Westchester Music Festival presents Reggae Royalty ft. Marley I-Threes - Marcia Griffiths & Judy Mowatt Reunion with Ken Boothe

Marcia Griffiths

The longest, hardest, and most consistently working artist in the history of the Jamaican Music Industry is the Empress of Reggae music, the most Honorable Marcia Griffiths, OD, first Lady of Songs, Female Vocalist Supreme.

In a career spanning 40 years to date and still going strong, she hits high points internationally as a soloist and as a duo with Bob Andy, as Bob and Marcia. She has toured the world as a member of the I-threes with Bob Marley and the Wailers. Subsequently as a soloist she hit the Billboard chart with “Electric Boogie Song” and created a world class dance, the Electric Slide. This super star has been recording and performing ceaselessly.

At a recent reggae concert in South Florida, Marcia Griffiths demonstrated the same level of performance she has been known for over the years, as both a solist and a member of different groups. She displayed, in combination with Reggae rapper Cutty Ranks, on their duet of “Fire Burning”, all the zeal and elements that go into dancehall music. Marcia exibit the same exuberance when performing her international crossove hit “Electric Boogie.”

Marcia Griffiths has been performing and recording as a top class artist for four decade. She says “I started singing professionally as a vocalist in 1964, for Byron Lee and the Dragonaires band.” Her recording years started soon after, at Coxsone Dodd - Studio One where she recorded her first hit “Feel Like Jumping."

It was while recording at Studio One that Marcia teamed up with Bob Andy on ‘Really Together," the first of many duets that the two would record. “Luckily for me, Bob Andy was always a strong and wise person”, says Marcia. “He was there for me in the early days and that gave me confidence”. Then the pair moved to the Harry J Label, hitting the British, as well as the International charts with “Young Gifted and Black” and “The Pied Piper,” recording two albums of the same titles.

Following that duet success, she went solo again on the High Note label with Reggae's sole established female producer - Sonia Pottinger - hitting with several songs including her own original “Stepping Out of Babylon.” and releasing two albums “Naturally” and “Stepping”. When asked to express her opinion on female reggae vocalists, Marcia said “Its been a rough, tough job standing up as a woman in this business, that’s why my album before “Land of Love” I chose to call “Indomitable”, which means not easily discouraged or defeated. My views on women in reggae are positive; most of the new or upcoming female singers in reggae started out singing my songs before doing their own originals. I feel very good about that; to know that I have influenced my people positively.”

Ten years after entering the music business, Marcia united with Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley to form the I-Threes as an important part of the Bob Marley entourage. “Words are not enough to express my experience with the I-Threes and Bob Marley and the Wailers”, says Marcia. “What a blessing to be so privileged.....to have shared this experience”.

Currently Marcia is one of the leading female artists on the Reggae scene.

Marcia gained solo international recognition with her monster hit “Electric Boogie.” This song was first recorded in 1982 and went to the #1 spot on the Jamaican charts. Sales continued over the years and in 1989, a Washington, DC Disc Jockey started playing it regularly and in no time, it caught on and hit the station’s regular rotation list.

A new dance, the Electric Slide, was created from the “Electric Boogie” song and as a result, sales soared and the “Electric Slide” became popular all over the U.S. The song and dance have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue shows, and the video has been aired many times on the Black Entertainment TV (BET) and other nationwide music networks.

Marcia Llyneth Griffiths was born on November 23, 1949 to Joseph and Beatrice Griffiths. The family hailed from a poor section of West Kingston, but as bad as things were, Marcia considered those days glorious, because there was always one thing in abundance - one thing that made them the wealthiest family in the world - one thing that no one could take from them... Love.

Marcia as a teenager attended Kingston Senior School, and was a zealous member of her church choir. In fact, she was always taking part in some school concert or play. She loved to hang out and sing with friends, often times sneaking out of the house after her parents had gone to bed. It was during one such nightly excursion, that the slim fifteen year old beauty managed to get herself discovered.

Philip “Boasie” James lead singer of the Blues Busters vocal duo was visiting his girlfriend, who lived next door to Marcia, and heard this lovely voice floating through the air. He could not believe his ears, and subsequently took Marcia straight away to Byron Lee and insisted that this song-bird be included on the upcoming talent show to be held at the Carib Theater in Kingston. Marcia remembers that Byron was upset with “Boasie” for coming to interrupt his well planned program schedule and insisting that this "nobody" go on his show.

Marcia remembers she performed a Carla Thomas original,“No Time To Lose” to phenomenal response from the audience. They demanded an encore, but to no avail, as she had only rehearsed one song with the band. As much as she wanted to, she could not do any more performances that day.

The attention Marcia received after this auspicious debut was overwhelming. Everyone wanted to manage her, including Byron Lee’s manager Ronnie Nasralla. That same night he took her to the studios of JBC where Marcia made her first television debut. All in one day were the ingredients of an overnight success story which no one realized was about to happen. The rest is history, for the girl who became first the queen, the matriarch of Reggae Music. Marcia L. Griffiths OD., a great contributor to Reggae Music, is most fitting for the royal, prestigious, and respectful title of Reggae Empress.

In 2004 at the dawning of the 21st century, the most influential female artist in Jamaican popular music, Marcia Griffiths OD is briskly fanning the flames of Reggae Music. Working in the studio, releasing records and touring. Marcia continues her mission of spreading the message in the music into the new millennium.

In between studio sessions, Marcia has been on the road. In the past two years she has enjoyed a successful tour of the USA with Beres Hammond and Freddie Mcgregor. Traveling to England with Beres Hammond they performed an extensive tour with the same overwhelming results. Forward on a yard, Marcia shared the stage with Boyz II Men at the massive Spring Break concert for MTV in Negril Jamaica. Returning to the US, she performed in Orlando, Florida, (Disney World) Universal Studio, at the opening of the Bob Marley Museum. Sharing the bill were the I-Threes, Ziggy Marley and Inner Circle. Moving on up to New York, Marcia displayed two memorable shows with Beres Hammond and Buju Banton at Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. Going further north Marcia worked in Toronto and Montreal with John Holt and Ken Boothe. Again in the USA with Bob Andy as the Legendary duo, they performed at the Bob Marley Day Celebration in Los Angeles, before heading down south to perform at the historic Reggae meets Rocksteady showcase in Miami. Next Marcia toured with the legendary Wailers Band. Then the I-Threes were off for shows in Italy, Europe and South Africa. Returning to Jamaica, the I-Threes shared the stage for two shows with R&B legends Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle. In November 2002, along with John Holt, Ken Boothe and Mikey Spice, Marcia produced an historical performance with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the Wembley Arena, Birmingham and Aston Vill Leisure Centre, Middlesex. Since then Marcia has performed in New York, Toronto, Atlanta, Miami and Jamaica.

The driving force of the Reggae Empress is fueled by her inner desire to serve the people of the world with sweet reggae music. She said “ Music alone shall live, and it’s not only for the money, but the satisfaction I get from doing the work that I love, that is what really keeps me going everyday”.

Judy Mowatt

One-third of the I-Threes, reggae's most influential female vocal trio, Judy Mowatt helped to turn the last recordings of Bob Marley into enduring classics. Her sensuous harmonies strengthened albums by Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Pablo Moses, Freddie McGregor, U-Roy, and the Wailing Souls. Her solo recordings, including Black Woman in 1980 and Only a Woman, two years later, marked her as a powerful spokesperson for Rastafarian and feminist causes. Mowatt initially attracted attention as lead singer of a vocal trio, the Gaylettes, also known as the Gaytones, that she formed with Beryl Lawrence and Merle Clemonson in 1967. Based on such Motown groups as the Supremes, the Marvelettes, and Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Gaylettes harmonized on a rich mix of R&B and Jamaican dance music. The trio remained together until 1970 when Lawrence and Clemonson immigrated to the United States and Mowatt embarked on a solo career, recording under a series of pseudonyms including "Juliann." Mowatt's greatest break came when vocalist Marcia Griffiths asked her to sing harmony on a track that she was recording at Studio One with her duo partner Bob Andy in 1974. Rita Marley, the wife of Bob Marley and the mother of Ziggy Marley, was also hired to sing on the tune. The three woman hit it off so well that Griffiths invited Mowatt and Marley to sing the Supremes tune "Remember Me" with her when she performed that night at the House of Chen in New Kingston. The appearance was so successful that they agreed to continue performing together as the I-Threes.

Natty Dread Around the same time, Bob Marley was beginning to rebound from his split with Peter Tosh and Bunny "Wailer" Livingston. During a visit to the home of reggae producer Lee Perry in Cardiff Crescent in the Washington Gardens section of Jamaica, it was suggested that Marley incorporate the I-Threes into his performances. After singing harmony on Marley's song "Jah Live" and on an album, Natty Dread, the I-Threes performed their first concert with him as the opening act for the Jackson 5 in spring 1975. The I-Threes continued to work with Marley until his death in May 1981. Five years later, Mowatt and the I-Threes toured in a package show that featured musicians from Marley's band the Wailers and introduced Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers to North American audiences. A member of the Rastafarian group the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Mowatt recalled her fascination with Marley during an early-'90s interview. "I had gotten to realize in reading my Bible that this man (Marley) was really Joseph in his second advent. I saw in the man that this time he came not only with the physical corn to feed his people but he came with the spiritual corn, which was the message that transcended to the four corners of the world." In addition to her work with Marley and the I-Threes, Mowatt continued to pursue a solo career. Her album, Black Woman, released in 1977, was the first to be recorded at Marley's Tuff Gong studios

The Legendary Ken Boothe, O.D. has Been through thick and thin, through Star-time and No-time, from living in the shanties of Denham Town and its environs to the beautiful neighbor- hoods of Kings House, St. Andrews in his homeland of Jamaica. Ken Boothe, O.D. has straddled the social status-spheres, both locally and internationally, in California, New York, Toronto and London. He has conducted numerous tours of Europe, North and South America, Japan and the Caribbean. In Jamaica he continues to reign supreme and maintains his popularity as one of the nation's top entertainers.

His musical talents and love for humanity have afforded him the opportunity of touring in North and South America, Europe, Japan, Canada and the Caribbean. With a unique combination of talent, Boothe has emerged as a "one of a kind" singer; an accomplished musician, songwriter, musical arranger and an impressive dancer. His artistic style embraces a rare blend of musical genius.

Ken Boothe's musical career began in the early sixties. Coming from a musically talented family, Ken attributes his musical interests and abilities to his mother and older sister. They have inspired him to use his blessings. In addition, he acknowledges being influenced by the musical greats, Mahalia Jackson, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, The Temptations, and The Drifters. When Ken Boothe was only eight years old he won his first singing contest and has never looked back. He has never lost his focus, even if it may have appeared blurred at times to the outside world. His aim has always been to sing and perform to the best of his ability.

Boothe began his recording career with Winston 'Stranger' Cole in the duo Stranger And Ken, releasing titles including 'World's Fair', 'Hush', 'Artibella' and 'All Your Friends' during 1963-65. Thereafter he released a series of hits on Clement Dodd's Studio One Label. When the rocksteady rhythm began to evolve during 1966 Boothe recorded 'Feel Good'. In 1968 at the age of 17, Ken Boothe released his first album "Mr. Rock Steady", which included numerous hits such as "The Girl I Left Behind", "When I Fall In Love", "I Don't Want to See You Cry", "Home, Home, Home", and the title many regard as one of Boothe's best exponents of song, "Puppet On A String". Journalist Alphea Saunders, in writing about Boothe and this song said, "He is one of the best of the very best". During this period he was often referred to as the Wilson Pickett of Jamaican music. He continued recording with Dodd until 1970, releasing some of his best and biggest local hits. He also made records for other producers at the same time, including Sonia Pottinger's Gayfeet label, for which he recorded the local hit 'Say You" and "Lady With the Starlight". in 1968. In 1971, he inspired the world with his hit song "Freedom Street" on Leslie Kong's Beverley's label. This classic was co-written with BB Seaton, whom Ken had worked with from their Studio One days.

During the early seventies, he freelanced for various producers including Bunny Lee, B.B. Seaton, Keith Hudson, Randy's, George 'Phil' Pratt, Niney the Observer, and in 1974, he recorded the hits, "Everything I Own", followed by "Crying Over You" for producer Lloyd Charmers. The legendary singer has to his credit an illustrious string of hits that have dominated the Rocksteady and Reggae music eras, successively.

He has released a total of twenty-one albums including the classic gospel 'D00R 2 DOOR' and the traditional 'ACCLAIMED' and the collection, 'CRYING OVER YOU', a 23 track retrospective of Ken Boothe's career from 1963~74 recordings from various studios. Ken has always been recognized as the "Voice of Choice" in the history of Jamaican popular music. In 1974 his golden, 'Every Thing I Owned' topped the international charts with an extended stay of four weeks at #1 on the British Top Of The Pops Charts, followed by 'Crying Over You', which made it to #11 on the same charts. Pop singer Boy George covered Charmers' and Boothe's version of 'Everything I Own', topping the UK charts again with the song in 1987. More recently, Ken re-recorded his first solo hit 'The Train Is Coming' in combination with hot DJ Shaggy, which was released on Shaggy's platinum, Grammy winning BOMBASTIC album. The song was featured as the theme song of the sound track for the movie Money Train, starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. The video for the song gave Ken his first heavy rotation on MTV.

Ken's latest album, 'LOVE IS THE ULTIMATE', expresses the concepts of social, philosophical and emotional love. A legendary artist, Ken is a master of his craft, hailed as one of the original banner-carrying Reggae singers. On this new album, love is indeed the ultimate expression of the man. Ken Boothe waves the banner across the spectrum of love songs, - from the emotional, 'Never Leave' to 'Suddenly', 'Something On Your Mind' and 'Your Feeling And Mine'. Then there are the social love songs, such as 'Prosperity', 'Rainbow Love' and 'Injustice', plus the philosophical 'What Is Love', 'Black Gold And Green', and the title track. Ken blends his traditional style with modern sensibilities and has come full circle, marrying his original vocal sound to the current rhythms and a mixture of melodies. Produced by Danny Breakenridge and Ken Boothe for Upstairs Music. Ken recently said, "I am well pleased to complete this work. It's up-to-date with a variety of songs to choose from." For over three decades as a professional singer, Ken Boothe still commands the power to unleash his soul on an up-tempo song, a passion that soothes you on a ballad, while he captivates your ear anywhere in between. Love is the Ultimate combines all the above elements in the ultimate listening experience.

The internationally recognized Reggae Musical Titan continues to record new music with a sense of purpose for promoting peace, love, and justice for all of humanity.

$45/$55/$69

Tickets

This event will have a seated gold circle in front of a general admission standing room floor and a reserved seated Loge and Balcony.  Reserved Loge and Balcony tickets will NOT have access to the gold circle or general admission floor.

 

18 & over unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

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