Bringing the Spirit of the Tuff Gong to the Concrete Jungle

On Saturday, February 6, 2016, reggae lovers around the world celebrated the life and music of Robert Nesta Marley, the undisputed King of Reggae. In Times Square, the heart of New York City, the Cannabis Cup Band (CCB) of all-stars, paid tribute to one music’s greatest legends. This year marked the  20th Anniversary of this band coming together to celebrate the music of Bob Marley. Furthermore, it was also the 8th year that the evening event was preceded by a Kids’ Concert—all of which attracted a record-breaking  turnout. More After The Jump

“I was a freelance writer for High Times magazine and Steven Hager, the former Editor-In Chief who started the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, asked me to put together a band,” says Gabe Kirchheimer aka G Moses, CCB founder and drummer. “I put together a band of professional musicians playing weed tunes in reggae and also other genres, like ‘Sweet Leaf’ by Black Sabbath, ‘Soul Man’ by Sam & Dave changed to ‘Herb Man’—lots of classic reggae tunes like Frankie Paul’s ‘Tu-Sheng Peng.’ Reggae to hard rock to Latin jazz even. Rocker T, the Tru Ganjaman, was the lead singer then. We performed at the Cannabis Cup 11 times, backing up artists including Rita Marley, Andrew Tosh and Bushman. We developed a strong following in New York. The first CCB Bob Marley Birthday Tribute happened in 1996 at the legendary venue Wetlands, which closed in 2001, and since then it has continued each year at B.B. King in Times Square.”

rickgabeBOOMSHOTSCCB Keys & Drums: Ricky T (Ricky Tepperberg, CCB Bandleader)  & G Moses (Gabe Kirchheimer, CCB Founder)

The tribute kicked off with a kids’ show, packed with babies and children between 1 and 12 years of age, in attendance with their parents and grandparents. The babies in the crowd wore protective headphones and the kids were excited about the opportunity to sing on stage. Ras Droppa, lead vocalist of the Cannabis Cup band, showed compassion for the children, making sure to give all the youths on stage an opportunity to touch the mic and sing some Bob Marley lyrics. Some were shy in their delivery while others belted out the lyrics with boisterous voices. The kids’ concert had a special implication, particularly for inner city children who do not have access to musical education. (One suggestion for next year would be to enchance the educational component by projecting the lyrics on a screen so kids could read and sing-a-long to the tunes.) Overall, the sense of  cohesiveness, kindness and passion for music was greatly felt. Edizen Archer got the crowd to break out into skanking with a rendition of “Simmer Down.”  When Ras Droppa sang “Redemption Song,” he left the crowd in complete awe.

At 7:30pm it was time for the evening concert, and the 17-piece ensemble (see full lineup below) kicked into high gear as the horns section, anchored by veteran trumpeter Kevin Bacthelor, blew the roof off.

Ras Droppa delivered superb lead vocals for both shows in a lively and energetic performance.  Violeta Carmaj’s “Sequence” styling of the harmony vocalists, added just the right touch of sophistication to the evening.

seq

In the audience to show their support were Gary Pine (lead singer of The Wailers band)  and Derrick Barnett, the legendary bassist, producer, and founder of Statement Band. It may have been cold outside on the streets of NYC, but the estimated crowd of 1,000 guests definitely felt the warmth of live music during this stellar tribute.

“I have a deep love for Bob Marley and his music,” said renowned guitarist Andy Bassford, who pulled some sweet sounds of out of his Fender Telecaster. “It’s a complicated music and needs at least three guitars. Everybody in the band has really studied the music, with love and effort, to make sure it is played how it was made to be played.”

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The Cannabis Cup All Stars Band Lineup; February 6, 2016

1) Ras Droppa, lead vocals

2) Ricky Tepperberg, keyboards

3) Andy Bassford, lead guitar

4) Natty Frenchy, rhythm guitar

5) Steve Richards, bass

6) Ras Menelik percussion, Nyabinghi drum, turtle shell

7) Num H.S Amun’ Tehu, vocals and percussion

8) Marcia Davis, vocals

9) Carla E. Kelly vocals

10) Edizen Archer, vocals –

12)  Adriel Williams, violin

13)  Kevin Batchelor, trumpet

14)  James Smith, trumpet

15) Anant Pradhan, saxophone

16) Clark Gayton, trombone

17) Gabe Kirchheimer aka G Moses, drums

CCB Engineer for both concerts was Cliff Simpson.

Set Lists:

I. Kids’ Concert

“Stir It Up”

“Jamming”

“Is This Love”

“Satisfy My Soul”

“Lively Up Yourself”

“Small Axe”

“Three Little Birds”

“Simmer Down”

“Iron Lion Zion”

“Could You Be Loved”

“Redemption Song”

II. Adult Concert

“Real Situation”

“Positive Vibration”

“Ambush in the Night”

“Is This Love”

“Talking Blues”

“Guiltiness”

“Heathen / Burning and Looting / Zimbabwe / Afrika Unite”

“Misty Morning”

“Concrete Jungle”

“Dem Belly Full”

“I Shot the Sheriff / Rebel Music”

“Rat Race”

“Nice Time / Simmer Down”

“Soul Rebel”

“Roots Rock Reggae”

“Trenchtown”

“Babylon System”

“Satisfy My Soul”

“Trenchtown Rock / Lively Up Yourself”

“Iron Lion Zion”

“Could You Be Loved”

“Get Up Stand Up”

“Redemption Song”

Photography by Roland Hyde

“Sequence” Photograph by M’ka Tafari

Concert Footage by Smoki Henry and Boomshots TV

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