Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival 2014
Crowned the undisputed "Queen of SOCA" by fans worldwide, her powerful, emotional vocals and high-energy live shows are legendary in Caribbean music. Alison's musical journey has taken her throughout the Caribbean islands and the Diaspora worldwide.
Alison's first solo album entitled SOCA QUEEN is a diverse selection of Soca tunes with hot pulsating rhythm oriented anthems with a standout song "Roll It Gal" that became an international hit between 2005- 2006 and was released in North America, Europe and the Far East taking Alison's music to new shores and making new fans all over the world enabling Alison to take her dynamic live show worldwide, touring throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and the Caribbean.
She has won numerous awards and rave reviews everywhere she goes.
2009-2010 - (IRWMA - International Reggae & World Music Awards) Winner of Best Female Vocalist (2009 & 2010) & Best Calypso / Soca Entertainer (2009)
2010 - Female Entertainer of the Year & Best Collaboration for "King and Queen" with Richie Spice at the Barbados Music Award's
- 14th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Award in Washington DC, she was awarded for her Outstanding Contribution to Soca Music as an icon of the 'girl's power' movement and the most recognized female in Soca music.
2011 - On November 11, 2011 Alison Hinds made her first prime time TV appearances on, The Today Show's, 'Where in the World is Matt Lauer?' Alison spoke about Calypso music, festivals and even taught the host Matt a few dance moves.
2012 - She was the recipient for 'Outstanding work in Calypso, Zouk, Chutney and Soca Art Form, by the University Of The West Indies in Barbados. She was honored as being one of the many Trailblazers in the community.
-Alison is honored by New York City for exemplary service spanning her 20-year career on music stages across the Caribbean and as far as Stockholm, Sweden
2013 - Receives 'Outstanding Past Student' at Christ Church Foundation School
-Winner of 'Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer' at IRAWMA's
Alison's latest album entitled Caribbean Queen delivers her positive message of love and upliftment for one and all and is a celebration created for her fans all over the world. The love she received from Jamaica has spawned new combinations with Richie Spice "King and Queen", Jah Cure "Call On Me" and Shaggy "Can't Let My Love Go." Her classics "Roll It Gal," "Togetherness," and "Faluma," are also included in the album with a mix of high energy to mid tempo as well as the classically soulful ballad "Island Girl."
Her latest songs to date include, 'Born Wit It,' 'A Ladies Anthem,' 'No Way,' Brace And Wine', 'Baddy', and 'Gals want more Iron', Alison is also featured on Mr.Vegas 'Bruk It Down' remix and in the video. The video has over a million views on YouTube!
When Alison is not performing she takes out time to work as an advocate for causes such as AIDS awareness, Women's rights, the Diabetes foundation and has participated with them wherever possible as well as organizations for disabled and physically challenged children. Most recently, Alison was named a school ambassador at Christ Church Foundation School in Barbados. On October 2, 2013, Alison was chosen as one of the key influencers in Barbados to participate in top fashion designer, Michael Kors, 'Watch Hunger Stop" campaign. Alison successfully used her online presence to raise awareness of 'World Food Day." On October 20, 2013, Alison took part in the American Cancer Society's 'Making Strides Against Cancer' Walk,' in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. She also attended 'Brunch a la mode,' where Alison was able to network with civic leaders and peers.
Alison Hinds is a vital element on the Caribbean music scene and a major force in the eruption of innovative urban-influenced Caribbean-based music. Alike artists such as fellow-Bajan popstar Rihanna, Sean Paul, and Shaggy, who are changing the face of music worldwide. Alison leaves an indelible footprint on the Caribbean music scene.
Alternative Quartet is a string quartet with a difference. Our extraordinarily
talented and award-winning musicians - all of whom have come up through
the ranks of the National Youth Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago and are
leaders in their chosen instrumental fields - play effortlessly together in a
dynamic electric ensemble that gives strength, depth and passion to the
music that they love. The traditional sound of the acoustic violin, viola and
cello are brought to life with high impact and energetic qualities that are
capable of infusing the smallest to the largest of venues - including outdoor
performances - with rich, enigmatic and evocative melodies that add
vibrancy and specialty to any event or show.
Born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago, Alternative Quartet has been
delighting Caribbean audiences with their musical gifts and world class
performances for more than 5 years. We provide the music for weddings,
parties, corporate events, festivals and other performances and bring a
creative twist to the traditional perception of a string quartet ensemble.
Aspiring to reinvent the way that we feel about classical music, Alternative
Quartet provides a classically modern experience and aims to reach a wider,
global audience with its versatile repertoire, exceptional skill and thoroughly
Formed in 2005 as the brainchild of founding member Andre Donawa,
Alternative Quartet is a revolutionary string ensemble that offers a
distinctively unique musical experience to the Caribbean region and
beyond. Having played the stages of Trinidad & Tobago to rapturous
applause for more than half a decade, this exquisitely talented, classically
trained and pioneering group share a vision to not only be the premier
string quartet in Trinidad, but to do so in a new and exciting way.
Alternative Quartet is comprised of four very special individuals. Andre
Donawa is lead violinist, arrangement specialist and producer; Andre
Comeau plays violin and is an ingenious graphic artist; Nariba Herbert
plays the viola and is a talented songwriter; and our cellist Wasia Ward,
who has been involved in music for most of her life, is a pannist, singer,
pianist, producer and composer. Each musician is outstanding in their own
right, yet together they seamlessly blend to create a luminous and carefully
crafted contemporary sound, drawing on the rich diversity of Caribbean
influences including local soca and dancehall, in conjunction with more
traditional string arrangements that can be tailored to a variety of musical
and social occasions.
Guided by the versatility and strength of electric instruments and the raw
emotion that their charged strings provide, the members of Alternative
Quartet harmoniously fuse the violin, viola and cello to give a rich and
resounding performance. Having played to some of the Caribbean's most
prestigious audiences, including Machel Montano's Alternative Concept,
Tobago Jazz Experience, the 5th Summit of the Americas, Tourism
Development Corporation's Taste T&T, Caribbean Road Show in St Lucia
and Barbados, the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) Awards and
Heather Headley's homecoming concert, Alternative Quartet is fast
becoming a national and international musical treasure. Our most
memorable experience was playing for the Queen of England and all
Commonwealth Leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting which was hosted in Trinidad in November 2009.
In 2013 Alternative Quartet has continued to mesmerize and delight
audiences at many private, corporate and government events such as an
exclusive private event hosted by one of the top spirits brand companies,
Patron Spirits International, A.G., makers of Tequila Patron, in
collaboration with Antillean Liquors of St. Maarten, the official distributor
of the Patron spirits portfolio in St. Maarten; the LIV Concert at O2 Park,
Chaguaramas; Ministry of Tourism's Tourism Conference; Ministry of
Foreign Affairs' Heads of Mission Conference; National Icon Awards of
Trinidad and Tobago; Heads of Government of CARICOM at Petrotrin, just
to name a few.
Levy was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. He formed a band called the Mighty Multitude, with his cousin, Everton Dacres; the pair released "My Black Girl" in 1977. Levy established his solo career the next year with "A Long Time Since We Don't Have No Love"; though the single was a failure, the fourteen-year-old was a popular performer at Jamaican dancehalls. In 1979, Levy met Henry "Junjo" Lawes and Hyman Wright, both record producers, and recorded several singles with the Roots Radics, including "Al Yah We Deh", "Looking My Love", "Englishman", "Skylarking", "Wedding Ring Aside" and "Collie Weed", all of which became hits and established Levy's career. Levy's next few singles were similarly successful, including "Shine Eye Girl", "Wicked Intention", "Jumpy Girl", "Disco Music", "Reggae Music", "Never Tear My Love Apart", "Jah", "You Made Me So Happy" and "When You're Young and in Love". Levy then recorded several duets with Toyan, Jah Thomas and Trinity, and appeared at Reggae Sunsplash in 1980 and 1981. Although albums were not terribly important in Jamaica at the time, Levy released four albums before 1980: Shaolin Temple, Bounty Hunter, Shine Eye Gal (United Kingdom) and Englishman, a critically acclaimed record. His success led to many earlier studio and sound system performances being reissued without his consent, releases he described as "joke business".
By the time his 1980 album Robin Hood was released, Levy was one of the biggest Jamaican stars, and saw his international fame growing as well, especially in the United Kingdom. Taking a break from albums, Levy then released a series of hit singles, including "Mary Long Tongue", "In the Dark", "Too Poor", "I Have a Problem", "Even Tide Fire a Disaster", "I'm Not in Love", "You Have It", "Love of Jah", "Under MiSensi", "Tomorrow Is Another Day", "Robberman", "Black Roses", "My Woman" and "Money Move". He began working with Paul "Jah Screw" Love and toured the UK in 1984, where he enjoyed a big hit on the reggae charts with "Under MiSensi", which was followed by the crossover hit "Here I Come", which reached number 41 in the UK Singles Chart in 1985. He returned to LPs with Lifestyle and Money Move, followed by a British hit album called Here I Come; Levy received the Best Vocalist prize at the British Reggae Awards in 1984. The late 1980s saw Levy, now in his twenties, slow down his recorded output, though he continued to perform and record regularly, and played at Sunsplash every year from 1987 to 1995. His fortunes were revived by two cover versions of Bob Andy songs - "My Time" and "Too Experienced", both produced by Jah Screw, and he was signed by Island Records in 1991 for the Divine album. In 1991 he returned to the UK chart with "Tribal Base", a single by Rebel MC featuring Levy and Tenor Fly, which reached number 20. In 1993, Levy tried to break in the United States with the Barrington album, produced by Lee Jaffe, Andre Betts and Sly & Robbie, but it failed to give him the breakthrough he wanted and his relationship with MCA Records was short-lived.
In the 1990s, Levy continued to release periodic hits in Jamaica, and more rarely in the UK, although his vocals were sampled and used in many underground and released jungle tunes. In 1998, he released Living Dangerously, which included a collaboration with one of Jamaica's most prolific deejays, Bounty Killer, and with Snoop Dogg. The release was one of Levy's most successful since the start of the 1990s, and saw him finally achieve some success in the US. Levy performed on two tracks on Long Beach Dub All Stars 1999 album Right Back, and also played a few shows with the band. He was featured on a 1999 track by the Rascalz titled "Top Of The World", also featuring K-os. Levy also appeared on two singles by rapperShyne ("Bad Boyz" and "Bonnie & Shyne"), and on a track for drum and bass artist Aphrodite's 2000 album Aftershock. "Here I Come" returned to the charts in 2001, with a new version by Levy and Talisman P reaching number 37 in the UK.
In 2004, he contributed to a track on the album White People by Handsome Boy Modeling School, a project by Prince Paul and Dan the Automator. He also did some collaborations with Slightly Stoopid on their 2005 album Closer To The Sun. Most recently, Levy made a guest appearance on the single "No Fuss" by Red-1 of the Rascalz, from his 2007 album Beg For Nothing.
"Here I Come" is also featured in Saints Row 2 and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.
He also appeared on a demo for Jadakiss' latest album The Last Kiss called Hard Times.
In September 2013 he released the single "Love the Way She Love", a collaboration with Mr. Vegas, and announced an acoustic album featuring new songs and reworkings of old songs such as "Prison Oval Rock" and "Black Roses".
The music of Blue Mangó is an exotic hybrid of contemporary Jazz, intensely flavored with indigenous elements from the Caribbean and wider diaspora. The essence of the group is firmly rooted in a celebration of a shared creole heritage.
Over the course of their respective careers, the group's members have performed or recorded with renowned artistes and groups includingKassav, Andy Narell, Kali, Dede Saint-Prix, Tanya St. Val, MarioCanonge among others. Bluemangó has also shared the festival main stage with artistes as varied as Hugh Masakela, John Legend, Sakesho, Kenny G and Richard Bona.
Founded in 2003 by Richard Payne and Francis John from Saint Lucia, this regional cast of musicians currently includes Miki Telepheand Dominique Bougrainville from Martinique , Eric Bonheur from French Guiana and JussiPaavola from Dominica. Coming from no less than four Caribbean countries, and with continuous collaborations with renowned musicians in other territories, the project has defied the separation by sea achieving important milestones as a working unit within and outside the Caribbean area.
Performance highlights include: The CMAC Jazz Festival, Saint Lucia Jazz, Lamentin Jazz Project,Jazz in the South, Metis'Arts Festival, Kayenn Jazz, The Terre de Blues Festival, Festival Vibrations Caraibes,Beguine Jazz, Naniki Jazz Safari among others.
Blue Mangó has been featured on French Television RFO, BET Jazz and numerous regional publications such as Caribbean Beat magazine, including a cover story in the France Antilles Newspaper and Island Where Magazine respectively. The group is also the recipient of a prestigious M&C Fine Arts Gold Award. Blue Mangó is continuing to carve out its place within the Caribbean's rich and diverse musical landscape.
The Commodores, Walter “Clyde” Orange, William “WAK” King and James Dean “J.D.”
Nicholas, have remained a force in the music industry for over three decades. “The Legends of
Motown”, “Hit, After Hit, After Hit”, “Grammy Award Winners”, “All The Emotion, All the
Excitement”, “If You Haven’t Seen Them Live, You Haven’t Heard The Commodores”.
The Commodores aren’t just any group. They have staying power. Just like their hit song "Brick
House," the Commodores have created a foundation that just won’t budge.
After churning out hit after hit in the Motown days, the Commodores still hadn’t achieved
Grammy recognition. This wasn’t to be until 1986, without Lionel Richie, when the Commodores
released “Night Shift”.
In 1968 the group was formed while all the members were in college at Tuskegee Institute
located in Tuskegee, Alabama. After being discovered by Berry Gordy, the Commodores went
on to sell over 60 million records for Motown. With hits like “Machine Gun” and “Sail On”, the
Commodores became proven artists. They proved it then. They proved it in 1986 with “Night
Shift”, and they continue to prove it to this day.
Unlike many other groups, the Commodores haven’t rested on their early hits. Quite the
contrary, the Commodores have continued to put out quality work. With the creation of their
new label, the Commodores released Commodores Greatest Hits Vol. I, Commodores Greatest
Hits Vol. II, Commodores Christmas, and Commodores XX-No Tricks. The newest CD
“Commodores Live” was recorded during the groups 1997 U.S. tour and released in December
1998 along with the TV special of the same name. The Commodores believe in their work, but
they are not the only ones:
“Seventies phenoms return with a self produced album filled with some great music.
The Commodores look set for a fantastic return.”
...BRE Music Report
“Venerable pop/R&B band issues its first single in five years engaging vocals woo with
warmth and restraint.”
The successful Commodores of the present have not only produced six new albums, and
embarked upon a world-wide tour, but have created their own record label, Commodores
Records and Entertainment. Today the Commodores stand not only as talented and successful
musicians, but as artists determined to continue their success into the future.
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Over the course of a multifaceted career spanning four decades, Grammy and Tony Award--‐winning Jazz giant DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re--‐envisioning jazz classics. Ever the fearless voyager, explorer, pioneer and keeper of tradition, the three-time Grammy--‐winner recently won the 2011 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for ELEANORA FAGAN (1915-1959): TO BILLIE WITH LOVE FROM DEE DEE.
Bridgewater's career has always bridged musical genres. She earned her first professional experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band, and throughout the 70's she performed with such jazz notables as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie. After a foray into the pop world during the 1980s, she relocated to Paris and began to turn her attention back to Jazz. Signing with the Universal Music Group as a producer (Bridgewater produces all of her CDs), Bridgewater released a series of critically acclaimed titles beginning with Keeping Tradition in 1993. All but one, including her wildly successful double Grammy Award-winning tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Dear Ella - have received Grammy nominations.
Bridgewater also pursued a parallel career in musical theater, winning a Tony Award for her role as "Glinda" in The Wiz in 1975. Her other theatrical credits include Sophisticated Ladies, Black Ballad, Carmen, Cabaret and the West End Production of Lady Day, for which Bridgewater received the British Laurence Olivier Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. She is currently starring in the lead role as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at the Little Schubert Theater in New York City.
As a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Bridgewater continues to appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger. She is also in her 11th year of hosting NPR's award-winning weekly syndicated show, JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater (WBGO).
With his distinctive voice, on-stage charisma and a string of No. 1 hits
around the world, Elvis Crespo is a tropical music icon and undoubtedly the
best-known merengue star in the world.
Beginning with his stunning 1998 solo debut-Suavemente-which
sold upwards of 1 million copies in the U.S. alone, a record for a merengue
album, Crespo's career has been one of originality, evolution and a steady
knack for writing songs that connect with audiences from every language
The pattern was set with the single "Suavemente," a kinetic merengue with
dizzying horns that's perhaps Crepo's most emblematic track and one
that's been played from the streets of Egypt to massive concerts in
Australia to, literally the moon; "Suavemente" is the only Spanish-language
song chosen by astronauts to include in the 2006 Discovery mission.
Beyond "Sauvemente," tracks like "Tu Sonrisa," "Pintame" and last
year's "Yo No Soy Un Monstruo" have redefined the scope and appeal of
merengue, transforming it from a traditional, regional genre to an exciting
mixture of rhythms, languages and musical styles that has broken physical
and language barriers.
Now, Crespo is readying for perhaps his most global and over-arching
project--One Flag (Una Sola Bandera)-an album that brings together
producers, songs, artists, musicians and composers from around the world.
They include Pitbull, featured on Crespo's first single "Sopa de Caracol," an
urban, irreverent rendering of the Honduran classic that has set social sites
"I would describe this album as multicultural, rich, daring, aggressive,
modern and sensual," says Crespo, who as always, wrote or co-wrote the
majority of the songs in the album. "The world has shrunk as a result of
globalization and now we live as one world, under one flag."
Crespo embarked on his global journey with a host of fabled producers
from around the world, including the iconic Emilio Estefan, Peruvian
Semsei, Venezuel's Motiff, Dominican Maffio and Puerto Rico's production
duo Lunny Tunes.
Cuban producers DJ Chino (Pitbull's official DJ) and George are the team
behind "Sopa de Caracol," which even prior to its release was chosen as a
Mexican soap opera theme and performed by Elvis on Miss Mundo
It's the kind of universal reaction Crespo typically elicits.
"I'm extremely hard working, extremely disciplined, but I take huge risks,"
says Crespo with a shrug. "Great risks generate great results."
Elvis Crespo is the only Latin artist whose music has been literally played
even on the moon, and has positioned a tropical genre song in the charts
longer than any other. The Spanish National Football (Soccer) team
celebrated the 2010 World Championship chanting one of his songs, and
even President Barack Obama got into his groove at the Hispanic
Congressional Caucus Awards in Washington D.C. These are some of the
few landmarks for this artist who has broken every norm throughout his
At least 3 of his songs (Tu Sonrisa, Pintame, Suavemente) have become
true anthems for celebration, regardless of the language, they have broken
every frontier. "Suavemente", his most emblematic song, has been played
from the neighborhoods in Egypt, to concerts in Australia, and was the only
song in Spanish chosen by the astronauts in the 2006 Discovery mission.
This is because Elvis Crespo quickly went from just another meringue artist,
to becoming the king of meringue and meringue-fusion.
Born in New York City in 1971, Crespo was named after-you guessed it-
Elvis Presley, and lived in the city until he was six years old and the family
moved to Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. There, he developed his two biggest
passions, music and baseball. As a kid, he dreamt about joining Menudo,
the quintessential boy-group, but also yearned to become a professional
Music won out in the end, and by the time he was only 17 years old,
Crespo was already singing backup with the orchestras of some of the
island's top musicians, including Willie Berríos, Lenny Pérez and Toño
Rosario. But his big breakthrough came in the mid 1990s, when he joined
popular urban merengue group Grupo Manía.
Manía would serve as the perfect platform for Crespo to hone his craft and
develop his sound. The group was young, exciting and its mix of urban and
danceable styles distinguished it from anything else in the market. And
within it, Crespo's piercing tenor quickly became a trademark. Following the
group's hit "Linda eh," which Elvis composed, Sony offered him a solo deal
Elvis' solo debut would become one of the most meteoric success stories in
contemporary Latin music. Suavemente, the album, immediately jumped
into the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart while two of its singles, "Tu
Sonrisa" and "Suavemente" became massive hits.
"Suavemente," with it's slow, a capella intro and then its evolution into a
frenetic beat, went to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart and
remained there for seven weeks, making Elvis became the first tropical act
on Sony to sell over a million copies in the U.S. and over 4 million
worldwide. In 1999, Suavemente won Tropical Album of the Year Male and
Tropical Album of the year, New Artist at the Billboard Latin Music Awards
while "Suavemente" the track won Tropical Hot Latin Track of the year and
Latin Dance Maxi Single of the Year.
Most impressive, at a time when multiple Latin acts were attempting to
cross over into the English-language market, Elvis managed to do so by
staying true to his roots and singing in Spanish. "Suavemente" and "Tu
Sonrisa" became hits that went around the world, with multiple dance
remixes entering charts in dozens of countries.
Elvis' sophomore effort, Píntame, fared just as well, winning Tropical Album
of the Year in 2000 and lading Elvis to be crowned Billboard's Latin 50
Artist of the Year.
Although his formula of kinetic merengue served him well, Elvis refused to
be defined by only a single style. IN subsequent albums, he explored
ballads (Wow, Flash!), urban beats (Urbano) and even vallenato (in 2011's
Monsters). Elvis also evolved beyond singing and writing to become a
producer and record executive in his own right who backed fledgling groups
like Zone D'Tambore.
With One Flag, his ninth album, Elvis now literally turns to the world with a
set that brings together the crème de la crème in Latin music production,
under the signature Elvis voice.
"I consider myself a tropical music singer," says Elvis. "But my voice and
my reach allow me to cross borders. It's not something I was looking for. I
was simply blessed." (MAYNIS< LO QUE DIJO FUE< naci con ese
don….dejame saber que te parece la traduccion)
***Elvis' debut was 1998's Suavemente, an album full of hits, including "Tu
Sonrisa" and the title track, which spent seven weeks at No. 1 on
Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart.
*** In 1999, he releases his sophomore album, "Pintame", which earned
him a Grammy and countless Premios Lo Nuestro like, Album of the Year,
Male Artist of the Year, Best New Artist, and Song of the Year.
*** In 2000, he released "Wow Flash", his third album for Sony, which
incorporates his first ballads.
***In 2002 he releases "Urbano", an album which has him as writer,
executive producer, and singer. The album fuses meringue, rap and rock.
The single "Bandida" showcases his musical versatility and has Tempo and
DJ Black on it.
***In 2004, after a two-year break, he released his fifth album "Saboréalo".
The first single, "Hora Enamorada", debuted at the top of the Billboard Latin
charts and earned him a Latin Grammy.
*** In june 2007, Elvis Crespo releases "Regresó el Jefe". The first single,
"La Foto se me Borró", took him back to #1 in Billboard's Latin Tropical
Airplay list, and solidified him as a producer.
*** In 2008, he becomes the first Latin artist to record a live album from Las
Vegas, "Elvis Crespo Live From Las Vegas" (CD/DVD), released in 2009.
***2011, brings us "Monsters", and album with 12 tracks, produced by Elvis
Crespo and Robert Cora, which included the hits, "Vallenato en Karaoke"
and "Yo no Soy Un Monstruo" ft. Vladimir Dotel from Ilegales. It also
features a who's who of artists from different genres, creating a very
interesting and danceable fusion, without losing the trademark Elvis Crespo
Music saw singer/songwriter/producer, KEM, through the darkest moments in his life as a child,
which is where his love of music began.
After high school, his life took a downward turn, and he eventually found himself in and out of
drug rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters. Music was his solace during those times, and
he played the shelter's piano every night. He hit rock bottom when after breaking shelter rules,
he was relegated to sleeping outside. It was there that he became determined to change his life.
He began waiting tables, and booked weddings and other gigs that would allow him to perform
his original music. He continued to write, and eventually, record his music. In February of 2001,
KEM independently released his first CD, KEMISTRY, and sold nearly 15,000 CD's, piquing the
interest of Universal Motown. The label signed KEM to a five-record deal in November 2001 and
KEM previewed music from his second release, KEM ALBUM II, for audiences on a 20-city
underground tour, after which the CD was released. ALBUM II was certified gold after just two
weeks of its release in May 2005.
KEM's popularity continued as his third project, INTIMACY, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top
200 Albums chart. The first single, "Why Would You Stay," spent several weeks at #1 on the
Urban AC Radio charts, and the album's second and third singles, "Share My Life" and "If It's
Love" both climbed into the chart's top five.
INTIMACY was officially certified Gold in March 2012. After the release of INTIMACY, KEM
headlined his sold-out national ‘Intimacy Tour' with Special Guests Musiq Soulchild & Ledisi.
KEM's acting debut came with the release of the movie, "SPARKLE" in August 2012, starring
Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston, in which he plays the role of club owner, Buddy.
In 2012, KEM founded Mack & Third, Inc., a Michigan domestic non-profit corporation that assists
organizations that support the homeless community, including shelters and organizations which
supported KEM throughout his journey from homelessness & addiction to sobriety & success.
KEM's annual ‘Mack & Third' event is an all-day free concert to benefit and recognize Detroit's
homeless citizens. KEM presented his third ‘Mack & Third' event in Detroit on August 26, 2012,
which was headlined by Maze feat. Frankie Beverly. The event was attended by 55,000 fans and
collected in excess of 130,000 canned goods. KEM's fourth ‘Mack & Third' event will be held on
August 25, 2013.
KEM's Christmas album, WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS, was released on October 16, 2012. After the
holiday season, the album had sold 76,000 copies, which made it the #3 highest-selling Urban
Christmas record in one season (third to Whitney Houston's "One Wish: The Holiday Album" with
230,000; and Cee-Lo Green's "Cee-Lo's Magic Moment" with169,000 copies sold).
The album is comprised of five original Christmas compositions and five covers of traditional
Christmas classics. WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS is highlighted by a duet with Verve recording
artist, Ledisi, on "Be Mine For Christmas," co-written by KEM and new collaborator Melanie
Rutherford. The album also includes orchestra arrangements by Motown legend, Paul Reiser.
Following the release of WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS, KEM launched an eight (8)-city "Holiday
Moments with KEM" promotional & media tour that included conversations with KEM and acoustic
performances to support the album. "A Christmas Song For You" and "Be Mine For Christmas"
were added as singles on UAC Radio during the holiday season, and "Glorify The King" was added
to Gospel radio airplay.
Combined, KEM's four albums have sold in excess of 2.4 million units.
In recognition of his talent, KEM was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards in 2006 for
Outstanding Male Artist and Outstanding Song ("I Can't Stop Loving You"); for a Soul Train Award
for Best Male R&B/Soul Artist in 2010; two Grammy Awards in 2010 for Best Male R&B Vocal
Performance and Best R&B Song ("Why Would You Stay") and the BET Centric Award.
KEM was nominated four (4) times for the 2013 44th NAACP Image Awards for his songs: "Glorify
The King," "Be Mine For Christmas," "You're On My Mind" and for his "You're On My Mind" video.
"Glorify The King," "Be Mine For Christmas" and "You're On My Mind" were nominated in the
‘Outstanding Song' category and the "You're On My Mind" video was nominated in the
‘Outstanding Music Video' category.
In January 2013, KEM made his first trip to Japan to perform at the Blue Note in Tokyo. Japan is one
of KEM's strongest international markets.
KEM wrote and recorded a duet with Ronald Isley entitled "My Favorite Thing," which was released
as the second single from Ron Isley's 2013 CD, "This Song Is For You." The two R&B singers also
starred in the music video for the single.
On October 29, 2013, KEM will release the Deluxe Edition of his WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS album,
which includes four new bonus tracks, including the single, "Jesus," featuring Patti LaBelle and
In an age of immediacy the idea of waiting sounds hopelessly outdated. But that said, there is something to be said about anticipation. Such is the case with Maxwell's new album. Yes, after an extended hiatus the sexy ambassador of soul has returned with a brand new look and a fresh yet deliciously vintage sound. The same artist who brought us classic songs like "Sumthin' Sumthin'," "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" and "Lifetime" (not to mention the unforgettably ethereal cover of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work") is back with a challenging, mature, sensual, courageous and emotionally open album entitled, BLACKsummers'night (Columbia). BLACKsummers'night , the first installment of a trilogy, is a collection well worth the wait.
His fourth studio album and first in eight years, BLACKsummers'night is the sound of an artist taking the commitment to his craft and the conversation with his audience that much further. Needless to say, it is a conversation that's been overdue; but as the soft-spoken, multi-platinum artist sees it, in order to come back it was necessary to step away. "I wanted to return to ‘what was the promise?'" Maxwell offers. "What did my music and creativity speak of to people? For me, coming back to that promise was kind of where my heart was really gravitating towards. I didn't intentionally step away from all of it, but I just wanted to…live my life a little bit, and then be able to make music with that pure experience again."
He might have been out of the spotlight, but Maxwell along with long time collaborator and friend Hod David, had begun crafting BLACKsummers'night several years ago. The album is the first installment of a trilogy entitled BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT. BLACK is a much darker but soulful compilation, SUMMERS' leans more toward the gospel side and NIGHT is more a cool collection of slow jams. By late 2008, the process of polishing and shaping the album was full on. Though having much of his creative team on board, Maxwell still approached the creative process with extreme caution and the painstaking meticulousness of a true genius. "Every time I'd get in the studio it would be like am I trying to outdo this last record? I just wanted to make a really good record." Of course, what Maxwell's notoriously modest character failed to warn was that what he was creating was more than "good" but rather (like his other projects) a timeless piece of work.
Composed of nine indelible songs BLACKsummers'night finds Maxwell exploring life with a bold and purposeful sensuality unmistakably his own. Opening with a delicate hint of wistful chimes, the first single, "Pretty Wings," is nostalgic, ("your face will be the reason I smile") and yet undeniably passionate. "It's about the last relationship I had," Maxwell describes. "How you meet the person of your dreams but at the wrong time. She was a serious muse and the song is a testament to what I wanted to say and say, to her." "I can be a bit emotionally handicapped" he elucidates, "but through music, I can say what I want to." Another of the album's more persuasive songs is "Stop the World." A rhythmic rush of desire, Maxwell describes "Stop the World" as "having corporal relations." "That's what I call having sex…" he unabashedly reveals "…and that's stopping the world." …Mhmmm.
Equally personal is "Fistful of Tears." Pushed along by a sturdy and incessant piano, Maxwell, shifting from those oh so recognizable falsettos and baritones, rides the melody like a man both possessed by and resigned to his feelings. "It's kind of about wanting to leave the industry and a relationship, but then realizing that I should give it a last try. Don't let it go." Then there's the jazz thumping "Cold." Peppered by a funked up horn section and wrapped in a moist honey soaked groove, this fun, head bopping track finds Maxwell asking the eternal lovers question, "why do you like me like you do?" It's very sexy stuff.
On June 24th Maxwell galvanized an unsuspecting audience at the 2008 BET Awards with a live rendition of Al Green's classic song, "Simply Beautiful." It would be his first live performance in seven years. Without his signature afro or silk mono-chromatic suit, it was hard to tell if this six-foot tall body was merely a mirage or indeed the man that for so many years had left legions of devoted fans wanting more. But after uttering the first gentle lyric ("If I gave you my love…") everyone remembered and so did Maxwell. The unforgettable performance became one of the most talked about in 2008. It left each audience member (regular folk and superstar celebrities alike) rejoicing that unquestionably authentic soul sound that was denied to them for far too long. Overwhelmed and inspired by the ecstatically warm response, Maxwell decided to boldly hit the road, with no album, nor concrete plan to follow. Less than two months later the artist announced the launch of his much speculated 2008 BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT tour. Maxwell initiated the tour with his first concert at South Africa's Macufe Music Festival. Maxwell sold out 10,000 seats and was given honorary South African citizenship. The show, which aired on "BET's Access Granted," was not only his first concert (as well as on-air interview) in seven years; it was his first show ever in South Africa.
In the U.S., all 144,000 tickets for the tour sold out within minutes of their on-sale date. An overwhelming demand for Maxwell caused the original 26-date tour to be extended to 33 dates. He performed in all the major cities including New York; selling out the renowned Radio City Music Hall and uptown New York's 3,000 seat theater, The United Palace. New York Times writer Jon Caramanica asserts, "Maxwell has something that his emulators lack: complexity…some of the most potent moments [at Radio City] came in the pregnant spaces between notes, with Maxwell managing to hold a feeling even with his mouth shut."
For Maxwell the opportunity to get back on stage and receive such an enormous response, especially without an album to support, was revelatory and further inspired him to complete his oft delayed album. "That experience is something for which I am beyond grateful. To be able to take a risk and to have that genuine interest from people is so rare. It actually made making this record even more precious. It was that pure energy. It was like, ‘oh, this is why I do it.' It's because people care about real music and they'll wait for you."
In 1996, a then 23-year old Brooklyn born phenomenon took the music world by storm with his debut, Urban Hang Suite. (He signed to Columbia Records at the tender age of 21, already having composed more than 300 songs before signing on to the major label.) The critically acclaimed CD received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album and went on to achieve double platinum status. Maxwell's MTV: Unplugged (1997) achieved gold status with his live rendition of "This Woman's Work." He was heralded as the future of soul music and proved his staying power when he followed up with 1998's platinum seller Embrya. In 1999 Maxwell's single, "Fortunate" (off of the LIFE soundtrack) became Billboard magazine's number one hit of the year. Maxwell's third album, Now (2001) debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart; selling 300,000 copies its maiden week and eventually also reaching double platinum status. The album was appropriately described by Entertainment Weekly as "A velvetined gauntlet thrown at the feet of today's bling-bling-obsessed R&B pack."
To hear Maxwell explain it, as much as his fans were waiting for him, he was waiting for them-and in the process of finding himself. "Sometimes I can't believe I do this because you're living your life. Going to the corner store, taking out the garbage and the next thing you know you're on stage at Radio City Music Hall. It's such a humbling thing and you'd think it would make my ego go out of control but I feel humility. Like this is why I need to do this. It's not about your ego. It's about celebrating your opportunity and the blessing to work and the joy you can possibly bring to people. That's how it all resonated with me."
A constant throughout BLACKsummers'night is its live and often raw sound. The entire album was recorded with an extraordinary live ten-piece band. He is taking it back to when a solo genius artist offered music that was close to perfection. No synthesizers, no duets. Just Maxwell bare and in the flesh ready to give old fans and new ones a sensory experience that he never fails to bring.
In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has built a reputation exploring and
bridging the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica, finding
in each a sincere spirit of musical expression. In the process, he has performed and recorded with
artists from every corner of the musical universe and entertainment world: Frank Sinatra, Tony
Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin,
Barbara Hendricks, Bill Cosby, Bobby McFerrin, Sly Dunbar, and Robbie Shakespeare, among
Born on D-Day (June 6, 1944) and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, he took his first piano lessons at
age six, although he is largely self-taught. As a teenager, he witnessed concerts by Louis
Armstrong and Nat "King" Cole at Kingston's Carib Theater. These artists had a profound effect
on Alexander's aspirations. He formed Monty and the Cyclones in the late 1950s and also
recorded on sessions with the musicians who would catapult Jamaican music to international
recognition as The Skatalites (Bob Marley's first backing band).
Alexander and his family came to the United States at the end of 1961. Less than two years later,
while playing in Las Vegas with Art Mooney's orchestra, he caught the eye of New York City
club owner Jilly Rizzo and his friend, Frank Sinatra. Rizzo hired the young pianist to work in his
club, Jilly's, where he accompanied Sinatra and others. There he met Modern Jazz Quartet
vibraphonist Milt Jackson, who hired him and eventually introduced him to former Charlie
Parker collaborator and legendary bassist Ray Brown. Alexander recorded and performed with
the two jazz giants on many occasions. Jazz's greatest luminaries welcomed Alexander to their
"musical fraternity" in the mid-1960s. Among these earliest enthusiasts for his playing were
none other than Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Miles Davis.
Monty Alexander's collaborations span multiple genres, styles, and generations. His projects
have been as varied as assisting Natalie Cole in her tribute album to her father, Nat "King" Cole
in 1991 (the resulting album, Unforgettable, won seven Grammy awards), performing George
Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" under the direction of Bobby McFerrin at the Verbier Festival in
Switzerland, and recording the piano track for the film score of Clint Eastwood's Bird, a movie
about the life of jazz titan Charlie Parker.
In August 2000, the Jamaican government awarded Monty Alexander the title of Commander in
the Order of Distinction for outstanding services to Jamaica as a worldwide music ambassador.
In Hal Leonard's 2005 book The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time, Alexander was
listed among the top five Jazz pianists of all time.
Alexander maintains a rigorous touring schedule worldwide, playing in jazz clubs, concert halls
and playing at international Jazz Festivals in the USA and across continents; from Europe to
Asia; in Montreux, Switzerland; Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa; and Japan, Russia,
New Zealand, Australia, etc.
To date Monty Alexander has recorded over 70 albums as a leader. His collaboration with Telarc
label yielded trio sessions (Impressions in Blue) and live concert recordings (Goin' Yard). In the
late summer of 2005, Alexander traveled to Bob Marley's Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston,
Jamaica, and teamed up with Jamaican top session players to record Concrete Jungle, a set of
twelve compositions penned by Bob Marley and reinterpreted via Alexander's jazz pianooriented
arrangements. The resulting union of musical perspectives digs deep into the Marley
legend and brings together the two worlds that Alexander most treasures, building the musical
bridges that are the very essence of his craft.
As a testament to his versatility, The Good Life, on Chesky Records is a collection of songs
written and popularized by one of his all-time favorite artists and good friends, Tony Bennett.
His second release on Chesky, Calypso Blues, is tribute to another one of his heroes, Nat "King"
In 2008, with the invitation of Wynton Marsalis, Alexander conceived and directed the
acclaimed program Lords of the West Indies at Jazz at Lincoln Center, broadcast nationally on
BETJ. Alexander returned to Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2009 with a new program, Harlem
Kingston Express in which he merged classic Jazz with rhythms and vibrations of his native
In the winter of 2008 American singer and icon, Tony Bennett personally invited Monty to
record as the featured pianist on his Christmas album, A Swinging Christmas, with the Count
Basie Orchestra (Monty can be spotted on the album cover, holding a turkey next to Tony
Two collections were released in 2011 that capture the excitement of Monty Alexander's live
performances around the world: Uplift, a trio album on JLP Records, and Harlem-Kingston
Express on Motema Music. Harlem Kinston Express was singled out by both the recording
industry and fans and received a Grammy award nomination in 2012.
Between Uplift and Harlem-Kingston Express: Live! Monty Alexander has officially dominated
the US radio charts with three number 1 spots in 2011, as not only Uplift remained at number 1
for several weeks but Harlem-Kingston Express: Live! rose to number 1 on both Jazz charts and
on World Music charts concurrently.
In the summer of 2012 Monty Alexander was awarded the prestigious German Jazz Trophy, "A
Life for Jazz" in a ceremony event that took place during the Stuttgart Jazz Festival.
Composer-pianist-bandleader Omar Sosa was born in 1965 in Camagüey, Cuba's largest inland city. At age eight, Omar began studying percussion and marimba at the music conservatory in Camagüey; in Havana, as a teenager, he took up piano at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música, and completed his formal education at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. Among his influences, Omar cites traditional Afro-Cuban music, European classical composers (including Chopin, Bartok, and Satie), Monk, Coltrane, Parker, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Chucho Valdés, and the pioneering Cuban jazz group Irakere. Moving in 1993 to Ecuador, Omar immersed himself in the folkloric traditions of Esmeraldas, the northwest coast region whose African heritage includes the distinctive marimba tradition. He relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995, and soon invigorated the Latin jazz scene with his adventurous writing and percussive style.
Annually performing upwards of 100 concerts on six continents, Omar has appeared in venues as diverse as the Blue Note (New York, Milan, and Tokyo), Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, the Getty Center, London's Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, and Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt; festivals including Monterey Jazz, JVC Jazz, Montreal Jazz, Marciac Jazz, North Sea Jazz, Helsinki, Grenoble Jazz, Montreux Jazz, Naples Jazz, Ravenna Jazz, Roma Jazz, Spoletto, WOMAD, and Cape Town International Jazz; and universities on several continents, including a visiting artist fellowship at Princeton University in March 2008, and a visiting artist residency at Dartmouth College in April 2008. Omar will return to Dartmouth College for a second artist residency in February 2011.
Mr. Sosa received a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC in 2003 for his contribution to the development of Latin jazz in the United States. He has received two nominations from the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards, in 2004 and 2006, both in the ‘Americas' category. In 2003 Omar Sosa received the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Album of the Year Award from the Jazz Journalists Association in NYC for his recording Sentir; and a nomination from the Jazz Journalists Association for Latin Jazz Album of the Year in 2005 for his recording Mulatos.
Omar Sosa received an orchestral commission from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and the Oakland Easy Bay Symphony, supported by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the MAP Fund (Multi-Arts Production Fund). During 2001-2002, Mr. Sosa composed a 45-minute work in three movements for symphony orchestra entitled, From Our Mother, which received its world premiere in January 2003 by the Oakland East Bay Symphony under the direction of Michael Morgan. In 2009, Mr. Sosa received an orchestral commission from the city of Girona, Spain and the Festival de Músicas Religiosas y del Mundo de Girona. The 20-minute work for symphony orchestra, entitled Oda Africana, received its world premiere in July 2009 by the Jove Orquesta Athenea, conducted by Lluis Caballeria. Also in 2009, Mr. Sosa received a commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival to present a tribute to Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue recording, featuring Afro-Cuban interpretations of the seminal Davis work on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The project was performed at L'Auditori in Barcelona in November 2009.
In 2008, Omar Sosa received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with Yerba Buena Gardens (San Francisco) and the San Francisco International Arts Festival to present a new Omar Sosa Quintet featuring American roots vocalist Tim Eriksen. This collaboration resulted in the 2009 CD release on Half Note Records, Across The Divide, recorded live at the Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC. The project received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album, and a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Instrumental Album, both in 2009.
For May 2011, Mr. Sosa has received further funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the Jazz School in Berkeley, California and the San Francisco International Arts Festival, to present a series of workshops with noted Latin jazz percussionist, educator and historian, John Santos, as well as a Festival performance in San Francisco with his primary touring ensemble, Afreecanos Quartet.
Mr. Sosa's recording career began in 1997 with the release of his first solo piano recording, Omar Omar on the Oakland, California-based record label, Otá Records, and has continued with the release of 22 CDs as a leader, resulting in five GRAMMY nominations. These include a 2002 GRAMMY nomination and Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for the CD Sentir; a 2005 GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for the CD Mulatos, featuring Cuban saxophone and clarinet master, Paquito D'Rivera; and the two nominations for Across The Divide in 2009.
Omar works with an array of African, Arabic, European, Indian, Latin, and North American musicians. Among his many associations are drummers and percussionists Steve Argüelles, Julio Barretto, Mino Cinelu, Miguel "Angá" Diaz, Marque Gilmore, Trilok Gurtu, Marcos Ilukán, Ramiro Musotto, Gustavo Ovalles, Pancho Quinto, Adam Rudolph, John Santos, Carlos "Patato" Valdés, and Orestes Vilató; singers Tim Eriksen, Lázaro Galarraga, Marta Galarraga, El Houssaine Kili, Xiomara Laugart, María Márquez, Will Power, Mola Sylla, the Tenores San Gavino de Oniferi - Sardinia, and Dhafer Youssef; trumpeter Paolo Fresu; and woodwind masters Paquito D'Rivera, Luis Depestre, Leandro Saint-Hill, and Mark Weinstein.
Another recent work is Tales From The Earth (Otá Records, 2009), led by flute player Mark Weinstein. The recording presents a thoroughly cosmopolitan outlook rooted in the rhythmic intensity and improvisatory, call-and-response spirit of Africa writ large. It features artists of Cuban, Haitian, West African, European, African American, and Jewish American heritage, with a shared commitment to the communal, celebratory character that embodies the expressive riches of Mother Africa and features Omar on marimba and vibraphone, which he studied in Cuba's conservatories before switching to piano.
A major new project bears the fruit of Omar's first big band collaboration, working with composer Jaques Morelenbaum and Hamburg's North German Radio (NDR) Bigband. Recorded in 2007 and 2008 at the NDR studios in Hamburg, it features Jaques Morelenbaum arrangements of material from the Omar Sosa CDs Spirit Of The Roots (1999), Bembón (2000), and Afreecanos (2008). Jaques Morelenbaum has arranged for Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and Cesária Evora, among many others. Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband performances were held at the Banlieues Bleues festival in Paris and the NDR studios in March 2010; and will be presented again by the Barcelona Jazz Festival in November 2010 at that city's famous Palau Música Catalana, with Jaques Morelenbaum conducting.
New performing pursuits include a trio with noted Italian trumpet player Paolo Fresu and master Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu. Notable video productions include Light In The Sky, filmed in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil and directed by Aitor Echeverria (from the 2008 CD release Afreecanos), and the recent DVD release of Omar Sosa's 2007 Java Jazz Festival performance in Jakarta, Indonesia.
For film and television, Omar Sosa collaborated in 2008 on the soundtrack for the PBS documentary, The Judge and the General; and completed the soundtrack for the 2010 film The Last Flight of the Flamingo, produced by Fado Filmes in Lisbon, Portugal, and based on Mia Couto's famous novel about Mozambique. Mr. Sosa also contributed a musical excerpt to the 2006 Andy Garcia film, The Lost City.
In 2011, Omar released his fifth solo piano recording, Calma, which received a Latin GRAMMY nomination. Featuring Omar's unique and original approach to the genre, the CD is comprised of 13 solo piano improvisations, fusing stylistic elements of jazz, classical new music, ambient, and electronica.
In January 2012, Omar collaborated with celebrated Italian trumpet and flugelhorn player, Paolo Fresu, on the release of Alma. The CD features guest cello contributions on four tracks by the masterful Brazilian conductor, arranger, producer, and cellist, Jaques Morelenbaum. Produced by Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa for Mr. Fresu's label imprint, Tuk Music, the compositions are written by Omar Sosa and Paolo Fresu, except for Under African Skies, a gentle version of the popular track from the Paul Simon CD, Graceland.
Omar Sosa's latest studio album, Eggun: The Afri-Lectric Experience, was released worldwide in February 2013. Eggun, in the West African spiritual practice of Ifa and its various expressions throughout the African Diaspora, are the spirits of those who have gone before us, both in our personal families and those who serve as our Spirit guides.
The Omar Sosa Afri-Lectric Experience began as a commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival in 2009. The assignment: to compose and produce a tribute performance to Miles Davis' classic Kind Of Blue recording on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Inspired by various musical elements and motifs from Kind Of Blue, Omar wrote a suite of music honoring the spirit of freedom in Davis' seminal work. Featuring trumpet and two saxophones, Eggun provides a medium for musical elements from Africa to shape and develop the music, and the resulting jazz textures are further enriched by the subtle and expressive use of electronic elements. At the heart of the recording is the spirit of Mother Africa.
Following the success of the Kind Of Blue commission, Omar began to include the new arrangements into the repertoire of his regular touring ensemble, resulting in the creation of the The Afri-Lectric Experience. The featured horn players are Joo Kraus on trumpet (from Germany), Leandro Saint-Hill on saxophones and flute (from Cuba), and Peter Apfelbaum on saxophones and percussion (from U.S.A.). Omar's longtime rhythm section of Marque Gilmore on drums (from U.S.A.) and Childo Tomas on electric bass (from Mozambique) create the foundation.
Special guests on the project include Lionel Loueke on guitars (from Benin), Marvin Sewell on guitars (from U.S.A.), Pedro Martinez on Afro-Cuban percussion (from Cuba), John Santos on percussion (from U.S.A.) and Gustavo Ovalles on Afro-Venezuelan percussion (from Venezuela). The CD was recorded primarily in Brooklyn, NY.
Paul and Peter Okoye, better known as P Square, have a lifestyle the stuff of dreams. The twin brothers are unlikely to look back and regret their decision to abandon football for music. At home and abroad, P Square is a hit. In 2010, the group won the Best African Act award at the KORA All African Music Awards held in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso.
No doubt, P Square is the most successful African act, and this is evident with the massive success of their numerous concerts in the continent.Over the years, the three time MTV award winning group has made an enviable impact in Africa, doing sold out concerts.And till date, the demand is still waxing stronger.
Clinching numerous awards both from the local and international scenes is one of P Square'srewards of hard work, resilience and sheer dedication as entertainers.They have even lost count of their awards.
Between June and July, 2010, P Square embarked on a successful tour of seven cities in the United States of America, and due to popular demand, they are lined up for more soon.
P Square's grass to grace story began in St. Murumba College, Jos, where they joined a music and drama club. They began singing, dancing and miming songs by MC Hammer, Bobby Brown and Michael Jackson.
They later formed an acapella quartet called MMPP. Drawing inspiration from their idol, Michael Jackson [now late], they started break dancing, and formed a group called Smooth Criminals in 1997.
Their artistic talent and enchanting dance routine soon made them household names in Jos, where they perform at school functions and other occasions.
In 1999, Peter and Paul returned to music school to develop their skills on keyboard, bass and rhythm guitar. Their works in those days included soundtracks for a number of films like Tobi,Moment of Bitterness and Evas River.
The same year, they applied to the University of Abuja to study Business Administration. However, the Smooth Criminalsdisbanded when its members left for various institutions. Subsequently, Paul and Peter formed their own group, initially called Double P, P&P and Da Pees, before finally settling for P Square.
In 2001, P Square won the Grab Da Mic competition, which earned them sponsorship of their debut album by Benson & Hedges, the sponsor of the talent hunt programme. Their album first was Last Night, andbarely three months after it was released from the stable of Timbuk2 music label in 2002, had a KORA award nomination in the Most Promising African Group category.
The breakthrough they needed came in 2005, with the release of their second album, GetSquared. The album had mega hits like Story, Get Squared, Busy Body, Temptation, Omoge Mi and E Don Happen. The album scooped all the major awards on the domestic scene.
In November 2007, their third album, Game Over, confirmed them as masters of their game. It contained monster cuts like Do Me, No One Like You, Roll It and Ifunanyato mention a few.
Despite this spectacular success, they show no signs of let-up, scoring another set of hugely successful cuts on their fourth album, Danger. With songs like E No Easy, Possibility, I Love U, GimmeDat, Troway and Break It, they blew minds.
They have been so successful that even the President of Burkina Faso, BlaiseCampaore, whose country hosted the 2010 KORA Awards, ordered that they should be flown in with a private jet from London after their concert.PSquare have invaded many homes, hearts and phones with their hit songs, which have become anthems on the lips of so many people and ring tones on thousands of phones.
Apparently as a result of P Square's spectacular exploits inAfrica, America and Asia, the biggest telecommunication company in Africa, Globacom, gave them a record-breaking ambassadorial deal. However, the contract, which runs into several millions of naira, did not come as a surprise to the fans of P Square who strongly believed that the development was long overdue.
On Saturday, 30 July, 2011, Peter and Paul, who are unarguably the most popular twins in Africa, hosted what was described as the ‘mother of all concerts'in the history of Nigeria. Dubbed TheInvasion, the sold-out concert which was held at the prestigious Expo Hall, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, was staged to herald the release of their smoking-hot fifth album, Invasion, which was released the same month.
Indeed, the album has invaded the hearts of music lovers and pundits in the Diaspora. With monster hits like Beautiful Onyinye,Chop My Money, She Is Hot, Asamkpokoto andDo As IDo among others, Invasion, which is jointly marketed by the biggest music marketers in Nigeria (T-Joe, Abhu Ventures and Obaino Music), was reported to have sold over a million copies within the first four days of its release, beating their first record of a million sales within six days with the Game Over album.
Later in august 2013, Psquare released a single titled ALINGO, it became a smashing hit that took the whole of Africa by storm. With the video shot and codirected by their elder brother Jude "Engees" Okoye and Clarence Peters of Capital hill Production. It was rated as the best video that year. Their latest smash hit again is PERSONALLY released mid june 2013. The video is a tribute to late Michael Jackson who inspired their musical career till date. The video and song was such a hit that it got the attention of Jermaine Jackson, late Michael Jacksons brother who commended Psquare on video for such a tremendous job and hoping to meet with them.
Teddyson John, St. Lucia’s Soulfully Sweet Son
The sweetness of his soul is reflected in the suave captivating nature of his voice and performance style when he hits the stage. Teddyson John, is a St Lucian musical treasure. Very rarely do you find someone who is able to showcase music via as many means of expression as he can. A trained gifted vocalist, Teddy or TJ as his friends call him, is also an accomplished drummer, keyboardist, as well as percussionist. Perhaps musical versatility is just layered intrinsically within his spirit, since as a singer he is able to successfully flow from Soca, both Groovy and Power, to Reggae, and also to R&B Soul. The ease with which harmonies flow out of him is only matched by the bold yet alluring effortless technique that one sees when he is onstage.
It was his unquestionable skill alongside his engaging confidence though, which lead him to sing onstage live with world-renowned soul diva, Patti LaBelle, when she put out the challenge for a male artist to come up and sing a duo with her in the St. Lucia Jazz Festival. That particular stage seems to be a favoured playground for Teddyson as he has also joined international stars James Ingram and Bebe Winans, in addition to Jamaican R&B fusion act Brick & Lace. In 2014 he will again be gracing the Jazz stage on Caribbean night alongside Allison Hinds.
Teddy’s abilities have been on display not just for his native St. Lucia but also for audiences in London, Toronto, Texas, Miami, and New York. His talent has also gained him the pleasure of opening for such well-respected Caribbean acts like Destra Garcia and Machel Montano at different venues. While the expertise and harmonic grace he has displayed over the years secured his position as an opening act for such multi-talented musical heavy hitters as Neo and Richard Bona.
However, it is at home in the local Groovy Soca Monarch and Power Soca Monarch competitions that Teddyson shines the brightest. He became the first ever official Groovy Soca Monarch of St. Lucia, in 2007, and has since then till now in 2012 placed in the top four of both contests. Interestingly enough he has no interest in the competition aspect of the show, but instead enjoys performing for the large home crowd whom always vigorously and enthusiastically celebrate his performance in these arenas.
In the 2013 St. Lucia Carnival season, Teddyson took a break from competition to focus his energy on producing the very first Groovy concert in St. Lucia – Love. Passion. Music. It was the first time a local act headlined such a successful concert and Love. Passion. Music. will become a staple in the annual St. Lucia Carnival calendar of events.
Teddyson continues to produce new music to add to his current repertoire which includes major hits like, “Coming down the road, “Land of wine” “Sweet Soca Music” “Take Over”, “Spread Love ”, and “Wine up on me ”.
Having started his singing career at 5 years old and gradually then moving on to all the other instruments he plays, it is no wonder that he has now honed the ability to have a wide variety of audiences happily eating out of his hands whenever he touches a stage. For this young man, who enchants countless ladies while simultaneously revving up his male onlookers with endless energy, the so far sterling career in music has only just begun. Between his raw talent, and focused incessant determination, alongside his irresistibly charming onstage persona, this St. Lucian star is surely being groomed and is most definitely destined for Caribbean and International glory.
Tessanne Chin is a Jamaican born Reggae Fusion recording artist, with a solo album ‘In Between Words’ and is best known for her hit singles "Hideaway" and "Messenger".
She has shared the same stage as music icons Patti Labelle, Peabo Bryson and Gladys Knight to mention a few and toured for three years with her fellow countryman, multi-instrumentalist, singer and actor Jimmy Cliff.
Her father, Richard Chin, is of Chinese and Cherokee descent and her mother, Christine Chin, is of English and Black descent. Tessanne was introduced to music at a very early age by her parents. Her mother was the trumpeter and singer in The Carnations and her father was the band's drummer. The family has a recording studio in their home in Jamaica.
Tessanne started performing when she was six years old with Cathy Levy's Little People and Teen Players Club, one of Jamaica's top performing arts schools. Most of her vocal coaching came from her mother, as well as noted vocal coach Lecie Wright. Tessanne learned firsthand about cultural diversity when she moved to England at age 12. She coped with the move by devoting a lot of time to writing songs.
She has performed at several live shows, including The Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2006, Reggae Sumfest 2007 & 2012, the Deck Cafe, The Port Royal Music Festival, ABC Slim Traxx, and her very own show "Arabian Night.
Tessanne has collaborated with fellow Jamaican artists Shaggy ("Never Let Go") and Protoje ("Someone Like You"), the Trinidad and Tobago soca band Kes ("Loving You") and was featured in a track by the legendary Jamaican band Third World, titled "By My Side."