2008 Lineup

FRIDAY JUNE 20, 2008

11:45-1:15 pm Gypsi Fari Duo

Veterans of numerous Island Festival's Vince (left) and Bobby (right) are the backbone of the award winning Gypsi Fari band based in Chicago, IL.  Always a crowd pleaser, the Gypsi Fari duo will help set the mood for an Irie weekend!


5:00 pm-6:00pm Reggae Happy Hour with Ras Soul Jah

Ras Soul Jah is a driving force in modern day reggae music. Ras SoulJah has a fresh and original style' this dynamic band's obvious influences of early traditional roots and culture remain evident in their music.  The Ras SoulJah Reggae Band is based upon the ideology of positive and uplifting consciousness that is conveyed through their reggae music. This band plays a variety of 'roots-n-culture' and ragga style originals, as well as, popular cover tunes.

Ras SoulJah's is a dynamic ensemble including members that hail from California, Detroit, Chicago and other parts of the Midwest .  The evolution of Ras SoulJah has spanned from the 1990s to present day.  Ras SoulJah is the creation of co-founders Timothy and La Donna Flynn. The group began its origin with the formation of 'Tribal Culcha.' this band specialized in a 'roots-n-culture' style. "Tribal Culcha's' metamorphosis continued until 1999, adding lead vocalist Fada Wayne from Kingston Jamaica, this ensemble then formed as the 'High Grade' reggae band. In 2002, 'High Grade' disbanded and ultimately, the Ras SoulJah reggae band was created.


6:30pm-7:45pm  Reggae Cowboys

The West Indies meets the Wild West! Reggae Cowboys pay tribute to the black cowboys of the past century and the contribution they made to cowboy culture. Combining the powerful rhythms of reggae with country, pop and rock, Reggae Cowboys capture the hearts and souls of audiences everywhere. Whether a reggae fan or not, EVERYONE who sees the Cowboys becomes an instant fan.

The roundup began in late 1993 when Bird "Stone Ranger" Bellony and Aljernon Delano "Click Masta Sync" Rabess (childhood acquaintances from Dominica, British West Indies) joined forces in Toronto, Canada. The Reggae Cowboys' name came from their fascination with the role of African-Americans in settling the West in the 1800s.

Country influences are widely pumped through the radio stations and films in the Caribbean islands, so a lot of West Indians grew up listening to country music. Says Bird, "My brother was a projectionist at the local movie theatre, so I grew up watching Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, Gabby Hayes, Audie Murphy and Fernando Sancho."

By combining a unique and unforgettable mix of Reggae and Traditional Country, The Reggae Cowboys evoke a euphoric feeling in all of their audience members.


8:15pm-9:30pm Chicago Afrobeat Project

Afrobeat cannot stand still. As the genre’s tempting sounds continue a resurgence across the globe, Chicago Afrobeat Project (CAbP) remains true to its original vision of breathing the intensity of Chicago’s rich music scene into the infectious sounds of afrobeat. Rather than become caricatures of the genre, CAbP slips a reverent nod to the tradition while delivering an energized originality different from any other band on the afrobeat scene today. At each of its 100+ live performances a year, the group’s frenzied songs hit audiences with a big enough one-two punch to tirelessly knock them onto the dance floor time and time again.

Afrobeat’s range of influences — funk, rock,  jazz, afro-cuban, high life and juju music – settle into a hypnotic, dance-compelling pulse at the core of CAbP. The group layers a fiery originality around this core through high-energy rock and experimental jazz.  The trance-like grooves that hold the floor in the tradition are pushed to new borders in CAbP’s second and self-produced album, (A) Move to Silent Unrest. In it, the group keeps true to the mix of respect to the tradition and forward-thinking experimentation that shine through in their live performances.

The individual players, coming from diverse backgrounds, each hold their own as soloists that ultimately characterize the live shows.  Melodic and hard-hitting horn lines create a lyrical flow to the music, delivered by a cutting, driven rhythm section dynamic.  Complex call-and-response percussion songs are dispersed throughout the performances. At select shows, African dancers from Chicago’s Muntu Dance Theatre accompany the band.  Added up, the music is packaged with original songwriting that explores the stylistic reaches of afrobeat and a few classic covers delivered true to form.

The group currently performs across the country from coast to coast with notable festival dates including Bele Chere Music Festvial (2005, 2006) Wakarusa Music Festival (2006), Chicago World Music Festival (2003, 2006), Vassar College Jazz Festival (2005, 2006), Summer Camp (2005, 2007), Chicago’s Summer Dance Series (2005, 2007), and High Sierra Music Festival (2007).



10:00pm-11:30pm Rising Reggae Star Stevie Culture

Stevie Culture was born in Kingston, Jamaica to Rastafarian parents in the 1970's.  His Father was a musician who plays the guitar and sings.  He began his career one night, in 1983, at a Dancehall party. Somebody handed him a microphone, and in a moment of inspiration, he made up a brand new song, right there on the spot.  Stevie immediately realized that he loved singing—and that he was good at it, too.  Singing became his lifelong passion, and as Stevie puts it, “Ever since I picked up the microphone that night, that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

As the lead singer for The S.A.N.E. Band (Jamaica's top band during the 1990s) Stevie Culture had performed as the opening act for many Reggae artists such as: Shaggy, Anthony B, Sizzla, Third World, UB40, Steel Pulse, Culture, Burning Spear, The Wailers and Alton Ellis.  More impressively, Stevie has performed on stage as a backing vocalist for many great artists like Dennis Brown, Tony Rebel, Everton Blender, Capleton and the late, great Garnet Silk.   

In addition to performing on stage, Stevie Culture is a prominent record producer in Negril, Jamaica.  His company, Soundbird Productions, is currently producing upcoming stars like Phee Phee, Crystal Axe and Steve Aliba.

Stevie has always carried with him a positive message. When asked what one thing he would tell his fans, he responded in a heartbeat: “Hol' a joy! (stay positive).”  “Don’t let the problem rule your life”, he says; “Don’t think of the problem. Think of the solution. Just be happy about what you’re doing.”

The songs on Stevie's debut album; "Top Class" reflect this "Hol' a Joy” philosophy.  Each of the fifteen tracks contains its own unique message. “Dat Ting Deh” is a warning about hardcore drugs and how they ruin people’s lives.  The title track: “Top Class” is a message for women. It is a reminder that women can be “independent and do what they want” without apology.  "Conscious Lyrics" is about keeping a positive message in Reggae Music.  "Link Up" is an appeal to every nation to put aside their differences and just dance to Reggae Music.


12:00pm-1:30am Mystic Rebel - A Tribute to Bob Marley and the Wailers

Mystic Rebel has been tearing up the East Coast with a burnin’ Reggae show that has kept them on the lips of thousands of music fans and top promoters for the last three years. As one of the more successful bands touring the Eastern Seaboard, the band were voted top ten "Best of the Fest" by Bethlehem Musikfest 2006, along with recent appearances at the Vermont Roots Reggae Festival, Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Festival , Kalamazoo Island Festival, Ithaca NY’s Musefest and the Ski Woodbury Reggae Fest, where they joined onstage by legendary Wailer guitarist Junior Marvin. The group has recently appeared at top venues like BB King’s NYC, World Cafe Live Phila, Woodstock’s Bearsville Theater, and House of Blues AC-----------------

"The best band we’ve had..." said Red Door in Stratton VT, while Woodstock Times called them "...a smokin Reggae band." Said Merge digital online reviewer Judianne Triglia, "the vocals were dead on...the perfect combination of mellow and funky...the crowd loved them." -----------

Since it’s inception in 2002, the group has appeared with a mountain of artists like Pato Banton, Giant Panda Geurilla Dub Squad, Fully Fullwood band, John Brown’s Body, Jah Works, Cowboy Junkies, Entrain, Eric Johnson, Bruce Cockburn, Ihi Yahn Ihi Arkestra, Natty Rebel, Jah Menelek, the Itals, the Meditations, Jah Cutta, High Roots, See Peoples, Thousands of One, Freddie Jackson, Spiritual Rez, Mystic Roots to name a few. --------

SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2008   

12:00-1:30pm  Mystic Dub

Mystic Dub is currently touring the Midwest region n lovin d crowds. We wanna see MORE of you Roots Rock/Dancehall/Soca Reggae-lovin people out there, too! We bring originals in all d above stylee as well as covers by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Greggory Isaacs, Sister Carol, Marcia Aitken/Sasha, and more! We are a four piece including d following musicians: Hard-hittin’ Drummy- John Juan Carlos, Soul Writer/Singer/Keyboardist-Reaiah RIME True, Uke/Sax/Melodica player, brother Mickey Mackenzie and John Bassie Stawarz returning to bass (he was Mystic Dub’s bassist back in 05)!


2:00pm-3:30pm Family Groove Workshop by Dunuya Drum and Dance

Dunuya Drum and Dance is a global drumming collective presenting music of (West) Africa and the Diaspora (including Cuba, the Caribbean, North Africa, and Brazil). The fundamental mission of the group is to manifest spirit in community through sacred public performance. Our goal is to create an environment of healing and celebration for people from vast socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, and age demographics. Furthermore, the fundamental guiding principle of the group is that art should be accessible, affordable, and available to everyone. We strive to work with agencies and venues that share in this vision.

A central attribute of our shows is the opportunity for audience interaction, be it through singing, dancing, or playing instruments right along with us. As such, our shows reach audience members of all ages, and make for a rare opportunity for families and community to come together.

 Dunuya Drum and Dance

4:00pm - 5:30pm Ann Arbor Dub Project

The Ann Arbor Dub Project started in October of 2004 as a studio project. What was in mind was to collaborate enthusiasts of Jamaican music (mainly reggae) from Michigan into a cd. What happened though was that a band was formed around Nate, Sunny and after our first show Chip. Chip turned out to be the real backbone of the Dub Project with his ultra talented songwriting skills and super versatile drumming abilities. Also as much as the Dub Project is an audio project its just as much a visual project. Sunnys Dub Posters express the spiritual (sometimes renegade religious), political, social and environmental concerns of the band and Chips lyrics. A lot of the time our good friend Joe can be seen in front of the stage painting to the music on his canvas and easel. Chip and Sunny have lived off the grid in the forest on private land west of town since April of 07’ which has been inspiring to say the least. They currently are spending the winter in a wood stove heated tree house. Nate our bass player aka DJ Ornate is a stunning reggae selecta, hip hop dj and has an amazing collection of funk, soul and Motown records. We have collaborated with many local, national and international reggae enthusiasts. Come check us out... WE’RE UNIQUE!!!

 Ann Arbor Dub Project

6:00pm-7:30pm Spiritual Rez

SPIRITUAL REZ is a 7-piece reggae horn funk dance party that has been tirelessly touring the country while commanding an extremely unique and high energy sound. Since 2003, the band has shared the stage with internationally touring acts such as Culture, Gregory Isaacs, Jimmy Buffett, Israel Vibration, Buju Banton and Jamaican Legends The Skatalites. They have also been lucky enough to play shows featuring Bernie Worrell (founding Parliamant Funkadelic member and keys for the Talking Heads) ..boards. Their EP, RISING IN THE EAST was released independently in 2006 and the band plans a live album in the summer.


8:00pm-9:30pm Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra

"Yeah, we've got our own thing", states matter-of-factly Ray Lugo, leader of New York City powerhouse KOKOLO. Based on the spiky and hyper-funky grooves found in the group's latest album, Love International, it would be difficult to argue with the man. Few groups in today's global Afro scene generate as much attention and excitement as they do debate and criticism as KOKOLO. "It's the result of going against conditioned expectations", expands Lugo. "People are used to expecting the familiar, but I'm just doing my thing in my time. This is music that comes from my heart, humble music for the whole world." KOKOLO's ever-growing international appeal (to date, the band has performed in over 20 countries) appears to lend weight to Lugo's words.

A former punk rocker who grew disenchanted with the promise held by that genre, Lugo formed KOKOLO in 2001 in the Big Apple’s Chinatown district. He took the name from Spanish Harlem slang used to refer to devout fans of afro music. From the outset, he sought to carve a path of his own. “There may be better afrobeat, funk, latin or polka groups around…but we were going to be the best KOKOLO in the world.” Within weeks of the group’s formation, they recorded their urgent Fuss and Fight debut at Gabe Roth’s Daptone Studios. Soon after the album’s release in 2002, the band found themselves playing to receptive audiences both at home and abroad.

KOKOLO's reputation for mounting an explosive live show is the reason they continue to rack up frequent flyer miles year after year. "Each musician brings an important element...everyone just comes as they are". "Our bassist loves his reggae, the tenor saxophonist is a Jazz and Country music head, our congero is Mr. Salsa personified, our trombonist loves his Zappa, the trumpeter is on the experimental side of the dial, the lead guitarrist lives for Hip Hop and lately, I've been getting into lots of classical music, actually", says Lugo, "These guys have a lot of soul...and together, this mix, this authenticity...makes KOKOLO unique onstage."

 Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra
10:00pm-11:30pm Reggae Legends The Meditations