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May 2019

Reggae at the Ritz celebrates Independence, honours Beres

Legendary Reggae singer Beres Hammond

New Jersey's landmark Ritz Theatre is once again paying homage to the drum and bass sounds of the islands with the second annual installment of Reggae at the Ritz. This year's staging welcomes Reggae legends Beres Hammond and Culture, along with acclaimed Roots Reggae singers Tarrus Riley and Duane Stephenson to fete Jamaica's 47th year of Independence.
Hosted by Icon World Entertainment and, this year's Reggae at the Ritz will be held on Sunday, August 2; Jamaica's Independence Day is celebrated on August 6.

Reggae, a combination of traditional African and Caribbean music with elements of American Rhythm & Blues and Soul, developed in Jamaica soon after its Independence in 1962. From late 1960s through the early 1970s the bass-heavy sound of Reggae gained the attention of overseas musicians through the music of early pioneers like Bunny Lee, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley and the Wailers, and Jimmy Cliff. American musician Johnny Nash is credited with first putting Reggae on the American charts with his 1968 hit Hold Me Tight.

Later that same year, the Beatles brought worldwide attention to new sound with the Reggae-tinged Rock & Roll song Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da. Eric Clapton's 1974 cover of Bob Marley's I Shot The Sheriff propelled Reggae into the mix of mainstream pop-culture music. The next year, Bob Marley and the Wailers had their first international breakthrough with No Woman No Cry, and their 1976 album Rastaman Vibration spent four weeks on the Top Ten charts in the US. The following year Culture released their seminal album Two Sevens Clash which, to this day, is hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the "50 Coolest Records" ever made.

Tribute to Beres Hammond

This year's staging welcomes acclaimed Roots Reggae singer Tarrus Riley
Reggae at the Ritz will pay tribute to Jamaica's musical legacy with two of the island's groundbreaking international Reggae icons, Culture and Beres Hammond, whose 37-year career includes well over 20 albums among them the Grammy-nominated Music Is Life.

Reggae at the Ritz will also feature two of Jamaica's fastest rising Reggae talents - Tarrus Riley, who burst on the scene in 2006 with the critically acclaimed album Parables featuring the smash hit She's Royal - and singer/songwriter Duane Stephenson best known for his single August Town as well as for co-writing the anthem True Reflections for Reggae artist Jah Cure.

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