February 24, 2014


Local sources have reported that the Dominican government has broken their silence revealing the real reason why Tommy Lee Sparta was banned.  According to the Dominica News Online, the Jamaican Dancehall artiste was denied entry into Dominica yesterday because he was deemed a security risk.
Reports are that this decision according to the DNO was taken at a cabinet level. The Dominican government in a statement “pursuant to advice received, government had concerns for public safety. The decision to deny entry was intended as a preemptive action and also to provide an opportunity to exhaust all efforts to clarify information received.”
Tommy Lee Sparta is now in a Dominica hospital due to complications with his motor vehicle accident in Montego Bay, St. James last year.
Our sources understand that Tommy Lee Sparta was rushed to hospital today, after suffering from muscle spasms and blood clots to his legs, according to the Dominica News Online.
An attorney representing the artiste stated that Tommy Lee was forced to sleep on the concrete floor while detained at the Marigot Police Station last night after he was denied entry into Dominica, where he was scheduled to perform at a show.
Reports are that Tommy Lee is allegedly planning to take the matter before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). 
Source: zipfm

February 21, 2014

Cindy On Trial - Marley Relationship Goes Public

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

Cindy Breakspeare said she knew the King of Reggae, the man who would later become the father of her love child, because they would say hello to each other in passing.

"Yes I knew him, but to be a devotee of the music, part of an elite group of spiritual rebels was one thing. But to be intimate, involved personally with this man, be the woman who would stand by his side and reflect all that he was about was entirely something else."
Breakspeare wasn't a Rastafarian, didn't fit the bill, and wasn't sure she wanted to be one.
"Once again was that word religion, full of rules and regulations -just what I wanted to be free of," Breakspeare told the gathering who sat transfixed by her revelations at the Undercroft of the University of the West Indies, Mona, last Thursday during the Annual Bob Marley Lecture.
In her mind, it was uptown meets downtown. "How on earth was that going to work," she questioned.
However, that questioned was answered by the charming Bob Marley, who made her feel special with small gifts like a freshly picked mango and an invitation to walk in the cool night air. This became the norm, she reminisced.
"And I could not deny that we were fiercely attracted to each other. Fascinated and separated simultaneously by our differences, so we began to build a bridge. The same bridge that has brought me here today. Bob was strong, fit and virile. Tough as nails and boyishly charming, all at the same time."
She describes him as a man's man who wore denim and khaki, frequently used chew sticks to clean his teeth and smelled of phetamine soap, superconfident and more driven than any human being she had ever met.
 "He was not only attractive, but intimidating for a young girl like me. I knew instinctively if I were to enter into this relationship with him, it would change the trajectory of my life forever."
Cindy and Bob would stroll out to the fence at the front of the yard and stand there talking for hours about life, Rasta, consciousness and whether or not one knew what one's purpose on earth was.
"It was unsettling for sure, the company of this man, who was different from anyone I had been involved with thus far."
She said he was so serious about his own purpose in life that she didn't know "how and where [she] could possibly fit in".
During their tentative dance around each other, Marley went off on tour for 10 to 12 weeks.
Allan 'Skill' Cole and the gang continued to visit her from time to time at the nightclub in Northside Plaza where she worked, to check if she was behaving herself and to bring greetings from her suitor.
"Greetings to let me know that he was always thinking of me while away and would return soon - a return filled with expectation and anticipation. Finally, he was back, I knew the day was imminent. I heard the VW bus come through the gate and I just knew he was in it. His footsteps up the stairs to my front door confirmed this not long after. He was back. The waiting was over. There were no more questions which seemed to matter. It was what it was, and it would become what it would become."
Another piece of the bridge fell into place.
"Naturally, I had continued to pursue my own career goals and that pursuit led me to a job at Spartan Health Club as an instructress in June of 1976. She took to the job like a duck to water. To be totally immersed in physical culture was a wonderful way to spend every day, which fit in perfectly with her now-vegetarian lifestyle, as a result of Marley's influence.
Her involvement at Spartan and the encouragement of Mickie Haughton-James led her to compete in the Miss Jamaica Body Beautiful. The prize for winning that was to compete in the Miss Universe Bikini in London.
"Again, I won, and I remember being in New York with Bob at the Essex House where he often stayed waiting for the call from Jamaica to say whether or not I had been accepted to compete in the Miss World, also held in London."
The phone rang and the answer was yes, she had to compete in the ultimate beauty pageant, Miss World 1976 in London.
"The Miss World competition for me was an opportunity more than anything else. With no family backative and no university education, I made a conscious effort to exploit my God-given talent."
It turned out to be the best job she ever had.
"I told them to work me as hard as possible. I would go anywhere in the world they wanted to have me, and, consequently, had an amazing year getting to know the world as an unofficial ambassador for Jamaica."
Unparalleled & unforgettable
Being Jamaican was the thing she was most proud of when it came to facing the microphones. That exotic blend of cultures, colours and ethnic backgrounds, a melting pot that was truly diverse, was now sprinkled with a heavy dose of Rastafari, she said.
The night she won stands out in my memory as an overwhelming moment, unparalleled and unforgettable.
"Until this day, watching the videos of it, still fills my eyes with tears and floods my heart with emotion."
Wherever she went, Jamaica was the subject and, of course, Marley.
"The tabloids went crazy," she quipped, adding that her chaperone, Nancy Burke, was convinced she would be terminated for the scandalous press her relationship with Marley was receiving.
The age-old adage proved to be true - The only bad publicity is no publicity.
The Jamaican community, including those of the Rastafari faith, she said, supported her wholeheartedly through the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
A few days after winning, her exploration of London took her down to Porto Bello Road, where in search of a restroom, she made her way into a Jamaican restaurant called Back-a-Yard.
"As I pushed the door dressed in full regalia, having just come from a personal appearance, the two Jamaican women who were tidying the place looked up in total disbelief, elbowing each other. 'See her yah, see her yah,' they whispered loud enough for me to hear. Says me now brightly. 'Wah a gwaan in yah, me ears a ring unno een yah a chat me'. 'Yes,' one of them stated unapologetically, we want to know why when you have so much black girls in Jamaica, Bob would a tek up with you?'."
"Well see it yah now, a say to miself, baptism of fire. I took a deep breath, swallowed my spit and prayed for courage. Within five minutes, I kid you not, every Jamaican in a five-mile radius was in that restaurant to witness the impromptu trial of the newly crowned Miss World."

Source: jamaica-gleaner

February 20, 2014

I-Octane 'My Journey' hit stores March 4th

With only 12 days left to go before 'My Journey' hits stores worldwide... 
We are allowing you to pre-order the album so that on March 4th you'll be the first to have it.


#TeamOctane grab you cards (visa/master/credit etc.) and go buy the album, I promise you, it will be worth it.

February 17, 2014

“As Jamaican as Ackee and Saltfish”: Soul Rebel Cindy Breakspeare Part 1

Cindy Breakspeare and Bob Marley

Ever since Cindy Breakspeare gave the annual Bob Marley lecture last week interest in her story has heightened. I had interviewed her in 2007 for Riddim magazine. The article appeared in German in Riddim and it just occurred to me that I could publish segments of the English original here on Active Voice. Enjoy!

When asked in a radio interview about her origins Cindy Breakspeare once said “I’m as Jamaican as ackee and saltfish”. The comparison to the national dish was particularly apt as the codfish used in it is often imported from Newfoundland, Canada. Ackee of course is a strange fruit considered inedible in many places because of the potent alkaloid toxins it contains. Jamaicans however eat it with gusto. Apt too because Cindy is the product of a Canadian mother and a Jamaican father; coupled with her white skin her bi-cultural heritage is what often subjects her to questions about her eligibility to be considered Jamaican.
I started thinking about this article after listening to numerous radio interviews with Cindy Breakspeare over the last five or six years. Who was this extraordinary woman? I was struck by her voice and the down-to-earth sincerity it radiated, her healthy sense of humour, her refusal at a certain level to wield the celebrity that is her entitlement or even to take it too seriously. This was in stark contrast to the social columns of Jamaica’s newspapers–filled with the affected poses of individuals whose lives are completely banal and vapid, their only claim to fame being their  disproportionate control of the resources of this small postcolonial nation.
Cindy on the other hand had not only been the favoured consort of the first (and to date the only) global musical superstar from the third world—Bob Marley—shortly after meeting him  she had become a celebrity in her own right by winning the Miss World competition in 1976. In those days this was an even rarer achievement for an unknown from a small developing country than it is today. As for Cindy’s Marley connection, many of us would have given our eyeteeth just to have heard Bob Marley in concert live, let alone to have enjoyed an intimate relationship with this extraordinary musician whose fame and influence have grown exponentially since his untimely death almost thirty years ago.
Cindy actually bore Marley a son, Damian, or Junior Gong as his father called him, who has turned out to be an outstanding singer and songwriter in his own right. Damian, more than any of his half brothers and sisters, has seemed the reincarnation of his father–the champion of poor people’s rights, the shamanic performer chanting down Babylon. Some Jamaicans, however, criticize Damian Marley as an example of an “uptown browning,” suggesting that he lacks street cred, something essential to good Reggae.
The success of Damian’s 2005 hit ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ silenced most critics. In any case this sort of criticism rarely originated in the streets where people appreciated the younger Marley shining a spotlight on their plight. The question is where did he get this social conscience from? From where did he get his unflinching penchant for reality and plain speaking?
Without a doubt this was partly a legacy of his legendary father who had died when Damian was only 2 years old. But having the same legendary father had not led the other Marley siblings to produce music of this caliber. What if some of Damian Marley’s outspoken lyricism actually came from his famous mother, the beautiful Cindy Breakspeare?
Judging by the interviews I had heard with Cindy I began to suspect that far from being a pampered member of any VIP club the young Marley had actually benefited from a double dose of radicalism: Not only was he his father’s son he also had a mother who had flouted the values of Jamaican society, turning her back on the wealth and privilege that could have been hers and embracing a counter cultural lifestyle that was far from glamorous then no matter its currency today.
Who was Cindy Breakspeare exactly? Born in the fifties to a Canadian mother and Jamaican father Cindy was brought up in Jamaica and went to school at Immaculate Conception, a local convent school, as a boarder. Having to be a boarder at such an early age while difficult and challenging taught Cindy independence and self-sufficiency.
I went to Immaculate at the age of 7. I think when you’re separated from your family at that age you have to make a lot of decisions for yourself at a very early age–so you learn to trust your instincts, your own instincts, at a very early age; you develop your own value system, your own sense of what’s right and wrong for you. You tend to move away from being a sheep and doing what everyone else wants because you don’t have that safe cocoon; you have to follow your own feelings a lot more. Yes, this feels right for me and no that doesn’t and yes I like this and no, I don’t like that and maybe because there is no family constantly directing and supervising and saying no, you can’t do this and no you can’t do that you just tend to wend your own path and after a while you just kinda don’t know any other way to be–you just dance to the beat of your own drum.
While going to a convent school gave her the foundation of a good middle class upbringing her own family life was fractured and unstable so that when she finished school she was on her own, fending for herself and looking for any opportunity that might come her way. At 19 Cindy had been out of school for a while and done many different jobs. There was no money for further studies; her parents were separated, her father now in Canada and she had to get out there and hustle for a living. “I worked at a furniture store for a while, I worked at a jewelry store, I ran a nightclub, I worked at the front desk of what was then the Sheraton, now the Hilton, so I did many different things and eventually found myself at this restaurant …Café D’Attic.”
Café d’Attic was Jamaica’s first health food restaurant specializing in “fruit platters and salad plates and very healthy sandwiches…It was very health-oriented and attracted those who were looking for something other than your greasy spoon, your fast food”. It was during this period that Cindy met Bob whose own preoccupation with healthy food and ital living brought him to the restaurant. This was also what brought Mickey Haughton-James, the owner of a fitness club called Spartan there, a momentous connection that ultimately led to Cindy becoming Miss World in 1976.  “So Mickey came and began talking to me about leaving there and coming to be involved in Spartan. He had not opened it yet but he was looking for someone he felt embodied health and beauty. “I was looking for opportunity, always, always looking for opportunity. Whatever looked like the next good step to take, take, let’s roll with it. So I went to Spartan.”

Source: Active Voice 

February 10, 2014


Album Available Worldwide on March 4, 2014
from Tad’s Record

New York, NY (FOX FUSE) - Jamaican reggae star I-Octane reveals the track list and launch details for his highly-anticipated upcoming album My Journey, available worldwide in stores and online on March 4, 2014 from DJ Frass/Tad’s Record. Born Byiome Muir in Clarendon, Jamaica, I-Octane has been carving his niche in the reggae realm since hitting the scene over 5 years ago. A collaborative effort with his long-time friend and producer Andre “DJ Frass” Gordon, My Journey is a 16-track masterpiece that delves inside the soul and sound of this prolific artist, whose innate talents, conscious lyrical offerings and high-energy performances remain unparalleled.
“I want this album to help people to realize that we all have more in common than we are different,” reveals I-Octane. “We all go through the same types of things and experience love, joy, pain and suffering in our own ways. I hope that once people realize this, it will be easier to see each other as brothers and sisters and to genuinely love each other.”
Staying true to his signature sound that fuses velvety vocals and memorable hooks over catchy rhythms, My Journey lives up to its name as all tracks are penned by the multi-faceted entertainer, with a few singles co-written by producer DJ Frass. The first single, “Love You Like I Do,” has been receiving massive fanfare and radio play, at home and on reggae platforms worldwide. Its beautifully crafted, vintage-styled video was also released and is currently in steady rotation on television channels. The ambitious album also features reggae stars Gentleman on “It’s Alright” and Ky-Mani Marley on “A Yah Wi Deh,” while songstress Alaine takes a turn on the inspirational duet, “Lighters Up.”

“The Almighty has allowed certain things to happen to me so that I can learn, and then others can take from my experiences and apply those lessons to their own lives,” discloses I-Octane. “The music is just my vehicle of passing on my message. That is what reggae music is all about - spreading messages about love and life to help and uplift our brothers and sisters?”
The entire album was produced by reggae and dancehall hit-maker DJ Frass, with whom Jamaican imprint Tad’s Record teams up to deliver I-Octane’s latest work of love to the masses. “His musical journey is worth distributing,”states Tad Dawkins, President of Tad’s Record. “He is a youthful and refreshing sound in reggae, and his ability to transcend that without controversy into dancehall is deserving of high accolades. Like his name suggests, I-Octane is a high flame in the reggae/dancehall industry and we are privileged to be working with him and DJ Frass on this great project.”
The album release event is set to take place in Kingston, Jamaica on March 6at Chris Gayle's Triple Century Sports Bar (69 Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston, Jamaica). Hosted by radio personality Big A from Jamaica’s top radio station Irie-FM, the program will run from 7PM to midnight and will feature I-Octane introducing the album to media and fans, followed by a full performance. Numerous local and Caribbean media outlets will be in attendance, along with mainstream music’s most acclaimed trade publication Billboard Magazine, which will be journeying to Jamaica to cover the exciting new release from this reggae music ambassador.

I-Octane "The Balancer" recently won two top prizes at Jamaica’s Youth View Awards (held on February 1, 2014 in Kingston), where he nabbed Favorite Local Music Video for “Happy Time” and Favorite Music Collaboration of the Year for “It's a Celebration,” featuring Konshens, Chris Martin and Ding Dong. He is now making the rounds on the international circuit, touring and introducing his new album to audiences far and wide, as he takes the entire world on his journey.
Get the latest news and artist updates from I-Octane at Facebook.com/itsioctanesiiick, Twitter.com/Realioctane,Instagram.com/Realioctane and YouTube.com/Ioctanetv. Please direct all media inquiries to the FOX FUSE Publicity Department at 212-300-3813 orcontact@foxfuse.com.


1. Time Will Come
2. Million Miles Away
3. Stepping in The Name of Love
4. Babylon
5. It’s Alright Featuring Gentleman
6. Love You Like I Do
7. I Will be There
8. Mama
9. Pressure
10. Jah Jah Warrior
11. A Yah Wi Deh Featuring Ky-Mani Marley
12. Lighters Up Featuring Alaine
13. My Story
14. Blood A Go Run
15. Jah Jah Mission
16. Burn It

Alaine & I-Octane "Lighters Up" Official Video

February 03, 2014

Third World Lead Singer Bunny Rugs Is Dead

Bunny Rugs
Kingston Jamaica - Lead singer of the iconic reggae band, Third World, William 'Bunny Rugs' Clarke is dead. 

Clarke, who would have turned 66 this Thursday, February 6, passed away last night in a hospital in Orlando, Florida. 

He had been diagnosed with cancer and had been battling the disease in intensive care. 

It is reported that because of health problems, he missed some of the shows in Third World's 40th anniversary tour in 2013. 

Clarke, who has helped to shape the history of reggae, has spent the past 31 years with Third World. 

His musical career began at age 15