New Zealand’s Romantic Reggae Star: Our Interview with Awa

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Awa

If you already didn’t know, reggae is immensely popular in New Zealand.  The genre was popularized as far back as the 1970s and 1980s by bands such as Herbs and Unity Pacific. In 1979, Bob Marley’s legendary concert, at the country’s Western Springs Stadium, had a tremendous influence on many artists to form their own bands; many believed it was the catalyst for the spread of the genre.  Additionally, some of the island’s Maori people gravitated towards the Rastafarian religion that also contributed to the rise of reggae in New Zealand.

Today, one of the most prominent artists to hit the scene is Awa (a former member of the band Nesian Mystik).  Now as a solo artist, his signature sound that blends romantic reggae and soulful R&B has captivated New Zealand’s listeners.  His debut EP, Native Intel (2011), earned him three Maori Music Awards for Best Maori Songwriter, Best Song and Best Maori Male Artist.  Two years later, Awa’s follow up album, Heartbeat (2013), broke the Top 10 New Zealand Album Chart for his hits “Home”, “Perfect Day” (featuring Hawaii’s Anuhea) and “Back In My Life” (featuring New Zealand’s House of Shem).  Now in 2014, this double platinum artist continues to pen more hit songs, especially on collaborations with CRSB and Pieter T.  Recently, we caught up with Awa to talk about his career, upcoming concert and latest single.

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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!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s Your Viewers’ Choice: Top 20 Reggae & Dancehall Love Songs from Around the World

*Photos: Various Sources

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked all of you (the viewers)  to submit your favorite reggae and dancehall love songs from around the world.  Thank you everyone for your excellent song suggestions.  Although we couldn’t include every single video, we included the most requested songs.   In no specific order, here are your top picks for this lovely month of February (which is also National Reggae Month).  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Alexus Rose “Left Out” (USA)

Romain Virgo “Soul Provider” (Jamaica)

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New Zealand Raggamuffin Music Fest 2014 (Jan 31 – Feb 1)

*Photos: Various Sources including Raggamuffin Festival

The Reggae Around the World: Music Blog team is proud to announce the Raggamuffin Music Festival 2014 live in Rotorua, New Zealand:

Friday 31st Jan, 2014
SHAGGY // REBEL SOULJAHZ 
TIKI TAANE (Ft. OPTIMUS GRYME) // SOLJAH

Saturday 1st Feb, 2014
DAMIAN MARLEY (Ft. GHETTO YOUTHS INTERNATIONAL)
MORGAN HERITAGE // GROUNDATION
HOUSE OF SHEM // THREE HOUSES DOWN // SONS OF ZION

With more acts/special guests still to be announced!
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For more information, check them out on:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/raggamuffinNZ
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RaggamuffinFest
Instagram – http://instagram.com/raggamusicfestnz

“Big Tings a Gwaan”: Our Interview with Legendary Reggae Band Inner Circle

Inner Circle HD Group

The Legendary Inner Circle

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Inner Circle

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Inner Circle’s 20 year plus music legacy, let us fill you in.  Although they are best known for their hit song “Bad Boys” (which became the iconic theme song for Fox’s TV show Cops), Inner Circle are much more than a television band.

Since the mid-70s, Inner Circle’s blend of reggae, rock and pop have solidified them as one of the first Jamaican reggae bands to crossover to the mainstream American music scene and have shared the stage with pop/rock music icons such as Elton John, Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Conner, The Black Crowes, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and more.  Additionally, this Grammy award-winning band has toured internationally, garnered a global fan base and has sold millions of records worldwide (some of their most notable albums include Bad Boys, Reggae Dancer and Big Tings).

Today, as one of the most esteemed bands in the industry, Inner Circle continues to create music on a daily basis at their own Circle Village recording studio and have collaborated with Damian & Stephen Marley, members of Morgan Heritage , Slightly Stoopid and many others.  We caught up with Inner Circle to chat about reggae’s popularity, their new Reggae Wave project, Circle Village Studios and much more.

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