Tag Archives: Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley scores yet another Grammy

ziggymarley-flyrastaAt the 57th annual Grammy Award – held last Sunday – Ziggy Marley scored yet another Grammy. Last year he won for his live album In Concert and now his awarded for his Fly Rasta set.

Ziggy Marley has in total won six Grammy’s, including the ones together with the Melody Makers, a group that also included his brother Stephen Marley and his sisters Sharon and Cedella Marley. In the past ten years Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley or Damian Marley have now won seven times. Things are starting to get absurd.

The five other contenders for the award included Lee Perry’s Back on the Controls, Sean Paul’s Full Frequency, Shaggy’s Out of Many One Music, Sly & Robbie & Spicy Chocolate’s The Reggae Power and Soja’s Amid the Noise and Haste. I would have selected Shaggy or Lee Perry without any hesitation.

The big winner of the night was however British soul singer Sam Smith, who won no less than four categories, including the prestigious prizes for record and song of the year and best new artist.

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Tiken Jah Fakoly’s last call

disc-3155-tiken-jah-fakoly-dernier-appelThe outspoken and controversial Tiken Jah Fakoly is on June 2 back with a new album titled Dernier appel, in English Last Call. He was born in Côte d’Ivoire and has been the victim of censorship, persecution and exile thanks to his confrontational style forthright lyrics.

The main theme on Dernier appel is whether Africa as a continent will take off and increase growth or if the countries will be characterized by misery, chaos and war, as shown by the recent conflicts in Mali and South Sudan.

Dernier appel offers ballads, roots reggae and Curtis Mayfield styled soul. It was recored in Bamako and Paris with production helmed by Jonathan Quarmby, who has previously worked with Tiken Jah Fakoly, but also Ziggy Marley, Finley Quaye and rock band Del Amitri. Guest artists include Patrice and Alpha Blondy.

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Yet another Grammy to the Marley family

untitledThe 56th Annual Grammy Awards winners were presented yesterday and the reggae award went to Ziggy Marley and his live album Ziggy Marley in Concert. A set heard by the jury and no one else.

Giving the award to Ziggy Marley was obvious, but not fair. Beres Hammond should have been awarded for his sublime double disc One Love, One Life.

However, when browsing the winners in the reggae category since the start in 1985 it’s clear that whenever a Marley is nominated he or she will probably win. Since 1985 Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley and Damian Marley have received the Grammy Award no less than ten times – Ziggy Marley five times, Stephen Marley three times and Damian Marley two times.

It’s more or less an industry law. And it’s a pity because it sends the wrong signal to up and coming reggae artists. And it’s of course not the Marley’s fault. It’s the industry professionals that need to broaden their musical boundaries and give reggae the attention it deserves.

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Grammy Awards Nominees announced

grammy_awardSo the time has come for the much discussed Grammy nominations and yesterday the nominations for the 56th Grammy Awards were announced by The Recording Academy.

Jay Z tops the nominations with nine; Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams each garner seven nods.

For the reggae genre, five artists fight for the lustrous award – Beres Hammond and his double disc One Love, One Life, Ziggy Marley and his live album Ziggy Marley in Concert, Sizzla and his The Messiah, Sly & Robbie and their Reggae Connection and Snoop Lion – as Snoop Dogg labeled himself at the time – Reincarnated.

Pick of the bunch is by no competition Beres Hammond. Second, and far from the top spot, is the surprisingly strong Reincarnated.

As usual I would have presented a rather different list of nominations, and I’m not surprised a Marley had to be thrown into the list. But for the bigger artist albums of the year I’m surprised that Etana’s Better Tomorrow and Shaggy & Sly & Robbie’s Out of Many, One Music did not make the final cut.

The Grammy process this time registered more than 22,000 submissions over a 12-month period ranging from October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013. The Grammy Awards will be held on January 26, 2014.

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I’m still laughing

The Grammy nominees for best reggae album have been announced. The proud nominees are Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express Live!, Israel Vibration’s Reggae Knights, Stephen Marley’s Revelation Pt 1: The Root of Life, Ziggy Marley’s Wild and Free and Shaggy’s Summer in Kingston.

As usual parts of the Marley family are nominated along with the usual odd choices.

To be a part of the Grammy nomination procedure you have to submit a physical copy of the recording to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). And once the work is entered it’s reviewed by more than 150 said to be experts from the recording industry. These experts then decide if the work is eligible or not.

The resulting list is circulated to all NARAS members, and they are the ones that make the final decision about the winner in each category. The Academy members are required to vote based upon quality alone. This means that they should not be influenced by the commercial success of an album, which is probably easier said than done.

I can’t say I have much trust in these experts nor the Academy members when it comes to reggae. However, it’s hard to be too critical since I have no idea what albums that actually have been submitted for selection.

The nominees that have been presented are pretty far away from my own list. I’d have added Alpheus and Takana Zion and their excellent albums. And if you would like more well-known artists you could check the albums from Sizzla, Richie Spice and Alborosie, who recently won the MOBO Award.

Last year I wrote that the Reggae Grammy is a joke, and I’m still laughing, even though I hope that this event will promote and highlight the real gems in reggae music.

The Grammy Awards 2012 will be held on 12 February in Los Angeles, and I hope – and I could also bet on it – that Stephen Marley walks home with a gramophone under his arm.

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Stephen Marley waters the roots of reggae

Stephen Marley is a seven time Grammy award winner now set to take reggae back to its roots. His new album Revelation Pt 1: The Root of Life is a 14 track celebration of the music his father helped create and globalize in the 60’s and 70’s. Reggaemani got a chat with this acclaimed singer, songwriter, musician and producer.

Stephen Marley started his music career at a very early age. Together with his siblings Ziggy, Sharon and Cedella he formed The Melody Makers and made his professional debut with the single Children Playing in the Streets in 1979, only seven years old. Since then he has managed to put out own albums as well as produce other artists.

He has handled production duties for several members of the Marley family, most notably his younger brother Damian Marley’s albums Half Way Tree and Welcome to Jamrock. He also co-produced the acclaimed Distant Relatives set by Nas and Damian. And it was during those sessions that Stephen begun the work of Revelation Pt 1: The Root of Life, due for release May 24th.

Started with an article
The new album is all about showcasing roots reggae and its core messages, and Stephen embarked on the journey of recording the new album after reading an article on reggae music.

“It was portrayed in a negative light. I was offended. I mean, where did you get this from,” he says in thick patois over the phone.

Stephen has a media day arranged by VP Records and he explains his view on contemporary reggae music. He feels that the genre has lost touch with its foundation.

Real reggae artists
“Roots reggae is overlooked today. Roots reggae has integrity; it is music with a purpose. It is not jump around and shake your body. That is not about preserving the foundation of the music,” he explains, and continues:

“Roots reggae is music in its time. It enlightens, and I want to introduce the music that is roots reggae.  I mean, if I should introduce someone to reggae today, who would I put on? Sean Paul? Bruno Mars?” He asks rhetorically.

Question is, who will Stephen put on?

“Without going back to the 70’s? I would pick songs. I would pick some Sizzla, Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, myself, my brothers,” he concludes.

“You have to water the roots”
He describes the new album as foundation reggae and a positive body of work.

“It has been lost and I’m presenting it to the people. All music evolves, don’t get me wrong, but you have to water the roots,” he believes, and adds:

“Reggae music means so much. It is the voice of freedom, the voice of truth.”

People more important than Grammy’s
In the fall Stephen will put out Revelation Part 2: The Fruit of Life. It will feature an array of styles that have sprung from reggae.

“Part 2 is less of a concept. It is eclectic, and it feels good. I have rappers, deejays, sisters on it,” he says.

His previous album Mind Control won two Grammys – one for the original version and one for the acoustic version. I ask Stephen if the Grammys are important, and his answer is direct.

“No.  I mean, it feels good to be recognized by the music association and I appreciate the Grammy. But, you know, I come from Jamaica. Being famous is not my goal. My father is famous, but fame doesn’t motivate me. I have a passion for people. Affecting people is what I want, and if the Grammy will help, then it is good.”

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Acoustic treat from Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley – yes, he is Bob Marley’s son – has travelled the same road as his larger than life father. He has recorded since the 70’s and has scored some hit songs during the years. Best known is probably Tomorrow People with his former band The Melody Makers.

His latest album – Family Time – hit the streets in 2009. And now Ziggy Marley drops a single for free download.

A Fire Burns for Freedom is an acoustic, uplifting piece with lyrics that deals with the benefits of marijuana. If you like Bob Marley’s softer tunes, you’ll probably dig this as well.

Listen in the player below and download by clicking the link.

Ziggy Marley – A Fire Burns For Freedom

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