Children of Zeus and Ty @ Festival of Voice, Cardiff

“When did you last hear soul on the radio?” and “Does south Wales have a hip hop scene?”. Both of these questions were asked at the Wales Millennium Centre during the Festival of Voice.

Children of Zeus

I’d answer “not often enough” to the first question as evidenced by the fact that this Saturday night show was my first encounter with those posing it, soulful hip hop duo Konny Kon and Tyler Daley, aka Children of Zeus. Continue reading

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Romain Virgo @ Tramshed, Cardiff

“And just like a knight in shining armour/I used my charm just to calm her”

ROMAIN VIRGO made his name as the winner of Jamaica’s Digicel Rising Stars talent contest in 2007 and more than 10 years on is touring the UK to promote his Lovesick album.

The route from talent show winner to stardom is more established on his home island than in European pop music but Virgo is a natural inheritor of the tradition of smooth as silk, male reggae singers. An impressive catalogue of singles have establish a reputation as a slick but considerate heart-throb. As his hour and a half on stage, that includes at least 25 songs, demonstrates – again in the tradition of Jamaican singers – it’s also a catalogue deeper than three LPs, of which Lovesick is the latest. Continue reading

Mykal Rose @ The Globe, Cardiff

“Guess who’s coming to dinner, Natty Dreadlock”

MYKAL ROSE created history with his former Black Uhuru band mates when, in 1984, they won reggae’s first Grammy award for the album Anthem.

The legacy is the singer is often referred to with ‘Grammy’ inserted as a middle name and his current UK tour is billed as Sounds of Black Uhuru 1977-1985. Continue reading

Record of the year: The Story of O.J. – Jay-Z

“O.J like ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J’…okay”

THE seeds of the record of the year 2017 can be found in the seven months leading up to last January.


In May 2016 US cable sports channel ESPN released its five-part documentary O.J: Made in America. That August American football player Colin Kaepernick, while a member of the San Francisco 49ers – OJ’s hometown team where he brought his famed playing career to an end – remained seated on the bench as his teammates stood for the US national anthem ahead of a pre-season game. Continue reading

The Skatalites @ The Globe, Cardiff

AS the original house band of the legendary Jamaican recording studio, record label and soundsystem, Studio One, The Skatalites have long since ensured their legacy.

The ‘grandfathers of reggae music’ – or perhaps as they are best known – the creators of ska, The Skatalites are a band that lives on through their music. Drum beats, bass licks and all powerful horns that signalled the birth of the mighty Jamaican recording industry and morphed into rocksteady and reggae. Continue reading

Bernie Sanders @ Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye

“Critics want to mention that they miss when hip hop was rappin’/Motherfucker, if you did, then Killer Mike’d be platinum”

CAN politicians win from the left? Bernie Sanders tried but isn’t the president of the United States and in the UK, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn isn’t prime minister – at least not yet.

Bernie Sanders at the Hay Festival (Peter Williams)

But rather than ask can candidates who shun the safety of the centrist play book win perhaps it’s time to ask what keeps them from winning – or how do they set about winning? Continue reading

Final thoughts: Champions League, Cardiff 2017

“I never said I didn’t like the Champions League.”

CARDIFF, Wales; August 2014: Fans of Real Madrid and Spanish rivals Sevilla bring the colour and noise of Spain’s La Liga to the Welsh capital.

Along with thousands of Spanish football fans, in the city for the revamped UEFA Super Cup, are media from across the world and Cardiff feels as if it is the centre of attention. Continue reading