July 1, 2018 7:00 pm - July 2, 2018 2:00 am Hollywood Bowl
Reggae At The Hollywood Bowl (Sun. July 1)
(Beres Hammond Bio)
One of the most underappreciated reggae artists of his time, Beres Hammond was something of a throwback during his ’90s heyday: a soulful crooner indebted to classic rocksteady and American R&B, one who preferred live instrumentation and wrote much of his own material. Hammond specialized in romantic lovers rock, but he also found time to delve into light dancehall, conscious roots reggae, hip-hop fusion, and straight-up contemporary R&B. He was born Hugh Beresford Hammond on August 28, 1955, in Annotto Bay, in the Jamaican province of St. Mary. Hammond grew up listening to his father’s collection of American R&B (Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, etc.) and jazz, and also fell in love with native Jamaican music during the ska and rocksteady eras; his primary influence was Alton Ellis, and he also listened to the likes of Peter Tosh, the Heptones, and Ken Boothe.
Soul Reggae Over 1972-1973, Hammond performed successfully in talent competitions, one of which led to his first recording, a soul cover of Ellis’ “Wanderer.” In 1975, Hammond joined the group Zap Pow as lead singer; they enjoyed a hit single in 1978 with “The System.” Meanwhile, Hammond was already exploring the idea of a solo career, cutting his debut album, Soul Reggae, with producer Willie Lindo in 1976. Urged by his label, Aquarius, to pick a song for single release, Hammond instead returned to the studio and cut a new track, the ballad “One Step Ahead.” It was a massive chart-topping hit in Jamaica, and so was his second single, 1978’s Joe Gibbs-produced “I’m in Love.” Hammond left Zap Pow in 1979 to concentrate on his solo career, and initially worked as a session singer to make up for the royalties that were failing to come in. He recorded his second solo album, Just a Man, with Gibbs in 1980, and reunited with Lindo for 1981’s Comin’ at You.
(Alpha Blondy Bio)
Hailing from the Cote d’Ivoire, Alpha Blondy is among the world’s most popular reggae artists. With his 12-piece band Solar System, Blondy offers a reggae beat with a distinctive African cast. Calling himself an African Rasta, Blondy creates Jah-centered anthems promoting morality, love, peace, and social consciousness. With a range that moves from sensitivity to rage over injustice, much of Blondy’s music empathizes with the impoverished and those on society’s fringe. Blondy is also a staunch supporter of African unity, and to this end, he sings to Moslem audiences in Hebrew and sings in Arabic to Israelis. Some of his best-known songs include “Cocody Rock,” “Jerusalem,” and “Apartheid Is Nazism.”
He was born a member of the Jula tribe in Dimbokoro and named Seydou Kone, after his grandfather. His grandmother, Cherie Coco, raised him. He was always a rebellious child and for this, Coco named him “Blondy,” her unique pronunciation of the word “bandit.” When he started performing professionally, he took on the name Alpha (the first letter in the Greek alphabet) so his name literally translates to “first bandit.” Though he grew up listening to African folkloric music such as yagba and gumbe, his primary musical influences were such Western bands as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and soul artists like Otis Redding. Later Bob Marley’s music tremendously affected Blondy. Though he wanted to become a musician, his family expected him to become a respectable English teacher. He studied English at Hunter College in New York, and later in the Columbia University American Language Program. Outside of class, he would play music in Central Park and in Harlem clubs where occasionally house bands would let him sing his Bob Marley covers in French, English, and various West African languages. One night, record producer Clive Hunt heard Blondy sing and invited him to record six songs. Unfortunately, Hunt absconded with the tape. Shortly afterward, he returned to the Ivory Coast, where he was arrested for threatening the ambassador at the New York Ivorian embassy because the diplomat felt that Blondy’s English was too good for him to be an Ivorian native. While at the police station, Blondy’s temper again flared and he slapped a policeman (after the cop slapped him first). He spent a week in jail and then stayed briefly at the Bingerville Asylum in Abidjan, where he was declared reasonably sane and released. Soon afterward, he began honing his songwriting and performing skills. Later, he dedicated an album to the patients of Bingerville.
It is said that society has lost its way. We have all but entirely lost hope in the possibility of revolutionary progress instigated by the young people of Jamaica. The pessimists have yet to consider the notorious innovation of Jamaicans, that therein lies a rich history of focusing and refocusing in perilous times, pinpointing the tiny loopholes and then widening them into gaping gaps for not only Jamaicans to see the truth, but the entire world. This is what a certain exciting breakthrough musician has committed himself to doing. His name… Protoje. Born in the 80’s but wishing he was birthed in the 60’s, Protoje (Oje Ollivierre) is the fresh face with the freshest lyrical delivery, still having a feel of vintage reggae music but being a suitable update for the present time. Indeed, Marley’s mantra was to “free the people with music.” Protoje’s mantra is to free the people with art. Music – his appointed contribution to the artistic revolution – is only one of the many distinct art forms. He takes up the mantle of spokesperson for the Movement and represents the evident unity among a large group of talented musical, literary and visual artists who have silently and patiently developed under the radar and are about to march together into a new era of prosperity for all. Despite being the cousin of regular chart-topping producer, Donovan ‘Don Corleon’ Bennett, Protoje continues to resist the urge to lay his vocals on every other riddim in the dancehall mainstream. He is meticulously piecing together his debut album, The Seven Year Itch, while focusing the rest of his efforts on the perfection of his live performances. Already, a pattern has been detected whereby Protoje invariably sees a significant hike in his fan base the day after his last performance. This invokes the truth in the saying, “you have to see to believe.” Rolling with Protoje is rolling with the Movement
@ Hollywood Bowl
2301 N Highland Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90068
All Ages | 7pm showtime
– Advance Tickets on Sale Soon – Info Line: (323) 850-2000
Info / Tickets: https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/events/performances/364/