Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Zungguzungguguzungguzeng, The Biggest Dancehall Song In The World - Yellowman

It is almost impossible to mention the name Yellowman without thinking of his ingenious dancehall classic Zungguzungguguzungguzeng. The track is delivered in a freestyle fashion, with the deejay jumping through topics ranging from a goat and rooster, to having 110 girlfriends who bear his yellow babies. The song has since been sampled by several entertainers, including Tupac, Queen Latifah, Junior Mafia, Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel, but what does it mean? The Gleaner caught up with the deejay to discuss the song's success and album of the same name, released 35 years ago. "It can mean anything, you know. Mi can look pon somebody and say, 'if you don't leave me alone I will Zungguzunggugu-zungguzeng you'," Yellowman explained. "It's just a slang that came to me when me go inna the studio and hear the riddim. I didn't sit down and write it, me just rhyme up the words and mek the verse." Produced by long-time collaborator Henry 'Junjo' Lawes, Yellowman presents his arguments as the single unfolds on the 'Diseases' rhythm. Even though the entertainer gained popularity after placing second in the Tastee's Talent Contest in 1979, he noted that he was often dismissed by producers for being an albino. Zungguzungguguzungguzeng would ultimately change that.
Love For Music "I didn't think the song would be big. Me just did love the music and love weh me a do," he shared. "I used to go to the studio and people used to turn me away. Jungo give me the chance, and when dem hear the music me and Jungo made, everybody start call me." The album itself hosts 10 tracks, featuring Can't Hide From Jah and Who Can Make the Dance Ram. There are also numerous collaborations with late dancehall deejay Fathead, including Dem Sight the Boss and Take Me to Jamaica. Needless to say, the title track is his favourite. "I feel it is a unique song because generation come and love it up to this day. That is the biggest dancehall song in the world, so every time people hear it, it sounds new like they just hearing it for the first time. I still doing it on tour, it's a signature song on stage for me." Following its release on the Greensleeves label, Yellowman signed a major label deal with CBS Records. He also toured London, Canada and Hawaii, which he cites as a personal career highlight. Zungguzungguguzungguzeng is not just a hot number at your street dance, Yellowman also spoke of its other values. "It's one of the favourite dubplate songs in the dancehall - everybody and every sound want it for dubplate all over the world," he said. "I can't put a number on how much I've done, but it past the hundreds long time." Yellowman, born Winston Foster, spent his formative years at the Maxfield Children's Home and Alpha Boys' School in Kingston. He started to explore his affinity for music by forming alliances with sound systems like Aces International before starting a recording career in the early 1980s. Zungguzungguguzungguzeng aside, he is also known for other tracks like Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt, I'm Getting Married in the Morning and Mad Over Me. His accolades include being awarded the Order of Distinction for his contribution to music; a place in the Guinness Book of Records for releasing an average of five albums annually in the 1980s; and being given the keys to the cities of for Fort Lauderdale and Connecticut. Yellowman recently returned from a performance in Cancun, Mexico, and said his catalogue keeps him in high demand. "I tour every year. I have a tour in Argentina in January, which I go to all the time. I have new markets all over the world, like Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Egypt, Cairo, Dubai ... . I've even toured places that not even Bob Marley ever go, but I know him would go if him was alive. A lot of people wouldn't know these things because I don't come pon programmes and TV and tell people, or hype about where I go and what I do."

Xmas Joy in Trench Town

VETERAN singer Ernie Smith is one of several acts slated to perform on Christmas Joy in the Bass at the Old Ambassador Theatre in Trench Town this evening. Showtime is 7:00 pm. “The main objective of Christmas Joy in the Bass is to bring attention to the reason for the season — the fact that Christ was born to save the world from sin. So while the performers are entertaining the hundreds of residents who turn up at the open-air auditorium, we want to bring a message of hope for the future,” said Major Richard Cooke, president of the Joy Town Community Development Foundation.
The other acts are Kevin Downswell, Wayne Marshall, Carlene Davis, Alaine, Ziggy Soul, Marq Johnson, Naomi Cowan, Ity & Fancy Cat, and Chocolate Barnes. They will backed by the Right Band. The annual event has established itself as a highly anticipated concert put on by the Joy Town Community Development Foundation. Each year, the foundation works in partnership with Glory Music and Kevin Downswell Ministries to host the event which, in the past, has seen a packed open-air auditorium in Trench Town, the musical home of icons including The Wailers, Delroy Wilson, Ernie Ranglin and Alton Ellis. According to Diane Constantine, technical co-ordinator of the Joy Town Community Development Foundation, over the past years, the concert has been a Christmas celebration of the achievements of residents in the community who have successfully participated in a number of empowerment initiatives organised by the foundation. Smith made his mark on Jamaican music during the 1970s. His breakthrough song, I Can't Take It Any More, was covered by Johnny Nash as Tears On My Pillow. His other songs include Duppy Gunman, Hail The Man, Bend Down, Ride On Sammy, Pitta Patta, and One Dream.

The Music Diaries | The Rock Steady Era

Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, and Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert were mentioned in last week's article as being largely responsible for placing reggae music in the international spotlight. Consequently, a few weeks ago, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) included the genre in its list of cultural treasure that must be safeguarded. Two of these gentlemen Hibbert and Marley - also had seminal links with the rock steady genre from which reggae evolved, while Cliff had virtually transitioned from ska to reggae, without any rock steady song of note. Marley, for his part, enjoyed the most lucrative period of his pre-Island Records days with a series of extraordinarily popular rock steady hits at the end of 1966. This, on the heels of his return from Delaware in the United States, after frustrated by meagre remuneration from Studio One, he was driven to make the move to 'greener pastures' shortly after marrying Alpharita Anderson (Rita Marley) in February of that year. While working at odd jobs in Delawre, Marley had dreams of regrouping the Wailers there and suggested that his two friends join him. The suggestion, however, fell on deaf ears, and The Gong, as Bob is sometimes called, was back in Jamaica by year end with new ideas on the way forward for the group.
Becoming their own independent producers, establishing their own record label (Wail 'n' Soul 'm'), and writing two songs while overseas, headlined the ideas that Marley had for his renewed thrust for the advancement of the group. Bunny and Peter were previously thinking along the same lines, and so with a unified stand, they approached Studio One boss Clement Dodd, for paid studio time as independent producers to record the two songs (an unprecedented occurrence in the history of Studio One). The songs recorded were the rock steady pieces Freedom Time and Bend Down Low. The latter became a big seller and placed the group on firm financial footing. Moving from Studio One to West Indies Records in 1967, the group again recorded in a rocksteady style. Those who were around at the time may never forget the sweet tune that came from Nice Time, Hypocrites, Mellow Mood, Bus Them Shut, Stir It Up, Don't Rock My Boat, and Thank You Lord. Backed by some of the best musicians in the land Jackie Jackson on bass; Hugh Malcolm on drums; Gladstone Anderson on piano; Lyn Taitt on guitar; Johnny Moore on trumpet; and Vin Gordon on trombone - the Wailers indulged in a prayer of thanksgiving on the last cut as they sang:Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert, who missed most of the rock steady era owing to his incarceration at the Richmond Farm Prison for marijuana possession, was released just in time to record the rock steady piece - 5446 Was My Number for Beverley's Records in 1967. According to Hibbert, he wrote the song while in the correctional centre not only to reveal some of his experiences there, but to prove that he was innocent. The song, which is ranked among the best that the early rock steady and reggae era had to offer, remains Toots' signature recording and his biggest hit ever. Other artistes of note that had seminal links with rock steady were Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, Dobby Dobson, Hopeton Lewis, Bob Andy, and Marcia Griffiths. The groups The Melodians, The Techniques, The Paragons, The Gaylads, The Jamaicans, and The Heptones belonged to an exclusive fraternity of three-part harmony singers that ruled the rock steady era in 1967 and '68. The Melodians (Brent Dowe, Tony Brevett, Trevor McNaughton), were well known for the hits Swing And Dine, Little Nut Tree, and You've Caught Me Babe. The Techniques, consisting of Winston Riley, Bruce Ruffin, and Pat Kelly, hit hard with You Don't Care, There Comes A Time, and Man Of My Word. The Paragons, with John Holt, Tyrone Evans, and Howard Barrett, had hits like Happy Go Lucky Girl, Only A Smile, The Tide Is High, and Talking Love. The Gaylads, who sang on the enduring hits Hard To Confess, That's Life, and Love Me With All Your Heart Girl. The Heptones exploded in the rock steady era with Party Time, Pretty Looks Isn't All, and Book of Rules. And surely, we could never forget the Jamaicans larger-than-life recording of 1967 - Things You Say You Love, You're Gonna Loose.

Bunny eyes Wailers tribute By Howard Campbell

Bunny Wailer has launched an initiative to build a statue in tribute to The Wailers, the legendary group he co-founded 55 years ago in Trench Town. A maquette depicting him, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh was displayed last week in Kingston. The maquette is done by sculptor Paul Napier whose work includes a bust of National Hero Marcus Garvey that sits at Liberty Hall in Kingston. Maxine Stowe, Wailer's manager, told Jamaica Observer's weekly Splash that the singer/songwriter approached Napier about a possible project in February, when Napier unveiled a bust of Wailer. “It's really to support the identity of The Wailers. What we are doing is moving forward to get funding, which is what the launch was about,” said Stowe. She did not give details about possible sponsors but said the Government has been approached for support. Once completed, Wailer plans to mount the monument at Bournemouth Beach Park Complex in east Kingston.
Wailer, Marley and Tosh are the most famous members of The Wailers which had a number of hit songs during the 1960s. Their career started at Studio one where they did memorable ska songs, including Simmer Down and the jazz ballad, I t Hurts to be Alone. They also cut rocksteady songs for various producers such as Danny Sims and Leslie Kong, as well as their Wail 'N' Soul label. In the late 1960s, they linked with Lee “Scratch” Perry who produced a series of stripped-down reggae sides, including Duppy Conqueror and Small Axe which caught the attention of Island Records' Chris Blackwell. The Wailers did two albums ( Catch a Fire and Burnin') for Island before Wailer and Tosh left in late 1973 for solo careers. A statue of Marley, done by Alvin Marriott, faces the National Stadium in east Kingston. The Marriott piece was commissioned by the Jamaican Government and mounted in 1984, two years after a bronze depiction by Christopher Gonzalez was rejected by the Administration of Prime Minister Edward Seaga and the Marley family. Marley died in May 1981 at age 36. Tosh died in September 1987 at age 42. Wailer, who is 71 years old, used last week's event to launch Wail, a label committed to producing music by upcoming artistes.

Toots spreads Yuletide cheer By Howard Campbell Observer senior write

MANY Jamaicans associate Toots and The Maytals with the annual Festival Song Contest rather than Christmas, but the legendary singer and his group have been giving Yuletide cheer for over 50 years. Last year Toots went into the recording studio with guitarist Lamont Savory to cut It's Christmas, a bluesy number that calls for benevolence during the season. “Christmas is nice, for those who can afford it,” Toots joked during an interview with the Jamaica Observer. “But seriously, it's a nice time of the year an', even if yuh don't believe inna it, it's a great time an' people mus' help one another.” Though it was done in 2017, It's Christmas was recently released. Toots played most of the instruments on the song.
He and The Maytals did several Christmas songs in the 1960s and early 1970s when they worked with Byron Lee at Federal Records. One of them was Happy Christmas (The Christmas Song) which was released as part of Trojan Records' Christmas Box Set; their Christmas Song, produced by Lee, was released in 1972. Born Frederick Hibbert in Clarendon, Toots and his band maintained their reputation for extensive touring this year by spending 16 weeks between Europe and the United States. In January he heads to the US again for dates in Florida; Virginia; Washington, DC; and New York.