2019 LINEUP

BUSY SIGNAL

(born Glendale Goshia Gordon; January 24), is one of dancehall/reggae’s most prolific artistes. He was born in the garden parish of St Ann where he was first introduced to music by his grandparents who took him to church.

Busy Signal later moved to areas in West and East Kingston such as Tivoli Gardens, Papine, Spanish Town before migrating to the United States. A past student of Brown’s Town Comprehensive High School, Busy Signal’s love affair with music continued. He performed for his peers at school, beating his fists in time on his desk and deejaying Bounty Killer’s songs (he claims to know all of Bounty’s lyrics) before progressing to his own material. Known as one of the artistes leading the contemporary dancehall movement, Busy Signal has been a large part of the scene since 2003. His first hit single, “Step Out”, was one of the most popular dancehall songs in 2005.

His debut album Step Out was released a year later in 2006 with excellent reviews. With questions arising about his unusual moniker, Busy Signal explained that he got the nickname from his friends because he was constantly busy.

As his popularity grew, so did his catalogue. In 2007/2008, he released several hit singles including “Nah Go A Jail Again”, “Smoke Some High Grade”, “Tic Toc” and the track entitled “Unknown Number”.

September 22, 2008, Busy Signal released his second studio album titled Loaded, a 15 track compilation of VP Records of well known dancehall hits such as “Jail,” “Whine Pon Di Edge,” “These Are the Days,” as well as never-heard-before exclusive tracks such as “People So Evil” and “Hustle Hard.”

He also appeared on the lead single of international stars No Doubt’s Push and Shove album.

On May 21, 2012, Busy Signal was arrested at the Norman Manley International Airport in Jamaica due to an an extradition warrant from the U.S.A, just weeks after the release of his latest studio album and first authentic reggae album – Reggae Music Again.

He was however, released on November 16, 2013 after which his name was legally changed to Reanno Devon Gordon. After months of incarceration, Busy Signal maintained that it was the prayers and support of his family and friends which kept him going.

Just months after his release, Busy Signal was once again thrust into the spotlight with the release of Bumaye (Watch Out Fi Dis) with Major Lazer. The single has been one of his most successful to date. It made its way to the Billboard charts before being certified Platinum by the International Federation of the Photographic Industry (IFPI) in Denmark.

CULTURE FEAT KENYATTA HILL

The group formed in 1976 as the vocal trio of Joseph Hill (formerly a percussionist in Studio One house band the Soul Defenders), his cousin Albert “Ralph” Walker, and Roy “Kenneth” Dayes, initially using the name The African Disciples. Roy Dayes also used the name “Kenneth Paley”, which is the name that appears on the Culture records released by Virgin Records. The African Disciples soon changed their name to Culture, and auditioned successfully for the “Mighty Two” – producer Joe Gibbs and engineer Errol Thompson.[1] While at Gibbs’ studio, they recorded a series of powerful singles, starting with “See Dem a Come” and including the hugely successful “Two Sevens Clash” (which predicted the apocalypse on 7 July 1977), many of which ended up on their debut album Two Sevens Clash. The song was sufficiently influential that many in Kingston stayed indoors on 7 July, fearing that the prophecy would come true.[5] A second Gibbs-produced album, Baldhead Bridge, followed in 1978, by which time the group had moved on to record for producer Sonia Pottinger. The group entered into a long-running dispute with Gibbs over royalties to the first album.

Two Sevens Clash meanwhile had become a big seller in the United Kingdom, popular with punk rock fans as well as reggae fans and boosted by the support of John Peel on his BBC Radio 1 show, and reached number 60 on the UK Albums Chart in April 1978. This prompted Virgin Records to sign the group to its Front Line label, releasing Harder than the Rest (1978) and International Herb (1979). Culture also released records on other labels in Jamaica, including a dub version of Harder than the Rest, Culture in Dub (1978, High Note), and an album of different recordings of the same album, Africa Stand Alone (April 1978). An album recorded for Pottinger in 1979 with a working title of Black Rose remained unreleased until tracks emerged in 1993 on Trod On.

Culture performed at the One Love Peace Concert in 1978.

In 1981 the three singers went their own ways. Hill carried on using the Culture name, and recorded the Lion Rock album, which was reissued in the United States by Heartbeat Records. Hill and his new band recorded a session for long time supporter John Peel in December 1982, and the group went on to record further studio sessions for Peel in 1998 and 2002, and their performance at the Royal Festival Hall in July 1998 was broadcast on his show. For their part, Walker and Dayes recorded a handful of songs on their own – a few of which turned up on an album titled Roots & Culture. Hill performed at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in 1985 and in 1986 the original line-up reformed to record two highly regarded albums – Culture in Culture and Culture at Work.

Several albums followed in the 1990s on Shanachie Records and Ras Records, often recorded with Sly and Robbie, with Dayes leaving the group again around 1994, with Reginald Taylor replacing him. Dayes subsequently worked as a solo artist under the name Kenneth Culture.

By 2001 Telford Nelson had replaced Taylor.

Joseph Hill, who came to symbolise the face of Culture, died in Berlin, Germany on 19 August 2006 while the group was on tour, after collapsing following a performance.[15] His son, Kenyatta Hill, who had acted as the group’s sound engineer on tour, performed with his father’s band at the Western Consciousness show in 2007, which was dedicated to Joseph Hill, and became the lead singer of Culture; Walker and Nelson continue to provide backing vocals.

In 2011, Live On was released, featuring Kenyatta’s performances of his father’s songs, including “Two Sevens Clash” and “International Herb”.

ETANA – Singer/Song Writer/Song Producer/Humanitarian

Born Shauna McKenzie in Kingston, Jamaica, the only girl in a family of boys, Etana grew up in the eastern Saint Andrew community of August Town. Etana’s name means “The Strong One” in Swahili, and it’s a title she more than lives up to with her music and presence. Since debuting in 2006 with the thought provoking single “Wrong Address,” the Jamaican-born singer has established herself as one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in reggae, blazing a new trail in a genre that has long been male-dominated.

Etana’s story begins in August Town, a treacherous but culturally rich garrison community in eastern Kingston that has produced such musical talents as Sizzla and Israel Vibration. Growing up, Etana’s home was filled with music, but it was country and western that she recalls leaving the biggest impression. “Every Sunday was country music day,” says Etana. “A lot of people in Jamaica play gospel music on a Sunday, or old rub-a-dub. In my house it was country, like Dolly Parton. Tammy Wynette was my favorite of all the artists my mom used to play.” Etana discovered her talent at the age of 6 while singing at home in the backyard for her aunt. Her charming voice beaconed an huge audience of neighbors who gathered to here “little Shauna” sing. Etana’s backyard singing led to microphones of local sound systems playing in the neighborhood and thats where he love of music began.

It wasn’t long before the proud and independent-minded singer realized that being in a prefabricated group wasn’t for her. Objecting to the group’s presentation during a music video shoot involving skimpy clothes and invasive camera angles, she quit on the spot. It was at this time that she decided to return home to Jamaica with plans of opening an Internet cafe. However, music would find her there as well, when she was recommended by a friend to fill in as a backup singer for reggae star Richie Spice.

“Being on the road with Richie Spice, I was very comfortable being myself, wearing what I wanted to wear,” Etana recalls of her time touring with the “Earth A Run Red” singer. “Nobody had a problem with my afro.” The gig turned into an unexpected opportunity when Etana was asked to warm up the crowd at a show where Spice was running late. “It was nothing rehearsed, just covers,” statesEtana. “But people started to ask: ‘Who was the girl?’ Management for Richie Spice kept asking me to do a song, and ‘Wrong Address’ was the first song that I wrote.”

Inspired by a true story experienced by her own aunt, “Wrong Address” detailed job discrimination as faced by residents of poor communities such as August Town. The song resonated deeply in Jamaica, establishingEtana as a powerful new voice with a distinct point of view rooted in the realities of working-class life.

VP Records, recognizedEtana’s talents. In 2008, the label released her debut LP, The Strong One. The album, which combinedEtana’s reggae sound with aspects of R&B and world music, was embraced by fans as well as the music industry, landing the singer a nomination in the “best reggae” category at the MOBO Awards in England.

After several years touring around the world, Etana returned in 2011 with her second album Free Expressions. The set included the hit “People Talk,” which detailedEtana’s own experiences facing skepticism as a woman in the music industry, as well as favorites like “Free,” an emotional tear-jerker written from Etana’s personal experience of the violent, horrific nature of her community, having to endure days of no sleep unable to go home because of a turf war and fears of being killed in the cross fire. “August Town” a track written in hopes of reuniting her community and “Heart Broken.” The latter song topped Natty B ‘ s chart in the UK for three consecutive weeks. 2011 also sawEtana return to her country roots with a cover of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” on the VP Records compilation Reggae Gone Country. Her rendition of Cline’s country classic was praised as one of the standout tracks on an LP that featured such reggae luminaries as Beres Hammond and Luciano.

In 2013, Etana partnered with producer Shane Brown for her third LP, A Better Tomorrow, recorded at Kingston’s legendary Tuff Gong Studios. The album broughtEtana back to reggae’s foundation via vintage sounds and one-drop rhythms, earning praise from the Associated Press for its “mature and confident sound,” “top-notch lyrical content” and “unique vocals.” The same year, Etana held her own at the IRAWMA (International Reggae and World Music Awards) in Coral Springs, Florida. She hosted the annual ceremony and took home the award for Best Female Vocalist. Marcia Griffiths, Queen Ifrica, Allison Hinds, Patrice Roberts and Nkulee Dube were also nominated in this category.

Etana continues her forward movement becoming the first female to achieve a Reggae Billboard #1 in seventeen years with I Rise, album produced by Jamaican luminary Clive Hunt (Peter Tosh, Rolling Stones, The Wailers, Chaka Khan, Grace Jones, Jimmy Cliff). The album reflects the singer’s ongoing maturity while maintaining the R&B-inflected take on reggae that she’s come to be known for, showcasing the diversity of a true musical Renaissance woman. “Trigger,” which tells the story of an educated but underemployed young man driven to desperate measures in order to take care of his cancer-stricken mother, is the album’s lead single and a follow up of sorts to “Wrong Address.” On the complete opposite spectrum is the album’s second single “Richest Girl,” a reggae love ballad with sweeping strings and jazzy horns over a classic one-drop riddim. “I RISE” is classified as Etana’s best album to date by many and listed as the number one album of 2014 and also in the top five of thirty albums that were released in said year.

Inspiring others is nothing new forEtana. From the outset of her career with “Wrong Address”—a track which led many to re-evaluate how they look at others from different socio-economic backgrounds—she has been instigating change. Four albums into her career, Etana has become a role model in Jamaica with her message and action. Etana has used her success in music to create a charity organization in Jamaica “Strong One Foundation” where she helps teenage mother’s and girls who’s been abused to receive counseling, regain strength and financial support to continue their education. Etana has also continued touring since the release of her I Rise album and is currently in studio recording her fifth studio album.

EVERTON BLENDER

(born 21 November 1954) Everton Dennis Williams, in Clarendon, Jamaica) is an award-winning reggae singer and producer, known for his smooth, crooning, tenor vocals, up-tempo arrangements, and spiritually uplifting themes, successfully bridging the gap between roots reggae and dancehall.

Blender was born in Clarendon parish but grew up on Maxfield Avenue, Kingston. Williams began his career singing in an amateur talent contest in the late 1970s at Kingston’s Bohemia Club, singing Dennis Brown songs under the name “Babbaru”. He won the contest at the second attempt. He performed with the Destiny Outernational, Master Voice and Santex sound systems, and released several singles, including “Where Is Love” in 1979 and “Ba Ba Black Sheep” in 1985. He failed to achieve commercial success, however, and he withdrew from the music business, returning to his trade as a house painter.

Blender returned to music in the early 1990s when Garnett Silk, who had also worked with Destiny, introduced him to record producer Richard Bell, who signed him to his Star Trail label. This time around, Blender achieved success straight away, with “We No Jus’ a Come,” becoming a hit in Jamaica. Blender’s success spread to the United Kingdom where his first album, Lift Up Your Head, reached number four on the Black Echoes music chart. The title track from the album was nominated for a Jamaican Music Award. Further albums and singles followed, with his early singles from the second phase of his career collected on the album A Piece of da Blender: The Singles, released in 1996.

Blender was one of the most prominent singers in the 1990s return to ‘cultural’ reggae, along with the likes of Garnett Silk and Luciano.

He has released several albums on Heartbeat Records and also set up his own Blend Dem Productions label, working with artists such as Prezident Brown, Admiral Tibet, Louie Culture, Jah Mason, Spanner Banner, Richie Spice, and Anthony B, as well as producing his own recordings.

Blender once described his songwriting process: “Well we just meditate, and a vibe just come to us, or we just sit in and bring tune from scratch without melodies or anything, and melodies come to you later”. Blender has rejected the slack lyrics that have become common in reggae, stating “If the people tell you that them want rubbish, you know say them nuff fi get rubbish. Them fi get good things fi keep them internal and external clean. Never to fail, always righteousness. That’s what we’re working for”.

Blender has toured worldwide. He toured Africa in 1999 to enthusiastic audiences, of which he said “they need to know about their culture … some people like to come out and see Jamaican culture”.

LION HEIGHTS (Austin)

They trace their origins to the west side of Chicago in 2013, when friends Dane Foltin (bass/voice), Jeremy Carlson (keys/voice) and James Campbell (guitar) came together while studying music at Columbia College. Lion Heights is mainly influenced by the roots music that was pumping out of Jamaica in the 60s and 70s. However, combining aspects of soul and R&B helps them to introduce reggae music to new audiences.

ROOTS FROM THE CLAY (Houston)

Texas’ fastest-rising roots reggae band, RFTC aims to encourage people through positive music. Their music confronts real-world issues: Racial equality, poverty and relationships are honestly examined through a pulsing reggae beat. Roots From The Clay’s influences come from Jamaican Roots, Lovers Rock, Dub and Dancehall Reggae music from the 70’s through the 2000’s.

WATUSI (Dallas)

It is the premier original “REGGAE / WORLDBEAT” band from Texas and one of the pioneers of the genre in the USA and the world. Watusi is a tribe of 10 world musicians, coming from the Caribbean, Afrika and the USA, joining positive music, kulcha, lyrics and life together in a true Rasta spirit of international unity, with a “One World, One God, One Love” message and a world of rhythm.

WATUSI is the original group on World Beatnik Records, for over 30 years a Texas reggae legend, and worldbeat pioneer since the early 80’s and since have become respected and played worldwide. Winners of numerous Reggae and World Music Awards including many Dallas Music Awards for Reggae and.. nominated for the Roots Music Association “Reggae Artist of the Year”.

Watusi is a charter member of Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide (R.A.W.) and has shared the stage internationally with virtually all the top artists in Reggae music, including the Wailers, Steel Pulse, Morgan Heritage, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Kymani Marley, Burning Spear, Third World, Inner Circle, Black Uhuru, UB40, Marcia Griffiths, Michael Rose, Don Carlos, Franky Paul, Eek a Mouse, Charlie Chaplin, Big Youth, Yellowman, King Sunny Ade, Sonny Okosuns, the Itals, Afroman, Culture, Meditations, Half Pint, Glen Washington, Neville Brothers, Big Mountain, Ras Michael, Chief Twins 77, O.J. Ekemode, Fishbone, Jimmy Buffett & Reggae Sunsplash U.S. Tour.

POLY HWY BAND (Dallas)

The style and music of poly hwy is a blend of inspirations molded into an array of feel good vibes and body moving grooves. The influences of the band’s music originate from each band members love for various genres and knowledge of music.

Although a majority of poly hwy have roots in the South Pacific, some were born and raised in the state of texas. Growing up in households of diverse and colorful personalities, and vibrant passions for music, the members of poly hwy naturally formed individual, and unique musical paths. Their musical journey involved mimicking and listening to artists such as Fiji, Prince, Michael Jackson, Pati, Metallica, Bob Marley and more. The culmination of Each band member paints a picture depicting what poly hwy is.

IDIGINS (Houston)

More artists to be announced…

© 2019 COPYRIGHT DALLAS REGGAE FEST