Dave Hucker, DJ Spar, Traveller, Pioneer

Dave Hucker on a mission

Saddened and shocked on hearing the passing of my long time friend and DJ spar Dave Hucker . Dave’s knowledge and wisdom never ceased to amaze crowds, audiences and readers. A real pioneer of the ‘global/world’ scene even though he shunned labels, always saying them with a pinch of salt or with inverted commas Dave launched a club night on an unsuspecting public on Thursdays called the Sol y Sombra at a Colombian venue  in Charlotte Street, central London in 1982. I first went there around 1984 and was totally blown away by his selections and blending of diverse sounds. He wrote some serious history there making it the best club night in London for Latin, African and Tropical sounds, with a touch of Reggae (which he always loved). It was Dave’s skill at judging and ramming the dancefloor that really impressed me and the way he always he ended these sweaty packed sessions with the same charismatic track from Julia Lee, The Last Call (For Alchohol). That track always made me go home with a smile on a my face.

A couple of years later, trying to survive while writing a PhD, between DJing and developing into a freelance music journalist, I was at the offices of Straight No Chaser Magazine, being introduced to everyone when this familair face pops in, having parked his Renault outside on a double yellow line and says to Paul Bradshaw ‘Righty o Bradders, am here to pick up the Mags’. This was a mission that Dave would do every issue for many years cutting across from West to East London, then returning to supply the magazine to various outlets from Ladbroke Grove, the hub of everything in that part of town. ‘I know you from somewhere’ I said ‘May be, may be’ he said in his witty reasoned tone. I grabbed a box and helped him out and we chatted. The minute he said his name I responded ‘Soly Y Sombre’ – ‘they burned it down in 1986, insurance job, fools’. So we stood on the street for a good half hour, just talking about everything music related, he shared many similar, exciting stories, Dave always had a way of telling things. After this we became life long friends and said we we would hook up for a gig. Playing with Dave Hucker was such an easy gig. No egos, no hassle, just doing the thing on the decks. A couple of years later we started a little club night called ‘El Mundo’ down the west end, somewhere round Regent Street. It was on a Tuesday night. Not the best of nights. The gig was a bit hit and miss, some weeks we’d have two busloads of tourists piling in some other much less punters. When the manager objected to us playing Reggae, after about 6 weeks, we knocked it on the head.

Our next little adventure was closer to Straight No Chaser, then based in Hoxton, which had just become a bit more trendy. We found a pub called Charlie Wright’s run by the only African pub owner in the East End at that time, called John. I put my 15inch scoops in there, we’d bring the decks and started a little shindig called ‘In Da Pocket’ which was more a chilled vibe, with the central piece being the pool table. It was an odd little place. The area was not yuppified at the time and the pub often felt like scenes from ‘East Enders’, full of unique characters. The gig was a rotation thing between three selectors, Dave, Kushan-Da-Man and myself. We was probably there for about 8 months, weekly, on Fridays. So many stories from this place. The one that sticks most to mind is the night I submitted, after a few years of procrastination, my PhD Thesis. It was something to celebrate. I never drank while driving and on this night Dave told us he’d take the driving duties. The Buds were certainly downed that night, in double figures. At the end of the gig I asked Dave if he was OK to drive to which he replied in his charismatic tone ‘Absolutely’. Kushan and me had our doubts. After the gig we would always go for a bagel down the east end, this night it at the one near Petticoat Lane. We usually ordered a Salmon and Cream cheese bagel. Dave wanted two and with the garlic cream cheese. He usually ordered one so that puzzled us a bit. Anyway we all agreed it was better to weave around back roads, thus avoiding the old bill. We’re somewhere in Hackney, heading for Haringey, and the flashing lights join us from behind.’Holy shit’ say I. Kushan lets out an ‘oh dear’. There was actually five of us in the car, with all our records and decks in the boot. So Dave says ‘Okey dokey’ walks out of the car right as rain. The police ask a few questions:

‘ Where have you been sir – Charlie Wrights – what was you all doing there SIR – Djing – have you been drinking – No officer – Do you mind taking a breathlizer test – No problem officer. ‘

We knew what was coming next, with over 10 buds inside him. Thoughts flash through my mind, whats going to happen to Dave, how do we get home to our respective parts of London, what about the records, the decks, the car. Everything – the full catastrophe – as Alexis Zorbas said in ‘Zroba The Greek’

Then…just as cooly as he walked out of the car Dave says goodnight to the police, and steps back in, cool as a cucumber.

‘What happened? – Nothing. What do you mean nothing? I was below the limit -Praise be to Jah form the garlic in the two cream cheese bagels!’

After I moved to Cyprus in 1993 we stayed in touch through magazine columns and releases. I would always send Dave my stuff and he would always write about it. We met a few times, between trips to various places. One time I called Dave and said I’d be in London on my way to San Francisco, and could I stay with him for the night. ‘Yes sure’. I then asked where he was living to which he relied ‘Wormwood Scrubs!’. What you doing there Dave? I never knew Wordmwood Scrubs was an area, only knew it as a prison.

Kim, Dave’s partner travelled the world with him. I love to read about his adventures in various places, written in his own style which had a hint of Lester Bangs and Hunter S. Thompson in it as well. I also went on one of Dave’s walk and talk tours of Ladbroke Grove, which was an educational lesson for me. We then linked up with Kushan and went record hunting. Thats was the last time we met physically, although we talked online occasionally.

Dave Hucker will always be best remembered for his love of Carnival which he played at for decades. I can recall being in Dave and Kim’s flat in Cambridge Gardens once in the early 90s taking in the view and basslines. What a sight. Dave played his last Carnival in 2022. I never knew Dave had cancer. He was not one who announced things on social media beyond his gigs and radio shows. He never liked being fussed over, Dave simply go on with things. His passing came as a real shock on 2nd June 2023. Rest in Peace ‘Ombre, until we meet again in that great gig somewhere in another time and space. We’ll miss you….Absolutely!


My Acoustic Journey

My creative existence has been a journey filled with music and poetry. In my teen years, I began to write poems. Until I co-wrote a poem with a friend called Ramsey in college, very little of it was ever published. Although we had no idea what we were doing, the fact that Greek and Turkish Cypriots had never written poetry together at the time created a bit of a commotion around 1978.

A few years on Inspired by a ton of Reggae MC’s and singers and of course the poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson I started to take it more seriously.  I met LKJ as a student at Essex University, Linton’s performance, on a double bill with John Cooper Clarke,  sowed a seed in my mind. Both poets were so raw in their individual ways. LKJ may have been softly spoken but he had this fire in him which exuded consciousness. Cooper Clarke was different, angry, punky, annoying. It took me much longer to get into his works. But they both stood on the stage that night, solo, just voices,  in an amphitheater, where we usually had lectures on subjects on the Enlightenment and Philosophy.  It felt like I learned more at that gig than during three years on a BA degree in Government and Sociology.

It’s been 43 years since then. Music has taken me over the world and back, and in recent years, a memory of playing the guitar in students’ digs has stuck with me. It was a sort of revelation that prompted me to record a full digital release of new songs and poems in Jamaica in February of this year. ‘Acoustic Poetry’ will be released this summer. It’s a different kind of Haji Mike, you could say…You might also contend it’s where everything began…Watch out for gigs this summer and the release on all digital platforms via IDC in the USA

Good times at Koubebi Radio Studio

My new radio adventure, Koubebi, starts as the weather warms up with a mission to provide all kinds of music, without being at all mainstream. The philosophy of the station is to have a handful of DJ’s curating selections across genres reflecting a melting pot of sounds, very much like the Mediterranean, reflecting a blend of roots and routes, a combination of where we’re from with where it’s at,. Anyway it’s in test mode so just click here.

We’ll be going live soon….Koubebi Radio Studio is the next step in my journey on the airwaves.

flying the mother ship…

Trip to Sweden

Many people might find it unusual that one of the first countries Bob Marley visited after before becoming a famous was Sweden. Just look at a map of the world. Nearer the equator, in the Caribbean, is Jamaica. And right up there, close to the Arctic Pole, lies Sweden. How come the ‘Gong’ ended up there? In the summer of 1971, Bob through a deal with Danny Simms JAD label, went to Sweden. He arrived to collaborate with Johnny Nash and to assist on a soundtrack recording for a movie featuring Nash alongside Christina Schollin. The movie deal turned sour and Marley stayed in Sweden for two months. Later on, touring the world as a popular music icon, he played Sweden twice, 1978 and 1980. Marley has a special place in Swedish contemporary music and visiting Orebro University to talk about my new book ‘Bob Marley and Media’ had a special resonance for me.

It’s a mission to go from Cyprus to Sweden. Booking the flights necessitates juggling many choices, such as flying directly to Orebro while spending thirteen hours in Stansted or traveling to Stockholm via Belgrade and a three-hour bus ride. I choose the second option. Serbian Airlines however warn me a day before that my first flight is delayed by 30 minutes. This makes getting from gate to gate hectic but I get there. The first sight of Sweden is mystical. Some of the ice is yet to melt creating a weird effect to the eye. It looks like the sea turns white and grey.

Upon touching down in Stockholm, I immediately notice how well-organized the airport is and have no trouble finding the bus. It’s been a long day, leaving home at 8pm, hanging out in Larnaca with my brother before catching two planes. For a good chunk of the bus ride to Orebro some sleep is welcomed. When I arrive at Orebro, I am immediately struck, relatively speaking by how cold it is. Cyprus was thirty we’ve now dropped to ten degrees. Never mind have seen worse. Since the hotel is conveniently close to the town square, I take a stroll there to pass the time as check in is at 3pm. There’s a statue of a duck constructed out of rubber tires, and it certainly stands out.

Venturing to the hotel an hour early an urge to sleep beckons but there is a problem This is not a typical hotel with a lobby and a reception area; a code is required. A few people come in and out; they appear to be ordinary people who quickly inform me that they live upstairs and have nothing to do with the hotel. A few phone calls later, Annika, one of my hosts from Orebro University, gets me the code, and what appeared to be a tragedy in the making after a lengthy journey took a 360-degree turn. When I walk inside the Morris Hotel, I’m greeted by fragrant candles, a friendly smile from the staff in the little lobby, and the smooth sounds of jazz. Its the coolest funkiest place. It feels like reaching Ithaki. Shower, unpack, sleep. Fifteen hours later breakfast resembles a Swedish meze – what a sight.

The trip to Sweden was organised through the Erasmus program, as an exchange between The University of Nicosia, where I teach, and Orebro University. One of my hosts, Johanna Stenersen arrives at the hotel and gives me a lift to the University where we also meet the other host Annika Gardhorn. Johanna also gives me a key, I am given an office for the next few days, which is nice. I am also introduced to the custom of a ‘Fika’ which means a coffee break. This happens daily, like clock work, at 9:30 where people from every department gather to mingle and have a coffee. Interesting that is is more or loess institutionalised at Orebro University and usually all the faculty sit and talk to each other. After this some last minute preparations for the lecture, in the new office and then we head to the music building. Each department at Orebro has its own character building wise, with its own facilities, offices, lecture rooms, and studios. I meet Hans Balstedt, co-organiser of the event and lecturer in music. He shows me around the building which has amazing auditorium. The sound in this place is mind blowing.

The lecture itself is a well organised event. A great live band made up of students run through a number of Bob Marley and The Wailers songs in a very fine style. You can see the live event here.

I really enjoyed the questions by students afterwards and the whole day was wonderful. The rest of the week was spent observing how colleagues teach media courses and attending a couple of lectures. I also walked a lot through the town and as fate would have it, encountered these three creatures along with signs of spring.

As time really zooms by when you are enjoying yourself I found myself on the last night in a Jazz club with Johanna, Hans and Annika near the main castle. Walking back to the hotel afterwards the historic structure in the middle of the city beckoned for a picture.

Orebro Castle

The last day was the coldest, just 5 degrees. Making my way back by bus a feeling came over me that I would be returning to Orebro again some time. You get that feeling when you leave places you have visited for the first time after they have made a lasting impression on you. The trip back was manic. Serbian Airlines announced another delay,. This time one hour. Which meant I missed the connecting flight from Belgrade by 15 minutes. The young folks at the transfer desk there were very helpful. They arranged for a hotel and my new flight home via Athens the next day. Two more planes I thought. Just as this has been fixed a group of about twenty people, who arrived 5 minutes before their plane took off demonstrated a venomous verbal attack in a lingua unknown to me. I wanted to tell them to chill, the plane’s gone, go with the flow, take the next one but impossible. These folks were vexed because they were not all given suites. Their flight was leaving at 7am who the hell needs a suite in hotel when its 1am!

Any way after an hour and a half, and the arrival of seven Greeks with a delayed flight I wanted to know what was happening. Also by now the Greeks, who were very philosophical at first had shifted into agitated ‘re malaka’ mode! Eventually I got to the hotel, leaving the cacophony of the airport behind. The young worker who escorted me out told me its like this every day and her job is very stressful. I really felt for her plight. The hotel was nice, in new Belgrade. My vibrating phone woke me up too early but I got back to the airport and caught the two planes home. As we took off from Greece, Spurs were beating Bournemouth 1 nil. By the time we landed in Cyprus, the score was Bournemouth beat Spurs 3-2. You just cannot have it all I thought. My plan originally was to fly back via London and watch the game. I am glad, despite the delayed flights, that I came back via Belgrade and Athens. As we landed, just like when I arrived for the first time ın Sweden, I had another Ithaka moment. It was good to finally be home….

A big thanks to Fredrik Sturzenbecker and the students from the Media and Communications Program for filming the event..Also to my special hosts Annika Gardhorn and Johanna Stenersen for making the trip possible and Hans Balstedt and the students from the music school for the great live show.

Jamaica Jamaica 2023

Jamaica, land of wood and water, home of my beloved Reggae, and four trips later, it’s still a place that never ceases to amaze. When a text message came a day before last Christmas from Dr. Dennis Howard inviting me to deliver The 26th Annual Bob Marley Lecture at The University of West Indies, MONA campus, I had to do a few double takes. As everyday passed from late December ‘Jamaica, Jamaica’ was on my mind. So much music, so many memories. Each song a unique sound, with immaculate vocals delivered regally. The reason why I had been invited to give the lecture was my new book, ‘Bob Marley and Media Representation and Audiences‘ (Rowman & Littlefield) which was to be released on 15th February 2023, two days before The 26th Annual Bob Marley Lecture. Effectively, this was launching a book about Bob Marley and Media, from Jamaica.

So when the new year arrived I prepared all the relevant documents for my trip with full support form The University of Nicosia. January was a very busy month. An accreditation, my ranking, preparing for the trip and starting a new semester. Stavros from Haratsi, my favorite place for street parties in Nicosia’s old town, also promised to join me for Jamaica. Before you know it we were boarding for Kingston with Wizz Air with a one night stop in Gatwick. I had to keep slapping myself in the face that this was all happening still. I spent the night in the airport at a facility called Yotel, in the tiniest cabin I had ever seen. There isn’t enough room here to swing a cat I thought but before you knew it we was on the plane to Kingston the next day.

Around four movies and a documentary on David Bowie helped pass the time during the nine-hour journey on the packed British Airways flight. During any lengthy flight, this is the only way I can keep myself busy. I rarely slepp on planes.

Landing in Jamaica as always is a revelation. Stavros, who was sitting ahead of me on the flight, got in line for passport control much earlier than I did. The official quizzed him for a receipt for where he was staying . He motioned over. Another official told me to stay in queue. Eventually I was summoned to go to the front. ‘Why are you visiting Jamaica sir and where are you staying’. I was looking in my documents to show the invitation for the lecture at UWI and talking a the same time ‘We are staying with Professor Carolyn Cooper….’the moment I said the name we was both told to proceed. Stavros looked at me relieved and surprised. Carolyn is a legend I told him!

Getting of the airport, we meet put driver Michael. Stavros is visiting Jamaica for the first time. He feels the airport resembles Larnaca in the 1980s. He is very close. It is a bit chaotic on this hot sticky night/ We make out way to Beverly Hills and on reaching I take my first photo…yes Jamaica, we reach.

As some one wisely commented the next morning on my social media post. ‘How can that be Jamaica, it looks like Paphos!’. But sure thing after a night of trying to sleep through jet lag and some barking dogs, we wake up and see this view from Carolyn’s garden.

Stavros, under the impression that it is now summer, sets out in the wee hours of the morning to search for figs. I inform him that koumbare, fig trees are not native to Jamaica. A few words about my traveling companion are in order. I have traveled extensively with many different people on long and short journeys, and no one compares to Stavros in terms of humor, camaraderie, and general chill attitude. We had a truly amazing week together and the thing that amazed me most about my friend was his humbleness and easy going attitude. No bad vibes, just relaxed and some great laughs. Below clear evidence of the youth in pursuit of figs.

I have been to the University of West Indies three times now. The campus is massive, taking in a large expanse of the Mona area of Kingston. Its made up of three former plantations and the University was founded in 1948 as a branch of the University of London, when Jamaica was a British colony. UWI is ranked 1st In Jamaica, 23rd in Latin America and 689 out 14,181 Universities in the World

There are many big trees. The one above on the right is behind the Institute of Caribbean Studies. It’s a tree of wisdom with huge roots that feel like they are reaching out to greet on the earth. We sat under here with Stavros several times talking about Jamaica, Bob Marley, Cyprus and how if Achilleas Demetriades been elected President, our world would have been entirely different. We both remain optimists. Being away from Cyprus that week, after the Presidential elections, felt like a relief. Social media carried on, kounoushmanning, gossiping away, for victors and losers, all with the after thought, particularly the losers, that the election was not over, and if this happened and that happened. Wake up sheep, its a brand new day, whether you like it or not the election is over.

I had a few meetings that first day, linking with my friend Dennis Howard, and Dave Gosse, the Director of The Institute of Caribbean Studies. During the next few days, I fine tune my lecture, which had now evolved into 28 pages. Working better at night, with some mozzie lotion, may be it was also the jet lag. Night still felt like morning to me. Carolyn Cooper, our wonderful host was shocked my lecture would not be live streamed. Besides being the most well known academic at passport control, Carolyn as former head of the department and founder of the annual Bob Marley Lecture, got on the phone immediately. By day two, the lecture was going to be streamed.

Meeting up again with Jahlani Niah was a blessing. It is always a blessing to see my bredren who is also known as Bongo Neufville Niah. We met over two decades ago at a Crossroads Cultural Studies Conference in Tampere, Finland. A Rasta scholar from Jamaica talking about the concept of ‘fya’ in Reggae and a Cypriot Reggae lover linked in the most unlikeliest of places. I always tell Jahlani whenever we meet, I was probably the only person who actually understood the lecture. Jahlani takes us to a Rasta camp in Tavern. Its an amazing experience. I also get to spin a few tunes. Fatta, part of the Rasta collective there, insists I come back Sunday to select at a special session. This really makes my day. It’s great sitting with Rastas and reasoning. Stavros is very happy 🙂

The whole day of the lecture is a bit of a blur for me now. It all went by so fast. In the afternoon I did a rehearsal, everything went really smooth. Laptop worked, microphone, also performed my poem ‘Mihalakis’ as the dub poet meant to open the night dropped out. On the night despite some technical audio and streaming problems – some one changed my laptop settings – the lecture went really well. As the first non-Jamaican academic to give this lecture I felt proud of myself making links between Stuart Hall and Bob Marley, and Jamaica and Cyprus, and sharing some media clips that in my mind have just been taken for granted for far too long. The full lecture is online here,

After the lecture, Jahlani tells me we are going to session. I am elated, having done the lecture but very curious as to where we are going. Seretse Small drives me to the session with Jahlani and Stavros in tow. We head towards Halfway Tree, that crucial hub in Kingston. Seretse is a really interesting musician. I do not at this stage realize who he is but a little later his artistry on the guitar really wows me. We reach a house where a dread greets us and as we walk in its apparent to me that this is the yard of Earl Chinna Smith. Inna De Yard happens every Friday. Do things get any better? Jamaica as stated earlier is full of living surprises. The video captures the vibe. Being there however, was a totally different experience.

We stayed ‘inna de yard’ for a couple of hours. Vinyl played, chants on the mic. Seretse spoke to me about his idea for a PhD. Stavros, smiling as always was most chilled. Leaving the session I felt a sense of destiny, completing a circle in life, as this was always something I wanted to experience. In good time I will reach there again some Friday. That night I went to bed exhausted. It had been a very long day and night. The lecture, the session. It was around 1 am when Stavros and me reasoned about all this. He was excited for the next day as he was off to the beach. I was excited because in 5 hours I had to wake up. My Saturday mission was something I had dreamed of for a life time. Ray offered me his Saturday morning for 3 hours to record my acoustic poetry release. He set up the studio in The Book Keepers Lodge, once of the oldest buildings on the UWI campus. My voice, a bit croaky from the day before. had a different mission today. 12 pieces to be recorded in 3 hours. A guitar and mic, and Ray as my audience and sound engineer.

After the session Dennis picks me up and we then link with H.Patten on the way to downtown, to explore the living history of Beat Street. Dennis has a base there, a cultural gathering place, The Jazz Hut which is run by his father, Jimmy Solo, a wonderful man who used to have jukeboxes back in the day and has spent his entirely life, more or less, in this 1 square mile area of crucial Jamaican cultural heritage. So many photos, so many stories shared. From the sound system Dennis says will be fired up again soon, to his dreams of making this into an air b’n’b with Riddim 1 Radio having its studio here. ‘Next time you reach you’ll be doing radio from this room’ Dennis tells me with a beaming smile. The Jazz Hut is full of history.

Dennis then takes us around the area, Orange Street to North Parade, each corner, a significant milestone. We end up, upstairs in Randy’s Museum. The home of the legendary shop, studio and label. It’s the kind of place I could get lost in for a week just taking in the tunes, equipment and stories. Every selector going to Kingston needs to do this trip.

The streets are full of characteristic signs, doorways and murals in homage to Reggae legends. Prince Buster’s Shop, The Wailers first shop, all of which no longer exist beyond signs and memories. The records are tempting me but I resist a little bit. Dennis shows us former pressing plants, studios, where Dennis Brown used to live (with about another 30 people!) and bars. Today Jamaica only has one pressing plant, from the many that existed in years gone by, and that’s Tuff Gong. Hardly any one presses records. As we talk a mobile sound system blasts tunes from a souped up double cabin 4 four wheel drive ‘diblokambino’ which has been converted into a hearse. ‘People like to have sound system funerals these days’ Dennis says. I am just stunned by the sight of 18inch speakers on the outside of the vehicle, so stunned that I forget to take a photo!

Late afternoon I realize I have not eaten since breakfast. I did this several times during the week. So I grab a Jamaican vegetable meal in a take away and a customer in the queue recognizes me simply saying ‘Yes man, great lecture last night.’ Nice to be remembered for the lecture 🙂 Dennis drops me off back at Beverley Hills, where Stavros is discussing his poetic works with Carolyn Cooper. We exchange stories of our day. Carolyn now calls me ‘Conquering Lion’ referring to the success of the lecture. Jahlani picks us up a couple of hours later. Tonight we are heading for the hills. Jahlani lives at the peak of The Blue Mountain Ridge, some thousand feet up and around 15 kilometers outside town. Its dark, the road is a bit precarious. I am glad I can’t see things as windy hilly roads are not my favourite sight. We reach Jahlani’s place, which is very relaxing and spacious. That night I cannot hear any dogs barking. Just the sound of the building breathing. The structure is an expansive former rum factory, converted into flats. We feel like we are on top of the world. Waking up the next day, we realize we are! It’s Sunday. my last full day and night in JA. We are heading for Bob Marley Beach, then the Rasta Camp later in the day where I will be selecting. Coming down form the hills is a beautiful journey, albeit rough with the curving road taking my breath away on every corner. Jahlani lives an ital life, at one with nature, and I tell him on my next trip, despite these precarious hilly roads, this is where I am staying.

It takes time to get to Bob Marley Beach, in Bull Bay St Andrews. I have visions of Bob in his BMW negotiating these roads. Its a trip he did frequently in Jamaica from Hope Road, taking a regular dip in the sea, Jahlani tells me he does this as much as he can, some times even daily, The road and neighbourhood is being re-developed. Currently the whole area of Bob Marley Beach is under threat of being privatised with the local community being uprooted. Hearing this and seeing it depresses me. Jahlani takes a dip, Stavros goes looking for shells and I explore the arts and crafts from the Rastas. There’s a bit of police presence, all of whom are fully armed. Jahlani introduces me to two dreads who founded Jah Love Sound System, that’s the sound Brigadier Jerry was on. Ilawi one of the bredren tells me about those days. I later find out that he is actually Albert Malawi and the thought of not knowing that when I saw him rocks me, as he is one of my cherished roots singers. As we talk the police join us. It’s a very surreal thing this setting, on Bob’s beach, four dreads, five policeman fully armed, having casual conversation about the state of the world. herb and how Reggae has changed. I wish I video’d it but am sure it would not have worked out. Some things are better left in our memories than on our mobile phones.

Reaching The Rasta Camp in Tavern I am excited to be selecting tunes from 3pm til evening. Not being a Serato DJ, I drive a Traktor, is a strange encounter. Nevertheless this is something very special for me as its the first time I am selecting in Jamaica in a Rasta Camp. People come and go, nod their heads, skank and take in the music. Later, after sun down Ras Takura passes through. We have been poet/friends on Facebook for many years and its great to finally meet. This session is very special for me. Its really the cherry on the cake in a week full of surprises and amazing experiences…Click on here to see a video of me briefly warming up on the mic

Around 9pm Jahlani arranges us a driver back to Beverley Hills. The last night of reasoning with Stavros in our favourite spot in the house is spent reflecting on everything that’s happened. Everything, everywhere, all in sequence, is reasoned. On the last day we do some shopping. I buy a tam/crown from Ras Haile Malekot, a dub poet who’s poems inspire me.

I am packed and ready. You only know you are leaving Jamaica when you go around that big harbour to the airport. The long trek home awaits…Leaving Jamaica is always hard, what an inspirational trip this was in the home of Reggae music…til more time…One Love

26th Annual Bob Marley Lecture

 I am humbled and honoured to be invited to speak at The 26th Annual Bob Marley Lecture at The University of West Indies, in Kinston Jamaica, on Friday 17th February. The Annual Bob Marley lecture is the premier annual event hosted by the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. Held in Reggae Month, it is intended to commemorate the birth of Marley as Jamaica’s most successful reggae icon and celebrate reggae among the genres of music Jamaica gave the world in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Inaugurated in 1997, by Professor Emeritus Carolyn Cooper,   the lecture has traditionally focused on a wide range of topics from Marley, Trench Town, Rastafari and psycho-historiography, to Jamaica’s music business and creative products. Distinguished Jamaicans, scholars, and Marley’s close associates, among them Dr Louis Chude Sokei, Professors Gordon Rohlehr and Frederick Hickling, Dr Omar Davies, Alan ‘Skill’ Cole, Roger Steffens, Jah9, Marlon James and Cindy Breakspeare have delivered previous lectures.

Being invited to present The 26th Annual Bob Marley Lecture on February 17th, 2023 at The University of West Indies is a proud moment in my academic life and I would like to thank the Institute of Caribbean Studies at UWI for the invitation and the University of Nicosia for supporting the trip.

Two days before the lecture my new book ‘Bob Marley and Media’ is officially released by Rowman & Littlefield International. I have been researching and writing this new book for the last four years. It presents an analysis of how media, radio, television and print represented Bob Marley, including his popularity after his death. The book examines unexplored connections between Bob Marley and media representation and the specifics of audiences, including coverage in tabloids, music magazines, and fanzines, as well as radio and television interviews. Rowman & Littlefield are offering a 30% discount on the book – please see below.

More information on the trip to Jamaica and the book soon come….


Saturday 20th Nov is Irini’s 1 year Memorial. As respect to the songs Irini made we release ‘Tribute’ on that day, to preserve the legacy of the sweetest Soul singer from Cyprus.

It was 1993 when Irini broke into the UK Soul scene by the topping the Charts with ‘24/7 Love’ and
‘Don’t Let The Know’ released and produced by Jon Emmanuel on Stone Cold Gentleman Records. Born in Cyprus and raised in Hackney, East London, Irini’s life long dream of
becoming a singer came to fruition through these special songs. In 1994 she also received an award for
best newcomer at The Black Music Industry Awards in London, an award which she shared with Jill
Francis. Next came the development of her own label and her first LP, produced by Eric Pascal of New
Shoes and Socks Productions. The LP ‘Don’t Make Me Wish’ came out by 1995 on her own ‘Here It Is
Records’. Irini had finally arrived with her own soul and rare groove thing, just the way she had dreamt
of as a child.

It was around this time that she started showing the first signs of a condition that would dramatically
change the course of her life. Shortly after her return to Cyprus that winter, doctors diagnosed Multiple
Sclerosis (MS). For the next 25 years MS drained her strength and abilities. It took away the best years
of Irini’s life and most of all it took away her passion, music.
As a homage to Irini we transferred all her songs from her original vinyl releases, to get that special vinyl
sound she loved so much. Now for the first time all these songs are available on digital platforms
worldwide through Blind Dog Records in Cyprus. We release ‘Tribute’ to preserve her memory and
support the Cyprus MS Society through the online sales of the release ‘Tribute’.

Track List
24/7 Love
Don’t Make Me Wish
Here I Go
I Do
Keep Away Girls
Love of My Mind
Something Special
Sweet Yesterdays
That’s How it Goes
Wham Bam Jiggy Jam
What’s Been Going On
When You’re Ready

Pre-sales follow the link tap on
picture below

Proceeds from this release will be donated to The Cyprus Multiple Sclerosis Society

Check Irini’s Story on Mixcloud

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Radio Blind Dog 1 Year ANNIVERSARY

Just over a year ago, seated on adjacent sofas at Blind Dog Studios I suggested to Dimi we start a radio station. ‘Let’s go for it’ he said. Radio Blind Dog was born from a spirit of independence and far as outness through our first Radio show together as ‘The Blues Brothers. Anything goes on the show we agreed, no musical limits, any genre and as much as possible find a few gems that locked mysteriously in the past.

No description available.

From that initial show on Fridays many people joined us with a variety of music and content. Bolo (Poland/CY), The Mystery Lady, DJ Short Change (USA), DJ Skev & Sharon J (UK), Tony Alexander (UK), Gramsci (UK) and Johnny Deviant (UK). The station has developed in such a short time and we thank all the DJ’s and presenters for their hard work. Tonight ‘The Blues Brothers’ Celebrate that journey with music from shows over the last year. Join us 7-9pm @ http://www.blinddog.club/radio

Blind Dog Records New Single Release ‘The Wild’ by Haji Mike

Single Release – Digital Download  on Blind Dog Records ‘The Wild’ by  Haji Mike Release date: 30th June 2021

‘The Wild’ is the latest groovy spoken word single from Haji Mike, the veteran poet and DJ based in Cyprus. Imagine a world without toxic goods and thoughts, where people live in the wild, happy and free. This utopia is what the song is about, a desire to get away from the madness of urban/city/online life and go back to a rootsier tranquil way of living. 

Musically its a collaboration with a number of gifted artists online. Msr Gaga based in the Canary islands produced the beat, laying the foundation for the groove. Gaga and Haji Mike collaborated before on the ‘Roots & Branches’ Project (2010). Electric Piano and keyboard atmospherics created by Boleslaw “Bolo” Gryczynski, at Blind Dog Media Studios. Bernard O’neill (Syriana, Dub Colosssus) added a nice groovalicious bass line. 

The song was produced by Haji Mike and Soufiane Gaga at G-Prod & Blind Dog Media Studios. It’s the 1st song of a new spoken word EP by Haji Mike called ‘ Goodies from my Yiayia’s freezan…’ coming out later in 2021.
‘The Wild’ is available on all good digital download platforms from 30th June.

Get the track on most digital platforms here

Transitory Evening – a new intergalactic journey

In my decades as a musician, space, that final frontier, has fascinated me with child-like fixation. I remember going to Sugar’s home studio, a tiny room in Edmonton, North London, some time in the early 90s. We spent a few hours writing a song together. Our sessions often went into the wee hours. Our goodbyes were always long, they started from the top of the stairs to the door, with me contemplating the drive back to Hackney as the final act in the process, usually proceeded by the door closing. This time though Sugar hadn’t let me get a foot out of the door, when he said ‘come back, I got to show you the best thing’. I popped back into the tiny room and he said in his characteristic Gringlish ‘Readymos?’. The light went out and I found myself in a mini planetarium. He was playing one of his ambient pithkiavli-penny whistle songs in the background. It was all done with some tacky plastic glow planets, stars and constelations but it felt so chilled. ‘I did it this week and sit here everynight, traveling with the stars’. Sugar’s words reminded me of my childhood fascination with The Planeturium, where I went as a little nipper and just got lost in the vastness of the experience. Space has always fascinated me. It’s a common thread through alot of my work. From the hilarious intro by Sugar on Chakaramak! (1994) warning of aliens descending from space, with penny whistles and vrakes to the ambient spontineity of ‘Stargazing’ (2017) with ex-collaborator Gibsy Rhodes.

So some time in 2020, my long time friend and beat maker Steffen Franz of IDC suggested for me to collaborate with Chris Boshuizen aka Dr Chrispy, an award-winning aeronautical engineer-turned sound engineer and songwriter on a spoken word electronic piece called ‘Transitory Evening (Afro Travel). I thought why not , after all its got to do with space! Writing the song was perhaps the easiest part of the process. I talked to Chris mainly by email. He sent me some lyrics, which I vibed off and adapted a little bit, improvising a few lines and words. The release came out in September 2020 as the Transitory EP followed by several excellent remixes of ‘Transitory Evening (Afro Travel). At some point Chris suggested we do a video clip. I had this crazy idea of filming in Sia, a village in the heart of Cyprus, which had red lake, that reminded me of a Martian landscape. We discussed the video at length with conceptualization of Afro Travel from Cyprus to California via Outerspace. There were many twists and turns, including a COVID pandemic and the sweltering Cyprus summer heat – 44 degrees C plus. Shooting in Sia had to start 6am, finish by 10 due to the heat, take a break til 5 then film til 7pm. Plus editing the clip had alot of back and forth exchanges, ideas and adaptations. The end result, after about a year, is now out there for all to see and its the finest video clip I have ever had the pleasure of working on. Its wildly creative, from the Martian like lake in Sia to Dr. Chrispy’s secret lab in San Francisco.

cover shot
in space…on guitar
Chrispy in Space
See the clip here…

On a final note, I always like challenges, doing something new, and pushing the envelope further and further. Big thanks to Dr Chrispy for one of the most amazing intergalatic musical trips. Big shout to Steffen Franz for linking us up. Here’s a few more links:

Watch the music video for Transitory Evening on your favourite platform: https://drchrispy.com/transitory-video

Listen to the Transitory EP


Follow Haji Mike:

Website: https://hajimike.com/

For more information about DR CHRISPY please visit: 

http://drchrispy.com/ or https://drchrispy.bandcamp.com

To learn more about the “secret lab” featured in the music video visit https://youtube.com/c/LazyElectrons

Full Video Credits:

Directed by Dr Chrispy.

Written by Dr Chrispy and Haji Mike.

Camera by Gavin Murray (https://gavinvmurray.com​), Bolweslaw “Bolo” Gryczynski, Dima Ani and Dimi Morozov (Blind Dog Studio).

Editing and post-production by Gus O’Brien Cavanough.

Transitory “iris” concept, artwork and animation by Drew Mcgaraghan. Space animation by Dr Chrispy and Gus O’Brien Cavanough.

Shot on location in Cyprus and California. Thank you to Sia Municipality, Cyprus, for their support filming this video.

With special thanks to Rajesh Vs (https://youtube.com/c/LazyElectrons​), Darryl Thoms, Drew Mcgaraghan, Vanessa Zhang and Shaun Meehan.

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