The Oxford Shire Ultra Lounge was the place to be on Tuesday night. We witnessed the official release of the “Upful Reggae Riddim” with it’s own party. The Shire at 1A Oxford Road is a new venue on the scene but it’s intimate atmosphere is promising. The bar space was illuminated with disco lighting, preparing us for the ‘party’.
The early patrons seemed pleased with the oldies that graced the air as Dr. Kool spun from his Dj booth. It reminded me of the early session at any dance. Soon after the Deejaying switched to Grei Show, with some roots dub mixes bringing a youthful flare of Reggae.
The vibrant host, Mama Mitzie, welcomed us to the space, sharing details of what we’d experience that night. Before introducing the first performer, and one of the producers of the Upful Reggae Riddim, Eesah. Backed by the Brick Wall Redemption Band, Eesah came out with a fiery energy contrasting his smooth voice. He went through four songs including, Big Tings, which seemed to be a crowd favourite, and Run Ova Dem, a message to all duplicitous persons.
Mikey General followed, starting off with his song, Miss Taylor Bwoy, an autobiographic song. “What happen to Miss Taylor bwoy? Him shoulda be a lawyer…” was a line from the song, he didn’t follow the norm of society and changed his lifestyle to one he thought suited him better, he became a Rasta. He sang, Is The Revolution Still Happening, which is on the Upful Reggae Riddim, and African Story.
Between sets Mama Mitzie would return to the stage and engage with us before introducing the next act. In celebration of Marcus Garvey’s 130th birthday, there was a giveaway, courtesy of I-Nation. The prizes were two copies of the book, 100 amazing facts about the Negro (with complete proof) by Jamaican author, J.A. Rogers.
Up next was Silkki Wonda, another producer of the Upful Reggae Riddim. He kept a militant mood throughout his set, he chanted against being corrupt. He sang, I Am A Lion, and finally, I&I A Warrior, on the Upful Reggae Riddim. Dexta Malawi followed with his song, Relax, on the Upful Reggae Riddim. I enjoyed Relax as Dexta had a nice flow, urging one to give thanks in life; he closed his set with a song for the ladies.
We had a short break from the performances to view the official music video for “Ganja I’m Smoking” by Dre Island, this is his song on the Upful Reggae Riddim. The video was directed by Shaydz and recorded by Nickii Kane. Props to you guys, the video is so clean, I like it. Dre Island took to the stage and sang Ganja I’m Smoking, giving us a taste of the song live. I will never get over his voice, and was pleased that he sang Rastafari Way next. He was followed by Ashkenaz who sang his song, Relax in acapella, then Lion Fear No Foes on the Upful Reggae Riddim.
Jah Bouks was the final act of the night, he began by singing “She say she love it Ital!” we were amazed at his love song! He showed his strengths by doing a freestyle pon a riddim requested from the band. He also asked two of his friends to drop a few lines before singing, Love And Unity, which is his song on the Upful Reggae Riddim.
The Upful Reggae Riddim was released under the Black African Museum Record Label/Studio, the promoters of the event. The party was a good vibe to me, we got to experience authentic Jamaican music, whether reggae, dancehall or the in-between, as new sounds keep emerging. So far I really like the songs on the riddim, you can take a listen to some of them, here. My only qualm is that none of the ladies on the riddim were on the show, bring on the ladies next time!