England’s Wicked Reggae Band: Our Interview with XOVA

XOVA Logo*All photos courtesy of and provided by XOVA  

It’s no surprise that the United Kingdom (UK) produces some of the best reggae music. After all, Jamaica was a British colony prior to the island’s independence in 1962 and since then, many Caribbean people have migrated back to England as well. With the large Caribbean population, it was inevitable for reggae to be reborn in the UK. If you’ve ever been England, you’ll discover that reggae is extremely popular. Birmingham, England, in particular, has produced some of reggae’s greatest bands including Steel Pulse, UB40 and now … XOVA.

This multicultural, Birmingham sextet mixes a variety of musical genres including funk, rock, pop and jazz with a strong reggae backbone. Their groovy melodies, smooth vocals and heavy rhythms support the bright brass section that colors each song with character. XOVA’s veteran band members are no strangers to the music scene with some playing for Pato Banton, Michael Jackson, Sting and Beres Hammond (just to name a few). Their music videos for “9 Lives”, “Just Wanna Be Famous” and “Knife Crime City” have helped earn them over 44,000 views on their YouTube channel (and they’re just getting started). Recently, we chatted with XOVA about their story, sound, upcoming album and much more.

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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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UB40 “Every Breath You Take” (The Police Reggae Cover)

*All photos courtesy of UB40

Country/Region: England (Europe)

Everyone knows The Police’s classic hit “Every Breath You Take”; but we bet you have never heard it like this!  Legendary British band, UB40, cleverly transforms the tune into a reggae dance anthem.  Compared to the slow-tempo original, UB40 drives the ballad with upbeat Caribbean drum rhythms and catchy guitar hooks.  The band’s smooth vocals complimented with heavenly saxophone harmonies allow the song to soar to new heights!  We won’t spoil it for you any longer, just take a listen.

How do you like UB40’s version of “Every Breath You Take”?  Which version do you prefer?  Comment below!

Our Interview with Conkarah: Jamaica’s Positive Reggae Sensation

Performing live at Jamaica's Reggae Sumfest 2012

Performing live at Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest 2012

If you’re seeking “feel good” music, look no further than Jamaica’s talented reggae singer, Conkarah.  With hits like “Forever”, “Draw You Close”, “Addicted”, “Island Girl” and “No Barbershop”, Conkarah is no stranger to the music industry.  In fact, he performed at last year’s Reggae Sumfest 2012 alongside Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Bunny Wailer (of Bob Marley & the Wailers) and many more.  We got a chance to sit down with Conkarah and discuss his music, inspiration, goals and the global success of reggae music.

For those not familiar with you, can you briefly tell us how your musical career began?

“I was walking through one of the halls at my university and walked past a choir rehearsal.  It was fantastic!  From the harmonies to the tonality, I said to myself ‘I have to audition’.  The very next day, I did just that and earned a spot with the bass/baritones.  After my first choir practice, it was a wrap.  I knew I’d never be truly happy doing anything else but music, and it’s been an exciting journey ever since.”

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