Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Chaka Demus sweetly serenading ‘From Mi Heart’ Takes pride in music setting an example for all men

For nearly three decades, Jamaican reggae duo Chaka Demus and Pliers have been releasing catchy, up-tempo songs dedicated to the fairer sex — but it’s not about flirting, says Chaka Demus. “The music is not about that; it is about true love. When I said, Woman, your love is like [a] burning fire in my soul’, I was speaking from mi heart,” he told The Gleaner. The entertainer explained that songs like She Don’t Let Nobody, Tease Me, I Wanna Be Your Man and Murder She Wrote were written, recorded and released to set an example for all men. “That’s how I expect a man to express himself, with respect. When I express myself to my woman, that is how I expect other men to deal with women,” he said. “I believe that type of communication is lacking among some of the youngsters, because a lot of them don’t know what is the meaning of love.” Having married his childhood sweetheart, Chaka Demus, whose given name is John Taylor, says that he has an appreciation for unique bonds like his own. He met his wife, Charmaine Taylor, on Kintyre Road in Papine. She was attending a different school from his. “Charmaine, who I met at 17 years old, is my ‘Sweet Caroline’ and more; she’s an extra special woman. She loves her children more than how she loves me, not putting anything above them. She has done so much, good at managing her money, and I can always count on her when I am in need,” Chaka Demus shared, adding that “we made a good decision when we marry [on] April 27 of 1991”. Chaka Demus said he and Charmaine share love for Dorsett Wisdom’s First Real Love, but Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline still has significant meaning. Speaking of how the remake of the American singer’s song, which he dedicates to his wife, came about, the entertainer revealed that he first heard the original recording of Sweet Caroline while in London touring with Pliers over 20 years ago. Immediately, the voice of Freddie McGregor came to mind, Chaka Demus said, and he reached out to the reggae-soul veteran, who recorded his part. He said, “What inspired me to do this classic was the meaning, melody and how catchy the song was. At that time, I wasn’t even thinking of competing with any other covers; I just found it to be a great song and wanted to cover it. Freddie McGregor did his vocals 21 years ago, and I only recorded mine in November 2020 while working on my album.” The track has entered the Guerrilla Top 40 radio playlist in Romania, which Chaka Demus sees as a blessing for the complete album project From Mi Heart. “You won’t get another single like Sweet Caroline, but you will get other great singles this year,” is his message to fans who are looking out for more musical collaborations from him. He recently signed a distribution deal with Platinum Camp Records, which Chaka Demus anticipates will get the word out about the album. “All tracks on my album were produced and financed by my recording label, Bright Star Production — I invest everything into this — and Platinum Camp Records says they can give me strong promotion, which I am waiting to see,” he expressed. In the meantime, he and Pliers are also working on an album to mark their 30th anniversary recording and performing together. “We will be recording over some of our classics to be released in 2022. It feels like I’m just starting. When you love what you do, you always feel happy doing it. Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot; I never stop learning. It’s not all good, but there’s a lot of hope,” Chaka Demus said.

Althea Hewitt on a new mission Thursday, September 02, 2021 BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter 1 LESS than two months after adding festival song finalist to her curriculum vitae, reggae singer Althea Hewitt is back on the road promoting her latest single Talking They Talking.
According to Hewitt, the song carries an important message about the negative impact of gossiping. “You are going to love this new track... It is about the need to be more careful in how we use our words. We are free to speak, but it doesn't mean you must or have to speak. Sometimes it's good not to say anything, especially when you have nothing good to say,” she told the Jamaica Observer. Released on August 16, Talking They Talking is on the Ah All Artistes imprint. The song has an accompanying music video. Hewitt was one of 12 finalists in this year's Festival Song Competition held in July, with her song Jamaica Nice. The competition was, however, won by Stacious with Jamaica Spirit. Hewitt said she is grateful for the exposure the contest gave her. “I really want to thank the JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) and the Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon Olivia 'Babsy' Grange for their incredible work to make the Festival song competition possible,” she said. “My sincere gratitude to all who were willing to endorse me, recorded videos and showed support in various ways.” With a career spanning over two decades, Hewitt, as part of the quartet Fourth Street Sisters, was a mainstay act at hotels on both the north and south coasts. The group disbanded in the late 1990s. Hailing from east Kingston, she is a graduate of Camperdown High in that section of the Corporate Area. She fine-tuned her skills at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston. She sang back-up harmony in the studio and on stage for a number of recording artistes including Beres Hammond, Boris Gardiner, Dwight Pinkney, John Holt, Garnet Silk, Norris Man, Bush Man, Richie Spice, Colin Levy, and Chrisinti. Hewitt also did background harmonies for Chaka Demus and Pliers and worked with Sony Records recording artiste Diana King. She has a 15-song album, Introducing Althea Hewitt, released in 2008. Her other songs include Unconditional Love, Spread Love, and So I Go

Toots's family still mourns a year later

FAMILY members of the late Frederick “Toots” Hibbert say they are still trying to come to terms with his death, a year after his passing. “Since Toots passed away, life has not been the same for myself and the rest of the family. The house seems so empty without him. Oh, how I long to hear him singing and playing his guitar, filling the house with beautiful melodies and joy. I miss his sweet smile and his warm embrace. I also miss cooking for my husband,” said his widow Doreen. “Toots and I were together for 57 beautiful years and we were married for 39 of those years. It's hard to go on all on your own when you've lost someone with whom you've spent a lifetime. I don't even know how I manage to carry on without him. I miss him so much,” she continued.div class="separator" style="clear: both;">
Hibbert, 77, passed away of COVID-19 complications in the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew, on September 11, 2020. Despite her loss, his daughter Leba Hibbert, said she is committed to keep her dad's memory alive. “We are putting plans in place to ensure that my father's legacy will stay alive. My dad was one of the most loved reggae artistes, and I know his millions of fans worldwide would like to hear what's in store, so we'll be making an official announcement soon,” she said. Toots Hibbert was the frontman for legendary group Toots And The Maytals. He was was one of the 10 finalists in the 2020 staging of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition — a contest he won on three previous occasions with the songs Bam Bam (1966), Sweet And Dandy (1969), and Pomps And Pride (1972). He also released the album Got To Be Tough on August 28, 2020, which earned the Best Reggae Grammy earlier this year. He had won the Grammy in 2005 with True Love. < His other popular songs include Monkey Man, 54-46, Pressure Drop, and Country Road. Formed in the 1960s, Toots And The Maytals helped popularise reggae music. The group's 1968 single Do The Reggay was the first song to use the word “reggae” – naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. In 2012, Hibbert was awarded an Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaica's music industry. In December 2019, he received a Jamaica Observer Entertainment Award for his efforts in taking reggae to a global audience.

Kashief Lindo recalls glory days

OLD enough to remember when fans went to dances solely for fun, Kashief Lindo recalls those glory days on Ram it Ram , his latest song. Produced by his father Willie Lindo for Heavy Beat Records, it was released in August. The younger Li
ndo goes straight rub-a-dub on Ram it Ram which is driven by the beat of Darker Shade of Black, a classic Jackie Mittoo/Studio One instrumental. Naturally, the South Florida-reared singer wants it to do well but he has his eye on a particular market. “I want to see it go big 'cause feel-good songs are always a great thing, but I would love to have a hit in Jamaica, my hometown. The more, the merrier,” Lindo said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer. Born in Kingston, his career started in the late 1990s. He had success in Jamaica and on Diaspora charts with songs like No Can Do, The First Cut, and What Kind of World. In recent years Lindo has spent considerable time assisting his father as a producer/engineer on numerous Heavy Beat projects. He returned to vocals full-time last year with a series of well-needed social commentary songs such as Till Dem bun Down The House and I Can't See Your Face. The party vibe of Ram it Ram is a big departure from those tracks, andt may set the tone for similar Kashief Lindo songs going into 2022. “It's good to show people your versatility as an artiste but yeah, I think in these times of stress they want to forget about their problems,” he said.

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