From Cyprus to Fukushima with Love…

state of reggae fukushima7 Reggae DJ’s come together for  our  event called ‘From Cyprus To Fukushima with Love’ at Scarabeo on 21st November.

This project has been a struggle, given the economic crisis in Cyprus, and the lack of informed awareness about the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

We may not reach our target of 3,400 euros and I am very saddened by this but the struggle, la luta continua, continues.  Fukushima  will take over 40 years to clean up at an estimated cost of $50 billion – this excludes the cost of decommissioning Daiichi Nuclear Reactors 1,2 & 3 which will be another $100 billion.  And of course there is the radiation, and the tragic effects it will have on life, nature and the environment. Rankin Taxi, a Japanese Reggae artist sums it up perfectly in the clip  below with the phrase ‘Radiation – you can’t see it, and you can’t smell it either’.

I feel humbled by the support people have given  from Cyprus and around the world  this  efforts to play at a special charity concert for people in Fukushima on 29th November hosted by our friend Leo Kojima  from Direct Impact Music.

Two of the initiatives we are supporting in Japan through this work are “I & I Koriyama Youth Corps” a voluntary group assisting in reconstruction post-Daiichi. One of their initiatives is to deliver clean drinking water to childcare facilities. More info on I & I here 

We are also supporting L.I.F.E Movement – Live Up Japan please check the clip ‘RISE AGAIN’ video made with survivors of the Daiichi nuclear disaster 

As I said this has not been an easy road to travel and I know that people are pressured in Cyprus, that we are all finding it very hard to make ends meet and trying to raise funds for such a campaign in these circumstances has at times been a big challenge. So I gain strength in knowing people care, here and there, from the deepest Mediterranean to the land of the rising Sun…so much respect to the DJ’s and artists taking part in ‘From Cyprus to Fukushima with Love’  bigup Med Dred, DJ Monday, Tatsafari, Mr. Pakman, Portiero, Johnny Deviant  and bigup to Scarabeo, a place that supports culture in the heart of the city, for giving us the space to show some love…

All of this will happens on Thursday 21st November and entry is free. Just drop  something in the collection box – every little cent counts! For more details click  here

From Cyprus to Fukushima is a living campaign launched to help people affected by the Daiichi nuclear disaster. Donate and follow us, every step of the way from Cyprus to Japan and back by clicking here 

Want more Reggae sounds from Japan? Free download ‘Outernational’ click on player below….

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From Cyprus To Fukushima

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster of March 11th 2011 is the worst of its kind since Chernobyl in Ukraine. 160,000 people were forced to evacuate from their homes. Every single day since then 300 tons of radioactive water from Daiichi Nuclear Power plant enters the Pacific Ocean. No one knows the long terms effects of this on people, how many will die from various forms of cancer and the environment. The clean up operation alone, the biggest of its kind in history will take at least 40 years to complete.

As two artists making Reggae music from Cyprus we were very moved when our friend Leo Kojima of Direct Impact Music in Japan invited us to participate in a charity concert for the victims of the Fukushima disaster. The event will happen on November 29th, 2013 in Koriyama City, 55km from the Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Plant in the district of Fukushima .

poster for the event on 29/11 in Koriyama City

This will be our first appearance in Japan and it means a lot to us to able to contribute to such a worthy cause, all the way from Cyprus on the other side of the world.

It’s also a cause, which we are sure you will agree is not getting the attention the tragedy truly deserves so we are asking you to help by donating and spreading the word to your friends and supporters online through Facebook & Twitter. Our campaign on gofundme.com aims to raise the necessary fund to cover return air fares and touring expenses in Japan. We ask you to help by contributing in whatever way you can….Its a hard fund raising road to travel, particularly from Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean in the middle of a deep economic crisis, but we are trying our best. So far we have raised €832 of our €3,400  which is 24.47% of the total we have to reach……Over 1,000 people have shared our campaign online so keep liking, sharing and donating…we have one more week to go!!!

Click on photo to support From Cyprus To Fukushima

cy fukushima page

 

★★★OUTERNATIONAL AUGUSTUS 4★★★

The session starts with a classic revival tune that never dies…everyday is just a holiday, what a line, what tune, what a vibe – covered here by the late Ruddy Thomas. Reggae is not the same without Ruddy, who sadly passed away in 2006. DJ cut from Trinity rocks nice and sweet as well. Freddie is one of my favourite singers, what a voice, and “Bandulu” shows that he can sing about any thing and still stir all kinds of emotions. Voices are such unique things….Marcia, from the early 90′s, a big hit, “I Shall Sing” remixed here. Not sure if it a bonafide remix, got it off Soundcloud a while back, works for me though. We stay in a revival mode, Dennis, Big Youth, Bobby Melody, Louisa and the version from Jazzbo. Dodgy homophobic part lets the DJ cut down alot  but so it go, had to edit that out. Then comes a lengthy cut from horn masters Dean Fraser and Nambo Robinson, “Idi  Amin” what a work out. I always saw Amin as a  dictator and this fiery version captures the mood of that time. Gregory, we miss you, tremendously and any thing you ever sang is like honey. “Universal Tribulation” the Saxon dub plate differs from the original cut, tailor made for a sound clash – watch them lo eq frequencies on this.  Ever test a pair of speakers? Try “Mash Down” by Roots. This has been in my 7″ box for some 30 years and its a classic,…Set ends with some dub from Dub Caravan and words from me along with some horns from Coyote…”Innocent Horns” smooth tune!!!!

Outernational Radio show mixed and selected by Haji Mike – Augustus 4 features:

1. Everyday is just a Holiday – Ruddy Thomas & Trinity

2. Bandulu – Freddie McGregor

3. I Shall Sing – Marcia Griffiths

4. No Man is an Island – Dennis Brown

5. House of Dread – Big Youth

6. Jah Bring I Joy in the Morning – Bobby Melody

7. Joyful Dub – Mighty 2

8. Sixth Street – Louisa Mark

9. Meet me at the Street – Jazzbo

10. Idi Amin – Dean Fraser & Nambo Robinson

11. Universal Tribulation (Saxon Dubplate) – Gregory Isaacs

12. Revolution – Lloyd Brown

13. Mash Down – Roots

14. Timeless Riddim – Dub Caravan

15. Distrobushan – Haji Mike & Dub Caravan

16. Innocent Horns – Dub Caravan & Hornsman Coyote

Mixed live using Virtual DJ Pro 7

More info on Outernational @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/outernationalradioshow/

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★★★OUTERNATIONAL AUGUSTUS 3★★★

Outernational Radio show mixed and selected by Haji Mike – Augustus 3 features :

1.”Soon Come” Shy FX feat Liam Bailey
2. “War” U-Roy feat Chezidek
3. “Fu Man Chou” – Desmond Dekker
4. “Fu Man Chou” – The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra feat Bitty McLean
5.”Away with your fussing & fighting” – Jnr Delgado & Hugh Mundell
6. “Weed Out Vampires” – Cornell Campbell
7. “Most I” – Chronixx
8. “Borderline” – U-Roy feat Chezidek
9. “Pray Fi Di People” – U-Roy
10. Love My Audio (remix) – J-Boog
11. “No Look Back” Raging Fyah
12. “Follow Fashion” – Misty In Roots
13. “Rasta Got Soul” – Fatan Mojah
14. “Karma” – Masicka
15. “Ninja Mi Ninja” – Ninjaman
16. “Babylon Is Burning” – Kelissa
17. “Empress Menen” Delmighty feat Nish Wadada

some thoughts and ramblings on the tunes

I do like some of these new tunes. Shy FX feat Liam Bailey especially. It has that old skool sound to it that makes you want to string up the speakers and feel the bass lines a little more. U-Roy has been a huge inspiration for me since day one. I even met the great Microphone Controller backstage once at a gig in Brixton. He passed by my room where I was rehearsing, stood at the doorway and said to my mate Tony Roberts ‘hmmm, him sound good’ and went on his way. There you have it a thumbs up from U-Roy, that must have been around 1992 and I no matter what any one else says I will never put down the mic for as long as I breathe. ‘Fu Man Chou” the original is a timeless classic by Desmond Dekker and the recent cover by The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra feat Bitty McLean cuts it very nice. Chronixx is having a great year taking the Zinc Fence sound to the world, I look forward to more stuff from this youth. You can always tell when some one is always touring, they hardly release new stuff and looks like Chronixx will be on the road for a whole. J-Boog remix care of my very good bredren Ces One is sweet! I won’t go through all the tunes, but “Ninja Mi Ninja” by the Don Gourgon himself is rocking and I can’t stop playing it and singing the chorus.  It’s an act of defiance…imagine sitting in a meeting with your boss who is about to announce a 15% pay cut to you and you just chant “Ninja Mi Ninja” try it out…Ninjaman is like them old batteries, what was it Duracell…Some MC’s never die….

Mixed live using Virtual DJ Pro

More info on Outernational @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/outernationalradioshow/

Protoje…a Reggae Picasso!

“I’ve always made it clear”…so begins the opening song…what unfolds, word for word, sound for sound, as a passionate soul searching confession by singer, songwriter, MC and I would also add poet, Protoje. It is a daring acoustic start to his sophomore release “The 8 Year Affair”. Second albums, after successful first one’s can be tricky mountains to climb. Many artists have emerged literally from nowhere, with huge first releases, and then somehow that second one becomes somehow unattainable – a non-item. The critics come out, baying like wolves, saying ‘I told you so’. Perhaps too many people tend to follow their own shadow by repeating or building on the success of their first release as a kind of blue print, a formula, a template to eternal success. It rarely works like that, especially these days when so much pop music and pop stars are so dispensable/here today gone tomorrow.

Protoje had a huge first release with the “7 year Itch” largely due to the tear away success of the collab tune with Ky-Mani Marley  “Rasta Love” whose clip has over 10,000,000 hits!!! And what a tune, musically, thematically, sonically. Protoje’s flow and Ky-Mani’s gritty timbre over a mellow yet huge hip hop beat on the subject of a well to do young woman ‘falling in love with a rastaman’ It’s reminiscent of a contemporized version of the Reggae revival classic, “Curly Locks” by Junior Byles. Although these tunes are so apart production wise, thematically the way in which division based on wealth, ‘uptown’ versus ‘downtown’ is so simply yet powerfully dealt with. But I am diverging, lets get back to the matter at hand.

Looking at things semiotically the cover of “7 Year Itch” has a certain resonance with “8 Year Love Affair”  Yes the locks are longer, the font and colours differ but the artist remains framed, with dark phat shades on and that’s Protoje’s iconic image.

The similarities however end there….Protoje could have simply done the same formula, instead he decided to start with a thought provoking acoustic song, which on the surface could be a love song, a plea to a partner after 8 years of being together, with all  the ups and downs. Then you check the lyric, ‘the spirit of Marley’ ‘the spirit of Hugh’ ‘ the spirit of Jacob’ all flooding from the artist’s memory like a train of thoughts, a history lesson of sorts on so much that came before him. It is such a soul searching song and I repeat a brave and innovative way to start what is an excellent release. Protoje is the songwriter Reggae has birthed, from the same Jamaican root as Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Hugh Mundell and Bob Andy. The last name I mention as one of the most under rated song writers of all time. Added to the craft of writing songs Protoje has a unique rap flow. On ‘I&I’ he manifests a wicked abstractness which has some echoes of  Q-tip. Indeed Protoje is simply that 90’s hip hop Jamaican generation that has come of age but he is also that rootsical Reggae sound dating back to classic works by Sly and Robbie, that  weighty Black Uhuru era combined with an innovative link to Ini Kamoze. I could really go on and on about this release, this “8 year Love Affair”, tune by tune. I have heard it non stop in my car since February. It’s a rare thing these days to put on a release and feel it so complete, wholesome, and over and over again.

The cycle is complete with the last song, ‘Music From My Heart’ with all horns blazing, making the perfect close. Protoje is like a Picasso, he plans and experiments on his craft meticulously. Imagine how many small sketches were needed for the making of a great work like ‘Guernica’. Protoje has a timeless quality rare in many artists and that comes from the gift of songwriting which he has been blessed with. It’s not so much about long may he reign or how many Grammys will he win, it’s just about the creation, and  perhaps sleeping at night knowing that another boom tune has been birthed….So long may he create I say…and carry on ….itinually….Check the full interview with Protoje  on ‘Outernational Radio Show’ by clicking here

Outernational is  Haji Mike’s weekly Radio Show broadcast on HOT Radio Cyprus, Inspiration FM, Northampton, UK , UrbanIndieRadio in LA, IrieFm Hamilton, Bermuda and the 24/7 Champion Sound BigUp Radio west coast USA….

Show Times:

Friday BigUp Radio at the following times 5am, 11am, 5pm, 11pm EST or 9am, 3am, 9pm, 11pm Cyprus Time! http://www.bigupradio.com

Live stream @ http://on-fm.com/load/by_music_style/reggae/big_up_roots_reggae_32_kbps/25-1-0-228

Friday UrbanIndieRadio Los Angeles, USA, 8pm PST http://www.urbanindieradio.com/./

Sunday Chillout Radio South Africa, 7-8.00pm GMT http://www.mauriceproductions.co.za

Sunday HOT FM 10-12 midnight HOT FM 98.6 Larnaca
http://delicast.com/radio/Cyprus/larnaca/Hot_Radio_98.5

Monday Inspiration FM 24.00- 1am 107.8FM in Northampton, UK http://www.inspirationfm.co.uk/

Sunday 7pm Irie FM Hamilton, Bermuda http://streema.com/radios/Irie_98.3_FM_Bermuda

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A Day & Night with Cutty Ranks in Kingston, Jamaica

I first met Cutty Ranks in the early 1990′s when Raggamuffin Dancehall DJ’s and Singers were getting signed by major record labels. It was a strange interview. All the mainstream media hype in the UK on Raggamuffin artists meant that all of a sudden even ‘The Times’ and ‘The Guardian’ were sending journalists to interview Jamaican artist who they did not have a clue about. These bods did not know even one word of Patois let a lone any tunes by the artists themselves.  The venue was a wine bar in Brixton and we was round a table, a posh journalist, Cutty and me. Within a minute, once Cutty Ranks started talking, the other journalist went as red as a beetroot. I could not comprehend his discomfort. It must have had something to do with Cutty Ranks opening statement about being Raggamuffin and coming from the ‘Ghetto’ – ‘I am fi real’ he declared…and is was like a knockout punch, the other journalist departed. So he focused on me and a discussion about his recent releases. I wanted to go back to ‘Gunman Lyrics’, which he found quiet impressive, that some one knew his first big tune and after that, the interview flowed just as easy as water down Dunn’s River.

The 12

‘Gunman Lyrics’ one of Cutty Ranks first big tunes, released on the Techniques label

Some twenty years later, I am in Jamaica, to attend The International Reggae Conference at The University of West Indies, its Shrove Tuesday, a national holiday. I want to go to the beach but a link up with Cutty Ranks is on. I am anxious. Its about 2 pm. I have walked around the deserted campus, taken some photos and written an introduction to my friend Andreas Tomblin’s Art exhibition ‘Spontaneous & Raw’. I spent much of the day under  a big Acacia Tree. I called it my ‘Meditation Tree’. For some reason most of the time when I was online I sat under this tree – mainly because there was no wireless in the hotel room and the only other place where it worked was the breakfast lounge. I felt much more comfortable here, with some background ambiance from various birds tweeting some interesting notes and melodies.

Meditation Tree near MONA Visitors Lodge UWI Campus Kingston Jamaica

Meditation Tree near MONA Visitors Lodge UWI Campus Kingston Jamaica

I hail up Cutty by 2.30…he is jovial and tells me he spent the night in a recording studio and that he will pass by to pick me up soon. Now this word ‘soon’ or the phrases ‘mi reach soon’ or ‘soon reach’ needs some clarification. I learned from the first day with any appointment that ‘soon’ could mean 10 minutes, it could also mean 2 hours. And arranging multiple appointments with artists in a ‘soon come’ type of culture like JA was not a wise thing, especially for some one like me no with no wheels to get around. So one major appointment / event per day, unless it was people I met through the conference, and patience my bredren, you are in Jamaica.

While waiting for Cutty I got talking with a security guard outside the hotel. When I told him who I was seeing his eyes lit up. Cutty is not only seen as a veteran MC (on the mic since 1979) he is also a national cultural asset who makes many Jamaicans proud. Mr Ranks arrives in a big black 4 x 4 –  a ‘diblokambono’ (double cabin) which would make many Cypriots proud. ‘Hail Haji Mike – lets go’ he said as I stepped into the vehicle.  We cruise around Kingston looking for somewhere to eat and start the interview and while Cutty drives he pulls tune after tune on the car stereo, all new stuff, enough to make a triple CD release! We also take some time out for a couple of snapshots…

CUTTY HM

Food is delicious….Cutty has shrimp I have rice and peas and jerk chicken. We talk and eat. Cutty Ranks is one of the few artists I have met who challenges and questions all kinds of inequities. The world crisis, banks and bankers robbing us all – “it’s not a colour ting any more, it’s not a black and white ting, it’s a people ting, worldwide’ he declares. Or the limited airplay opportunities for Jamaican artists on local radio airwaves due to corrupt practices of payola. I wont elaborate more on what he said, you can hear it all on the ‘Cutty Ranks Outernational’ podcast at the end of this blog piece. After food we head for home. Cutty lives near The University of West Indies, in a suburb on the hills. It’s a quiet area and just as we are about to disembark for his veranda for more conversations he breaks out into the most amazing on the spot rendition of ‘Mass Grave’ a heavy slice of reasoning from his recent release ‘Full Blast’. It’s great to share this with every one reading this, it was such a special experience…

After more chat we get back in the car, hear another set of new unreleased tunes, and head for a studio run by producer ‘Not Nice’. A quiet suburban street with a nice courtyard is home to a nice Pro Tools HD set up. I get to see Cutty on the mic in the studio which is an awesome experience. He chats one take, no edits, no cut and paste, just one long flow and done. Amazing…

CUTTY IN STDUIO 1

Its night fall by now…We’ve had a couple of Red Stripes as well and I am getting tired. Cutty takes me back to the hotel, we hear a few more new tunes as well :) and say our hail ups until next time. Bless Up Cutty Ranks, a real revolutionary on the mic who I got to hang out with in Kingston, Jamaica. Click the link below for the interview….

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Princess Love on Outernational Radio Show

Princess Love is a Jamaican  poet who has been performing since 2001.Image Her poetry contains strong conscious messages on a variety of important issues in society. Her recent song ‘No To Drugs’ was produced by the legendary Bunny Wailer – a poem which she also performs live on this show. I linked up with Princess Love at The International Reggae Conference held at The University of West Indies, MONA Campus, Kingston, Jamaica in Feb this year. Its a beautiful campus….Image

This edition of ‘Outernational’ also features plenty of new music. My good friend Dub Caravan has teamed up with Hornsman Coyote for a delicious sounding double slice of vinyl wax called ‘Breath of Peace’. As expected this a top quality vocal and instrumental dub LP. More info from http://www.dubcaravan.com

Horace Andy – its always a pleasure to play any Horace tune on the air. He has a timeless and very characteristic  voice and generally whenever any one has remixed him I have tended to prefer the originals. However now comes Horace Andy over some ‘Broken Beatz’ styles. I have never been a big fan of these new categorizations that emerged out of different parts of the sprawling metropolis known as London but this set actually does  contain some wonderful interpolations of classic Horace Andy tunes. Purists may not agree…but for those with an open mind and ear…its worth checking in my view…

Also on the show tunes new tracks from Chronixx, Jah 9, rock steady revival pressure from Joe Gibbs label and a wise  and very pertinent message from Manu Chao…’Politiks Kills’…I could not think of a more timely tune for Cyprus these days….

Click below for a Free Download of this edition of ‘Outernational’

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WE SPANKED THE MANKS :)

23 years…23 seasons…so much time…no victory against Manchester United for Spurs…Once we was even 2 nil up at half time and ended up losing 5-2.I-pod boy goalie, Ben Foster (then with United) denied us winning the League Cup a couple of years ago thanks to a consulting an I-pod before O’Hara struck his predictable effort of a penalty. What about Nani’s cheeky con trick against Gomes?…I could go on and on.

It was the big Spurs Hoodoo, bigger even than beating Arsenal. I would start such days off with a  bit of banter with United fans. They would also try soft diplomacy but in essence remained patronizing. “It aint going to happen” “Not this Year” “You are progressing but are not that good yet…” Spurs have also been seen as a bit of a prepping ground for United, look no further than Sherringham, Carrick and Berbatov. When Fergie cast his hawkish transfer eye in Bale and Modric a season ago my heart sank. I was relieved Modders finally went to Real Madrid and not Man Utd….And of course that Gareth Bale stayed put…

And so it came to be…On Saturday 29th September in this grand year of 2012…The sly old fox Fergie was out foxed by a counter part half his age. Andre Villas Boas may have taken over the helm at Spurs with serious shadows of doubt being cats over him but I for one was happy and relieved at his arrival. Harry, as much as I loved his chirpy character, ended up like a parody of himself, and tactically his lowest point was a home defeat at Norwich last season – a game which in my humble opinion cost Spurs that Champions League place. Its easy blaming Chelsea for winning it…but lets face it, they won it…and we lost that home game against the Canaries due to Harry’s lack of tactics. The writing was on the wall from then and AVB’s arrival has turned things around as far as tactics go. It’s not an easy task beating United at home, very few teams have done it since the Premier League began and maybe you can count them on one hand! Could any one have predicted Manchester City beating United 6-1 last season?  And so it was, on that fateful day, 29th September 2012, when Tottenham took the dreaded trek to Old Trafford and Jan Vertongen, yes the one who turned down the Gooners for us, steamed through an ageing United defence to open up the scoring in just over a minute!

That goal stunned United.Pace was also the word with Gareth Bale and the second Spurs goal. It reminded me of his heroic feat against Inter a couple of seasons ago in The Champions League, we went from 4-1 down to 4-3, thanks to Gareth Bale, who breezed by Maicon, just like he flew by Rio Ferdinand. I am convinced Bale is somehow related to Usain Bolt. I can see an uncanny resemblance in terms of determination, pace and speed…And I hope Usain will now switch to Spurs from United…

The second half  United work up and played some football. Bringing on Rooney for Giggs gave them 2 strikers upfront. Made sense and paid off with Nani’s goal. At 2-1 I had a feeling this was all beginning to slip. Again the lightening Spurs counter attack tore United defence to shreds. A combined team effort involving Bale and Defoe resulted in Dempsey netting his first goal for Spurs.

At 3-1 we could breath a sigh of relief but there was still nuff time to get through. United piled on the pressure and Shinji Kagawa scored a great one…suddenly those fears of being rinsed yet again came back.United fired attacking volley after attacking volley.

Fergie desperate to get a goal substituted Kagawa for Welbeck. This final throw of the dice felt like he was playing with four strikers. But the plan backfired. The Spurs box became congested with Man United shirts who lacked team work. Rooney, with an ego as big as Big Ben, messed up at least 2 chances where if he had passed to Van Pursie, United may have cruised in with a victory. But it was not to be…Rooney’s hunger to impress denied them victory…As the clock ticked onto 90 mins the refs assistant lifted the xtra time board at 4 mins…4 mins…4 dreaded mins…Fergie looked vexed…He obviously wanted more time…whats the saying “A game is not over until Fergie blows the whistle”…Even Lindergaard the goalie came up for the last effort….But it was not to be, and the score line finished Manchester United 2 Tottenham Hottest Spurs 3. After the match Fergie complained bitterly about not enough time being added on, even insisting if it had been they would have equalized or even won. I found this a weakhearted response. Don’t get me wrong, Fergie has achieved many things which very few managers in the world have achieved but of late he has become like a grumpy old man who is losing the plot. Spurs won fair and square…and like any game when one time wins another loses…unless its a draw of course :) So I want to say it one last time, MANCHESTER UNITED 2 TOTTENHAM HOTTEST SPURS 3!!!

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Sunday Skool…And now for something completely different

SUNDAY SKOOL PROMO

It was a long time ago…when clubs in Cyprus shunned anything different for homogenized musical trash pumped out of the major record companies from Greece. This phase had many names. ‘Ellinadika’ ‘Mbarakia’ ‘Face Control’ of simpy ‘Ellinika’ and it began in the early 1990′s. Not to say that there was no alternatives, places like ‘Africana’ where a young DJ Spike began beat mixing on the decks (he was 13 at the time); and DK Xenios aka Med Dred, Grizzly and DJ Larry. Many of these people came from the diaspora, their parents having returned to Cyprus from far off places like London, Toronto or New York. Or they were students, like Grizzly, who hailed from Jamaica, studying in Cyprus. Many of these people, along with the Mystery Lady playing rare grooves and ragga daily were on or associated with a small local station in Nicosia called Radio 1. But these more scene based DJ’s, who spun mainly soul, r & b, hip hop and reggae soon found themselves squeezed out by the homogenized ‘Ellinadika’. This meant, with possibly one exception the short-lived ’911′ club in Makedonitissa, where DJ Spike resided on the decks, almost everywhere else was Greek pop, played usually by DJ’s who I used to see as kasapies – butchers. They all had the same formula, the same play list and would cut tunes after about 1 min 30 seconds. I found this boring, annoying and an insult to all the people who had made them.

Living in these times as a DJ it was hard to get a night playing reggae, soul or anything different. So in 1993 we began a movement of sorts which I would label as ‘Sundays’. Why Sundays? Well this was the one night when club owners would allow you to play anything different. I was used to Sunday sessions from London. Classic club culture events like Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge @ Dingwalls – an event which still happens even today…

The ‘Sunday’ vibe in Nicosia started at places like ‘Tahiti’ with ‘The Mystery Lady’ and myself spinning vinyls and CD’s. And the night was a success primarily because we played the music no one else dared to play, in other words we dared to be different. There was something radical in it for us. That vibe of being different, of rejecting the drivel of every Sakis, Makis and Annoulla, who had Greek hits at that time. A lot of people didn’t get it…going out raving on a Sunday night…but we did…and loved it…

Now I know things have changed radically, there are more clubs, DJ’s and a hell of a lot more diversity today musically…But I miss that ‘Sunday’ vibe, that choice of being decidedly different. So this autumn I am starting something completely different. It’s a musical event that I see more as a cultural happening and where best to have it than Scarabeo. Why Scarabeo, well there are lots of reasons. First its a place that develops and nurtures culture, and enables artists and DJ’s to survive, which is very difficult in these times of crisis. It’s also has a homely vibe to it. You feel like you are walking into some one’s living room. So I like Scarabeo…period!

So from 14th Oct – 8th Dec every 2 weeks, on a Sunday I will be doing an event called ‘Sunday Skool’ . The philosophy is as I said to be totally different. The night does not have a specific kind of music, just a collection of different music accompanied by films and documentaries that are important landmarks to all these genres. Here’s a rundown of what will happen….

“ROCKERS” OCTOBER 14TH

“Rockers” is undoubtedly one of the best movies ever  made in Jamaica on and about the daily hardships of being a Reggae musician. All the characters except one are well-known musicians, including Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace (who plays the lead role), the late Gregory Isaacs, Robbie Shakespeare, Big Youth, Kiddus I, The Mighty Diamonds, and Burning Spear. “Rockers” was made on a shoe-string budget by Greek film maker Theodoros Bafaloukas in 1978. Despite its massive cult popularity among reggae audiences, the director never made a cent out of it due to costs and rising budgets.  It remains to this day one of the most accurate depictions of life in the Jamaican ghetto in the late 1970’s. Key to the film is the idea that the poor who are cheated, conned and robbed by the rich, will one day rise up and rightfully reclaim all that is theirs. “Rockers” also includes one of the best soundtracks in popular music history with singers and players just being themselves in studio sessions, live concerts and a very special appearance at night on the shore, acapella from the mighty Burning Spear.  For more information click here for an  in-depth interview with Theodoros Bafaloukas

“REBETIKA MUSIC OF THE OUTSIDERS” OCTOBER 28TH

“Rebetika – The Music of the Outsiders” was researched by the late Lysandros Pitharas, who is well-known in the London Cypriot Community as a columnist /writer for ‘City Limits’ and a poet. Lysandros spent several months in the mid-1980’s carrying out research in Athens on Rebetika where he tried to find some of the living legends of the music. This was not an easy task as many first generation artists had passed away, and some were difficult to approach, and hard to find, mainly because of how they had been ripped off by the music companies in Greece.  The documentary includes interviews with Mouflouzelis, Bakalis, Stelios Vamvakaris, Genitsaris and Dalaras. It is a very significant piece of music documentary as it was the first time any one had ever made such an in-depth analysis of Rebetika in English. The music explores the history and heartbeat of Rebetika and remains a very special documentary even to this day.

 HAJI MIKE & DUB CARAVAN NOVEMBER 11TH

“Nomadic Fusions in a Virtual Oasis”- Haji Mike & Dub Caravan have been making music together for the last 3 years. Their initial contact came through mutual friends and musical experiences on the internet. This led to writing 3 tunes which eventually became a DCLP release in 2010, called ‘Virtual Oasis’ for which several video clips were made. The uniqueness of the release was that it was created entirely online, without the two ever meeting. Haji Mike then arranged for a tour of Cyprus, in the summer of 2010, when the two, dub poet and music producer finally met in person. This kind of online virtual writing experience is common today through the internet and for many people it represent a new era of virtual internet based studios and collaborations. Haji Mike also presented a paper on this experience at The Art of Record Production Conference, Leeds 2010, which can also be accessed online here On the night they will be sharing their video clips, discussing how they work together online and performing songs from ‘Virtual Oasis’ and Dub Caravan’s  solo work ‘Nomadic Fusions, as well as some new material made recently.

“YOUNG SOUL REBELS” SPECIAL  NOVEMBER 25TH

“Young Soul Rebels” (1991) is a movie made about London in the turbulent late 1970’s cast against the background of the Silver Jubilee. Two friends ‘Caz’ and ‘Chris’ run a pirate radio station in East London and they are trying to promote soul music during the peak and fashion of punk rock. One of their friends has been brutally murdered and ‘Chris’ is implicated in the murder because he has some taped evidence which he did not give to the police because he feared he would be the prime suspect. The movie cuts across a variety of issues including race, class and sexuality in a bitter- sweet way. It features Valentine Nonyela, an acclaimed actor who is now based in Paphos, Cyprus. Valentine will be joining us for a discussion about the movie on this night. “Young Soul Rebels” was Isaac Julien’s breakthrough film as a director which won the 1991 Critics Week Prize at Cannes and it remains as exciting as ever today. Full review can be found here

“BLACK WAX” GIL SCOTT-HERON TRIBUTE DECEMBER 8TH

“Black Wax” Gil Scott-Heron documentary. The first season of ‘Sunday Skool’ at Scarabeo ends on this date with a very special film made about a very special jazz/blues poet, who sadly passed away in 2011. Gil Scott-Heron is often called the ‘godfather’ of rap music – the poet who paved the way for many MC’s to take to the microphone. His spoken word poems became set to music in the late 1960’s when he was a student.  Initially his first LP, with co-writing partner Brian Jackson was released on the Flying Dutchman, a label known for its jazz releases. Gil’s poems became anthems against oppression in South Africa under apartheid ‘Johannesburg’, and rallying calls for people to think about the times they were living in – ‘H20 Gate Blues’ and ‘Re-Ron’ . The documentary is set in the Wax Museum nightclub in Washington and features Gil Scott-Heron live and at his peak. In between songs he questions the hypocrisy and irony of US society as he wanders through Washington DC ghetto neighbourhoods and national monuments. This will also be an open mic night for poets to take to the stage and dare to share their ideas…Full review of “Black Wax” here

Sunday Skool starts from 8pm…admission €3…screenings and discussion 8.30 – 10.30 after which music starts with Haji Mike & guests…For more details call 96 696669 http://www.scarabeoisland.com

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Outernational Radio Show with Haji Mike – last week October 2011

Greetings and welcome nuff new music to get through this week so without much further ado we are taking off with Leroy Mafia…

Sad to hear UB40 declared bankruptcy recently.  The band that have been going for over three decades and their first 3 releases were outstanding. Lead singer Ali Campbell left the band a couple of years ago persuing  a solo career. Here’s a new track produced by Sly & Robbie, featuring Luciano and Ali Campbell.

Last week I was at The Art & Social Justice Conference at the University of Nicosia Cyprus where I met some very interesting people from all around the world. One of these, Christiaan De Baukeler did a great paper on the next group, The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, and here is the remix of ‘Jah Come Down’

Moving up to France now, this is a group called Gwarana, and tune called ‘Mr President’

Long time we no hear from Chakademus and Pliers, here is a kind of next version of ‘Murder She Wrote’ . Produced by Sly & Robbie

Out of Birmingham, UK now, this is Skibu and a tune called ‘Its been so long’

Back to Leroy Mafia, such a great vocalist and bass player, this is called ‘You Lie’

No matter how many times I hear this tune it sounds simply timeless

Dennis Brown ‘The Promised Land’

 

Revival pressure now on Outernational  and we are starting with followed by Carlton Liviningstone and his shoes, ‘Love Me Forever’ and little version excursion between Alton and Hortense Ellis.

Mellow, velvety and sweet, that’s the only way to describe a collab between Alaine and Beres Hammond – this is called ‘Love Sounds’

Moving onto a dubwise note, this is Sly & Robbie and slice called ‘Dub The Government’

I really love that Bristol Sound, late 80′s early 90’s this is The Zion Band and 12 Tribes of Israel

Finishing off with a dynamic slice of audio niceness from Dubmattix…til more time…one love

Outernational Radio Show Times:

Friday BigUp Radio at the following times 5am, 11am, 5pm, 11pm EST or 9am, 3am, 9pm, 11pm Cyprus Time! Tune in click here

Sunday Astra Radio 92.8 FM 11pm-midnight - click here

Tuesday Midnight session Inspiration FM Tues 12-1pm - click here

Also available weekly as a podcast - click here


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