New Zealand’s Reggae Family: House of Shem “She’s Mine”

House of Shem "Harmony" (2014)

House of Shem “Harmony” (2014)

*All photos courtesy of House of Shem

House of Shem is proof that musical genes run in the family.  As one of New Zealand’s most successful and well-known reggae bands since 2008, House of Shem consists of Carl Perkins and his two sons Te Omeka and Isaiah.  Carl is a reggae veteran in his own right with thirty-plus years in the industry singing, writing and playing guitar for bands such as Herbs, Mana and The Twelve Tribes of Israel.  Carl’s sons, Te Omeka and Isaiah, follow in their father’s footsteps; they sing, play keyboards and compose as well.  This strong musical trio allows the band to have three lead vocalists that harmonize each other perfectly.  House of Shem’s family bond is an essential element to their incredible song writing ability.

The band’s most recent release Harmony (2014) has gathered international acclaim and attention due to their distribution deal with VP Records Associated Label Group (VPAL Music).  The album’s first single and music video, “Take You There”, has gained over 160,000+ YouTube hits and continues to dominate the online reggae radio community.

One of our favorite tunes from Harmony is their lover’s rock anthem “She’s Mine.  We know how much you all enjoy lover’s rock, so we made a video for our YouTube Channel!  How do you like our video for House of Shem’s “She’s Mine”?  Comment below!

Get Ready to “Rise Up” with Golden Chyld

 

Golden Chyld "Rise Up" now available on iTunes.

Golden Chyld “Rise Up” now available on iTunes.

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Golden Chyld

After the success with his previous single, “Joanna Wine”, Canadian-born reggae artist, Golden Chyld, returns with his follow up single “Rise Up”.

This up-tempo, drum-driven reggae anthem flows with conscious lyrics that urges social action.  “The single ‘Rise Up’ was one of the core messages I wanted to convey to people for 2014.  Irrespective of what you’re going through, rising against all odds and doing your part to make society a better place is always one of the most lasting impacts you can make.  That’s what I want to do with my music: leave a lasting impact on fans and society,” Golden Chyld tells us.

“Rise Up” is now available on iTunes.  You can follow Golden Chyld on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

What do you think of “Rise Up”?  Comment below!

 

Juno Award-Winning Canadian Artist, Elaine “Lil Bit” Shepherd, Gives Us the Scoop on “Sweet Love”

*All photos courtesy of Elaine Shepherd

Elaine “Lil Bit” Shepherd is one of Canada’s best reggae singers in the music industry today.  Born in Bahrain and raised in Vancouver BC, this soulful songstress won the 2011 Juno Award for Best Reggae Recording for “Likkle But Mi Tallawah” and was nominated again in 2013 for the same award for “Move Ya”.  Her smooth, silky vocal style combined with sweet reggae rhythms continues to capture the hearts of many across the world.  In fact, Elaine has shared the stage with reggae veteran Junior Reid, Biggz General (Bob Marley’s grandson), Dax Lion and Skibu Foster (just to name a few).

Her lover’s rock song, “Sweet Love”, from her debut album “Move Ya” is one of our all-time favorites.  We got a chance to chat with Elaine before she left for her Toronto/Jamaica tour about the story behind the “Sweet Love”:

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Bruno Mars, Damian Marley and Apache Indian Create Superb South Asian Reggae

*Photos: Various sources

Country/Region: Hawaii (USA), Jamaica (Caribbean), England (Europe), India (South Asia)

What do you get when you combine traditional Indian music, a Hindu prayer, roots reggae and three of the most successful international multi-platinum artists?  You get two wicked versions of an Indian reggae song that have both become immensely popular!  Everyone knows Bruno Mars and Damian Marley’s hit “Liquor Store Blues” from Bruno’s debut album Doo – Wops & Hooligans (2010); but, did you know it is derived from Apache Indian’s song “Om Numah Shivaya” that appears on his album Time for Change (2005)?

British born, Apache Indian proudly displays his East Indian heritage on “Om Numah Shivaya”, which is a Hindu prayer that translates into “adoration to [the God] Shiva”.  He incorporates Hindu chants, a classical Indian flute, tabla drums and various Indian percussion instruments into this roots reggae “riddim”.  Apache’s English lyrics describe his personal journey of discovering his true identity in a multicultural world.

On “Liquor Store Blues”, Hawaiian native, Bruno Mars brings strong vocal chops to his version of the tune as he trades verses with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.  Bruno’s slightly faster rendition infuses more rock elements with an Indian sitar-styled guitar solo towards the middle of the track.  Damian’s rapped verses mimic the rhythmic melody perfectly as he brings his signature blend of roots, reggae and DJ toasting.  This dynamic duo definitely has chemistry and should consider doing a collaboration album together.

Whose version of the song do you prefer?  Comment below!

Intik “Notre Devoir”

*Photos: Various sources

Country/Region: Algeria (North Africa)

Intik [Photo Courtesy of YouTube]

Intik [Photo Courtesy of YouTube]

This Algerian hip-hop & reggae fusion band gets its name from the local slang for “no problem”, but ironically sings about their country’s tense social and political situation.  Intik formed in 1988 when a group of four friends (aged 10-14) bonded over their passion for hip-hop and reggae.  The band’s sound matured with their age and they soon gathered an underground following playing small clubs.  Ten years later in 1998, Intik received an invitation from Imhotep (a popular French Algerian rapper) to perform at a famous hip-hop festival in Marseilles, France.  This was the catalyst to their success and Intik soon released their debut album in 2001.

“Notre Devoir (Our Duty)” is a conscious tune about unity in our trouble world.  “Our duty is to come together/To put our cards on the table/Let’s not tear each other apart/Think for a moment/The future is taking off/You’d be better off thinking of uniting/The last train is about to go by/Expand your vision/Stop looking at the end of your nose.”

What do you think of Intik’s “Notre Devoir”?  Comment below!

 

Majek Fashek “African Unity”

Photos: Various Sources including Tuff Gong International

Country/Region: Nigeria (West Africa)

In “African Unity”, Majek Fashek calls for peace between rival groups; he sings, “when will the Jews and Muslims unite?  When will the Christians and the Muslims come together?”  Majek says, “My dream is to bring two cultures together; the European and the African.  I don’t believe in color.  Who knows the color of God?”  His positive message of world peace reflects Bob Marley’s message of “One Love” and is an inspiration to everyone.

Not only is the message powerful, but so is his music.  Take a listen a see for yourself why Majek Fashek has become one of the most well-known international reggae artists.

What do you think of “African Unity”?  Comment below!

Sean Paul & Wayne Marshall “Here We Go” (Jamaican Reggae)

*Photos: Various Sources including Washroom Entertainment and Warner Music Group

Country & Region: Jamaica (Caribbean)

Sean Paul and Wayne Marshall’s “Here We Go” fuses dancehall, reggae, hip-hop and R&B to create the new genre its producers (Washroom Entertainment) calls “island pop”.  This pulsating party jam features the duo showcasing their energetic vocal skills as they trade verses and harmonize each other.  As Wayne sings, Sean adds his signature and rhythmic ad-libs.  Washroom’s unique tune combines retro sounding synths with contemporary Caribbean rhythms.  “Here We Go” is an iconic earworm that continues to crawl in our ears (even when we aren’t listening to music)!

What do you think of “Here We Go”?  Comment below!

Kana “Pas de Problemes” (French Reggae)

*Photos: Various sources

Country & Region: France (Europe)

What comes to your mind when you think of France?  The Eiffel Tower, gondolas and crepes are some images that appear in our minds when we think of this romantic destination.  Believe it or not, reggae music is a popular style in France.  Artists like Yannick Noah have helped spread the genre’s influence across the country.

Kana’s “Pas de Problemes (No Problems)” is a catchy and uplifting tune about confidence, courage and integrity.  “Don’t listen to anyone but yourself/When making a decision/Let them talk/Don’t let them manipulate you/Nothing should stop you from moving forward/Show the others that you are not afraid/No problems/Everyone loves each other no matter what the problem is/Just be yourself.”

Kana channels the positive spirit of reggae music.  The band’s up-tempo rhythms and bright melodies are enough to splash a cloudy day with sunshine.  Kana’s cheerful horn section and soulful vocals complement each other nicely and are the finishing touches to this French masterpiece.

What do you think of Kana’s “Pas de Problemes”?  Comment below!

Bernard Uedre “Rawagu” (New Caledonian Reggae)

Country & Region: New Caledonia (South Pacific Islands)

*Photos: Various sources including National Geographic and Putumayo World Music

Hailing from the French owned New Caledonia, Bernard Uedre brings his fusion of reggae and kaneka music.  Kaneka blends vocal polyphonic singing styles, traditional Kanak music, pop and various world genres.  In New Caledonia, Jamaican reggae has influenced musicians and has shaped the sound of many local bands.

Uedre’s upbeat dancehall rhythms combined with optimistic vocals make “Rawagu” a massive party jam.   You can’t help but smile and envision yourself laying on a warm, sunny South Pacific beach.  Listen for yourself and take your brain, body and soul on a daydream vacation to New Caledonia …

What do you think of “Rawagu”?  Comment below!

Common Kings (feat. J Boog & Fiji) “No Other Love” (American Reggae)

*Photos courtesy of Common Kings, J Boog and Fiji

Country & Region: U.S. Pacific Coast/Hawaii/Oceania

The Common Kings‘ (feat. J Boog & Fiji) “No Other Love” is a wicked one drop reggae tune.  Don’t be fooled by the romantic lover’s rock rhythm; J Boog and Fiji have a few tricks up their sleeve later on in the bridge that are worth waiting for.  I won’t give it away … you just have to listen!

What do you think of “No Other Love”?  Comment below!