“Sounds From The Caribbean Stage” Showcase at SXSW Reps Reggae & Dancehall To The World

W&R Projects x Irie Jam x Boomshots Link Up To Make Music History

Launching as a regional music festival in 1987, SXSW (pronounced “South By Southwest”) has grown by leaps and bounds to become one of the biggest cultural events in the world—expanding to a nine-day marathon encompassing Film and Interactive as well as Music. Major motion pictures like Neighbors, 21 Jump Street, and Bridesmaids as well as the TV series Girls have premiered and secured distribution deals at SXSW. Major digital startups like Twitter and Foursquare debuted at SXSW. But music is the lifeblood of the festival, with over 28,000 artists participating last year, from unknown hopefuls (John Mayer and James Blunt are just two of the future stars to be discovered at SXSW in years past) to bonafide megastars (Kanye West, Prince, Lil Wayne and Jay Z have all performed there in recent years). One area that has been woefully under-represented at SXSW has been Reggae. But this year, W&R Projects have linked with Irie Jam and Boomshots to represent reggae and dancehall music to the world at this influential gathering of media tastemakers and industry power-players.  Details After The Jump…

Irie Jam Media is one of the most powerful brands in reggae music, with the leading radio show in the New York Tri-State Area and a full slate of major stage shows and events throughout the year. This year they joined forces with respected media platform Boomshots, the official reggae and dancehall site of the Complex Media Network, forming an alliance that’s destined to take reggae and dancehall music to another level around the world. This SXSW showcase, presented in association with UK-based promotion company W&R Projects, is the first of many big ventures the partners will undertake together.

Sounds from the Caribbean Stage” will take place at Palm Door on Sixth in Austin, Texas on Saturday 19 March 2016 . This year’s lineup includes Assassin aka Agent Sasco, a danehall veteran who has collaborated with Kanye West on the critically acclaimed Yeezus album and with Kendrick Lamar on the Grammy-winning album To Pimp a Butterfly. Assassin recently released his first studio album in over 10 years, Theory of Reggaetivity, which finds the artist getting in touch with his reggae roots.

Tanya Stephens is a singer, DJ, and songwriter par excellence who’s responsible for timeless compositonss like “These Streets” and “It’s a Pity”—one of the most searingly honest songs ever written about human relationships. “I don’t make female songs,” she says. “If I had a penis, who would I be? The best male artist? It has nothing to do with sex. Female seems to be something that’s very stigmatized these days. I refuse to wear that stigma.” After getting into dancehall straight out of high school, she made her name in the mid ’90s with hits like “Handle The Ride” and “Yu Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet,” both of which cast her in the traditional role of sexual dynamo, calling the bluff of bedroom boasters. While she enjoyed the success, Tanya soon became bored within the confines of her persona. “I don’t need to keep harping on one topic,” she says. “There’s just too much to talk about.” Glimmers of her brilliance slipped out here and there (see “2000 Years” on her Rough Rider album) but many dancehall producers pressured her to stick to the time-tested formula. Tanya has battled for her creative freedom, putting together an unparalleed and ever-expanding body of work—most recently on her album Guilty.

Cham is a Jamaican dancehall legend who has blazed a trail of hits with production mastermind Dave Kelly that defined the sound of modern dancehall from the mid 1990s until today. Lawless, his first album since the classic Ghetto Story, is scheduled to drop later this year. (In the meantime you can download the Lawless mixtape after the jump.) “When I’m in the studio I’m floating,” says Cham. “And I don’t smoke—I go wherever I want to go, musically.”

Kranium burst out of the Queens, New York dancehall scene with his worldwide hit about love on the down-low, “Nobody Haffi Know.” On the strength of that song’s success he became the latest star signed to Atlantic Records, which previously brought Sean Paul to international acclaim. His most recent EP Rumors includes a remix of his smash hit, featuring West Coast rap star Ty Dolla $ign. Kranium’s powerful live performances have helped him displet the myth that reggae artists must get their start in Jamaica to be taken seriously.

Jovi Rockwell is a Jamaican-born “Rebel Love Goddess” who first came to prominence on Major Lazer’s debut album when she sang a rock-steady duet with Mr. Vegas “You’re Gonna Need Me.” She also appears on the latest Major Lazer album, Peace Is the Mission, on the song “Too Original” featuring Elliphant. Ms. Rockwell also collaborated with Snoop Lion on his early single “La La La.” She’ll be bringing her electric guitar to the party, so fans should come ready to rock.

Omari Banks is an Anguillan musician and former cricket star who appeared in 10 test matches for the renowned West Indies squad. He recently released his album Move On, featuring the romantic single “Me & You” which was produced by the multi-platinum, Grammy  nominee Jason “J-Vibe” Farmer. “I’m excited to be performing at SXSW,” he says. “I promise it to be a refreshing performance for music lovers. I’ll bring energy, vibe and a unique blend of my influences which span across genres.”


Meanwhile, the Sounds from Africa stage will feature chart-topping UK Afrobeat star Fuse ODG, Sony Music signee Davido, as well as Iyanya, Stonebwoy, KO, Tekno, The Compozers and D Black. #ForwardEverBackwardNever

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