Friday, September 17, 2010

Love You JA

This is the 3rd installment of artistic Interpretations for "The Seven Year Itch" by Taj Francis, entitled "JA".  "  I get an instant chill when infants die..when dem drive by in an instance I, and things start Fly".  That is the line from the song that sticks out in my mind when i see this piece.  Be sure to leave a comment and any questions on the blog.  Reason bout the art and the song..bless and respec. LOVE JA

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Roger Steffens' Reggae Archives

I stumbled across this video and was completely amazed by it.  I first learned about Roger Steffens when i bought his reggae scrapbook.

 His collection and knowledge of reggae is crazy.  So check out this video and be wowed.

"Roger Steffens gives a full guided tour of all six rooms of his Reggae Archives. Comprised of collections within collections the 'Ark-Hives' represents a lifetime dedicated to Reggae music. Involved since the earliest days of Reggae music's debut on the international scene Roger has not only been a collector but a participant and key player in the development and spread of the music and culture.

Affectionately known as the Reggae Ambassador to some, Steffens has left his mark on the music through his work as radio host at KCRW 89.9 in LA, a founding editor of The Beat magazine (1981-2009), as well as the various liner notes and books he has authored, the interviews he's conducted, the lectures he's given, the shows he's emceed, his position as the chairman of the Reggae Grammy committee, and his open door policy at the 'Ark-Hives'.

This piece focuses mostly on the Bob Marley & The Wailers related material and I hope it provides a glimpse into just how insanely important his collection is. This is 9 minutes of holy grail after holy grail and it only represents a portion of his collection. Hope you enjoy it." (Babylon Falling)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ASA - Fire on The Mountain

Aṣa (pronounced "Asha") (born in 1982) is a Afro-French singer-songwriter and recording artist. Her stage name "Aṣa" means "Hawk" in Yoruba.

I went out and purchased her album and was very impressed by the level of artistry on the project.  Her songs, videos and presentation of the album are so artistic and i really appreciate when an artist goes to these lengths to make the listening experience top notch.  This is the video for one of her singles "Fire On The Mountain", from her Self Titled debut album "Asa".  Check her out and i'll keep posting other stuff from her.  Bless

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yvonne McCalla Sobers: Putting out Fires

I First met Yvonne McCalla Sobers one night after i performed for the first time on a professional stage. After my performance she came over to me and told me that a line from one of my songs really touched her. That line was "See them kill 7 youths out deh , a never shoot out deh execution a so dem do it out deh" from the song "JA". The reason this meant alot to Ms. Sobers is because she knew i was referring to the Braeton 7, an incident with which she was closely involved. We have mantained a good relationship and i like to think of her as one of my mentors and a spiritual guide along this journey. She is an activist an Author, has lived in Africa and is just a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. When i read this piece that she wrote it inspired me to let her visually represent it in the Music Video for my song "JA". So this is the first of my posts inspired by her, it wont be the last. Bless

Putting out fires before they reach your house
Jamaican police killed about a thousand young men between the time they shot Jermey Smith in 2002 and Eric Gayle just over a week ago. When Smith was killed, the rate of police fatal shootings seemed excessive at 133 per year. Last year alone, the rate was 263, 224 in 2008, and 272 in 2007. Eric is one of about 70 persons killed by police in the first 90 days of this year.

New York City, a city with a population three times Jamaica’s, had 13 police fatal shootings in 2006.

So prevalent (almost routine) is the Jamaican State’s infringement of the citizens' right to life, that the JLP in its 2007 manifesto stated: “The abuse by the State of the rights of ordinary citizens is virtually a daily occurrence with inadequate means of prevention or redress.” That was before the JLP came into power.

In theory, Eric should benefit from a new law to “set up an independent authority to investigate instances of abuse by members of the security forces.” Many other bodies have been set up over the years to protect citizens' rights against the state. We have the Bureau of Special Investigations, the Police Public Complaints Authority, and the Public Defender’s Office. To add to these, we have the Director of Public Prosecutions who can prosecute police for unlawful killings. Further, we have the Commissioner of Police to discipline police for breaching regulations, a Minister of Justice, a Minister of National Security and a Prime Minister to ensure that the rights of all (including Jermey and Eric) are protected.

Yet, police continue to feel assured of impunity for taking the lives of civilians. In over a decade, only one policeman has been convicted for murdering a civilian, and that case is to be re-tried after it was appealed. About twenty times per month, the police give the identical shootout story. “We were on operations in the area when we saw a group of men acting suspiciously. They opened fire and we returned the fire while taking evasive action. Soon after the shootout, we saw X and Y suffering from gunshot wounds. We took the wounded men to hospital where they were pronounced dead.”

Communities may report hearing men begging for their lives, or invite television cameras to show blood on beds, in bathrooms, or in fields where shootouts seem impossible to reconstruct. The police never suffer death (unless by friendly fire) and rarely injury, even though the alleged attackers always have the advantage. The deceased almost inevitably receive gunshot injuries to the head and torso, as if they had presented themselves as stationary targets. Sometimes, as in Eric’s case, the deceased are said to have fired home-made shotguns. Clearly the police still expect the public to believe that someone with a “one-pop” gun (needing to be reloaded every time it is fired) would take on jeeploads of policepersons armed with automatic and semi-automatic weapons. And police report that civilians act suicidally an average of twenty times per month with predictable results.

Some months ago, Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, reading from a prepared speech, referred to deaths such as Jermey’s and Eric’s as “collateral damage”. He said he would “use every effort' to defend police officers, who were 'hauled before the courts like common criminals'."

Two weeks ago, I attended a hearing at the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights. The aim was to highlight the Jamaican government’s breach of the American Convention of Human Rights as regards the right of life of Jermey Smith. The Jamaican government did not turn up for the hearing.

The authorities are not doing much better protecting the right to life of the 1600+ Jamaican civilians and 10+ policepersons killed each year. According to police crime figures, about 80 per cent of murderers walk the streets free. The reasons can be corruption, poor policing practices, ineffective investigation, or absence of systems to hold the police accountable for serving and protecting the lives of the public.

So what can we do? Imagine the person killed by the police is your uncle, brother, cousin, spouse, or father. Imagine that his life matters as much as the lives of your loved ones. Ponder on the African proverb, “Peace and injustice are like night and day; they cannot stay together.” Then consider taking action such as

1. Posting this note on your FB page and forwarding it to your contacts.
2. Calling talk show hosts in Jamaica or in the Diaspora.
3. Writing letters to the media in Jamaica or in the Diaspora,
4. Sending email or making phone calls to the authorities
• Prime Minister Bruce Golding -
• Ministry of National Security Dwight Nelson -
• Minister of Justice, Dorothy Lightbourne -
• Leader of the Opposition Portia Simpson -
• Opposition spokesperson on National Security, Peter Bunting -
• Opposition spokesperson on Justice, AJ Nicholson -
• Public Defender Earl Witter -
• Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington – (876) 927-4421
• Chairman of the Police Public Complaints Authority, former Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe – (876) 968-8875
• Director of Public Prosecutions -

An African proverb says, “If your neighbour’s house burns, draw water for putting out the fire on yours.” The fire next time might come anywhere, and from any direction.

Contact Ms. Sobers:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Protoje - Arguments

Arguments is the single that basically put my music out there to people.  This song was written in 2007, recorded in 2008 and released in 2009.  Dj Karim brought a cd over to my house with some riddims he had for some others artists..i begged him to give me this track, at the time i hadn't recorded for anybody yet so he took a chance and it resulted in this song.  This was also Dreamseekers first video so this song really opened up alot of doors for us.  So here u have the Arguments video and naturally the artwork done by Taj Francis to go along with it. OOh a special thanks goes out to Sly DUnbar and Duckie Simpson (Black Uhuru) for blessing me by being in this video and to the 3 beautiful ladies that played the Arguments role..Rosina,Elim and Kerstin...bless up



Friday, July 16, 2010

Wayne Marshall ft Mavado - My Heart

Wayne Marshall has been one of my favorite Reggae/Dancehall artist for a long time.  When i just moved to Kingston in Christmas of 99 he was just emerging on the scene wit songs like Girl From Columbia, bling bling, and weed smoke in the air.  When the smoke clears ft Bounty Killer (this song was first recorded with Wayne Marshall alone, i heard renassaince play it at peppers in 2001) really introduced him to Jamaica on a whole.  10 Years later his career is looking strong and with the release of what many are calling song of the summer "My Heart" who knows what the next 10 are gonna bring.  So here u go the video for "My Heart" directed by Storm, and features Esther Beckford, sister of Reggae singer Keida.  Bless up Marshall, gwaan blaze it.

3 Questions: Wayne Marshall

House of Diggy: A lot of musicians and writers say that only when one experiences heartbreak will they be a truly great writer, do you agree?

Wayne Marshall: I wouldn't say that.  But i guess Heartbreak is a part of life.  Inspiration comes from feeling.  Love, hate, stress, joy and anger can all bring inspiration in there own right.  It's Just how you channel it as an individual.

House of Diggy: I remember you letting me hear this song Months back before it was released, even before it was recorded. You sang the Unedited version I remember saying "A deh so u a go with it?" you replied,  "Hell Yeah",  did u imagine this response to the song and how does it make u feel?

Wayne Marshall: I had high hopes for the song bro.  Its been really happening now what we been dreaming for all these years.  Nothing happens before the time and i think I just reach a level where I can manage the exposure musically and otherwise.  My friend said it looks like we gonna get 5000 views on youtube in a week and that would be great.  We are at 5 days since the premiere and its almost at 50, 000 views, so that put things into perspective.

House of Diggy: What advice do you have to anyone that has experienced heartbreak? and is yours in good hands?

Wayne Marshall: Be strong.  It might be ruff for a while and even a long time but with time like everything else we heal and get over shit.  Give it time and build back.  Find someone new and do it all over heart is safe where it is now.  Very.