Reggae Reggae


Reggae music --- not just a sound, more a way of life.
 In recent years main stream reggae has become inextricably linked with the aims and themes of Rastafarianism and cultural rock for the black youth of Britain.
     Reggae music as played by British black bands still takes its cue from Jamaica but the unique problems of day to day life here has crept into lyrics which white audiences can identify with.
    But despite the success of U.B.40, reggae has failed to make a major impact on the chart it deserves largely because it is ignored by radio stations, national and local, and by TV showcases like Top Of The Pops.
    In Birmingham there is a massive groundswell of struggling reggae bands bursting for an outlet and their needs may soon be met by Cecil Morris of Edgbaston - bases Rising Star Records and Management.
   Cecil is the main man behind The Elite  --- a major new reggae venue in Soho Road, Handsworth, which will see Jamaican roots reggae stars Ras Michael and the Sons of Negas make the only British appearance on their European tour when it opens on July 31.
   Supporting Ras Michael with be local reggae band Amiak who are on the verge of signing a major recording deal with Crysalis.
  Cecil said: "The unemployment situation means that most of the youths are well into their music and their lack of jobs means a lot of youths have time and creative ability to get a band together.
  "The situation in Birmingham is that bands don't have
enough venues to get the right exposure.
  "The intention with The Elite is that it is for local groups having difficulty in finding places to play.
  " It is a venue to spotlight what is happening in the Midlands and I would like to see The Elite develop as a cultural centre not just for reggae but for arts and crafts   --- as an exhibition centre and mass meeting place for our cultural attainment."
  Among the big name stars Cecil hopes to in The Elite are Dennis Brown ("Money In My Pocket") and Errol Dunkley ('OK Fred') together with local name bands Amlak, Unity and As One.
  Cecil Said: "Reggae is the most realistic music because it deals with what is happening.
   "Reggae is a way of life whereas you find a lot of other music just dealing with  the love thing. A lot of chart music is folly - a craze or a fashion thing which comes and goes.
   "Reggae has been here for 70 years progressing all the time and always dealing with reality.
    "Reggae would be far more successful if people were to hear it as much as pop records."
   Cecil Morris has just launched a new national magazine "Rasta Mag" which includes a tribute to Bob Marley and a full colour poster of reggae's greatest star.
   Rasta Mag is available at leading newsagents and record shops at 75p or direct from Cecil Morris at Rising Star Records, 151 Dudley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

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