Legendary radio DJ David Rodigan has an encyclopaedic knowledge of reggae history. *Photo supplied
Legendary radio DJ David Rodigan has an encyclopaedic knowledge of reggae history. *Photo supplied
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FRIDAY, JULY 20: His knowledge of reggae history is encyclopaedic and now legendary radio DJ David Rodigan MBE is about to share his musical wisdom with Bermuda.

This weekend, he joins Bitty Mclean, who landed a string of top ten hits in the UK charts in the 90s, and dancehall reggae DJ Tony Matterhorn, in a two–day old and new school reggae event by Global Arts and Entertainment at Snorkel Park.

On Friday night Rodigan, aka ‘RamJam’, will take fans on a musical journey through the evolution of reggae, with Mclean singing covers and original tracks in The Beast Old School Reggae Dance.

On Saturday, Rodigan will focus on the new school with Matterhorn in the Ravin Mix Party set fusing reggae with modern sounds such as techno and R&B.

This year, at the age of 60, Rodigan was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire from the Queen of England for his 35-year career dedication to the music of Jamaica.

Passion

His passion for the music began when he was a schoolboy in Oxfordshire in the 60s when he first set his ears on ska — the mother of reggae. He became obsessed and filled his head with ‘the island’s every artist, every song and every rhythm track.”

Andrew Phillips, aka ‘Animal’, of Global Arts Entertainment, told the Bermuda Sun: “He is the beast of old school reggae and he is doing his classic David Rodigan reggae history lesson. He’s going to go from ska — the original reggae music — right through everybody’s favourite sessions — all the music that they came to love and their favourite songs. That’s what makes him spectacular. He’s the only one like himself in the world.”

Rodigan’s reggae broadcasting career began in 1978 with the BBC in London. He moved to Capital Radio the following year broadcasting his iconic Roots Rockers show. He soon began performing sound clashes including a clash with Jamaica’s champion DJ Barry G which secured his credibility.

 He later joined Kiss 100 where he can still be heard every Sunday. He was inducted into the Sony Radio Academy Hall of Fame in 2006 and won the Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Best Specialist Music Programme in 2009 for his Kiss show Rodigan’s Reggae. The show is attracting a young new audience through modern bass-heavy Dubstep which he will be performing at Snorkel on the Saturday night.

Bitty Mclean started to make his name after co-producing and singing on UB40’s internationally successful album Promises and Lies. By the mid 90s he had secured three top ten singles with It Keeps Raining (tears from my eyes), which reached number two, Here I Stand and Dedicated To The One I Love. A slew of top 30 singles followed and he toured with the likes of UB40, Wet, Wet, Wet and Simply Red. His latest albums include Bond Street and Movin’ On with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.

Phillips said of Friday’s set: “Bitty and Rodigan have done the set before and it has been very successful. They will play all of the greats thus making it an extremely memorable occasion.”

As for Kingston-born Tony Matterhorn, he made his name as part of the duo King Addis. His style was described on Billboard.com as “hardcore dancehall” and he won a victory at the Dancehall World Cup in 2000. In 2006 he hit the mainstream with Dutty Wine.

Phillips added: “Tony Matterhorn is an incredible dancehall artist and DJ. He clashed with David Rodigan in Bermuda before at an event that attracted 3,000 people. The Ravin Mix Party is the new rave but with other music — R&B, dance hall  — all thrown into one melting pot bringing out all demographics. That’s going to be the Vibe 103 DJs and YGS.

“On that night Rodigan will be featuring Dubstep which is a music that he has booked out elsewhere two years in advance. It’s regular songs that were hot and they take it and put a techno twist on it. Every time I hear it I think Bob Marley is going to rise up from the grave.”

All the artists will be joined by the Vibe 103 DJs Chubb, Smokey and Keem.

Phillips added: “One of the things that I feel makes me an accomplished promoter is it has got to be about the chemistry — the social dynamic which you are dealing with at the time. I am a social engineer — I put together equations that I feel will bring all demographics together.”

Tickets are available from Jamaican Grill, iClick & Audio Visual for $30. Price is $40 at the gates. The two nights run from 8pm to 3am.