News Bytes

Kenyan Beauty [August 2004]

From left to right. Cecilia Mailu, Catherine Karl, Danielle Kimaru, Regina Getau, Epiphany Tihahum, Emma Too, Pinky Ghelana, Barney Hassan, Yolanda Masinde, Julie Njeru, Esther Muthee, Gladys Sakaja, Coco Wachli.


Those were blazing moments [April 12th 2004]

The queues were long; longer than anyone anticipated. It looked like all Kampala youth were there to watch the Grammy award-winning artiste Sean Paul Henriques perform.

There had not been much hype about the celebrated ragga star coming to town to the extent that there was talk it could end up one big flop.

But for hours, many were still trickling in, eager to watch the earth-shaking singer blaze up the night at his first-ever ‘Ever Blazin’ concert at Nile Hotel Gardens last Friday evening.

Gates opened at 7 p.m, but two hours later, Bob Marley’s CD was still the only sound heard across the vast hotel gardens. Song after song, someone would think we had all turned out just to listen to the late Marley.

Then as it struck towards 10 p.m, the crowds who had taken to dancing to Marley’s tunes and drinking beer after beer, became impatient. Then, Kenyan singer Red San came on stage to do a little curtain raising.

But he never performed, just displayed his yellow outfit, said a few words and left the stage. Next was Jose Chameleone who stormed the stage, full of life, with a gang of four guys that reminded us of the team on Shaggy’s concert last December.

Chameleone did just two songs and also ‘burst’. The sound system had disappointed him. And that was just the beginning. For some in the audience however, there was hope that if Sean Paul finally came on stage, the sound would be adjusted to suit him, just like he is – a star!

The singer promised Ugandans 115 minutes of music and he fulfilled that. Much as the crowds were excited by his appearance, the four hot Jamaican queen dancers spiced up the concert.

The ‘rude gals’ got it on like they were boneless, shaking their things for Kampala. Not only were their dance strokes new to the audience, so were their unique costumes which in the next few weeks I am certain, Ugandan babes will be trying to copy.

What disappointed Sean Paul’s concert however was the sound system, which suppressed his voice really unfairly. But Sean Paul did not give up and the crowds cheered him on. And as he sang, he never forgot the familiar Yeah, yeah and the Dirty yeah.

He did many songs including the popular ones from his Dutty Rock album like I am Still In Love, Baby Boy, et Buzy, Like Glue, Shake That Thing, Punkie, and Gimme Me The Light. Of course Beyonce and Sasha were not there, but that did not spoil the flow. People got jiggy.

And when time was up, the crew left the stage in a way that many thought was quite so unceremonious.G


Sean Paul Blazing Through Kenya [April 8th 2004]

Whichever way you look at it, Sean Paul certainly has been getting busy lately. In between recording and producing artistes at his recording studio in Jamaica, meeting all the hip-hop and R&B greats who want to record with him and fulfilling his world tour obligations, Sean Paul has been blazing his way into his fans hearts around the world.

Even now, on his way to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to catch a flight to Kampala, Uganda, he still isn’t resting. Instead, he’s talking to Pulse magazine in an exclusive, face to face interview.

Up close and in real life, there’s none of that sullen, ice-cold, hard-to-talk-to attitude that he projects in his videos and promotional pictures. In fact, he’s quite open-faced, friendly and approachable. When you talk to him, you think: "Ah, here’s a man who’s in control of his career and himself."

He’s already performed in Nairobi, and what’s left of his Kenya tour is a show at the Mombasa Mamba Village tomorrow.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, I ask, that he would come all this way and find that Kenyans love and appreciate his music and sing along to it?

"It’s a shock, but a very pleasant one," he says. "I didn’t know that I had such a big following in Kenya. I know now that the shows are going to be great because of the way that Kenyans have received me, and I promise to give them 150 per cent."

Sean Paul is no new-comer to music. He was born on January 8, 1975, in Jamaica, into a musical family. His mother who is a renown painter, plays the guitar, and his English grandmother was a great piano player. He started developing his own talent in his teens in the mid-nineties, making dubs and playing at barbeques. He then hooked up with Jeremy Harding of 2 Hard Records to produce his first song, ‘Baby Girl’.

"Back then, when I was blowing up," Sean says, "I didn’t do collaborations with big-name artistes. Instead I picked people like Mr Vegas." Their song, ‘Hot Gal Today’, became a runaway hit in Jamaica and America, landing Sean Paul a stage performance at the annual Hot ’97 radio station Summer Jam concert.

Fast forward to 2002, when Sean Paul released his second album ‘Dutty Rock’. He had already released ‘Stage One’, his first album, and that was well received in the Caribbean Islands and America. It was this album that first projected him into mainstream hip-hop charts, plus a listing on Billboard magazine’s hottest reggae artistes.

By the time Sean Paul released ‘Gimme the Light’, the first single off the ‘Dutty Rock’ album, his career was blazing hot. "(That track) was doing the rounds in New York, and suddenly, everyone – Beyonce, Blu Cantrell, Mya, Busta Rhymes – was calling me."

And so his people got together with their people, and among the first collaborations he did was ‘Baby Boy’ with Beyonce Knowles.

In the video, there are no shots of them together, and it is rumoured that Beyonce’s boyfriend, rapper Jay-Z, warned Sean Paul off his girl. "It’s not true,’ says Sean Paul. "We shot the video together, we just didn’t get to be in any shots together." And there was no beef between him and Jay-Z either. "I first met him in 2000, so we were friends before (Beyonce and I) did that song."

He’s worked with many other celebrities, and met scores more, but even stars have their weak moments. When I ask which star would make him want to ask for an autograph, he says, without much pause: "Sting. I’ve listened to his music since I was a little kid and his stuff was always on a higher level. It was quite an honour to meet him."

Although he came to be known as something of a collaboration star, Sean Paul’s personal choice for his ‘Dutty Rock’ album remained largely unknowns, such as Ce’Cile and Sasha, with whom he worked on ‘Can You Do The Work’ and ‘I’m Still In Love’, respectively.

There are many artistes on his collaboration wish-list at the moment. "I want to work with people from all genres — pop, rock, R&B — because there are a lot of great people out there." However, he is trying to get away from that ‘collabo-star’ tag. "I don’t really want to be known as a ‘collabo star’ now. I’ve done enough of that. I am working on different stuff — music that is thoughtful and deep, and helps to bring the different cultures of the world together. I’ve done a lot of feel-good dance music and now I want to do something deeper." The running theme for his next album will be about the world coming together and being one, something that he has been mulling over since he started his world tour two years ago.

Right now, as we cruise past The Panafric Hotel on Valley Road, he looks around in amazement. "It looks just like Jamaica," he says. "Especially down-town, there are lots of places that remind me of Kingston. The trees, the weather – it’s just that it’s a little cooler here because it’s higher." Even the pot-holes and the traffic jams are not unusual to him.

Kingston, Jamaica, is particularly close to his heart, being home. Over there, he can walk the streets and get attention without being overwhelmed by it. "Jamaica is a very laid-back place, although it’s also very energetic."

He’s working on helping to grow young Jamaican musicians at his production studios, where he has so far produced two up-and-coming musicians, and has even hosted free concerts for the youth to enjoy.

He has a girlfriend who he will not talk her. "That’s private," is all he says with a cheeky but polite smile.

Our conversation lapses as we approach the airport, and he is taken up with looking outside the window at the wildlife. Luckily for him, a herd of giraffes is gracefully swinging past the airport security fence.

"Oh, look at that," he exclaims, as one of his minders adds. "Yeah, giraffes just chilling at the airport. How cool is that?"

"I’m going to be spending two days in the Maasai Mara," Sean Paul says. "I don’t know what I’m going to see, but I’m looking forward to seeing all of the great places I’ve heard about — the Mara, the Serengeti…"

As we park outside the airport departures entrance, the minders, bodyguards and concert promoters, take over and his life becomes a whirlwind of activity once again. There’s just time for a quick wave before he is whisked past the immigration desk. One can’t help thinking that this isn’t the last time he will visit East Africa. And when he comes back, he can be sure that his fans will be waiting, once again, with open arms.

Courtesy of Pulse


No Woman No Cry [April 2nd 2004]

"OUT OF CONTEXT" is how Rita Marley, wife of Reggae legend Bob Marley, explains a British tabloid's publication of a story quoting her saying that he raped her.

The singer, formerly of Bob Marley's backing trio, The I-Threes, says the story did not reflect what she meant when she was being interviewed.

The story was first published in the London newspaper, the Daily Mirror on Wednesday, and was re-published in The Gleaner and THE STAR yesterday.

In offering comments about the story yesterday, Rita stated that her words were taken out of context, and for that reason she is not bothered by the story.

"It don't bother me because definitely it was taken out of context," she explained. "We spoke about my husband coming home after I hadn't seen him for a long time, 'cause you have to talk about the realities, and they wanted to know about Bob and the other women and how I took it, so there was a point where we were not having a good relationship because of it, so if I feel to say he hold me down and take it and I felt it was rape I had a right to say it... but it wasn't the way they made it look 'cause he would be in jail if he had really raped me like a stranger. He wasn't a rapist."

In fact, she added, Bob was more than a superb husband. "My husband is still the best husband in the world...If his wife said that (he raped her), then she must mean something else. It's not like a strange girl come out and said Bob Marley raped me, I'm his wife."

She noted that despite keeping many of her experiences private for more than 20 years, she just felt she had a right to make some of her experiences public. These are in her newly published book called No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley.

"Its my story. Whether 20 years or 100 years If you feel like saying what happened in your lifetime you are free to say it, you don't have to lie or pretend about it. It is happening to plenty people right now... It's a reality, so why some choose to live in a pretence?"

Rita will soon return to Jamaica where she will further promote her book.

Source : Jamaican Star


Where is everyone? [April 1st 2004]

By Caroline Nyanga






Poxi (left), other directors of the MCSK and a watchman examine what is left of the Waumini House office.

In Waumini House, Westlands, where the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) offices are situated, things are decidedly awry. Where there should be singing, activity, action, there is… silence.

The main security door is broken, like someone tried to break in or even demolish it. Inside the ‘offices’, nine dusty, empty rooms echo every word uttered within them. One of the rooms has been sealed completely shut. A large, wooden table, a pot and lonely piece of paper take pride of place in the centre of what was once a boardroom.

It has been a while since there was any activity here, and even longer since the MCSK, mandated with the task of collecting money from anyone who sells or broadcasts music, remitted any money to musicians. Its General Manager, lawyer Jeniffer Shamalla, has been asked to table the accounts of the organisation for the last three years before the Attorney General, but she has so far been unable to do so. According to sources at the AG’s offices, they are trying to wind up the current MCSK, but need the accounts to do this.

This is a move that could not have come sooner for many musicians, who feel that they are languishing in poverty when they could be making millions from radio and disco play alone.

Reggae singer Mighty King Kong, who has gone public about his disillusionment with MCSK, says artistes are better off without the MCSK.

"It’s no secret that the society is headed by persons with no knowledge of music at all, and were only put there by virtue of their ‘connections’. All they do is wine and dine while artistes languish in poverty," he says. He feels that it is better for the society to be dissolved so that the Government can bring in new people capable of managing it effectively.

Gospel singer Roy Smith Mwatia aka Rufftone also thinks that the MCSK has let them down. "The society has not made any efforts to help uplift local talent. All it has done is kill our morale by ripping us off. I think it’s time the truth was told to Kenyans," he says, adding that elections are needed to change the situation. "People who know music and have the needs of artistes at heart should be elected. And veteran artistes should be given priority," he says.

Hip-hop pioneers Kalamashaka say their efforts to make any monetary progress have been frustrated by the MCSK.

"MCSK has completely failed to play its role as an agency assigned to distribute monies on behalf of musicians. I suppose we are better off without it," says Roba. They term MCSK as one of the most corrupt societies in Kenya.

To cap it all is the internal wrangling that is now taking place at the MCSK, with disgruntled musicians setting up their own version of the society in an effort to oust the Shamalla-led group. The dead offices have become a symbol of this wrangling.

At the centre of this battle is musician Prechard Pouka Olang’, aka Poxi Presha, who insists that his group of supporters make up the real MCSK, and that they are the ones who can sort out the mess that the society has become. "We are the real directors of the company," Poxi insists.

The battle pits Poxi, together with musicians Lazarus Muoki Muli, Naomi Wasike Samita and Vincent Kioko, all directors of the breakaway MCSK faction, against Shamalla and her group of directors. Poxi’s group were elected at an extraordinary meeting held at the Sagret Hotel in June, 2003, which Shamalla failed to attend.

Poxi and his group have since disowned Shamalla and chairman Omondi Jassor. In a paid press advertisement last year, they said that Shamalla and Jassor ceased to be directors of MCSK and cannot transact business on behalf of the society.

But Shamalla dismisses this as a big joke and insists she is still in charge. "As far as I’m concerned, I have not been ousted by anybody and I don’t need to be an expert in music to do the job."

‘The job’ in question, involves collecting money from radio and television stations, discotheques, hotels, restaurants, any films that use Kenyan music and any stores that sell CDs and tapes, to give to musicians. And if complaints are anything to go by, then very few people are happy with ‘the job’ that Shamalla and her group have been doing.

Babu Allan Kanyotu, a former director of the society, recalls that when the board of directors, under the chairmanship of Betty Tett (now assistant minister for Local Government), elected Shamalla as the MCSK General Manager in 2000, she was put on a six-month probation. Her job was to be the society’s advisor, manager and public relations officer.

"But instead, she, took over the duty of the governing council, who are the managers according to the law. She crossed the line," he insists.

Shamalla, he says, then went on to ‘hand-pick’ four board members, namely Marisella Ouma, Silverse Anami, Philip Ransley, and Jorum Ojiambo — with the blessings of one elected director John Omondi Jassor - ousting the ‘genuine elected directors’, Kanyotu, Sammy Nene, Joseph Gacheru and James Maina.

Kanyotu approximates the royalties collected by MCSK between 1998 and 1999 at Sh20 million, and wonders where the money has gone.

"It is an international rule that all collecting societies use only 10 per cent for administration and distribute the rest to (musicians). It is because of questioning this that we were termed ignorant of the politics in MCSK and kicked out," he says.

And indeed, where does the money go? Poxi, for example, says he has only received Sh2,000 from the society, and only after a two-year battle. He also cites Fadhili William and Daudi Kabaka, whose royalties totaling Sh680,000 and Sh980, 000 respectively, were recently sent from the UK through MCSK.

"Just the other day I was talking to one of Fadhili’s sons and he confessed that they were too broke to even afford a lawyer," he claims. He further alleges that Omondi Jassor ‘squandered’ Sh31,000 meant for Habel Kifoto former bandleader of Maroon Commandos.

"We (the bona fide members) were denied the freedom to express our opinions concerning the collection and distribution of royalties. Most members felt betrayed," says Poxi.

According to Shamalla, though, not every artiste is eligible to earn royalties from the society. "To earn royalties, you must be a member of the society." She says a renowned Kenyan musician whose songs may be a common feature on local stations could earn Sh500 after many years. According to her, Poxi should count himself lucky for getting Sh2,000.

Shamalla also faces accusations of reducing the amount of money some companies, especially hotels at the coast, owe the society. According to Kanyotu, one hotel in Nyali had the amount it owed between 1999 and 2000 reduced to Sh11,325, from Sh113,202.

Another coast hotel had its royalty dues for 1996-1999 reduced from Sh242,252 to Sh51,850, and in a particularly stunning case, another beach hotel had its monies reduced by a whopping Sh530,000, from Sh545,942 to Sh14,982.55.

"She’s been tossing our money around, not bothering about our fate," charges an angry Muli, one of the Poxi-led directors.

Poxi also accuses Shamalla of settling cases outside court, saying: "She has never come clean on the pending case against Capital FM, who owed the society close to Sh19 million."

They also point out cases involving K2 and K1 clubs, which she had ordered shut because of their royalty arrears, saying that nobody knows how the cases were handled.

According to Shamalla , though, the tariffs had to be revised "since they had errors."

"Most of our customers were complaining that our rates were too high, and since our aim is not to put people out of business, we decided to go back to the old tariffs, after revising them," she says. She, however, avoids talking about "reduced tariffs" for certain hotels.

Shamalla says the Poxi group simply lacks patience and humility. "Some of them don’t know what it takes to do my job," she says, adding, "MCSK can’t keep paying royalties to artistes when the major music consumers — radio and TV stations — don’t pay us anything. Everyone is just dilly-dallying." She says only KBC and Kameme FM have made meaningful payments to the society in the past. According to the chairman of the Media Owners Association, Mr Wilfred Kiboro, all the members of the association have been paying their royalties, although he has heard some members complaining about the MCSK. "There is no evidence of these claims, though," he adds.

Foreign music is also a bone of contention, with Shamalla saying that even if they were to collect royalties from the stations, a huge percentage would be transferred abroad.

Shamalla goes on to add that the little amounts collected are distributed accordingly.

"Last year we got about Sh7 million only, and had to use it for distribution among other things."

A source at Kameme FM confirms that they pay royalties, but that they are not sure how these are given to the artistes. Wachuka Warenge of KTN says the station has not come into any agreement with the society on royalty payments. She says they were in the process of negotiation when the issue suddenly ‘died’, and Shamalla never brought it up again.

KISS FM’s music productions manager says there has been misunderstanding between them and the society over the payments. He claims the mechanism used by MCSK is wrong.

"Although we are willing to pay, we are not sure whether the monies will be given to musicians, as has always been the case. He claims that in the past royalties paid have fallen into the "wrong hands". "Even royalties sent from abroad through MCSK never get to the musicians, so how can we trust her with the money paid directly to her?"

MCSK members also accuse Shamalla of operating a ghost office with no address, and using an "unregistered dropping zone" to supply illegal demand letters to music users. They say this has killed the company’s good will. The board of a registered society moving offices must notify the Government in writing.

The move came mid last year, after members of Poxi’s group stormed the Waumini house offices and started a mini-demonstration. Poxi says it was Shamalla’s "inflexibility" that prompted members to storm the office on April 4 last year. The effects of that day’s activities are still evident. What was once an office is now an eyesore.

Kanyottu says on the night after the riots, Shamalla and her associates broke into the office and "stole equipment belonging to MCSK," moving it to a "private house in Brook House Drive, Westlands". Among the property allegedly stolen are the society’s documents, computers, office furniture and a Toyota Corolla vehicle.

Members say their efforts to reclaim the property have come to naught so far. "This has greatly affected our operations. Artistes visit our office at Waumini House, only to find it non-operational," says Muli.

But Shamalla insists hers is the genuine MCSK office. "The only people who cannot dare come here are those opposed to my leadership." According to her, moving offices was the only way she could feel secure.

"It was on April 4, 2003, when they attempted to storm the offices for the second time and succeeded in breaking a door and orchestrating an orgy of destruction of property", she says. "These are violent people - seven of them were even charged at the Kibera Magistrate’s Court and the case is still pending," she says.

Poxi’s group have made efforts, writing to Police Commissioner Edwin Nyaseda to have the property returned. A meeting between the two groups was even organised by the police at the Gigiri Polise Station, but nothing was achieved.

They were referred to the CID director, who after conducting investigations, referred them to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. The group later met the Nairobi Provincial Criminal Investigations Officer, who ordered Inspector Sam Mutinda of Parklands CID to investigate the matter. On July 16, Mutinda went to the Nairobi High Court, swore an affidavit which Shamalla admitted to, and agreed to meet the next day to collect the ‘stolen’ MCSK office equipment.

But the following day, the Poxi group, who had hired a lorry from Westlands to take them to Shamalla’s Co-operative Governance House office, were met by armed police from Parklands, who declined to execute the order claiming that Shamalla had a court order issued at the Milimani Commercial courts, on May 15, 2003, pending a hearing on September 17, 2003.

Members say the hearing never took place, and no representative from the Attorney General’s Chambers appeared in court.

"The order also restrained the AG and his representatives from interfering with the MCSK business," says Poxi.

Shamalla asserts that she did not steal but simply "moved" the MCSK property and office to a "safer destination". "When they came to the new office to collect the equipment, I had a court order restraining them from taking anything and the police could do nothing about the situation," she says.

The MCSK apparently owes its landlord, SEMA Ltd, close to Sh500,000 in rent arrears from May 2003 for the Waumini offices.

Shamalla says there are no rent arrears. She has a copy of a gate pass obtained from SEMA Ltd., authorising her to move the MCSK property. A source at SEMA, however, confirms that there is a Sh471,000 rent arrears accrued since she moved. The source says SEMA has retained petitions belonging to the society "until the payments are cleared".

In her defense, Shamala says all she has done is clean up the MCSK and made it harder for the corruption that had taken root under the former regime to continue.

"When I joined the society, there were difficulties which seemed insurmountable. The major one was the massive registration of members who simply did not qualify." She says members were given 28 days to re-apply, failure to which their membership would be terminated.

The vetting method used, she asserts, was fair because there were people from outside the board who had interests in the society and were benefiting from it at the expense of genuine members.

The vetting, she continues, was done in accordance with MCSK’s articles/memorandum and, naturally, there was hue and cry, as the persons opposed to fruitful change were the ones who had been benefitting from the corrupt practices. "It’s obvious that these people are fronting for the former administrator, Sammy Macharia who should be made responsible for the misappropriation of funds during his tenure," says Shamalla.

"These people had infiltrated the Music Copyright Society and controlled everything, including misappropriation of royalties," she says, adding, "they are now threatened because they know they don’t stand a chance".

Both factions insist that there is hope. According to Poxi, a meeting between them and the Registrar General, Dorothy Angote at Sheria House on January 21, 2004, went well.

"The new Registrar General took our complaints with the seriousness they deserve and showed deep concern," says Poxi, adding, "Shamalla and co. were absent even though they had been notified of the meeting." The meeting has since resulted in a court order asking Shamalla to return MCSK properties to the Waumini House office.

Shamalla too, sees a bright future for the society, with the new plans she has put in place to streamline the sale of music, limit piracy and remit royalties.

Source : Pulse



Bob Marley Raped Me

Mar 31 2004

By Matt Roper

TO millions she was the luckiest woman alive - married to Bob Marley, the international superstar of reggae, recognised the world over as a living icon.

But for Rita Marley life with the "Negus" of reggae was far from a fairytale, as she watched the man she dearly loved disown and betray her at every turn.

When she tried to put her foot down by denying him sex until he stopped playing around, the young Jamaican adored by millions as a peace-loving legend forced his way into her home and raped her.

Talking publicly for the first time about that day in 1973, Rita, now 57, says: "Bob wouldn't take no for an answer. He said to me, 'No, you're my wife and you're supposed to.' So he forced himself on me, and I call that rape. Afterwards I felt so terrible. I screamed at him, 'I hate you, I hate you!'"

The rape happened after years of Marley's cheating with a stream of women, many of whom bore his children.

But despite everything, Rita insists she still adores him as much as the day they first met in 1965.

"Just because he did these things and cheated on me doesn't mean he was a bad husband. He always provided for me, always gave me anything I wanted.

"But he was corrupted by showbusiness, by the girls who would throw themselves at him. This is what I've come to understand."

The Cuban-born Alpharita Anderson met Robert Nesta Marley when she was 18 and he was 19, in the Trenchtown ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica. Robbie was the shy guitarist of local "rocksteady" group the Wailing Wailers, who would pass Rita's house every day on their way to the studio.

One day, Rita and her friends stopped the group and performed an impromptu song - Bob was immediately won over. He invited them to sing backing vocals on some tracks they were recording and the pair soon became lovers.

"We were so in love. Bob was so romantic and faithful, and I thought we would always be like that. We'd be rehearsing and looking into each other's eyes and singing, and then we'd put our mouths to each others'. It was magic."

In 1966 the couple had an "impulse" wedding. From then until 1972, when Bob signed to Island Records, Rita sold his early recordings from a makeshift record shop at their house.

When international stardom arrived she toured the world with him as one of his I-Threes backing singers.

Days before a peace concert in Kingston in 1976, she was caught in the crossfire when a gang of youths tried to assassinate Bob. Rita was shot in the head and was lucky to survive.

In the early days, Rita would wash Bob's only pair of underpants by hand every night in the tank outside their first house in St Ann.

But as Bob Marley and the Wailers earned global fame, Rita could only look on helplessly as the husband she adored succumbed to its trappings. "Every country he'd go to Bob would meet the Miss So-and-so or the local beauty queen. And then at night, she's there, in the bedroom, and then the next morning she's still there.

"And of course I'd be there too because I was a backing singer in his group as well as his wife. So I would see all this going on and it would really hurt, the jealousy."

Once, asked by a New York newspaper about his wife, Bob replied: "Oh no - Rita's my sister."

"For most of the time I was Mrs Marley, but it was only a title, nothing more. I considered divorcing him many times. I just thought, 'To hell with this', especially when he started bring back the babies of women he'd got pregnant, wanting me to look after them.

But Bob's charm would always win her over. Drawing a circle in the palm of his hand, he explained: "You see this circle, this is like life. And you see this line around it? Nobody can break that line to come into the circle with you and me. So don't worry yourself, man, you're safe. You're my queen, my wife, my life."

Rita, now a reggae star in her own right, admits: "As much as I love him, if Bob were alive today I honestly don't think I'd still be married to him. Because of the frustration and insult that I had to face, and in spite of the good face I showed to the world, Bob's lifestyle was killing me."

When Rita complained about the babies Bob was fathering, he explained that he wanted lots of children but didn't want his wife and backing singer to be burdened with childbirth.

"He'd say, 'I don't want you to get pregnant every year. So some of that is really just taking the burden off you and your body.'"

Yet despite Bob's constant womanising, he was still extremely possessive.

"Even though he was carrying on right under my nose, mostly one-night stands, he remained very suspicious of my having an affair.

When we argued, my line was always, 'Who cares? I'm your wife but I'm not your slave, you know. I'm not going to be your call girl. When you want to have sex, you call me to your room? Or we have a relationship when you feel like? No, no, no.'"

Returning to Jamaica from a tour of Britain in 1973, Bob told Rita about a girl in London he'd made pregnant, and he wanted Rita to take care of the baby.

At the same time he was having a relationship with Cindy Breakspeare, the Jamaican beauty who would win Miss World three years later.

For Rita it was the last straw, and when Bob arrived at their home in Bull Bay, she drew the line. "I felt I was being taken for a ride, and it seemed like it was going to be a long ride. So I decided I wasn't going to play the game.

I told him plainly, straight out, if you're going to be doing this, we will not have a sexual relationship.

WE didn't have Aids at that time, but there were other diseases and I thought, 'This is getting crazy now.'

"Something was going to happen to me if I continued having sex with him. I didn't know if he was using a condom, but I doubt it, because he was a Rasta man. I was also trying to punish him, because I knew he wanted me but I was being stubborn to show him what he was missing.

"I wanted to put the pressure on, because the kids were growing up and they were starting to ask, 'What's going on?'

"When I told him, 'I'm not going to have sex with you,' Bob immediately thought I was having an affair. He was angry and he wouldn't take no for an answer.

"We had sex, it wasn't love-making, just sex. And afterwards I felt terrible. I screamed at him, 'I hate you, I hate you!' I think that's when I got pregnant again. When I discovered I was going to have another child, my first thought was, 'My God, what is this? Despite trying to overlook everything and be the good sister, I'm so sick of his ways.'"

RITA and Bob's third daughter, Stephanie, was born in 1974. But despite the hurt and humiliation, Rita continued to love and support her husband and be a mother to his many children.

She held Bob in her arms when he died of cancer in 1981, aged 36. Now she takes care of the Bob Marley Foundation in Jamaica, as well as running her own charity which works with poor children in Ghana, West Africa.

She is, after everything, forgiving.

"Bob was a good person and a good husband. Just because he had other women doesn't mean he wasn't a good husband.

"I was always there for him and I'll always be there for him. He knew I wasn't there for the glamour, the fantasy or the fame, but because I loved him.

"And I'm determined to keep his memory alive."



Dennis Brown Interviews [3/12/04]

Coxsone Dodd

Dermott Hussey: The producer, legendary Clement Dodd, recalls the period.

Clement Dodd: Well yes ever since he hit the studio this guy impress me as a great artist. And the first session we did was a song called, “Love Grows”. And then he harmonized with The Chosen Few’s “Are You Going To Break Your Promise To Me.” So then we realized this guy really had the talent, but at such a young age, we realized we had to supply him with material, so I got this record “No Man Is An Island” by the Van Dykes and we made a cover version of it. We _____ ______ and with the help of the great Jackie Mittoo who was in charge of rhythms we came up with a ______ . This was a big hit for Dennis, and we followed up with alot of other songs till we released the LP. But at this time the world mourns the passing of another great entertainer, Dennis Brown, Crown Prince of Jamaican sounds. His voice and technique was of world class

CD: He was quite different. The only person I’ve ever experienced similar to him was Delroy Wilson, you know. But this guy, really he was a joy I tell you. I see Dennis as God’s gift to the world, and let’s thank him and praise his work, which will last forever. And all my condolocenses to his family and friends. He was a very pleasant artist and one of the best I’ve ever worked with. Intelligent, respectful and humble. Willing to learn and quick

DH: Did you do that many recordings with Dennis?

CD: Well, I’m thinking of it, I wouldn’t say that many, but we did the first two albums with him. The follow up of ‘No Man is an Island’ was ‘If I Follow My Heart” which was written by Alton Ellis, and that also was a strong album. But his mic techniques and voice control is really uncomparable

CD: I don’t see anybody right now who we could really look to as far as where this guy took the music. You see currently, a lot of off-key and out of tune singing going on. This guy, from he hit the studio, he is right on top of it.

DH: But, in his preparation, do you think made him such a special singer?

CD: Well I’d say he is a special gift from God you know. Because from the first time I heard him, I realized this youth was ready, for recording, because his delivery, his soothing sounds, and his approach was very matured at the age of twelve. So anything that you give him, from classic right back to rhythm and blues, this guy would go through it so smooth and in tune.

Derrick Harriot

The song he came and did for me in 1968 was a song called ‘Obsession’. It was later changed, the title, was later changed to 'Lips of Wine'. In other words, when we put it out, we figured it wasn’t commercial enough or catchy enough, but he had a part in the song where he sang, "And let me taste your lips of wine, lips of wine, woh woh woh, lips of wine,” you know. And we said that was a more, you know, catchy title. But that was the first song he had ever did in the studio. I’m going to tell you something now: the song that he did for Coxsone called “No Man is an Island” was originally done by the Van Dykes, an American group. That song was brought down by me from America and Dennis used to practice this song at the back of my store at 125 King Street, many evenings, and how he came to have done it for Downbeat is that, I went away to the states again, spent about 3 weeks, and when I came back, you know he was young and he was just dying to go into the studio and record, and I found out when I got back that he had gone up to Studio One and did the song, so - and many people can confirm that {said with a little chuckle} - you know. But I just say it’s no big thing really right now because we are glorifying the great Dennis Brown.

Niney The Observer

All the tune that Dennis Brown do, Westbound Train is the first number one him do. Number one him get. All the Coxsone and all the dis and the dat, none of them never reach number one. Them sell, but me talk number one. Westbound Train go two times pon the survey (?), two time it go number one, it go up and come down and go up again. Number one it hit two time.

When we take him and go do Cassandra was four o clock one night, we take him out of the hospital and go do Cassandra, you know. Out of the hospital we take him, four o clock, one night. We do Cassandra, boom, and carry him back. And from that time nobody know.

Dermott Hussey: Niney and Dennis went off to England, where he first established his career internationally. They spent seven months and on their return to Jamaica the charts were being dominated by Johnny Clarke with “None Shall Escape the Judgement” produced by another Jamaican legend, Bunny Lee. Niney and Dennis responded with a version of a Rasta chant by Count Ossie, ‘So Long’.

Niney: Me say: love song you deh pon you know, but we a go different now. Listen dis: So long rastafari call you {singing}. And me a go down to him, and he go through the tune and say, “Skipper, Jesus Christ!” I say, “Kill we a go kill them!” You know. And him take the tune, and him take it and put nuh same way you know. The tune DIFFERENT. And when he drop the tune, ‘So Long Rastafari Call You’ Bunny Lee come pon retreat and say, “Niney, this need a comedy or what with this tune,” and him say, “yeah yeah.”

See this tune here you know ... this is a prayer. Anyday you go open your show, any day you walk with stick, anytime you do anything, use this tune as the opening song, ‘Here I Come’ {retelling what he told D.Brown}. And we go and we make the rhythm, voice it castlike (?), lick the rhythm, voice it, and me dere - dat singer are the Heptones, Earl Heptone did that and then he help me do a thing, but I don’t forget, I think it didn’t go weh, so him never really get - but ah me there that sing ‘Woh Oh Oh” and me dere do all them thing and I help you, and me say skipper always do that.

Joe Gibbs

Dermott Hussey: First of all, ‘Money in My Pocket’ was hit music, it made the UK charts, but there two versions, there’s one in 1972 that was also released on your label. Now did you engineer that first one or was it Niney?

Joe Gibbs: Yes, I engineer that first one. I do just about everything on that first recording with Dennis Brown. As a matter of fact it was during those same period that we met and started talking about serious recording business and a record contract. So that one was engineered by me and the whole works.

JG: First to get Dennis to really perform on some of the albums that we did: one,
the atmosphere that existed among us was really, real cordial and friendly, and I was like a father figure in the whole thing but for Mr. Thompson. And Dennis you know, Dennis would do a cut or whatever and alot of people they would said, ‘Yes, this gone, this alright, this good’. But it has always amazed Dennis how I might say, ‘Look Dennis, this no ready yet, you’re not going nowhere, don’t bother, let’s really get into it.” And there was never really a frown. He’ll said things like, “Alright Skip if you say so, well, let’s do it now. How you say you want to hear it sound, Skip?” And we’ll get to it with that attitude and it’s really like a real cooperative attitude. I don’t really belittle Dennis at that point in time and he hasn’t felt belittled, but he realize that if I said something more can come out of it ... then I am really on his side. We are a team.

DH: But why didn’t Dennis Brown make the expected breakthrough (following ‘Love Has Found It’s Way’)?

JG: It’s very unfortunate that at that point in time Dennis just couldn’t see where I want to go or want to take him, you know. And he has sold his self short. The real Dennis Brown has never really gotten that, that real open chance. It’s there, but, you know, the music business in America, you have to more or less be able to, to be with it, play the game, play it the way you have to play it. And it doesn’t necessarily mean immoralities, you know. It mean that you have to be punctual, some gigs you have to do them without even collecting any money, you know. But you’re building an image.

DH: ...And I wondered whether attitudinaly could he have really interfaced with the international crossover market in the way Bob Marley did? You see Bob Marley, despite being also a Rasta man, understood that if he was going to move his career globally then you have had to have made, whether compromise or accomodation, whatever. Dennis Brown, to me, never seemed to have wanted it or understood it.

JG: Um, Dennis understood it quite well, but you see, among one of Dennis greatest asset could be his failure - if you can regard him not exploring the real international scene as he should have a failure, because he’s no way a failure you know. But because he didn’t allow himself to explore, to be the real Dennis Brown. You see, like I said, the charisma is Dennis greatest asset, among one of his greatest asset. And is like he tries to please everybody at the same time, you know, and that has made some negative contribution, because sometimes he wanted to please his bredrens. He always, I must tell you, when the professional side come about, he always want to say, “Yes Skip, this is what we should do”. But after he leaves and his bredren might, you know, give him another story about something, one way or another, you know, it’s not that he doesn’t want to make it, but for some reason he gets confused in the middle there.

Sly Dunbar

The first time I met Dennis, I met him when we were like doing an audition for the band Falcons ... and he was there, a band member. The first song I played on drums for Dennis was ‘Money in My Pocket’ the original version. And then I did ‘Wolf and Leopard’ for Niney for him and, you know, after that we start doing other stuff for people like Castro and thing like that. Anyway we went to Gibbo now, I start playing most of the tracks with Gibbo. But when he came to us, he came to do a session one Sunday at Channel One for Ossie and he was singing ‘Sitting and Watching’. Ossie didn’t like the song, and Robbie and myself say this song is good. Okay, so we told Ossie to take this tape out and switch it up with one of our tapes, we’ll take this song from Dennis. So we laid the rhythm track and Dennis came back Tuesday morning, voice the song. Robbie dubbed the guitar on that, and we say this song is great. And we went and we mixed the song, and then Sunday we heard that Jacob Miller crash and died you know. But Dennis always wear a smile you know, and his smile is like you can’t be vex with him. He never thinks negative, always think positive. Always, “Yes Skipper, we a do it you know, cha”...

But when we did ‘Revolution’ and ‘Have You Ever Been In Love’ and ‘Hold On To What You Got’, those three songs were cut on the same day. And in the studio that day at Channel One was like a stage show, right. The control room was full, the studio area was full, and he was in the middle with a microphone and we cut the three tunes. And you know I didn’t like ‘Revolution’ as much. I prefer ‘Have You Ever Been In Love’ because it’s a love song. But when he was doing like ‘Revolution’ and all these songs ... what happened, we cut ‘Revolution’ on a dubplate and give it to the sound man for two years to play. And what happen, Junjo Lawes heard it play in the dance, put on a cassette, went back and cut the rhythm. I think Barrington Levy said on the intercom (that) we cut the rhythm because he want to go on the rhythm. And I said no we’re not going to put anybody because it’s Dennis rhythm and respect is due. So he cut it and I remember I saw Dennis at Sonic Sounds and he was saying he needs to get that song out because they lick over him rhythm ‘Revolution’ and he need to get it out. So I go okay, but him say, “the vocal is a rough vocal” and him laugh. And I say, “Boy you travel too much, you know, I don’t know if you can do back the vocal cause the vocal is good”. Basically it’s a rough vocal and he had the pan leaking into the microphone. And you know I said to Robbie, “We need to put the Dennis Brown tune out because alot of people is copying the rhythm”. And we went and cleaned the vocal, put a lot of reverb onto it and you know ... I remember the first time I really got into ‘Revolution’ was Sunsplash. It was like ten o clock in the morning and Dennis Brown comes on stage and says, “Alright are you ready to fight a revolution,” and he held up his hand like this: fist fold. And like twenty thousand people put their hands up in the air and say, “Yes we are ready!” And I couldn’t believe them song. This is where the song really came out for me. All these years listening to ‘Revolution’, is where at Sunsplash I really said boy, yeah, this thing is really wicked.


CHAT award nominees [3/12/04]

The annual Chaguo La Teeniez award nominees have been announced. Leading the pack in the category for favourite male artiste are Redsan, Prezzo, Nonini and Nameless. Favourite female artistes are Rat-at-at, Nazizi, Waridi and Wahu. Favourite group act nominees are K-South, Kleptomaniax, Necessary Noize and Longombas. Favourite new artiste or group are Tattuu, Prezzo, Ousman and Wakimbizi.
Interesting categories include favourite comedy act, with Mdomo Baggy, Nyambane, Redykulas and Kajairo, as well as the celebrity awards sections, with Wyre and Prezzo among those nominated for the best dressed category awards. Competing for the hottest looking female award are Muthoni Bwika, Wahu, Nazizi and Debra Sanaipei, and the hottest looking male, Nameless, Redsan, Wyre and Prezzo.

There will be a nominees bash tonight at The Carnivore, and the awards are scheduled to be held on May 1 at The Carnivore, starting 10am. Entrance charges shall be Sh200 per person. :
Source : Pulse


Summerfest 2K4 : Glen Washington[1/19/04]

The promoter has listened to the cry of the massive over Glen Washington for the past three years and he has decided that he is the right artist to mark Shashamane's 20th Anniversary during the 5th Annual Africa Bound Reggae Summerfest 2k4. Three days (27th, 28th and 29th August) back to back live concert. The first show will be a VIP show at the Safari Park Hotel on Friday night. Due to what happened at the Impala Ground during the Mighty Culture show, the promoter has decided that this time around, the Wananchi show will be a day time show and  will be held on Sunday at the Kasarani Stadium from 8.00am until 8.00pm. Kids below 13 years old accompany by their parents will be allowed in free. So parents feel free to bring your kids because we will have lots of activities for them. The third venue is yet to be determined. Keep checking back for more updates. Additional artists confirmed included Shashamanes own Dynamq. Look out for additional international artists as well as local talent.

Serious reggae giving way to catchy, danceable tunes[1/18/04]

The world of reggae is rapidly changing from the serious message-laden lyrics of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear and others, to the catchy and danceable tunes churned out by a new generation of exciting artistes. And the transition could not have been more manifest in Kenya than in the lukewarm response last November to a visit by one of Jamaica's top reggae groups, the Mighty Culture.

The visit largely went without the media excitement and hype, celebrity glitz and craze associated with visiting musicians. And it was a pale shadow of what was witnessed during the seminal Reggae Sunbeat Festival of six years ago. This time round, the Jamaicans' presence in Nairobi was hardly noticed by the majority of the city's music lovers

The Mighty Culture tour was not even a commercial outing. It was organised to create Aids awareness and raise money for the national soccer team Harambee Stars. Had the group been brought in by a promoter intent on making huge profits, he would today be painfully counting his losses. And it's largely because Roots Reggae is under siege internationally.

Last year's "Humble African Kenyan Tour" by Culture was expected to attract 20,000 people. Less than 7,000 fans – most of them gate-crashers – turned up. Contrast that with the 45,000 who thronged the Impala grounds in Nairobi in August 2002.

Roots reggae, made popular by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, Dennis Brown Garnet Silk, Don Carlos, Ivorian Alpha Blondy, Jacob Miller, South African superstar Lucky Dube and groups such as Israel Vibrations, Third World, Steel Pulse and Culture, had lyrics that highlighted the socio-political plight of the down-trodden.

Slowly, Dance Hall is edging out Roots reggae. Its light drumbeats, infused with synchronised synthesiser sounds, interspersed with background saxophone interludes over lyrics on love and loving, are gaining steady following.

Fanuel 'Fanya' Odera, a DJ with Shashamane International, says the majority of patrons in clubs are young people more interested in dancing than listening to serious messages.

"Roots is about listening to messages and meditating upon them while seated rather than being on the dance floor. Again, most of the old Roots artistes such as Burning Spear and Bunny Wailer are not composing new tracks. New releases are from young artistes such as Glen Washington, Sanchez and Terry Linen, who are basically Dance Hall musicians."

He adds: "Roots reggae will always sell to diehard fans. The young lovers of hip-hop are crossing over to a form of reggae they can identify with. They request for music by Glen Washington and Beres Hammond."

Junior Wachira of Assanand's music shop in Nairobi says: "We don't stock Dance Hall CDs as there is no local distributor. So most of the CDs on sale are pirated copies."

But radio presenter Papa Shaq says Dance Hall is a passing cloud. "It will be hard to whitewash Roots reggae. Look at Lingala. No matter how many types come up, Rhumba still rules. The same will apply to Dance Hall which is a reincarnation of Blues in a mixture of Reggae and Slow-Jam format.

"Most Dance Hall artistes rode on the fame of songs by Lionel Richie, Tracy Chapman, Tevin Campbell, Faith Evans, and R. Kelly in songs such as Stark On You, Storm Is Over, The World's Greatest, and I believe I Can Fly . Kenyans hunger for anything new, hence Dance Hall."

But Roots artistes are not being entirely left out of the gravy train. Burning Spear's Appointment With His Majesty and Consciousness of a Rastaman are basically Dance Hall albums. Marcia Griffiths of Bob Marley's I-Three trio has also turned to Dance Hall. They're competing with ruling Dance Hall lieutenants Nansio Fontane, Morgan Heritage, Half Pint, Mickey Spice, Don Campbell, and Glen Washington.

This is the second time Roots is taking a back seat. The first was in the late 1980s, when the Ruggamuffin craze of Shabba Ranks, Maxie Priest, Buju Banton, Pinchers, Spanner-Banners and Chaka Demus and Pliers swept Roots out of its dreadlocks.

Roots reggae's links with Kenya were strengthened in 1966, when Winston Rodney (African Teacher) took the name 'Burning Spear' from Jomo Kenyatta. As the home of the Mau Mau, Kenya has a special appeal to Reggae artistes who identify with their dreadlocks and fight for freedom. The ties are evident from songs such as Harambee by Rita Marley.

The music, which is slightly more than half a century old, is a forerunner of Jamaica's traditional Ska' and Rock-steady music. The rhythms mutated to Roots and Roots Rock Reggae popularised Bob Marley.

Though Dance Hall and Lover's Rock are taking root in Kenya now, the initial tunes were actually laid down in the late 1970s by Jamaica's RootsRaddicks group and Britain's UB40. The new predominantly love tunes represent an apolitical counterpoint to conscious Rastafarian sounds

Source : Lifestyle


DJ Beenie Man In Accident[1/17/04]

While many of us were turning in our beds about, ace entertainer, Moses Davis, known to many as Beenie Man did not make a turn at the newly detoured section of the Mandela Highway in the vicinity of the Caymanas crossing.

Reports are that the artiste was traveling in his vehicle alone in a westerly direction on the highway. He reportedly lost control of his vehicle while trying to maneuver it around the corner. The vehicle said to be a GM Hummer H2, the civilian model to the military vehicle, hit a concrete embankment, overturned and was severely damaged.

He was taken to the Spanish Town Hospital for treatment and was later removed to a facility in Kingston.

He is said to have suffered a broken nose, broken wrist and two of his ribs were fractured. It was also reported that Beenie Man is not breathing properly due to a dislocation of his lungs, which might be punctured.

Later in the day, Beenie Man's lungs eventually collapsed, and he was rushed to an operating theatre at the St. Joseph's hospital.

"The surgery was successful, and the doctors just want him to get 24 hours rest, and they will do a reassessment in 48 hours. We plan to hire three nurses to provide round-the-clock care for him at a private institution," Patrick Roberts, manager of Beenie Man and executive chairman of Shocking Vibes Productions Ltd., said.

Patrick Roberts credited the design and structure of the gas-guzzling US$55,000 Hummer H2 - which was reduced to a mangled hunk of twisted metal during the accident - with saving Beenie Man's life.

The section of the road was diverted due to the construction of the government’s ‘pet’ project Highway 2000.

Source :


Gidi Gidi, Ready for album launch[1/16/04]

For Gidi Gidi and Maji Maji, life cannot be better. They are riding on the crest of popularity at home and abroad, due to their musical prowess.

Recently, they have performed concerts from Lusaka to London.

"We performed in Lusaka on December 5 and it was one of the biggest concerts in Zambia," beams Gidi Gidi. The performance was organised by Matale Entertainment of Zambia.

From Zambia they headed for South Africa, where they performed during the Channel O awards.

And then they went to the UK. On Jamhuri Day, they performed at Wembley’s Azzure House, where Kenyans held a party. The UK tour was organised by Afro Jazz Entertainment, who run the popular Kenyan joint, Meantime, in London.

"We performed to an ecstatic crowd of more than 4,000 Kenyans living in the UK," says Gidi Gidi.

The tour dubbed Back-to-Back saw them also perform in Leeds, Oxford and London.

Now, Gidi Gidi and Maji Maji are bracing for the promotion of their album, ‘Many Faces’ before its launch next month.

Their South African producers, Gallo Records, with whom they have a four-year contract, have come up with a promotion schedule that "will make the 14-track album top music charts in Africa." Gallo are the producers of Lucky Dube, Brenda Fassie and Baaba Maal, among other top African singers.

The ‘Many Faces’ CD has been done in a different style and boasts of collaborations with Baaba Maal and Kwaito kings, Skwata Camp.

Gidi Gidi says the album will have two release dates — in Kenya and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Maji Maji has bought in studio equipment and says he is ready to produce local talents at his home studio while Gidi Gidi looks for web design jobs.

Source : Pulse Magazine


Big Brother’s Sammi joins Capital FM [1/16/04]

M-Net Big Brother Africa housemate Sammi Bampo is joining Capital FM. The Ghanaian, who first visited Kenya last month with 10 of the other housemates, confirmed the news over the weekend.
Sammi joins the Kenyan station at the end of the month as a presenter. He believes that he will be able to pull in fans with his deejaying style and knowledge of reggae music. The 30-year old became popular on the BBA show for his ability to ad-lib rhymes to the guitar music that Namibia’s Stephan strummed. He has since benefited from the exposure he got on the show, rapping at concerts and playing MC in Ghana. The move to Capital is a boost to Sammi, who has no regrets about making Kenya his second home

Source : Pulse Magazine


Emcee in showdown over money[/1/16/04]

Reggae promoter MC Snagga found himself in a tight spot on Sunday night when he was confronted by a group of angry youths and policemen.
MC Snagga was at the Monte Carlo club on Accra Road, Nairobi, when the boys, who he had employed to pin up posters of the Mighty Culture concert last year, walked in and demanded extra pay. He refused, and the boys seemed intent on roughing him up but later changed their minds and called in the police. The police arrived and handcuffed MC Snagga, although they did not book him.

"These people did not pin up even a single poster and wanted me arrested," MC Snagga says. "They did not pin up the posters, but threw them in a pit where I found them."

Source : Pulse Magazine

Why Mighty Culture shunned Coast[1/8/04]

Poor organisation is being cited as the cause of the Mighty Culture fiasco during their tour of Kenya late last year. The Joseph Hill-led reggae group left the country in a huff, following a mix-up which saw their Mombasa concert cancelled at the last minute.

Big Ted, the event’s organiser, claims he was forced to cancel the show because Nairobi fans had "let them down."

But Dennis Wright (promoter for Mighty Culture) believes it was due to poor organisation and promotion. About 7,000 fans attended the Nairobi concert at Nyayo Stadium, compared to the previous year’s, 45,000 at the Impala Grounds.

"We were given lots of promises which were never fulfilled. If the same thing happens again to another international group, it may keep them away from Kenya," says Wright.

He says the group was informed of the Mombasa concert three days before the material day.

"First, it was Kisumu, then suddenly the destination changed to Mombasa," he says. "The organisers down at the Coast were not co-operating with us either. They were not giving us any kind of surety that things would work out well."

Wright says attempts to confirm the show through a top manager at Mombasa hotel were in vain.

Local artistes who were denie
d a chance to perform are also complaining. True Black, J Fox and Bafu Chafu cite discrimination.

"My group spent more than three weeks rehearsing and incurred lots of expenses which we have not recovered," says True Blak.

Investigations have revealed that bouncers, police officers, ticket clerks and other gatekeepers connived with fans to mar the Nairobi event.

"Some of us were charged Sh200, and by 4pm they were even accepting Sh100. A bouncer at the gate showed me lots of money he had made by selling the tickets at half price," says Georges Otieno of Umoja Renegades.

Source : Pulse Magazine


Magazine editor beaten, injured by police [1/2/04]

Phat! magazine editor Blaze was badly injured on the Christmas morning when policemen in plain clothes attacked him outside a popular bar in Westlands. The editor, who sports dreadlocks, was having a drink at Bandito’s Bar and Restaurant when four cops approached him and asked to speak to him. "I didn’t know who they were, because they looked pretty scruffy," he says, "so I told them to give me a minute." The cops took it badly, and pulled him outside the restaurant, and started beating him, all the while asking him for money.
"They pulled me into a dark corner, where no one could see what was happening, then they (hand)cuffed me," he narrates. Although he kept asking why he was being arrested, they refused to tell him, and instead planted a roll of bhangi in his wallet, and insisted he was dealing drugs.

"A friend of mine gave them some money to let me go," Blaze continues. He later on discovered that he had lost about Sh5,000. He also broke his leg in the incident.

Blaze has since reported it to the police. "The CID and the policemen at Kilimani have been extremely helpful," he says, "and they are just as perturbed as I am about the whole incident. And he would like to issue a warning: "I’d just like to warn anyone drinking around the same area that there are some crooks hanging around there trying to extort money from unsuspecting people. Please be careful."

Source : Pulse Magazine


Artiste Poxy Presha on extortion charge


BandulusControversial rap musician Richard Pouka Olang', popularly known as Poxy Presha, yesterday appeared in a Mombasa Court charged with extortion.

Mr Olang' and Mr Robert Mwangi Kuria, a music inspector with the Music Copyright Society of Kenya, were charged before chief magistrate Uniter Kidullah. They denied the charge and were released on a Sh20,000 bond each with a surety in similar amount.

The two were charged with intent to extort money from Mr Mukindu Mbithi at Hyder Park Bar, Mombasa, on October 6. The case will be heard on November 17. 

The prosecution claimed the two accused Mr Mbithi of making, for sale, different audio cassettes and audio CDs, thereby infringing copyright laws.

Mrs Kidullah ordered the two remanded in police custody to enable them to communicate with their relatives.

She further ordered that they be produced in court on October 13 to either present their sureties for examination or be remanded in prison custody.

Earlier, Olang' applied to be remanded in police custody to be able to communicate with his colleagues to see if they can stand surety for him.

Mr Kuria said he had gone to Mombasa to testify in a case which was adjourned to October 14.

He said he is an inspector with the Music Copy Right Society of Kenya and asked for the court to reduce the bond amount.

Courtesy of Nationaudio


Summerfesrt 2K3 Review

Soon come(video too)..wol the mean time check out the pics.


Papa Bingi Interview With Robbo Ranx(BBC 1Xtra)

Check out this on-air interview conducted by Robbo Ranx of BBC 1 Xtra. The interview was conducted on August 4th 2K3. Audio


Summerfest 2K1 & 2K2 Video Updates

Here are some video clips from Summerfest 2K1 & 2K2. Look out for more updates shortly. Enjoy!

Gregory Isaacs @ Summerfest 2001

Gregory Isaacs @ Summerfest 2001

Shashamane African Crew @ Summerfest 2002

Shashamane African Crew @ Summerfest 2002


Summerfest 2K3 : The Prognosis  

Click here to check out the list of participants.

After a long and thoughtful consideration we have decided that this years summerfest would be a tribute to our fallen brethren as well as a showcase of local talent. Nonetheless next years event will showcase an international act. We Currently have Freddie McGregor, Glen Washington and Morgan Heritage to decide from and you can take part in making that decision by voting in our Summerfest 2K4 poll. As most of you know or may have heard, last years summerefest did not go quite as anticipated due to the unruly behavior of some youth, whose negative effect was felt on the promoter’s side. The cost and effort it takes to host an international act is extremely high and the negative response we received from last years show is forcing promoters to shy away from hosting international reggae acts in Kenya. Most promoters are requiring double the price to host such acts after reviewing last years actions during the summerfest. The artists are ready and willing to perform in the motherland but the promoters are reluctant and when and if they do agree to host such an event naturally prices are being doubled due to negative feedback and extremely high risks that amounted from last years event. Everyone must understand that there is no way we can host a FREE event. We are trying as much as we can to bring the vibes to the people, let the people enjoy and have fun at an affordable cost but certain individuals have premeditated bad-minding agendas. The event is supposed to be fun, family oriented and outgoing. Even at the extremes of ones plight, reggae is bound to bring back love and when it hits, you are supposed to feel no pain. Those that attend the shows with good intentions get our thanks, appreciation and upfullness. We only hope that such events can take place and everyone can leave the venue knowing the vibes was their instead of the fukkerys. A lot of talent lies within the motherland and a lot of people do not have the chance to showcase their talent so this year we are providing ground for that. Reggae artists from Kenya and in and around East Africa will all be welcome to the event. Together with the artists we also intend to include a sound system clash with local as well as sounds from East Africa. This would be a 45-type clash with no dubplates. The winners and runners up would off course get an award (trophy included). We then hope that in the future we can have similar clashes with the winning sound defending his crown. The clashing would insure that sounds are getting exposure which would create positive competition, a better product for the consumer and improvement of the local sound business. We hope that in the future a motherland sound can be featured in major clashes such as the much coveted annual "World clash held in NYC". We hope you are all going to be excited about this years event as we are and hope to see each and every one of you. We also have our fingers crossed on the outcome of the event. We do not want to host any more rowdy, unruly bad-mind events anymore and hope this years will NOT be the last one. We would like to thank all the previous attendees of the summerfest events and hope that you keep on attending. This years summerfest would begin early morning around 9am and concluded late evening around 8pm. The venue has not yet been decided but chances are Nyayo Stadium would be a good venue. Remember this would be an event involving various aspects of the culture such as music, food, artifacts, books, movies and much more as well as a celebration of the Works put in by our fallen brethren like Pupa Davis, Pupa Lefty and many more soldiers dead and gone. We are all thrilled and energized about hosting this event and hope the massive will enjoy this one. We encourage not only regular fans and the ghettoyout but also for the massive to bring along their families. The tentative date is Friday, August 29th @ K.I.C.C. The winner of the DJ clash will get a chance to defend his/her title in next years summerfest during the "Champions in Action" clash as well as a trophy for his/her keeps. Feel free to leave us some feedback by emailing or joining in on the discussion in our message boards.


Shashamane Int'l Vs Up To Date

We decided to put up a little video clip of a clash we had in Jun 2000 with Antiguan sound Up To Date. We had the audio earlier so we decided to encode a small clip (quality is not the greatest but we are working on getting the best quality for everyone i.e 56K and High Speed Internet).

Shashamane Int'l Vs Up To Date Video


Shashamane Int'l Vs Star Temple Sound : 2000

James BondWe decided to dig into the Shashamane clash archives and came up with a clash we had in Clevelend in 2000. Little Fox & Papa BingiThe clash was between Shasha and a local Cleveland sound called Star Temple sound. Fox was on the turntables, Papa Bingi was selecting the killa Ooman Demdubs and James Bond was the DJ. Offcourse Shashamane killed and burried the Star Temple sound but you be the judge. We have encoded the dub fi dub segment. Nontheless big up Star Temple, which is definately a sound to contend with in the future. Dub Fi Dub Segment 


Summerfest 2K2 Review 

Click For Larger FlyerNovember 30th 2002 is a day that the Kenyan Reggae lovers will never forget. The place to be was Impala Ground on Ngong Road.The gate was opened at exactly 2.00pm and people started coming in one by one. By 3.00pm Joseph Hill and his band went on stage for a sound check which took about two hours and by 6.00pm on the dot, Shashamane African Crew came on stage for a early warm up. By 8.00pm the gate was jammed to the max not even a fly could pass through. Everything was moving smoothly until some few disgranted ghetto youths crush the party. Everything became upside down at the gate. Though on stage things were moving as planned with the local artist doing their thing and shashamane playing between the intervals. By 11.00pm there were over 45,000 people inside the Impala Ground and about Summerfest 20,000 more outside the gate. By exactly 1.30pm the Mighty Culture hit the stage and they played for 3 hours singing 35 of their hit songs from all their albums, old and new. Correct me if i'm wrong, everybody will agree with me that this was one of the best Summerfest Kenyan has ever had. I know by now everybody is wondering, what does bingi have instored for them for the forth coming Summerfest, which will be held this time in August and not November. The answer is simple. We give you the list of the artist, you pick one and we will deliver. The chooses for this year are Glen Washington, Freddie Mc Gregory and Morgan Herritage. This year's Summerfest is dubbed, "Make it or break it, the final episode" Why final episode if one may ask. Even though the last Summerfest was nice, the promoter was not happy with the behavious of some of the fans who have a habit of always want to see a free show. It cost money to bring this artist to Kenya and how do you expect us to pay them if every time you want a free show. So either you shape up, buy your ticket in advance or this will be the last Summerfest you will see in Kenya. We have big artist line up for you like, Burnning Spear, Israe Vibration, Don Carlos, The Ital and many more, but that will not happen if you don't shape up. If you have any suggestion, you can post it on the message boards or write me an email at

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Glen Washington Live In Kenya. 4Th Annual Reggae Summerfest




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