Sunday, 7 August 2016

LUCIANO - THE MESSENGER OF REGGAE





Luciano is one Reggae legend of our time that has contributed so much to the propagation of positive spiritual realities to both the youth and older generations, his music cuts across genre but still maintains the positive energy of reggae rhythm. There is so much to know about the messenger yet little space to say.

With the release of his landmark CD "Where There Is Life" in 1995, Luciano emerged as one of the most important reggae singers in decades and the greatest hope for roots reggae's survival in the digital dance-hall era. Since that much acclaimed release, Luciano's music has been consistently praised for imparting sentiments of spiritual salvation, edification and humanitarian uplifting.

In these troubled times, Luciano's engaging baritone voice resonates like a divinely ordained instrument possessing the power to comfort souls from all walks of life. While many of his so called "conscious" contemporaries have faltered by recording songs that glorify wanton sex and random violence as a means of topping the charts, Luciano has held steadfast to enriching principles; these positive lyrical themes have justifiably earned him the title of The Messenger. However, the humble singer also refers to himself as the child of a king which was the title of his penultimate CD for VP Records.

"We are all children of the Most High God and as a Rasta man, I acknowledge that I am a child of Emperor Haile Selassie I because all of his teachings are in my songs," he explains. "I am a child of a king and I just want my family and my fans to receive the blessings that God has given through me as a messenger and an instrument of peace."

Luciano estimates to have made at least 40 albums; the prolific artist releases three (full length) CDs per year. "I have so much music and messages, that I cannot be holding it inside of me," he declares. "From a management point of view, they would like to see me cooling out for a while but if a bird doesn't sing, tell me if that bird is happy?"

Music has run deeply throughout Luciano's life. Born Jepther Washington McClymont on October 20, 1964 in Davey Town, a small community located atop a hilly region on the road to Mandeville in the central Jamaican parish of Manchester. Luciano was raised in the Adventist church and sang in the church choir. His father Arthur passed away when Luciano was just 11 years old. He left behind a guitar he had built and as Luciano recalls, "through those early years, I fell in love with the guitar and started to learn to play, which I realised was showing love and respect to my father." His beloved mother Sophie, who struggled to raise Luciano and his eight siblings, is also a gifted singer.

As he grew older, Luciano sang in local youth clubs and took the mic at local sound system dances. In the late 80s, he arrived in Jamaica's bustling capital Kingston hoping to transform his musical talent into a flourishing career. He sold oranges in the marketplace as means of initially supporting himself but when a droughtrestricted that year's orange crop, he returned to Mandeville. However, the music beckoned so it wasn't long before Luciano went back to Kingston, this time with even greater determination to succeed. He worked as an upholsterer by day and at night he sought recording opportunities in various studios.It was suggested by one of his mentors, Homer Harris, that the name Jepther McClymont did not have the requisite charisma to propel the career of an aspiring entertainer; Jepther was (professionally) re-christened as Luciano, a name that parallels his extraordinary vocal skills alongside those of the world-renowned operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The name was also somewhat prophetic: "Luci" means bearer of light and within a few years Luciano would shine as one of the brightest lights in the Jamaican music constellation.

As the 1990s progressed, Luciano recorded for a few producers but failed to make any significant headway until he met Freddie McGregor. "Shake It Up" (a cover version of Cheryl Lyn's RnB hit) recorded for Freddie's Big Ship label became a number one hit in the UK in 1993 and was featured on Luciano's first release for VP Records "After All". Due to Freddie's hectic touring commitments, he was unable to devote sufcient time to developing Luciano's singer/song writing skills. However the singer soon found an ideal collaborator in producer Phillip "Fatis" Burell of Xterminator Records whose releases were characterised by Rastafarian imbued themes and intricately crafted roots rock rhythms played by some of Jamaica's finest musicians.

Fatis, who also took on the managerial role in Luciano's career, brought the gifted singer's talents to the musical forefront on cuts like "Poor and Simple", "Chant Out" and "One Way Ticket", the latter regarded as one of the finest repatriation anthems ever written and a song that continually summons enthusiastic responses in Luciano's breathtaking live performances. With the release of "Where There Is Life" for Island Records Jamaica Luciano's deeply devotional yet accessible lyrics and the beautiful melodies of "Its Me Again Jah", "Your World and Mine" and "Lord Give Me Strength" coupled with Fatis' contemporary one drop rhythms catapulted the singer to the top of the reggae charts, toppling (at least temporarily) the decade long reign of deejays rapping x-rated lyrics over digitised dancehall beats.

Luciano and Fatis (alongside prominent musicians such as saxophonist Dean Frasier and drummer Sly Dunbar) created several exceptional releases including 1997's "The Messenger" and 1999's "Sweep Over My Soul". Although they parted ways in 1999 due to artistic diferences within the Xterminator camp, Luciano consistently acknowledges Fatis' essential role in establishing the foundation for his far reaching success.

The Messenger has since ascended to even greater musical heights with "A New Day" (2001) "Serve Jah" (2003), "Serious Times" (2004), all for VP Records who also released “Child of A King" (2006) and “United States of Africa” (2010) all of which contributed towards the crowning glory of his exalted career thus far. His most recent album “Rub-A-Dub Market released in (2011) just proves that Luciano is like unto a good vintage wine, which just keeps getting better and better the more it matures.

Luciano states that, “Over the years I have listened to other international icons like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Jim Reeves. By listening to all these great brothers, I have learned to appreciate other works and see that there are no barriers in music. Although I am well known as a cultural reggae singer, I have an international message and so I cannot deliver it just to reggae fans. I have to extend it to people from all walks of life." Spoken like a truly benevolent messenger and the globally minded child. Culled from Luciano Official website

Friday, 26 October 2012

Bob Marley still making money

Thirty one years after his death, the
late Hon. Nesta aka Bob Marley has amassed enough wealth to be ranked No.5 on Forbes list of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities for 2012. Marley’s wealth was not made by album sale, but rather through Marley’s Mellow Mood a beverage company and House of Marley (producer of Eco-friendly audio and lifestyle products) to his portfolio. Forbes compiled the ranking by analyzing the dead celebrities' earnings between October 2011-2012 Below is the complete list of highest earning dead celebrities. Elizabeth Taylor $210 million Michael Jackson $145 million Elvis Presley $55 million Charles Schulz $37 million Bob Marley $17 million John Lennon $12 Million Marilyn Monroe $10 Million Albert Einstein, $10 Million Dr Seuss, $9 Million Steve McQueen, $8 Million Bettie Page, $8 Million Richard Rogers, $6 Million George Harrison, $5.5 Million.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Get personal with Loversrock

The roots of Lovers Rock lie in the early days of reggae, with Jamaican and American singers such as Ken Boothe, Johnny Nash, and John Holt enjoying international hits with reggae versions of well-known love songs.

A style suited to the London reggae scene, Lovers rock represented an apolitical counterpoint to the conscious Rastafarian sound dominant in Jamaica at the time. It combined the smooth soul sounds of Chicago and Philadelphia soul with reggae basslines and rhythms.

Rooted in the Sound systems of South London, the style had particular appeal amongst women and produced many female stars including Carroll Thompson, and the first British singer to have a lovers hit Ginger Williams' "Tenderness" in 1974. Louisa Mark, was aged just 14 when she had a major lovers rock hit with her version of Bobby Parker's "Caught You in a Lie" in 1975, this spawned the distinctive young girl female sound associated with early lovers rock.

This was followed by the husband and wife production team of Dennis and Eve Harris then had a big hit with T.T. Ross's "Last Date", and Dennis Harris then set up a new label, Lovers Rock,at the south east London premises on Upper Brockley Road along with John Kpiaye and Dennis Bovell, which gave the new genre a name.

South London trio Brown Sugar (including a young Caron Wheeler, later of Soul II Soul) pioneered a subgenre, 'conscious lovers', with songs such as "I'm In Love With a Dreadlocks" and "Black Pride". Others who released records in this subgenre included the Battersea songstress Winsome. Lovers Rock became a staple of London's sound systems such as Chicken Hi-Fi, Success Sound, and Soferno B. Neil "Mad Professor" Fraser would be a key Lovers Rock producer, working with Deborahe Glasgow, while Bovell would produce one of the genre's biggest hits, Janet Kay's "Silly Games", which reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979.

Although noted for the preponderance and youth of its female exponents, the new style produced its fair share of male stars as well, notably Trevor Walters, Honey Boy, and Winston Reedy. The trend also saw the emergence of many male groups, including Tradition, The Investigators and the Birmingham group Beshara, who in the early 80's, had the emotive reggae chart hit "Men Cry Too".

Subsequently, numerous well-established Jamaican acts came to try their hand at the new sound. Most successful among these were Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, and later Freddie McGregor. Brown's "Money In My Pocket" (#14 in 1979) and Minott's "Good Thing Going" (#4 in 1981) were both big hits in the UK Singles Chart.

The popularity of Lovers Rock has continued, and in the 1980s the Fashion label was successful with UK audiences, and the Revue label had a major hit in 1986 with Boris Gardiner's "I Wanna Wake Up With You". In the 1990s the likes of Mike Anthony, Peter Hunnigale, and Donna Marie enjoyed success with the genre, and several British stars have performed at Reggae Sunsplash.

called from wikpedia