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Author: Stephen Cooper at Reggae Vibes

Keith & Tex interview

“A REVEALING CONVERSATION WITH ROCKSTEADY RULERS KEITH & TEX” When: December 13, 2017 Where:  Dub Club (Echoplex), Los Angeles CA Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper Despite a near thirty-year separation, perhaps no singing duo in music history has enjoyed a comparably resilient, prolific, and successful partnership, as Jamaican rocksteady icons Keith Rowe and Phillip “Tex” Dixon. As the inimitable radio personality Junor Francis forcefully exclaimed when introducing them at Los Angeles’ Dub Club on December 13: When they started singing together – as scrawny, starry-eyed teenagers in Jamaica – Keith and Tex were “met with massive rejection!”...

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Larry McDonald interview

“I JUST WANTED TO BE THE CONGA PLAYER” (LARRY MCDONALD: THE INTERVIEW) When: November 2, 2017 Where:  Dub Club @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles CA Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper Larry McDonald is one of the most accomplished percussionists in the world. Honored in Jamaica in 2011 with a lifetime achievement award, for over fifty years McDonald has recorded and toured with pioneering performers, such as the late jazz and spoken-word musician Gil Scott-Heron (who described himself as a “bluesologist”), blues artist Taj Mahal, and a litany of legendary reggae stars, including Toots & The Maytals, Lee...

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Lee Scratch Perry interview

“LEE “SCRATCH” PERRY’S “UNDERGROUND TRUTHS” AT L.A.’S DUB CLUB (THE INTERVIEW)” When: November 2, 2017 Where:  Dub Club @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles CA Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper It’s hard to gauge the immensity of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s contributions to music. By dint of boundless passion, creativity, and preternatural skills at the mixing board, Perry, known as “The Upsetter,” not only propelled Bob Marley and countless other Jamaican musicians’ careers to international stardom – he pioneered dub music, which, in turn, birthed hip-hop. That’s why, without hyperbole, Ibrahim “Ebro” Darden, a radio host for Hot 97...

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Andrew Bees interview

“A BULL SESSION AT THE BEACH WITH BLACK UHURU’S ANDREW BEES” When: October 14, 2017 Where:  Bolsa Chica State Beach, Orange County CA Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper Anyone familiar with legendary, Grammy Award-winning reggae band Black Uhuru knows what reggae historian Roger Steffens means when he writes that “[t]o wail in Jamaican terms, mean[s] to cry out for justice, to beseech the Almighty and the powers that be for a better life.” Steffens aptly describes how “[i]t [is] not just a crying [but an] imploring from the depth of your soul, stripped of all pretense and...

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Safeguarding Bob Marley with “So Much Things To Say”

“SAFEGUARDING BOB MARLEY WITH ‘SO MUCH THINGS TO SAY'” When: July, 2017 Where:  Los Angeles, CA Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper In reviewing Roger Steffens’s latest book, “So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley,” Hua Hsu asserts in The New Yorker that Steffens’s contribution to the Marley canon is his “nerdish monomania.” But Steffens, who invited me to tour his overstuffed “Reggae Archives” in L.A., epitomizes cool – as does his magnum opus on Marley – right down to its subtle red, green, and gold binding. Moreover, it is Steffens’s avidity and accuracy...

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King Yellowman Defends Gay Rights at Reggae on the Mountain

“KING YELLOWMAN DEFENDS GAY RIGHTS AT REGGAE ON THE MOUNTAIN” When: July, 2017 Where:  Topanga Canyon, CA Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper Born with albinism in 1956, dancehall music legend King Yellowman was rejected from birth. As a baby, he was found in a supermarket’s trash heap in Kingston, Jamaica. Miraculously surviving and raised in orphanages, he was ridiculed, called names, and abused. Yellowman was scorned solely because of his color. However, possessing preternatural musical talent, an indomitable will, and braveness beyond belief, Yellowman surmounted these Herculean obstacles, and more. After Bob Marley’s death, in 1981, he...

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Music Royalty & Raging Fyah Figure Prominently at Reggae on the Mountain 2017

When: July, 2017 Where:  Topanga Canyon, CA. Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper Amazon.co.uk Widgets When Yellowman, the perennially provocative “King of Dancehall Music,” pointed at the assembled crowd at this year’s eighth annual Reggae on the Mountain (July 22-23) in California, “nobody move, nobody get hurt” – a historic refrain in music history, rang out – echoing throughout Topanga Canyon, raising the hair on both mountain and Rasta lions alike. MUSIC ROYALTY & RAGING FYAH FIGURE PROMINENTLY AT REGGAE ON THE MOUNTAIN 2017 Rising from jubilant, head-bobbing, booty-shaking revelers who were buoyed by benevolently cooler temperatures this...

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Reasoning, Rebel Music, and Raging Fyah: The Interview

“REASONING, REBEL MUSIC, AND RAGING FYAH: THE INTERVIEW” When: July, 2017 Where:  Los Angeles, California Reporter: Stephen Cooper Copyright:  2017 – Stephen Cooper Rarely in the annals of music history has a reggae band resonated with such resounding popularity worldwide as Raging Fyah, from Kingston, Jamaica. The fact that “Everlasting,” the band’s third album, was nominated for this year’s Grammy award for Best Reggae Album comes as no surprise to Raging Fyah’s loyal and growing fan base (“The Fyah Squad”); the only surprise is that they lost, and also, that in previous years, Raging Fyah’s first two albums, “Judgement Day”...

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