Sunday, November 6, 2016

In the Kitchen with Ziggy Marley: Seven-Time Grammy Winner Launches Family Cook Book in Menlo Park, CA

By Shelah Moody with Safi Wa Narobi of KPFA F.M. Berkeley

“The food of my youth, and my wife’s Orly’s, continues to be the food of our adulthood. An Israeli of Iranian decent, Orly really understands food and family.  She grew up in a stable family structure, and she places a high value on family meals. We eat a lot of Persian and Israeli foods at home. We celebrate Shabbat every week, along with Jewish Holidays like Passover and Hanukah. All of this has taught me even more about the relationship between food and family.”—Ziggy Marley
Having known Ziggy Marley, aka the Fly Rasta, for nearly three decades, I am convinced that this man has coolest job ever. Case in point, at press time, his latest album, “ZM” released on the family Tuff Gong Worldwide label, is currently at the top of Billboard’s Reggae Charts.
On Sept. 13, Marley, in connection with Tuff Gong Worldwide, MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation, presented a sold out panel on the History of Reggae music, which included Marley’s longtime drummer and famed Studio One sessionist Santa Davis, former radio host and Nyabinghi specialist Ras Michael and acclaimed singer/songwriter Lloyd “Bread” McDonald of the Wailing Souls. The elders on the panel were also friends and contemporaries of his iconic father, Bob Marley.

Chef Leonie McDonald, wife of Lloyd "Bread" McDonald is a major contributor to the Ziggy  Marley and Family Cookbook.

On Oct. 19, two days after his 48th birthday, the seven-time Grammy winner chose Kepler’s books in Menlo Park, one of the most affluent communities in the Bay Area, to launch his latest endeavor, the “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook: Delicious Meals Made with Whole, Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen” (Akashic Books/ Tuff Gong Worldwide, 2016). Incidentally, Menlo Park is best known as the Facebook headquarters (thumbs up emoji to that). #ziggymarley!
As my media colleagues and I took our seats and waited for Marley’s book discussion with “New York Times” bestselling author Adam Mansbach, I noticed the seats filling up with not only music lovers, millennials and bibliophiles, but entire families. Behind me, a restless toddler in the lap of his pregnant mom tugged at my hair and squealed “Iggy! Iggy!” in anticipation of seeing his favorite singer.

After the discussion with Mansbach, Marley remained in Kepler’s Books  greeting fans and posing for photos until every book was signed.

 The following night, Marley and his dynamic, mulit-cultual band played a sold out show at the historic Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco, an extended set of conscious feel good music including tracks such as  “Conscious Party,” “Could You Be Loved,” “Black Cat,” “True to Myself,” “Butterflies” and “Amen.”

So, what did you do on your birthday this year?
Ziggy Marley: Played some music. I was on stage. The crowd in Duncan, British Columbia, sang “Happy Birthday” to me twice, and I didn’t really ask them to! I mean, twice; that was a first, that was a memorable moment. It was incredible!
 So, you are a musician, husband, father, entrepreneur, Emmy winner, author, environmentalist and advocate of clean, non-GMO food. I knew you like to cook but I did not know you were a chef. How did the “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook” come about?
ZM: I’m not a chef at all! Growing up in Jamaica, I learned to be an independent person, an independent man. I learned to cook so that I would not have to depend on anybody to cook for me.
So, for someone like me, who is not that proficient in the kitchen, what recipe from the “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook”  would you suggest I start out with? I’ve got a stovetop, a microwave oven and a toaster oven and a blender. It’s sort of like your set-up here on the tour bus.
ZM: Hmmm…Try the Mancakes breakfast (pp. 16-17) and see how you like it. Breakfast is my favorite meal. That’s when I enjoy food the most, at breakfast time. Breakfast is the most important meal to me. It’s how I start my day.
 So, the book signing --what did it mean to you this evening to have so many people show up and for you to be so giving and to sign all of those books?
ZM: Well, the people are giving to me so I give back. I reach out to people and then again I may attract new ears by talking to and interacting with people. It gives me a chance to reach out to different types of people; that’s what I like about it. It’s a new experience for me. Every new experience makes me grow. Even as I’m doing these things, I’m growing.
 You’ve been touring with another Grammy winning reggae band, Steel Pulse, since 2013. How did that connection come about?
ZM: Well, the same agency that puts our shows together puts their shows together. Steel Pulse is one of my favorite groups and I’ve known David (Hinds) for a long time. It’s always good to see them again and share the stage.
 So, there are two, very danceable songs that I’m addicted to on your latest album “ZM” —“Ceceil” and “Amen.” Tell me about the origins of those songs.
ZM: “Ceceil” is an “ex.” It could be anyone or anything or any country. Ceceil is just a metaphor. The refrain goes: “Why don’t you try to be loving, Ceceil?”  It is so much more; it is not a love song to a girl named Ceceil. There’s a verse in the song that asks “When will war be the answer that you’re looking for?” To me, love and relationships always relate back to the world. The beat has some ska elements, but it also has an African beat in the front. In my mind, I’m paying homage to Fela Kuti. Sometimes I pay homage to Aston “Family Man” Barrett in my music because he inspires certain basslines. ‘Amen’ has a little more positive tone. It is an acknowledgement of what we are saying, like, here’s my truth, you know, and what do you think about it? Like when you are in church and the preacher says “amen!” and the congregation says “amen!”
 Last month, you hosted a panel on the History of Reggae Music at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. I like what you said about how the foundation artists, like Ras Michael, Santa Davis and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald are your crew and that you are not leaving them.
ZM: Yeah, I grew up around the elders, I learn a lot from them and I have a connection to them in a way—a spiritual connection.  
On the Grammy panel, you described yourself as an “old soul.”
ZM: Right!  So you unnerstan what mi a seh! See it deh?
 Piggybacking on the panel, would you ever consider teaching a university level course on reggae music?
ZM: I think that you have to teach it by doing it; you can’t talk it. I mean, you can talk it, yeah, but if you see how it’s done, then you realize that it’s real freedom; that’s how you learn, when you see it happening.  So, it can’t be limited to a book or a lesson. It’s freedom; at least that’s how I do it, I don’t know about anybody else.
Ok, during your book discussion today, you named Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as one of your top three albums. I don’t know how I missed that connection after all these years, because it’s one of MY top three albums!
ZM: (Laughs). Yuh neva know dat?
What’s your favorite song on the album?
ZM: On “Thriller?” All of the song dem bad, mon. My friend and I, we used to dance like Michael Jackson when we would play “Beat It.” (hums a bit of the melody). My friend had the red jacket! There are certain times in your life that you always remember!
 Did you ever meet Michael Jackson?
ZM: Mi tink me meet him when he come to Jamaica. And mi talk to him again when we was working on some kind of project. He seemed quiet and shy.
Given all of your accomplishments in the last two decades, is there an official “Ziggy Marley Day” somewhere or a key to the city?
ZM: There should never be a Ziggy Marley Day, come on! Mi all right!  I don’t want just one day, I want a lifetime; I want generations (laughs).

Serves 3 to 4, Vegetarian/Gluten-Free
2 cups of flour or substitute gluten-free flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1/1 tablespoon salt
3 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Seeds, Crushed
1Tablespoon flaxseeds
1 Tablespoon walnuts, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
4 Tablespoons Ziggy Marley’s Coco’Mon Coconut Oil or coconut oil of your own choosing
2 Cups water, or substitute coconut soy, almond, rice or whole milk
Mix all dry ingredients together, then add eggs, coconut oil, water and blend well
Spoon batter onto a hot grill
Once pancakes bubble, flip over and cook until golden brown.
Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hey Soul Sister - An Elegant Evening with Train’s Nikita Germaine, Sunday October 30 By Shelah Moody


Who: An Elegant Evening of Jazz with Nikita Germaine
When: 6:30 p.m., Sunday October 30.
Where: The Fenix Live, 914 4th Street, San Rafael, CA
You may recognize the lovely and talented Nikita Germaine Houston from her world tours, TV appearances and high profile performances with the Grammy winning American roots rock band Train. Since 2012, Nikita Germaine, along with her cousin, acclaimed Bay Area vocalist Sakai Smith, have lent their stellar vocals to Train songs such as “Hey Soul Sister,” “Drops of Jupiter” and “Marry Me.”
Now, the sultry soulstress is re-launching her solo career under the management of Oakland-based trombonist, producer, musical director and Grammy Trustee Larry Batiste.
Join Nikita Germaine and special guest, Kenny Washington, for an elegant evening of jazz at the Fenix Live in San Rafael. Nikita Germaine will be accompanied by  Tammy Lynne Hall-Hawkins on piano, Deszon Claiborne on drums, Gary Brown on bass and Kalin Joshua on saxophone. Stay tuned to Streetwise Radio for a full interview with Nikita Germaine. Hear Nikita Germaine on Thanks for listening!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Streetwise Radio Black Music Month Exclusive—Veterans and Rising Stars Illuminate Grammy Pro Songwriters Summit in Oakland, CA

By Shelah Moody
This spring, veteran artist D’Wayne Wiggins and rising stars Kirby Maurier, Fantastic Negrito and Kevaun “Kevo” Williams led an evening panel discussion at the Uptown nightclub in Oakland, CA. The Grammy Pro Songwriters Summit, held on May 12, was presented by the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy.
Four of the music industry’s most influential black artists performed, also spoke candidly about their experiences in the music industry and offered advice on both the creative and music ends of the business.
Chart topping singer/songwriter musician D’Wayne Wiggins of the R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone!, opened the panel with an acoustic guitar performance of one of his favorite R&B classics, William DeVaugn’s “Be Thankful for What You Got.” As the “OG” and moderator of the panel, Wiggins said he plays “Be Thankful” to this day because of its unforgettable hook: “Diamond in the back, sunroof top, diggin’ the scene with a gangsta lean.”
Along with producing hits such as “Feels Good,” “Anniversary” “Lay Your Head On My Pillow” (inspired by the Spinners) and “Let’s Get Down” ( for Tony! Toni! Tone!, in the 1990s, Wiggins helped establish Oakland as a music mecca, producing hits for Beyonce and Destiny’s Child, Alicia Keys and Keyshia Cole to name a few on his Oakland-based Grassroots Entertainment, which he runs out of his recording studio, House of Music.
Guitarist Kevaun Williams and SF Recording Academy Chapter President Michael Winger

For this writer, the highlights of the Grammy Pro Songwriters Summit were the ebullient solos performed by Miami, FL based R&B singer/songwriter Kirby Maurier, accompanied by Jamaican guitarist Kevaun “KevoGitz” Williams on the Epiphone Lespaul Custom Pro.
A 2016 Grammy Amplifier winner, Maurier is the founder of the Miami Museum of Music and released her debut album “Doing the Most” on Valholla Entertainment. Propelled by William’s soulful guitar riffs, Maurier wowed the panel members and the audience with her original love songs “I’m Just Sayin,” and “Paradise,” ( which she originally wrote for another artist.
Inspired by the “Gimme that Uh!!!” hook in “Paradise,” Wiggins mused at the double entendre. Fantastic Negrito proclaimed that he has an “Uh!!” and knows how to use it.” (Seriously, you can’t make this sh_t up!
I first saw Oakland local Xavier Dphrepaulezz perform about 20 years ago as leader of black alternative group called Death from Sex at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. Now reinvented as a semi-superhero, Fantastic Negrito, he describes his genre as black roots music—a mixture of R&B, blues and alternative. Fantastic Negrito described the highs and lows of his career as an indie artist, including a car accident which resulted in three weeks in a coma, a brief period running a ganja farm and mismanagement and neglect by his former record label.

Fantastic Negrito

Fantastic Negrito performed his wildly popular compositions, “An Honest Man,” and a song exploring the downside of relationships with an unforgettable hook, “Bitch Eat My Cancer.” (
Indeed, it was an honor for 26-year-old Kevaun Williams to perform with Maurier at the Grammy Pro Songwriters Summits in Oakland and Los Angeles. A graduate of Kingston’s prestigious Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, Williams played on Morgan Heritage’s 2015 album “Strictly Roots,” which won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album. This summer, he will tour with chart topping Jamaican vocalist Etana, and the tour will include a performance at the 2016 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.
Both Wiggins and Fantastic Negrito praised the natural and firey chemistry between Williams and Maurier as a duo.
“It's funny, because two years ago, Kirby and her team had an open audition where my band auditioned and we were selected, “said Williams. “Two years later, she contacted me to work with her on the Grammy Pro Songwriters Summit Showcase which was my first show with her. I like working with Kirby and her team because they're super cool, down to earth and I believe they have the right approach to this business and I share the same sentiment also. And, of course the chemistry on stage is FIRE!!”
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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival 2016 And Streetwise Radio Will Be There.

Follow the Streetwise Radio Team at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival At Boonville ,California this weekend.
Check our Facebook Page for pictures and videos coming live from the Mendocino Fairgrounds.We will be Broadcasting on Ustream Live throughout the weekend. Check the Ustream button on our interactive player.Check Out Shaggy at the 2014 SNWMF on our On demand Channel. You will find clips on our interactive player.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Keeping up with the Skint-Ashians:

The U.K.’s Reggae/Punk Band Skints at California Roots Festival;By Shelah Moody

Who: Tastemaker Live & King of Kings Reggae present the Skints with 2015 Grammy winners Morgan Heritage, Jamere & Laza Morgan, Saane & Delight, Mellow Movement, King I-Vier, DJ Green B, 1 Blood, hosts Spliff Skankin and Show Nuff Entertainment Deecee's Soul Shakedown.

When: Sunday June 12, 8 p.m.

Where: 1015 Folsom Dance Club, San Francisco, CA

The Skints have a lot to celebrate this year. Since I first interviewed them at the 2015 California Roots Festival, the innovative, east London reggae/punk band embarked on an international tour in support of their latest album, “FM” on Easy Star records. They’ve hit the European festival circuit this year and in the U.S., they’ve opened for the likes of southern California roots band Tribal Seeds and Grammy winners Stephen “Ragga” Marley and Morgan Heritage.
The Skints’ sound is a fusion of roots reggae, dancehall, dub, R&B, punk and garage. “FM” has been described as a fitting tribute to the diverse radio culture in the UK that influenced them.
During Memorial Day weekend, (May 27-29), the Skints returned to the wildly popular California Roots festival, held at Monterey County Fairgrounds.
I caught up with the Skints-Marcia Richards (keyboards, melodica, vocals), Josh Waters Rudge (lead guitar, vocals), Jamie Kryiakides (drums, vocals) and John Doyle (bass) in the media lounge after their high energy performance on Saturday afternoon. I asked the Skints, who played the smaller OG stage at Caliroots last year, how it felt to be “upgraded” to the Bowl—the main stage-- which exposed them to a wider audience. Josh said that the upgrade felt “quite luxurious” and an added perk was having a posh dressing room across from Stephen and Damian Marley and the VIP Lounge.

The Skints’ one-hour set in the Caliroots Bowl, thick with smoke from at least 10 strains of sensimilla, consisted of original songs such as “Cost of Living,” “Culture Vulture,” “Rat-A-Tat,” “Laser Beam,” “Forest for the Trees” and “Eyes in the Back of My Head.” Given the Skints’ tight rapport with each other and the audience and their collective quick British wit, I asked them if they’ve considered a venturing into reality television.
“This is the first time anyone has seriously mentioned it,” said Josh. “Keeping up with the Skint-ashians… We should look into it.”
The Skints are advocates of live music and serious instrumentation. Marcia’s ebullient melodica solos are one of the highlights of a Skints show.
“When you play the piano, you can play the melodica,” Marcia explained. “It’s a direct mix between the flute and the piano, which are my two main instruments. I’m very influenced by Augustus Pablo. We used to listen to him in the car when we were driving to shows.”
In closing, I asked each member of the Skints to sum up the California Roots festival experience in a few words.
“It is the most friendly and warm place, both in weather and the vibe,” said Marcia. “These are some of the nicest members of the audience I’ve met during my career.”
“Glorious sunshine,” said Josh.
“Free edibles,” said Jamie.
John chose to be ambiguous in his response. “Sexuality!”

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Streetwise Radio Now On TuneIn

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