Thursday August 3
Inna original Dancehall style, when the mobile soundsystem anchored by an MC would select the b-side known as the “version” minus the vocal tracks and artists would take the mic to chant, freestyle, comment on the news of the community, as the town crier or griot and get the crowd engaged through high fidelity speaker boxes. Artist Kabaka Pyramid meets Walshy Fire to present a set that reflects their collaboration: the Accurate Mixtape which was released in mid 2016. A Jamaican based in Miami, Walshy Fire is a member Major Lazer where he performs MC duties collaborates on album projects, as well as producing and collaborating on releases with other artists. As a solo DJ Walshy tours the world presenting his sound that incorporates, Reggae Dancehall as a culture that also includes music from other genres like Soca, Afrobeats, Latin, Moombahton, old school R&B and Hiphop. Walshy and Kabaka collaborated on a “mash up” of Reggae and Hiphop for the Be Inspired single with Raekwon as part of an extreme ski film soundtrack where reggae artists meet Hiphop artists in a style pioneered by the soundsystem Black Chiney that Walshy toured with for several years. Walshy & Kabaka will perform over custom rhythms with freestyles and word play in a highly-anticipated rare and exclusive Thursday night headlining set that is sure to be a highlight of the festival.
Backed by the Woven Roots band, this special showcase of talent is a rare opportunity to see artists who have collaborated in the studio, share stage time together.
Woven Roots is a Humboldt-based five piece band which is led by singer/songwriter Travis Roots who performs a segment of their originals as part of the revue.
Originally from Guyana, raised in Brooklyn, NY, this artist exemplifies the blending of different genres, his catchy hooks and intricate rhymes are found on recordings from dubstep to dancehall to Jazz with features on recordings by Branford Marsalis’ group Buckshot LeFonque Snoop Dogg’s album Reincarnated as well as Major Lazer’s Gun’s Don’t Kill People Lazer’s Do. His singles “All Comes Back to One” and “Mountains to Climb” reflect positive lyrics of self-knowledge and unity. His most recent full length album Order of Distinction was produced by Lustre Kings. His 2009 album Buzzrock Warrior showcases the EDM side of his work with global grooves and Dub. Jahdan has also recorded and performed as part of the group Noble Society.
Performing smooth-timbred vocals reminiscent of Nat King Cole or Dennis Brown, this Woven Roots artist was born in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. He got his stage name after a stint in the US Army. His third full length album Rasta Awake produced with legendary guitarist Tuff Lion, Is centered in the artist’s intention to use his music as a weapon in the war for spiritual renewal and justice for all peoples. As Army explains “I want to send positive universal messages to people through my music, without the commercialism we see so much today… For me the music is a healing.”
Originally from Jamaica and relocating to the the US Virgin Islands at age 15, his 2008 album Breaking Babylon Curse produced with Zion High/Lustre Kings is a roots reggae triumph, encompassing the artist’s diverse writing style with reflections on divinity, the environment, health and wellness and more delivered with a soul-stirring voice and mystical stage presence.
Winstrong hails from Suriname and records and performs music that reflects what he calls an “urban culture sound” blending conscious lyrics with dancehall reggae, Hiphop and R&B he’s released collab singles with Snoop Dogg & Blackalicious.
Hailing from the Bay Area, he has worked as a studio musician, songwriter and band leader. He got his start as a drummer in his father's reggae band. A powerful vocalist chanting Rastafarian messages of truth and rights, Luv Fyah's 2007 album Ethiopia We Belong is a collection of cultural tune classics.
Redway’s own Reggae band, they formed in 2015 based on the shared vision of producers and songwriters Stevie Culture and Brody Forester to represent the ideals of the local community of peace, love and unity combined with musicianship that is sure to get you dancing. Stevie Culture is an accomplished recording artist from Jamaica who now calls Humboldt home, he sings lead vocals and plays drums with the band. Brody plays lead guitar and shares lead vocal duties, Cyrus Weissman is on bass, Brian Sykes is on rhythm & lead guitar, and April Mae is on vocals. They weave Blues and Funk seasoned with soulful harmonies and complex guitar lines to present original material rooted in Reggae.
Returning to ROTR 2017 after her late night DJ session last year, this artist rides the rhythms with a flow that is influenced by Hiphop, and R&B, yet rooted in Reggae’s roots and culture. Her single “Ganja Tea”, from her 2015 EP Ebb and Flow is full of lyrical imagery around the use of the cannabis plant, its accompanying music video, filmed in Jamaica, has been viewed 1.7M times! Her single “Stand For Something” is an introspective vocal track concerning social consciousness reminding the listener, with the adage “if you don’t stand for something, you’re gonna fall for anything”. Keida will be accompanied by the 7th Street Band from the Bay Area on this performance.
Formed in Humboldt County in early 2016, this group plays roots Reggae in the devotional style, influenced by the Rastafarian nyabinghi gathering known as the “groundation” ceremony. The group offers their music for the upliftment of consciousness in this time, as they say in the song “Bless”, “Blessed is the presence of the presence in the present. We shall hear thy name, blowing on the wind, living as the sun. Making all things new again, making all things one.”
Friday August 4
This Friday night headliner has continued in the path of the firestorm of Jamaican Dancehall that influences so many of today’s popular tunes. His latest album Theory of Reggaetivity gives the listeners the original Dancehall style, bubbling with one drop rhythms in tribute to the roots of Reggae culture. His gravelly voice and thunderous flow ride the riddims in classic cultural dancehall style with lyrics that are full of vibes. Assassin’s lyrical bars are found in Hiphop collaborations with artists Kendrick Lamar (“Blacker the Berry”) & Kanye West (I’m In It”). Lamar performed the Assassin-flavored song on the 2016 Grammy’s telecast highlighting the artist’s contribution on a global platform. He’s considered to be one of the best lyricists and songwriters in Dancehall Reggae, as well as a producer and co-founder of Boardhouse Records where he released his second full length album Gully Sit’n (2008) which has been described as a “celebration of ghetto life”. He was first introduced to the music industry when Spragga Benz recorded a song he penned, and by age 19, had three #1 hits. Since that time he has recorded over 300 singles. His debut album Infiltration was released on VP Records in 2005. His engaging stage presence and interaction with the musicians during his set has led him to prestigious stages throughout the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean. His performance at Reggae on the River 2017 will feature the Ruff Cutt band, a set of players that are a highly sought-after unit in the Jamaican professional musician community.
Part of the current wave of “West Coast Style” Reggae, this popular touring band returns to the ROTR stage blending upbeat tempos with the heavy vibes of Dub music in a multilayered sonic experience. Shifting into lengthy dub instrumental segments with tripped out keyboard lines they sing deep roots style harmonies giving an authentic vintage Reggae feel to their sound. Making their second appearance at ROTR, they shift into lengthy dub instrumental segments full of reverb, percussion and layers that change tempos with ease. The band’s origins are in Massachusetts where the multi-instrumentalist, Scott Woodruff, a literal one man band recorded most all of his first 4 albums between 2006-2012. Now based in San Diego, their 2015 album Set In Stone reached the #1 position on both the iTunes and Billboard Reggae charts and featured collabs with members of Slightly Stoopid and Rebelution as well as Collie Buddz. This is a band that is blowing up on the present day scene, developing into a major draw for an expanding fan base.
An artist and producer from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica blending the lyricism of Hiphop, with the culture, energy and phrasing of Reggae and Dancehall, Kabaka Pyramid performs two sets at ROTR 2017, one with DJ and producer Walshy Fire from the group Major Lazer as part of their Accurate Mixtape collaboration to close the first day of the festival and one with his band the Bebble Rockers, an ensemble with whom he collaborates to create music that blends Jamaican rhythms with Hiphop and the artist’s conscious, sharply delivered messages that aim to shake up the status quo. His highly anticipated debut full length album Contraband scheduled for 2017 release contains several tracks produced with Damian Marley who also produced the 2015 single “Well Done” as part of the “On The Corner” rhythm set. Its a scathing, timely diatribe against the missteps of the Jamaican politicians, leasing the resources and interests of Jamaica to foreign investors and the IMF since independence 50 years ago and picks up where his 2013 hit “No Capitalist” left off. Kabaka performs and records with the Bebble Rockers, a team of stellar live players and session musicians who weave Dub, Hiphop and deep roots rhythms as a sonic bed for the artist’s extensive catalog. Kabaka Pyramid has been a key figure in the Reggae Revival movement with his conscious lyrics and action worldwide. He made his California festival debut at ROTR 2013.
This artist grew up in Bamboo, a community located in the partish of St. Ann in Jamaica, where he still chooses to spend most of his time when on the island. Getting his start in the early 2000’s, his breakthrough hit came with the 2005 song “Handcart Bwoy” that expressed in playful, vivid storytelling, notions of class or the vast difference between town and country life in Jamaica, as love blossoms between a female subject and a young “Bobo” Rasta farmer that works to distribute and selling produce using a handcart, “round the market mi juggle pepper and pak choi.“ His song “Country Cousin” explores outlines the cultural differences between rural and city dwellers in Jamaica and that many have a “country cousin”. Perfect has maintained #1 chart positions both in Jamaica and in Europe releasing singles on his own label, and rhythm compilations that include vocal contributions from artists like Anthony B, Mr Williamz and Lutan Fyah. His reality tunes are often tinged with humor, addressing current events and his personal take on the music industry with a dose of irony. He’s recorded over 100 singles, some of which are released on his own Giddimani Records imprint. His 2016 album is entitled Reggae Farm Work.
Hailing from Australia, this performing artist and social activist writes Rock-influenced Reggae with socially conscious messages. Singing in a soprano tone with a Reggae vibe that stirs the soul, anthemic songs like “One People” unite the human family while calling out false leaders. After spending most of 2014 living, writing and recording in Kingston, Jamaica, Nattali recruited a band to collaborate on Reggae rhythms as a vehicle for her socially conscious messages, she calls “rebel music for a new era.” Her first full-length album Rebel Frequency was released earlier in 2017 and reached the top ten on the Billboard Reggae chart. As a social activist, Rize has spoken out on environmental, indigenous people’s rights, and human trafficking issues. Her lyrical flow conjures up a sense of urgency and a call to action as the nimble musicianship of her bandmates furthers the mission with a driving force. She first came on the international scene as the lead singer of Blue King Brown. Since that time she has criss-crossed the globe performing on the world’s most prestigious Reggae festivals, and most recently touring as a support act on tours with artists Tribal Seeds and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
An original member of the 1960’s harmony trio the Righteous Flames along with Alton Ellis, with whom he recorded a string of Ska and Rocksteady hits for Treasure Isle and Studio One, he began recording as a solo artist in the 1970’s and since that time recorded and released 17 albums. Moving to Kingston at age 5, he would grow up in the Jonestown area. His conscious lyrics on songs like “Crucial Times”, “Survival Is the Game“ and “Up Park Camp” address the concerns of Jamaica’s poor from a Rastafarian, Pan-African, city and rural perspective. Performing at ROTR 2017 with the Washington-based Yogoman Burning Band, Mr. Jarrett has made his home in the Seattle area for many years. An underrated artist due to limited exposure he has received over time, his humble manner and vocal delivery are exemplary.
A fixture on the Western Washington scene as a vibrant band that compels audiences to get up and dance with singalongs, call and response lyrics, and a horn section while wearing brightly colored attire often in red, gold and green. Leader Jordan Rain fronts the band as a vocalist while playing drums through a variety of syncopated styles including Ska, Reggae, Funk, Hip Hop, Latin, and New Orleans-style Brass Band Jazz. They’ve released five albums of their original music, part one-drop, part Salsa with a bit of second line added for a carnival-like vibe that makes for a fun and unique musical experience.
Coming from Denver, Colorado, heavy roots Reggae meets the Pop sensibilities of Dance and EDM to form a unique subgenre coined “dubtronic”. This trio of musicians released an EP, Sounds In Technicolor that reached over 4,000 downloads through the band’s social media and website network, part of an expansive following exposed to the band’s innovative sound on numerous tours where they have performed as support act for bands like Easy Star All Stars, Slightly Stoopid, Iration and more. Prepare for a modern take on vintage rhythms and an innovative hybrid Reggae sound.
Saturday August 5
This San Diego, California based group that got their start nearly 2 decades ago in the Ocean Beach area is led by co-founders and multi-instrumentalists Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty, along with drummer Ryan “Rymo” Moran; percussionist Oguer “OG” Ocon; saxophonist Daniel “Dela” Delacruz; keyboardist Paul Wolstencroft; and trumpet/ trombone player Andy Geib. Representing the “West Coast Reggae” style, the live show emerges from an Alternative Rock framework with guitar-heavy arrangements and song structure. Starting their own label back in 1999 the band worked to gain a following with the fans with the goal to have complete creative control over everything, releasing their music through their own Stoopid Records, maintaining a very organic, DIY attitude, one they cultivated by observing their mentors alternative Rock/Reggae band Sublime and their own self-released strategy. During their formative years, the players looked to some of reggae’s top musicians, producers and artists for mentorship to learn techniques and help shape a sound that represents the production values and standards of Reggae’s pioneers. The live show takes the shape of a party as vocals are shared by band members and guest vocalists are often invited on stage to perform. They have completed numerous North American tours and are on the road this summer with fellow ROTR 2017 artist J Boog as part of the Sounds Of Summer Tour. Performing first at ROTR in the late 1990’s and again in the mid 2000’s its incredible to see their evolution from then to now headlining the show and touring globally as one of the biggest bands in Reggae today.
Part of the next generation of Reggae from outside of Jamaica, J Boog comes originally from Compton, California and his Samoan cultural background influences his Pacific Island Reggae sound. Performing some of the most soaring, perfectly pitched vocals and intricate phrasing on the scene today along with the support of the mighty Hot Rain band, his release Rose Petals was nominated for a Grammy in the Reggae category for 2016. Since his debut EP 2011 release: Backyard Boogie produced by Jamaican hitmaker Don Corleone, his distinctive soul-influenced voice and songs have taken him to stages around the globe and to many countries in the Pacific Rim. A frequent collaborator with other artists and producers in the industry, his vocals can be found on tracks by Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Fiji, SOJA and more. Songs like “Sunshine Girl” with Peetah Morgan, “Waiting On the Rain,” “Every Little Thing” as well as his first boomshot hit “Let’s Do It Again” explore romance from the male perspective. Heavier topics are covered with an ear to the street and his real life experience growing up combined with a sincere sense of justice on songs like “Let It Blaze” and “Low the Gunz”. J Boog now spends his time in Hawaii where he records and writes when not on the road. His most recent album Wash House Ting came out in late 2016. This is the artist’s third appearance at ROTR, he last appeared in 2013 and since that time his star has risen astronomically!
With his breakout hit in 2000, “Love So Nice” a reality tune in the form of a love song that asked “if love so nice, tell me why it hurt so bad?” his narrative melodic style with compelling hooks and rapid fire chanting ushered in a new reggae subgenre of “singjay” style delivery that blended elements of Hiphop, Pop & RnB with roots reggae. A deep baritone vocal on “Boom Draw” over a one drop riddim extolls the virtues of the finest herb sample. Rasta philosophy is woven from universal messages of courage and hope as exhibited in the lyrics for “Smile” a huge hit for Junior Kelly, a song that would become a singalong crowd favorite on stages throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the US over the past several years. His 2005 song “Rasta Should Be Deeper” discussed the necessity for an inward militant focus on the teachings of Rastafari, a rejection of material things and the co-opting of outward images associated with Rasta. He’s released 12 studio albums and one live album recorded in San Francisco in 2007. His most recent albums are Piece of the Pie and Urban Poet both of which underscore his range lyrically and stylistically as one of the most gifted and under appreciated artists in modern reggae.
Considered the “Wilson Pickett of Jamaican music” Mr. Boothe is a living legend who got his start during Reggae’s genesis, in the Rocksteady sound of the 1960’s with his distinctive vibrato vocal style that topped the charts both in Jamaica and in the United Kingdom. His single “Freedom Street” released in 1970, aimed to unite the political factions in Jamaica’s post independence turmoil by imploring his fellow citizens to respect each other and “work things out intelligently”. In 1974 Ken Boothe covered the song “Everything I Own” voicing it over a Reggae rhythm- it was originally recorded by David Gates from the ’70’s Rock group Bread. The single led him to the top of the UK charts. His first recordings were as part of duets and trios, but in 1966 he was signed to Studio One as a solo artist and his first hit “The Train Is Coming” with its driving syncopation was actually re-recorded with Shaggy and included on the soundtrack to the 1995 feature film Money Train. In 2003 Mr. Boothe was awarded the Jamaica Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaican music. His most recent release is the 2012 Journey album. Expect a powerful vocal delivery and commanding stage presence from this 50-year veteran in Reggae.
Coming from Jamaica is a prolific songwriter and vocalist that works to present songs with uplifting messages speaking out against violence and the effects of oppression, his most recent single “They Don’t Give” addresses the hypocrisy of the system. Initially deejaying under the name of Presley (think Elvis Presley), he recorded his first tune in 1994 with the legendary Black Scorpio Records in Jamaica. That same year, Prestige gave up meat, focused on a healthier lifestyle and chose to live more harmoniously with people and the environment. His single “He That Seek” was featured on the 2015 Reggae on the River Collection album, it makes the case for justice with the lyric ”he that seeks will find, clean hands no bad mind.”
A group formed during the golden age of Jamaican Reggae, Rolling Stone magazine included their seminal 1977 recording Two Seven’s Clash on its “50 Coolest Records Ever Made” list in 2002, its the only Reggae album present. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the album. The group’s impact on Reggae music is massive, after a performance at the historic One Love Peace Concert in 1978 Kingston, they began what would become a rigorous touring schedule throughout the globe including numerous tours to several African countries. The 1979 single and album International Herb would become anthemic to the legalization cause globally with its album art featuring marijuana plants, which generated controversy. Joseph “Culture” Hill sang lead and wrote much of the massive set of material, original founding member and cousin to Mr. Hill, Albert Walker and longtime harmony singer Telford Nelson carry on after his death in 2006 by performing with his son Kenyatta Hill who continues the Culture legacy. The nuances of Kenyatta’s voice as well as his mannerisms remind audiences of his late father. Influenced by elements of Dancehall, grounded in the roots tradition and motivated to carry on his father’s work, Kenyatta released the album Pass The Torch in 2007, it includes finished songs that Joseph had started and is considered a collector’s item. He’s also released a ten song set of originals as a solo album entitled Riddim Of Life (2014).
Part of the next wave of “cultural” artists that came on the Jamaican Reggae scene in the early 2000’s, Warrior King's 2001 debut album Virtuous Woman was an epic set that offered a welcome respite from the slackness Dancehall music of the late 90’s and ushered in a return to the one drop rhythm, setting the pace for cultural singjay type of chanting to thrive. Songs like “Hold Da Faith”, “Breath of Fresh Air”, “Jah Is Alway’s There” & “Never Go Where Pagans Go” became mainstays on playlists worldwide and jettisoned the artist to international stages. His 2005 follow up album Hold Da Faith with its singles “Can’t Get Me Down” & “Breath of Fresh Air” encouraged the downtrodden to stay strong in the midst of perilous times. His most recent release is the 14-song set entitled The Rootz Warrior. First appearing at ROTR in 2004 and again in 2008, he performs with the Rootz Warriors band in this highly-anticipated set from an artist who has not toured to the area for a number of years.
Making her third festival appearance at ROTR 2017, Ms Dube is the daughter of the late Reggae artist Lucky Dube from South Africa and she continues his important legacy. Her original music mixes the sounds of Reggae with Soul and Jazz performed and recorded with a band comprised of highly skilled musicians that form a natural synergy with the artist’s soaring vocals. Songs like her debut single “Who Dem” uplift the Rasta lifestyle. In the live setting she performs select songs from her father’s extensive catalog in tribute to his body of work as a freedom fighter and pioneer in modern African music. Getting her start as a backup singer and dancer with Jazz and Afrop-pop artists, a dynamic stage presentation is what’s in store. She’ll be performing with the Rootz Warriors band at ROTR 2017.
Hailing from Costa Rica, this group brings the “pura vida” concept and fuses Reggae with other Afro-Caribbean rhythms such as Salsa as well as Rock and Electronica. Singing in both Spanish and English, the band formed in 2007 releasing originals that cover a vast range of social issues and topics from everyday life like personal struggles and relationships. Originally a group of friends who got together to play at parties and events, they eventually decided to record and pursue a band concept. They’ve performed at numerous festivals outside of their country including Cali Roots where they had the crowd feeling the vibes. A horn section, percussion, searing guitar lines, harmonies and various members on lead vocals contribute to a big sound on stage.
Performing what he calls “hard roots” Reggae, Mighty Mystic, who was born in Jamaica and grew up in Boston has a style that incorporates elements of Hiphop and Rock that makes for a powerful stage show. The group has been hitting the road hard, touring the US extensively, performing songs like “Cali Green” a cannabis tune classic that has been featured on television and in documentary film. His latest album is the 2016 release The Art Of Balance.
Sunday August 6
Sly & Robbie in a showcase with Bob Marley’s I-Threes harmony singers Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt who along with next generation artist Cherine Anderson will perform some of the classics from the Bob Marley and the Wailers catalog as well as individually on tracks that established each of them as solo artists. This showcase represents one of a select moments in ROTR history where we have had a female headliner, and this year its the best yet!
Sly & Robbie
Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have performed and recorded as a drum and bass duo on an estimated 200,000 tracks and are considered the most recorded musicians in all of music, regardless of genre. The duo are responsible for ushering in the digital era of Reggae with their production and live performances as part of the group Black Uhuru using computer assisted instruments and programming in the mid-80s. Their sound would emerge in mainstream Pop on recordings by Grace Jones (Nightclubbing) and other artists would then seek out the “Riddim Twins” over the years to produce tracks like The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, No Doubt, Herbie Hancock and more. In 1976 they introduced a new rhythmic pattern known as “Rockers” that took the “one drop” pattern a step further and prompted a cult classic film released in 1978 by the same name that both musicians appear in as players. Robbie Shakespeare performs a supporting role in the Rockers music industry storyline. Peter Tosh enlisted the duo to tour with him in 1978 after their studio session contributions on the Legalize It album. This marks the period when their partnership solidified and they began releasing music on their own Taxi record label. As 1990’s Dancehall rhythms emerge the song “Murder She Wrote” by Chaka Demus & Pliers exemplifies the trendsetting Riddim Twins work. They’ve worked with nearly every Jamaican Reggae artist in history and as Melody Maker magazine stated back in 1987 “working with Sly and Robbie has become the accepted seal of approval on any artist’s career.”
Gaining international recognition as part of the harmony trio the I-Threes that performed and recorded with Bob Marley and the Wailers, Marcia had her first hit single on the UK charts in 1970 as part of a duo with Bob Andy, it was Bob and Marcia’s early Reggae cover of the Nina Simone song “To Be Young Gifted and Black”. Ms. Griffiths toured with Bob Marley from 1974 until his untimely passing in 1981. She has released several singles as a solo artist including “Electric Boogie,” originally written and recorded by Bunny Wailer, which was remixed in 1989 and made the line dance the Electric Slide an international craze that continues today on dance floors globally. Expect our own dance party on the ROTR 2017 stage during her set as in addition to her I-Threes tribute performance.
A harmony vocalist with the I-Threes working alongside Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt is also credited as a writer on two songs from the Wailers’ album Burnin, “Hallelujah Time” and “Pass It On”. As a solo artist, she has released seven albums and created one of Reggae music’s all time classics, the 1979 release Black Woman. It represents the first Reggae album recorded by a woman acting as her own producer with six of her originals including the morality tale “Many Are Called”. She was the first female singer nominated in the Reggae Grammy category for her 1985 Working Wonders album. The gospel tradition deeply informs Ms. Mowatt’s lyrical style combined with phrasing that has a distinct Reggae influence. In 1999 she was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for her service to music.
Singing at the 2017 Reggae on the River as part of the harmony trio the I-Threes, Cherine represents the next generation of female Reggae artists. As a singer, songwriter and producer of her original material, she creates music categorized as Dancehall-Soul. In late 2007, she collaborated with Michael Franti and Spearhead for three songs on the All Rebel Rockers album. As a featured vocalist on the single "Say Hey (I Love You)” Ms. Anderson is the first Jamaican female artist to hit the Billboard Rock charts. In 2008-2009, she toured extensively with Franti and Spearhead as their opening act and as a featured artist during the band’s set. She got her start in entertainment as an actress in the films Dancehall Queen (1997) and One Love (2003).
With appearances on festival and club stages in over 30 countries, this artist hailing from Spanish Town, Saint Catherine, Jamaica first got his start in 1997 recording for Buju Banton’s Gargamel label. Since that time his vocal strength is called upon for collaborations with other roots Reggae artists who seek his own particular dose of reality through his songwriting. A part of the Bobo Shanti Rastafarian community, his lyrics address the injustices of the system and present solutions in the form of positive thought, word and deed. Lutan Fyah released his 16th album Music Never Dies in April. Produced by I Grade Records, it landed on the Billboard top 10 chart in its first week out. As for the title’s origins, the artist explains “When I do music, I do it from my core. I evoke feelings and emotions, so that when my fans hear my songs, they are touched by my words and understand the place where it is coming from. Music is everything to me; music never dies.” The artist makes a rare festival appearance at ROTR 2017 after an absence from the U.S. for the past several years. He’s joined by the Riddem Rebels a set of seasoned players from Jamaica that will bring the fyah with his extensive catalog of tunes.
Fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West-African Funk & Disco and modern post-Punk & Electro. Weird and wonderful folk stories, recounted to Eno by her family as a child in her mother’s Ibibio tongue, form the creative fabric from which the band’s unique musical tapestry is woven. Ms. Williams was born in London, but she relocated to her mother's native Nigeria as a girl. Evocative Nigerian poetic imagery set against an edgy Afro-Electro soundscape that includes horns and percussion to allow the music to take its place within the current wave of modern Afrocentric sounds sweeping across the globe. Combining London electronic club music with Nigerian Funk and Pop the band’s second album Uyai strengthens and deepens that cross-cultural alchemy. It was released earlier in 2017 and National Public Radio noted the band “has crafted a collection of irresistible, multidimensional anthems that reach far beyond the borders of geography, music and emotion.”
Hailing from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands this vocalist and songwriter returns to the 2017 ROTR festival stage in a rare tour appearance. Her set is highly anticipated as one of roots Reggae’s female pioneers. Her 2001 debut album Fya exemplifies original Reggae from the perspective of a female artist from outside of Jamaica and was revered by fans and radio DJ’s who continue to play this epic album in regular rotation. She received Atlanta's "Best New Female Reggae Artist" award in 2001 before returning to St. Croix where she currently resides. She’s released a total of 5 albums and maintains a devoted following who resonate with her vocal style and lyrics that uplift women, address iniquity amongst class and race, and portray the African-Caribbean experience. Her band includes Ron Benjamin of Midnite on bass as part of an ensemble providing a heavy roots vibe for her complex vocal chants.
As with any child of an icon, a great deal of responsibility comes with the creation and delivery of your own ideas. London-based vocalist Marla Brown comes from the foundation of UK-style Reggae as the daughter of the late “Crown Prince of Reggae” Dennis Brown. She’s released a 7-song EP Deliverance that represents her first foray into the music business. A touring dancer and performer, she also has been a semi-finalist on the TV program Britain’s Got Talent. Continuing her father’s legacy, she sings in a honey-rich tone and deep resonance that reflects his own. By naming the EP Deliverance, Marla aims to represent her own “deliverance” into the world of the music business whilst giving a nod to her father.
On what is their first trip to the United States, the band is very excited to play on the ROTR stage and represent Brazil (a rarity in the festival’s history). Formed there in 2000, this six piece deep roots Reggae band sing in Brazilian Portuguese and play “heavy reggae” influenced by 1970’s Reggae and Acid Rock. Songs are performed and recorded with elements of Dub with instruments coming in and out of the mix, “dubwise" style. In 2016 the band released the album Unity, it was a first in Brazil, featuring 10 tracks performed by two bands, Sensimilla Dub and Bambu Station from the Virgin Islands.
Formed when the members met in Chico, California this 5-piece band plays originals with two feet solidly in Reggae and adding elements of Hiphop, Pop and Rock to the mix. The band is consistently sharpening their evolving musical arrangements of vocal harmonies and occasional beatboxing that are enhanced by the groups’ female/male dynamic. The group has been together longer than most other California Reggae bands and have helped to define the “West Coast Reggae” genre. They’ve had over 4 million plays on their 2000 song “Pass The Marijuana”. Released in May, their most recent album is entitled Change.
Special Guest Star
Reflecting his strong moral beliefs, Symeonn's strong tone both sonically and energetically inspires listeners as evidenced in his breakout 2005 hit single “Chosen One”. His first single, released on Easy Star Records, "Anything for Jah,” (1997), was a rockers anthem expressing Rasta devotion to Jah with a universally relevant spiritual message. The artist is committed to helping return Reggae to its roots, with lyrics that bring a positive, conscious message.
Part of the first generation of American-born Reggae artists, he set the trend, mixing rhythms from varied genres with toasting or chanting in 1990’s Brooklyn, New York where he established the now Bay Area-based Jah Warrior Shelter soundsystem. His 2016 release Return of the Tru Ganjaman presents EDM and dub remixes of his original hit single from 1996 as well as a set of originals that carry on his mission of preserving and uplifting Reggae’s roots and culture.
Originally from the Bay Area, this artist seamlessly blends Reggae, Dancehall, Hiphop,and R&B together to chant progressive lyrics. Co-founder with Perfect Giddimani of the label Chalice Row Records and its parent label Giddimani Records, his 7 song EP Chalice Row debuted on the Billboard Reggae chart at number one in April 2017.The set includes a single “More Weed” - a blazing co-sign with Sizzla.
Haling from Maui, Hawaii, this special guest artist performs roots reggae, singing lyrical poetry that encourages the listener to learn and grow. Songs he’s released like "Island Music” highlight the sub-genre of reggae from the region while " International Farmer” serves as a ganja anthem. His creative vision is manifested as he chants,"One of my dreams is to travel the land, with the mic inna me hand, spreading good intention."