musik ska vara minimalistisk och avskalad. Basen ska verkligen kännas. Jag vill heller inte överproducera och ger sällan eller aldrig instruktioner till andra musiker eller sångare. Resultaten blir ofta bättre av en hälsosam dos spontanitet, säger Jesse King.

En av de saker som delvis skiljer honom från andra producenter är dragen mot det mer elektroniska.

– Jag tycker att alla mina tre plattor har ett ganska konsekvent sound. Kanske är första plattan Champion Sound Clash mer elektrodub. Min senaste skiva Renegade Rocker är nog mer öppen och med fler influenser från andra reggaegenrer, menar Jesse King, och fortsätter:

– Jag lyssnar faktiskt mest på rock och punk. Gärna grupper som The Clash och Rage Against The Machine. Men jag tror inte att det hörs på plattorna, för när det handlar om reggae är jag traditionalist. Det ska inte vara några hårda rockriff, säger Jesse King bestämt.

Även om rocken och punken inte märks i produktionerna, så är Dubmatix i alla fall med och hyllar The Clash framlidne frontman Joe Strummer på färska samlingen Shatter The Hotel. Tillsammans med Don Letts och Dan Donovan från Big Audio Dynamite gör han en tung version av klassikern London Calling.

Utöver medverkan på Shatter The Hotel, så har Dubmatix precis släppt en 7” tillsammans med Abassi All Stars samt ep:n The Berlin Sessions och rytmen Rough Out Riddim. Och han har fler saker på gång.

– Jag planerar att släppa nya plattan System Shakedown i juni. Det kommer att vara samma stil som tidigare, men med nya gästartister. Jag hoppas exempelvis att få med Mighty Diamonds, Dennis Alcapone, Brother Culture, U Brown och Tippa Irie, berättar Jesse King.

I juli och augusti ska han tillbaka till Europa och spela på festivaler. På vägarna tar han med sig brittiske deejayn Brother Culture. När jag berättar om Uppsala Reggae Festival blir Jesse King märkbart intresserad, och vill genast veta vad han ska göra för att spela där.

Sju snabba till Dubmatix

Favoritartist
Bob Marley

Bästa skivbolag
Blood & Fire

Favoritplatta
Man in the Hills

Bästa genre
Roots och dub

Bästa skivomslaget
Massive Attack vs Mad Professor

Favoritproducent
Linval Thompson

Bästa rytm
Satta Massa Gana och Creation Rebel

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