The 25th anniversary year for the Austin Reggae Festival looks to have one of our strongest lineups ever! Bands scheduled to perform Friday, April 20 through Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin are as follows.
As in previous years, proceeds from the event will help the Central Texas Food Bank feed hungry families in Travis County and surrounding areas.
2018 BAND PROFILES, listed in alphabetical order
Black Uhuru (Scheduled Saturday, April 21)
The legendary Black Uhuru is one of the most influential reggae groups ever, winning the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Reggae album. Through numerous lineups they have stayed true to their original vision for over 50 years, led by founder Derrick “Duckie” Simpson. From their roots in Kingston’s Waterhouse District in the late 60’s, the band perfected a distinctive style featuring bass thumps, drum slaps, sharp keyboards, heavy guitar riffs, dubbed with long instrumentals full of whirly background dub echo noise effects and the signature “woh oh ohs.” For decades they have mesmerized audiences with a string of hit singles and albums, including “Showcase,” “Sinsemilla,” “Red,” “Chill Out,” “Anthem” and many others. Black Uhuru’s long success has allowed them to become worldwide ambassadors of reggae.
Collie Buddz (Scheduled Saturday, April 21)
Born in New Orleans and raised in Bermuda, Collie Buddz exploded onto the scene a little over a decade ago with his self-titled debut and his popularity with fans and critics continues to blossom. Spin proclaimed, “Buddz proves the pop rule: Catchiness transcends color.” He started making music at 12 with his brother and it soon became apparent to everyone within earshot that his voice was unique in a way that lingers long after you’ve heard him. Collie has toured the world with artists such as Cypress Hill, Rebelution, and Matisyahu. He’s performed in front of thousands at music festivals such as Lollapalooza, Boomtown, Summer Jam, and the California Roots Festival, launched a record label and a radio station.
I-taweh (Scheduled Sunday, April 22)
I-taweh offers a cool refresh on roots reggae music best described as timely, updated and professionally delivered. From humble beginnings, he’s become a much-in-demand reggae performer as a front man, a supporting musician and in the recording studio. I-taweh continues to tour, captivating audiences with emotionally moving lyrics, confident stage presence and precision talent. His music is diverse, reflecting his passion for human rights and social justice. Whether performing acoustic guitar, with a stand-up bass, or on regular bass with his full 10-piece band, I-taweh wins the hearts of listeners everywhere.
Kabaka Pyramid & the Bebble Rockers (Scheduled Friday, April 20)
A multi-talented songwriter, artist, and producer coming straight from the streets of Kingston, Keron “Kabaka Pyramid” Salmon brings a unique musical style blending the power, energy and melody of reggae with the lyricism of hip-hop. He is based out of the Bebble Rock Music camp and, through his liquid and hypnotizing delivery, spreads the positive messages of spirituality and conscious evolution. He was named Breakthrough Artist of the Year 2013 by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, won Best Reggae Recording 2014 by Canada’s highly respected Juno Awards, and has placed at the top of the Billboard Next Big Sound Charts worldwide. He performs around the globe, bringing his message to audiences everywhere.
Lion Heights (Scheduled Sunday, April 22)
The friends who formed Lion Heights in 2013 are mainly influenced by the roots music that was pumping out of Jamaica in the ‘60s and ‘70s. However, combining aspects of soul and R&B helps them to introduce reggae music to new audiences. In 2014, Lion Heights relocated to Austin from Chicago, and has since been a regular act at venues all throughout the Lone Star state. In anticipation of their next release, Lion Heights continues to tour and play local shows, building up their fan base in Texas and abroad.
Matamoska! (Scheduled Sunday, April 22)
Created during the infancy stage of the ghetto ska-punk movement, in November 2000 in Montebello, Calif., Matamoska! is made up of musicians with very diverse tastes in music, which leads to their signature mixes of sounds, influences and even language (both Spanish and English). This edgy and original sound has led to various performances from backyards to clubs featuring some of the top punk, metal, hardcore, sXe, crust/grind, psychobilly, garage, reggae, rock en espanol, and ska bands around.
Mau Mau Chaplains (Scheduled Friday, April 20)
A roots reggae band from Austin, The Mau Mau Chaplains have been playing reggae together for more than 30 years and specialize in roots reggae and dubwise sounds. The Mau Mau Chaplains are the alter/ego of Stop The Truck, an original and traditional country band. As they say, “it’s all country music, just different countries.”
Mighty Mystic (Scheduled Saturday, April 21)
A leader of the U.S. Reggae scene, Mighty Mystic grips his audience with ferocious conviction, a fresh sound and a musical diversity that attracts listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. He scored his first international hit in 2006 with “Riding on the Clouds.” He followed up with standouts such as “Revolution,” “Original Love,” and “Slipped Away.” His brand of “hard roots” combines high-energy stage performance with a firm hold on his Jamaican roots, while adding elements of Hip Hop and Rock.
Nattali Rize (Scheduled Saturday, April 21)
Nattali Rize defies boundaries: culturally, musically and spiritually. Her debut album Rebel Frequency hit the streets in 2017 to high acclaim, impacting worldwide charts and hearts. Known for epic, high-energy, thought-provoking and uplifting performances, Nattali and her heavy five-piece band (from Australia and Jamaica) channel a deep reggae influence in a New-Era Style. With tours alongside the likes of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Katchafire, Third World, J-Boog, Julian Marley, Tribal Seeds, and more under her belt, the worldwide movement is ever “Rizing!”
New Kingston (Scheduled Friday, April 20)
At a time when most Americans have been exposed to a more pop-influenced style of reggae, New Kingston is dedicated to the preservation of Jamaican reggae and its message. A family band, New Kingston consists of brothers Tahir, Courtney, Jr. and Stephen along with their father, Courtney Panton, Sr. and was born out of jam sessions in the family’s Brooklyn basement. A first-generation Jamaican-American, Courtney the elder was active in New York’s reggae scene before turning his sons on to the music of their island heritage.
Sister Nancy (Scheduled Sunday, April 22)
Sister Nancy, a dominating female voice for over two decades on the dancehall scene, is considered a role model for a successive generation of female acts. Born Ophlin Russell in Kingston, Jamaica, Sister Nancy’s debut album, “One Two,” was released in 1982. It features her classic song “Bam Bam,” which became immensely popular outside of Jamaica, and especially in the U.S., appearing in the opening scenes of Hype Williams’s 1998 street-tough film “Belly,” and more recently been sampled by Kanye West, in “Famous.” After a 20-year career as a bank accountant in New Jersey, Sister Nancy recently retired to pursue music and performing. Nearly two decades after her debut, Russell released her second album, “Sister Nancy Meets Fireproof.”
The Wailers (Scheduled Sunday, April 22)
The Wailers are more than a band—they’re living legends who bring a revolutionary sound to fans around the world. Bob Marley & The Wailers sold more than 100 million recordings worldwide, including 1977’s “Exodus,” anointed Best Album of the Century in 1999 by Time Magazine, and “One Love,” named Song of the Millennium by the BBC. Spin Magazine listed Bob Marley & The Wailers at #4 of the “50 Greatest Bands of All Times.” These accolades were made possible by the timeless genius of these incomparable musicians. Steered by bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett, The Wailers continue to create musical history, just as Bob Marley requested. “By doing that, you keep me alive through the music.”
Other top dub, roots and ska acts who have performed at the Austin Reggae Festival since the event began in 1987 include The Aggrolites (2013), Akae Beka (2017), Alika (2015), Bunny Wailer (2016), Cartlon Pride (2004), Cas Haley (2012), Collie Buddz (2012), Culture (2008), Dr. Dubbist (2011), Dubtronic Kru (2012), Everton Blender (2014), Easy Star All Stars (2006), Full Service (2008), Grimy Styles (2011), Grupo Fantasma (2012), Inner Circle (2014), Israel Vibration & the Root Raddics Band, (2012), Jesse Royal (2017), Josh Heinrichs (2012), Katchafire (2016), Killer Bees (2001), Lance Herbstrong (2013), Luciano (2008), Lee “Scratch” Perry (2014), The Lions (2013), Mighty Diamonds (2010), Mystic Roots (2012), Qwiksand (2008), Raging Fyah (2016), Rootz Underground (2012), Sierra Leonne Refuge All Stars (2010), The Skatalites (2016), Stranger (2016), Tarrus Riley (2017), Tidal Waves (2012), Tribal Seeds (2011), Taj Weekes (2011), Tribal Nation (2009), The Wailers (2013), Watusi (2004), King Yellowman (2015), and many many many others.