The seventh of nine children, Luciano was born Jepther Washington McClymont in 1974, in Davey Town, Jamaica. He chose his performing name because it means "bearer of light." He grew up singing in the church choir and often sang while doing his chores. He learned to play guitar from his father.
In 1991 he recorded his first single, a cover of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder's hit "Ebony and Ivory," for Earl Haynes, owner of Kingston's Aquarius Record Shop. He followed this with a string of singles, mostly covers of other artists' songs, recorded with such small labels as Big Ship, New Name, Sky High, and Star Trail. While recording with New Name, he changed his name to Luciano and recorded his first Jamaican hit, "Give My Love a Try," in 1993. In 1994, working with Big Ship Productions, he recorded Shake It Up Tonight, which became a reggae hit in the United Kingdom. However, Luciano was still not happy with his musical life. He told Oumano, "All I had within me I couldn't express at New Name. The teamwork required wasn't there." He moved to Xterminator Productions, also based in Kingston, and recorded with Philip "Fatis" Burrell in 1993.
Luciano's first album with Xterminator, Moving Up, included "Poor and Simple" and "Chant Out," which had been hits in the United Kingdom. His next album, Back to Africa, had even more hit tracks. He was now writing all his own material, and the combination of his soulful baritone with instrumental backing inspired by classic reggae led to widespread recognition.
In 1995 Luciano moved to a new label, Island/Jamaica, and his popularity soared even higher with the release of his album Where There Is Life. The first single on the album, "It's Me Again Jah" made him " the singer in Jamaica right now," as DJ Karl Anthony, of New York's WNWK, told Oumano. Island/Jamaica emphasized Luciano's positive, spiritual themes--which contrasted sharply with the guns, drugs, and violence featured in many other popular songs--and his link to grassroots, ethnic reggae. Luciano was inspired by the work of past reggae greats, such as Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, and found strength in that tradition. He told Sista Irie, "So it is the same way which I view my works and my contributions as the spiritual inspiration to the people." Luciano toured the United Kingdom to promote Where There Is Life, leading his single "How Can You Fly" to the top of world reggae charts.
In 2001 he toured the United States to promote Great Controversy. He followed Great Controversy with A New Day, and by 2002 he had produced such a large body of work that he decided to release The Best of Luciano, a collection of his most popular tracks. In addition to rereleases of previously recorded songs, the album also included live recordings of "It's Me Again Jah," "Who Could It Be," and "In This Together," as well as two tracks not previously released--covers of "Material Girl" and "Rolling Stone."
by Kelly Winters
Jamaican dancehall reggae singer Konshens became an international superstar almost immediately after bursting onto the music scene in 2005 with the hit single "Pon Di Corner." Prolific as both a solo artist and a contributor to other artist's tracks, Konshens appeared on dozens of popular dancehall songs throughout the 2010s, as well as releasing several full-length efforts like 2018's party-ready It Feel Good.
Konshens was born Garfield Spence in Kingston in 1985. Early on he looked to Beres Hammond as his primary musical influence, and developed a vocal style that was strong and confident yet smooth and melodic. He first began making music as part of duo Sojah, along with his brother Delmark Spence (Delus). Their single "Pon Di Corner" became a number one hit in Japan, leading to a lengthy tour of that country, which was Konshens' first experience performing live. After the duo released the Japan-only Sons of Jah album and completed another tour, they decided to work on solo material. Konshens began releasing a steady stream of dancehall hits, including "Winner," "Rasta Imposter," and "Insanity." His songs would range from urgent, socially conscious pleas to sexually charged dance numbers. He made a guest appearance on Tarrus Riley's 2009 hit "Good Girl Gone Bad," from his album Contagious.
Konshens toured around the world and developed huge fan bases in Europe, Africa, and South America, but he still remained massively popular in Japan, and his debut album, Real Talk (which collected many of his early hits), was released exclusively in Japan in 2010. His worldwide debut, Mental Maintenance, was issued via his own Subkonshus Music in 2012, and featured guest appearances by Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Voicemail, and others. Konshens continued releasing singles in addition to appearing on tracks by Sean Paul, Eva Simons, Kreesha Turner, and others. Among his more impressive hits were 2016's "Bruk Off" and 2017's "Turn Me On." His nonstop stream of new songs paved the way for 2018 studio album It Feel Good. The LP featured guest appearances from dancehall royalty Shaggy as well as R&B and rap stars like Rick Ross and Chris Brown. He balanced out the more refined studio album with the appropriately titled and sexually explicit mixtape Raw, released later the same year. In 2019, he returned with another brief mixtape, Badman Vs. Nice Guy.
By Paul Simpson
Livingstone Etse Satekla, better known by his stage name Stonebwoy, is a Ghanaian Afropop, dance hall, and reggae singer. He is the CEO of Burniton Music Group.
He won the Best International Act: Africa category at the 2015 BET Awards and Artist of the Year at the 2015 Ghana Music Awards. He is also a recipient of two Billboard plaques. He has been described as the king of reggae and dance hall artists in Africa.
Stonebwoy was born in Ashaiman in the Greater Accra region of Ghana and began making music in his early school days. He realized his talents and abilities as a lyricist and scriptwriter at an early age, remembering writing and acting drama pieces as far back as his fourth year in primary school.
Under "Samini Music", Stonebwoy recorded his first hit single "Climax" featuring Samini and subsequently "Ghetto Love" featuring Irene Logan. Both songs earned him nominations at the Ghana Music Awards. After this exposure, he released his debut album "Grade 1 Album". The album contains seventeen tracks that featured prominent Ghanaian artists including Tinny and Edem aside from those mentioned above. The release of the debut album made the Stonebwoy brand a household name in the music industry. In 2014, Satekla released his second album, called the Necessary Evil. It consists of twenty-nine tracks, including the famous Baafira track that featured Sarkodie. The album was the recipient of three Ghana Music Awards from six nominations.
Released on 12 December 2017; the Epistles of Mama was dedicated to Satekla's late mother by the name of Mrs. Catherine Lucy Aku Ametepe Satekla. The 24 track album features Sean Paul, King Promise, Burna Boy. The album peaked at Number thirteen (13) on Billboard chart top 200 albums worldwide. In 2018 ‘Epistles Of Mama (EOM)’ was rated the second-best album in the world according to reggaeville. The Album was honored by YouTube for hitting over 10 million views.
On 24 April 2020, Stonebwoy released his fourth studio album which featured the likes of Keri Hilson (US), Nasty C (SA), Diamond Platinumz (Tanzania), Alicai Harley (Jamaica), Jahmiel (Jamaica), Zlatan (Nigeria), Kojo Antwi (Ghana), Chivv (Netherlands) and Spanker (Netherlands). He also worked with producers like Mix Master Garzy, Streetbeatz, M.O.G. Beatz, Spanker, Riga, Phantom, iPappi, and others. Let your voice be a voice of Change; a voice of Africa for Africa; Stonebwoy shares his Africa movement with The Voice of Africa.
Stonebwoy normally ragga in Jamaican Patois (Patwa or Patwah), and is considered a "multifaceted rapper" due to the various musical styles he possesses. In 2015, he received many awards and nominations ranging from "Artist of the Year" to "Album of the Year". His sophomore album, Necessary Evil, was the recipient of 3 Ghana Music Awards from 6 nominations.
He has been listed as part of the 2019 50 (fifty) young CEOs, by YCEO and Avance media. The list which was launched earlier in 2018, was set out to honor distinguished young individuals pursuing the course of providing solutions to some of Ghana's pertinent problems.
Stonebwoy kicked off his world tour in the Euro-zone in August 2014. He performed in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Austria. His 2016 Canada-America tour saw him perform in New York City, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Ontario. In the same year, he rocked Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sidney all in Australia. His second Euro tour saw him travel to the Nordic to thrill fans in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden in the last quarter of 2017. Stonebwoy performed at Reggae Sumfest, Afro nation festival in Portugal, Rotterdam reggae festival, Uppsala Reggae Festival. Rototom Sunsplash. He continues to tour and we are excited for him to perform at Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival this year!
Source: Ghana Web
Alison first rose to national stardom with her band Square One in the late 1980s. With the support of her family, she was on a path to permanently change the soca scene. This would have been a significant challenge at the time as most bands during this era were predominantly male. In a 2011 interview, Alison shared, “When I came onto the scene I was the first female to come to the forefront [of a band], have hit songs, fronting a band...At that time, the trend was either an all-male frontline, or there was a male who was the star, who was the lead. If there was a female in the band, she maybe did one or two songs, but basically, she was there to provide support, background vocals.” But, this did not deter the young star as both she and her bandmates had a musical dream to revolutionise Barbadian and Caribbean music- and that, they did. With hits like ‘Ragamuffin’ and ‘Bazodee’, Alison and Square One quickly became favourites for soca lovers.
From early on in her career, the love for Alison could be felt as she gave high energy performances every time she touched the stage. In 1997, she created history in Barbados when she became the first woman to secure the Party Monarch and Road March titles during the island’s Crop Over festivities with the song ‘Meantime’. The year was 1998 when Alison’s vocals, backed by Square One, could be heard nonstop across the region’s airwaves. The song was the massive hit Faluma. The lyrics of the infectious dance tune are in the traditional language of the Surinamese Saamaka ethnic group, and this move helped to showcase Alison’s commitment to the culture of the Caribbean which before was so often overlooked.
To date, Alison’s greatest hit has been the female empowerment anthem, ‘Roll’. Amassing well over 3 million YouTube views, this 2005 release captured a new audience in countries such as Canada and even the Far East. Though Alison is well-known for her dance tunes, this song’s powerful lyrics served as an encouragement to women to seek upliftment in all aspects of their lives. Speaking on a South Florida morning show, the singer shared that she is truly committed to strengthening the women around her. “I have been known throughout my career as a woman who is all about female empowerment and all about us as women. Strengthening us and getting us to not only be strong but also recognise the other parts of us...We are wives, we are mothers, but we are so much more.”
Source: Visit Barbados
DRED I DREAD
Dred I Dread is a Minneapolis, MN based Reggae Band. The Band features talented musicians that come from Jamaica, New Orleans, Minnesota and Turkiye. The diverse heritage of these band members echo in the sound of Dred I Dread.
The Band was formed in 1998 and chosen as "Best Local Reggae Band" by City Pages Magazine in 1999. The debut CD "Listen to the Revolution" was released in March 1999. The CD was produced by Reggae Keyboardist Tony “Asher” Brisset, one of the past members of Black Uhuru. During 2000 and 2001, Dred I Dread was named "Best Reggae Band in Minnesota" by the members of the Minnesota Music Academy. Dred I Dread shared stages with Chronixx, The Wailers, Yellowman, Israel Vibration, The Meditations, De La Soul, Jimmy Cliff, Sister Carol, Third World, Wailing Souls, Collie Buddz and many other international acts. Dred I Dread' s studio collaborations include Reggae legends including Earl Chinna Smith, Tony Asher, Flabba Holt, Dean Fraser and Nambo Robinson. The Band proudly performed at very reputable events and festivals in Jamaica.
Recognized as the Minneapolis Reggae Legends by the local media, Dred I Dread' s music has been praised for its uplifting messages of love, unity, and social justice, making them a perfect fit for any festival that values positivity and inclusivity.
The band's live performances are renowned for their energy and passion, with Peewee Dread and Rawle G' s powerful vocals leading the charge. With more then 20 years of experience playing together and a deep understanding of the Reggae sound, Dred I Dread's rhythm section consists of Paul Kammeyer on bass, Adam Cole on drums, Alex G on keyboard and Serdar G on guitars creates a sound that is both timeless and contemporary. Their commitment to the art of Reggae music is evident in every note they play, and their performances are always filled with passion and energy.
Rootz Within is motivated by a desire to promote positivity, community & personal growth through relatable lyrics & catchy hooks. Delivered with their signature easy-going island style, they combine elements of rock, funk, and jamband-like improvisation with a smooth reggae foundation. Based in Minnesota, Rootz Within evolved into a full-time project in 2016 and has quickly become a rising star in the Big Island & Midwest music and festival scenes. They've performed across 9 states (HI, OR, WA, ID, MT, ND, IA, MN & WI) including two tours on Hawaii & Maui islands and another two tours to the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by their time in Hawaii, Rootz Within's debut album, Aloha Aina, was released in summer 2017. The sophomore album, Incrementum, was recorded at Pachyderm Recording Studio, released Summer 2022, and is available across multiple online streaming platforms. Rootz Within has performed with reggae legends Alborosie and Clinton Fearon, as well as Mike Love, Chris Berry, Indubious, Tropidelic, Nattali Rize, Natty Nation, and Jon Wayne & the Pain, among many others.
SOUND OF FUJUN
Sound of Fujun has been bringing the hottest music to the Twin Cities since 2003. The first Caribbean DJ from Minnesota to go global, he broadcasts to avid fans via soundoffujun.podomatic.com. "Fujun" comes from his Trinidadian roots, spelled as it is pronounced back home. His ability to fuse music- dancehall, hip hop, reggae, soca, afrobeats - keeps the vibe fresh and fans wanting more. He performs regularly at Jamaica Pimento Kitchen Rum Bar and will be performing at the official Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival after party held at Spurs on First and Aces. Check out this year's Bayfront Reggae & World Music podcast.