RICHIE STEPHENS & THE SKA NATION BAND reinterpret “O Sole Mio”

cover o sole mio believe.jpg

available from 25 september 2016 

on line in all digital store and major platforms 

Richie Stephens is a popular jamaican singer and producer , GRAMMY AWARD winner; with Motown and other prestigious label background, where also Rihanna recently sampled the “Sail Away” riddim produced by his own label Pot of Gold in her single Work, interpret the song that symbolizes the Neapolitan repertoire.

More Than one year ago the unstoppable reggae singer created, in conjunction with ADRIATIC SOUND, young label owned by producers and singers Rankin Lele & Papa Leu (grown up artistically with Sud Sound System), and an ensamble of 9 of the most renowed musicians in Salento and involving them in the RICHIE STEPHENS AND SKANATION project.
From this collaboration they come up with the album “INTERNATIONALLY”, released last april and entirely dedicated to ska, original music genre originated in Jamaica. Internationally has been promoted in Tokio, Japan, last may and in few months the tour reached Haiti, Jamaica and Italy where Richie Stephens and Skanation performed many time to promote their new project.
“ INTERNATIONALLY” had an excellent international feedback and has been on the top of many chart, same as 2 singles Fire Fire and Internationally videoclip, especially Internationally has gone as viral dance in japan where is actually smashing up every reggae party.
Internationally, also, has been played and still being played in various radio station worldwide like BBC1xtra in London, IRIE fm, KOOL fm, VYBZ fm in Jamaica, Linkaje Radio New York, 90.9FM New Jersey, Wavs 1170 Florida, played in many other radio in California, Caribbean and south america.
Still in many chart I TUNES, BBC1xtra, New York top 40 chart, Weekly Star top 10.

After 2 months in Salento , costantly close to Skanation, Richie already lover of italian opera singers sound, started to get close to opera and traditional music , especially neapolitan and salentina. Totally lost in these genre with strong cultural roots that those genre represent, decided again with the inseparables Rankin Lele & Papa Leu.

Poliedric Richie Stephens pay tribute to our country through one of the most popular song worldwide “O SOLE MIO” released officialy back in 1898.
This is the first time in history where a jamaican artist performed a song entirely in old neapolitan language.
In Less than a week Richie studied at his best the way to use his voice , pronunciation and the magic mean of the song and recorded the song in only 45 minutes.

To perform the song at the best, Richie Stephens , collaborated with some of the greatest master and teachers : the mandolin player Antonio Calsolaro (one of the major frontman of the salento traditional music by 3 generation, violin player Roberta Mazzotta which has been member of Cherubini Orchestra (directed by Riccardo Muti), the Tenor singer Raffaele Pastore from La Fenice in Venice and Petruzzelli theater in Bari.

Strong by his project with the duo Rankin Lele & Papa Leu , Stephens wanted to propose this new version of “O SOLE MIO” in Ska key,
Skanation band created the perfect sound capable to blend and harmonizes to the maximum with a song so popular on a planetary level.

A tribute to italian’s music heritage and culture that states the stong legacy between Jamaica and our country.

It will be available in all the major online store and platform from the 25th of september: the single, dancehall remix and videoclip directed by Federico Giannace, shoot between the GIOVANNI PAISIELLO theater in lecce and the old village of Specchia in Lecce 

Richie Stephens and The Ska Nation Band

officialwebsite: www.skanationband.com

mail: skanationband@gmail.com

social:

https://www.facebook.com/theskanationband

https://twitter.com/skanationband

https://www.instagram.com/skanationband

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTIlBEzUUoXFendisXpkDGg

cover o sole mio FIXED 2.jpg

O Sole Mio

Richie Stephens

& The Ska Nation Band

1) ’O Sole Mio (Original Mix)

2) ’O Sole Mio Riddim (Instrumental Version)

3) ’O Sole Mio (Adriatic Sound Dancehall Remix)

4) ’O Sole Mio (Dancehall Riddim)

Copyright Control

Produced by Richie Stephens, Papa Leu, Rankin Lele

for Pot of Gold and Adriatic Sound

Arranged by: Raffaele “Papa Leu” Leo,

Alessandro “Maestro” Garofalo, Luca Manno

Recorded at Adriatic Sound Studio, Trepuzzi (Lecce) Italy

by Raffaele “Papa Leu” Leo

Studio Assistant: Vincenzo “Morello Selecta” Morello

1 & 2 – Mixed & Mastered at:

Le Dune Studio, Ravenna, Italy, by Riccardo “Ohm Guru” Rinaldi,

3 & 4 – Mixed at:

Big Yard Recording Studio, Kingston, Jamaica by Kamal Evans

Mastered at:

GrooveBox Recording Studio, Kingston, Jamaica by Rohan Dwyer

Artwork: Emmanuele “Rankin Lele” Tafuro

Photos: Federico Giannace

Musicians:

Mandolin: Maestro Antonio Calsolaro;

Keyboards: Alessandro “Maestro” Garofalo

Sax: Luca Manno, Bass & Guitar: Papa Leu; Violin: Roberta Mazzotta;

Tuba: Gianluca Ria, Tromba & Trombone: Giancarlo Dell’ Anna;

Drum: Antonio “Fossa” Miglietta

• AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE • Angela Garzia – It’s Time To Live – Express Love Riddim – prod. by Morello Selecta – Yah Man Records (Salento South Italy)

Angela Garzia – It’s Time To Live

Angela Garzia - It's Time To Live Cover

• AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE •
Angela Garzia – It’s Time To Live – Express Love Riddim
prod. by Morello SelectaYah Man Records (Salento South Italy)
buy now ITunes: http://apple.co/2aK8U16
all digital store,player: http://bit.ly/2aPM7Pn
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2bfHvph
official WebSite: www.yahmanrecords.com/

Out now the fourth release of Yahman Records, label from Salento founded by the sound engineer Morello Selecta. After the Jamaican singer Blass, a brand new reggae and dancehall artist, Sandra Cross, reggae singer from Great Britian, and Carlton Livingston, veteran artist well-known for his major hit “100 weights of collie weeds”, this time we’re glad to listen on the Express Love Riddim Angela Garzia. The riddim, strictly from the south of Italy, is composed by Fossa Drummer on drums, Papa Leo on guitar , Maestro Garofalo Keyboard and Morello Selecta on bass guitar. The name of Angela Garzia may sound quite new, as a matter of fact this girl is a promising artist from Salento aged only 21.
Angela, from Squinzano, sings since the age of 13 and although she’s really young she already knows how to deal with different styles like pop, rock, jazz, swing working with NewCodec, Hot Staff, Line Acustica, Hollywood Party and many more.
She also had some experience in theater and performed in the role of Beatrice in the Divine Comedy.
For Angela this is the first experience in the international reggae scenery and she will definitely show her talent also on this genre with her song on “Express Love Riddim” called “It’s time to live”.

Angela Garzia – It’s Time To Live

Producers: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta” for Yah Man Records
Executive Producer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”
Writers: Angela Garzia, Raffaele Leo, Alessandro Garofalo, Antonio Miglietta, Vincenzo Morello
Publisher or Publishers: Yah Man Records
Artist: Angela Garzia
Musicians:
Drum: Antonio Miglietta “Fossa Drummer”
Bass: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”
Keyboards: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”
Guitars: Raffaele Leo “Papa Leu”
Arrangements: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”
Recorded at : Mad Vibes Studio Recording, Adriatic Sound Studio, DrummStudio
Voice Recorded at: Mad Vibes Studio Recording
Backing Vocals: Angela Garzia
Mixed by: Raffaele Leo “Papa Leu”, Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”
Master: Riccardo Rinaldi “Ohm Guru”
Studio Engineer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”
Studio Assistent: Chiara Carbone
Cover Design: E.Dogg Graphic
Release: 10/08/2016

• AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE • Carlton Livingston – Still Single – Express Love Riddim prod. by Morello Selecta – Yah Man Records (Salento South Italy)

Carlton Livingston – Still Single

Carlton Livingston - Still Single Cover

• AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE •

Carlton Livingston – Still Single – Express Love Riddim

prod. by Morello SelectaYah Man Records (Salento South Italy)

buy now ITunes: http://apple.co/29KKaVE

all digital store,player: http://bit.ly/29Jel2v

Spotify: http://spoti.fi/29ziUXm

official WebSite: http://www.yahmanrecords.com/

The third release on Express Love Riddim is ready, produced by Morello Selecta’s 

label from Salento Yahman Record, out on the 10th of July. On this riddim 

we’ve already listen to the young reggae/dancehall singer Blass with “Smiling Face” 

and the famous British singer Sandra Cross with “Dancing the night away”. 

Now we’re glad to listen to a very important name in the reggae international scenery 

such as Carlton Livingston, veteran artist from Jamaica. 

This versatile artist that comes from the suburb of Trench Town 

is a singer, producer and record executive. 

He worked for the legendary Studio One of Kingston and was 

the author of many hits including the famous song dedicated to ganja “100 Weight of Collie Weed”. In the music industry from the 70s, Livingston is on the Express Love with his “Still Single”, a tribute to all the free and rebel ladies. 

Carlton Livingston – Still Single

Producers: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta” for Yah Man Records

Executive Producer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Writers: Carlton Livingston, Raffaele Leo, Alessandro Garofalo, Antonio Miglietta, Vincenzo Morello

Publisher or Publishers: Yah Man Records

Artist: Carlton Livingston

Musicians:

Drum: Antonio Miglietta “Fossa Drummer”

Bass: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Keyboards: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”

Guitars: Raffaele Leo “Papa Leu”

Arrangements: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”

Recorded at : Mad Vibes Studio Recording, Adriatic Sound Studio, DrummStudio

Voice Recorded at: Maryland

Backing Vocals:Carlton Livingston

Mixed by: Raffaele Leo “Papa Leu”,  Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Master: Riccardo Rinaldi “Ohm Guru”

Studio Engineer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Studio Assistent: Chiara Carbone

Cover Design: Maico Graphic

Release: 10/07/2016

AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE – Sandra Cross – Dancing The Night Away prod. by Morello Selecta Yah Man Records (Salento South Italy)

Sandra Cross – Dancing The Night Away

Sandra cross CoverOKno logo

• AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE •

prod. by Morello Selecta Yah Man Records (Salento South Italy)

all digital store: http://player.believe.fr/v2/8055323982849

buy now on ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/IT/album/id1121148140

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/5hnc8mn4FgYRkKJwzB41AV

Yah Man Records, strictly from Salento, is out with the second production on “Express Love Riddim”. 

We found Morello Selecta on bass guitar and three components of the Bag a Riddim (official band of Sud Sound System): 

Fossa Drummer on drums, Papa Leo on guitar and Maestro Garofalo on keyboards. 

On this riddim you can already listen and download “Smiling Faces” from Jamaican artist Blass, 

available from the 10th of May on all digital stores. This time we’re glad to present the veteran British artist Sandra Cross. 

She started singing at the age of 9 as a solo artist in the choir of Pentecostal Church where she belonged. 

When she was only 14 she started to record her first songs with a friend in a group called Love & Unity. 

“I adore you”, recorded in 76 Records studio, soon got famous for winning a popular British talent show. 

Furthermore it was first on the Britian’s reggae chart for four weeks on 1979. What has really been crucial for her career was meeting Mad Professor, 

well-known reggae- dub selector and owner of Ariwa Records. He choosed Sandra and formed a band of only female reggae singers called Wild Bunch. 

Their album was in the Reggae Top 20 Chart. This is a great opportunity for Sandra to travel in Europe and to think about 

his career again as a solo artist. A career that will be full of success, her single “Country Living” will be on top of the 

British chart for ten weeks. She will win the British Reggae Award as best female artist for six years, from 1985 to 1991. 

Her particular style that goes from reggae to jazz and a bit of soul, is extremely interesting. 

And now, let’s listen her singing on Express Love Riddim, “Dancing the night away”.

Dancing The Night Away

Producers: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta” for Yah Man Records

Executive Producer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Writers:Omari Sandra Cross, Raffaele Leo, Alessandro Garofalo, Antonio Miglietta, Vincenzo Morello

Publisher or Publishers: Yah Man Records

Artist: Sandra Cross

Musicians:

Drum: Antonio Miglietta “Fossa Drummer”

Bass: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Keyboards: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”

Guitars: Raffaele Leo “Papa Leu”

Arrangements: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”

Recorded at : Mad Vibes Studio Recording, Adriatic Sound Studio, DrummStudio

Voice Recorded at: Studio U.K.

Backing Vocals:Sandra Cross

Mixed by: Riccardo Rinaldi “Ohm Guru”

Master: Riccardo Rinaldi “Ohm Guru”

Studio Engineer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Studio Assistent: Chiara Carbone

Cover Design: Maico Graphic

Release: 10/06/2016

AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE – BLASS – Smiling Faces – prod. by Morello Selecta Yah Man Records (Salento South Italy)

BLASS  

“Smiling Faces” 

blass sigle cp

out now, new single 

• AVAILABLE IN ALL DIGITAL STORE •

prod. by Morello Selecta Yah Man Records (Salento South Italy)

www.yahmanrecords.com

DIGITAL STORE

http://player.believe.fr/v2/8055323982177

ITUNES

https://itunes.apple.com/it/album/id1111647098

 BLASS: The jealousy, envy and hypocrisy behind those ‘Smiling Faces’ 

It was a natural, effortless energy that brought BLASS together with Morello Selecta, founder of Yah Man Records out of Italy, 

which lead to the birth of BLASS’ first recording with a European music label. 

A real-life experience kinda song about envy, jealousy, hate and hypocrisy; 

under the title Smiling Faces for Yah Man Records’ Express Love Riddim project 

Smiling Faces, speaks to the struggle to keep friends and acquaintances happy for your successes, 

regardless of how happy and loyal you have been to them over the years.

You go out 100% for a friend, however the moment your situation begins to improve, you see signs of anger, jealousy and hate in them. 

That is the reality behind my creation of ‘Smiling Faces’,” BLASS said. 

As to why he chose this message for the Express Love Riddim, he said: 

“The beat instantly brought out those emotions in me the moment I heard it”

Chants of “no love” and “smiling faces” emanate distinctively from the punchline of Smiling Faces,

 over a well arranged live, authentically roots Reggae rhythm. 

Instrumentals so perfectly timed to capture the mood and message of the song. 

Definitely, already one of the best recordings from the Portmore, Jamaica based dancehall and reggae artist. 

An easily relatable song that once heard, 

will create instant connections to the story; as we all at some time in our lives, struggle with jealousy, 

hate, envy and hypocrisy directed at us. 

Smiling Faces will be available on all digital platforms in Europe, Jamaica, USA (worldwide) come May 10th

Smiling Faces

Producers: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta” for Yah Man Records

Executive Producer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Writers:Omari Carlington Thompson, Raffaele Leo, Alessandro Garofalo, Antonio Miglietta, Vincenzo Morello

Publisher or Publishers: Yah Man Records

Artist: Blass

Musicians:

Drum: Antonio Miglietta “Fossa Drummer”

Bass: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Keyboards: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”

Guitars: Raffaele Leo “Papa Leu”

Arrangements: Alessandro Garofalo “Maestro Garofalo”

Recorded at : Mad Vibes Studio Recording, Adriatic Sound Studio, DrummStudio

Voice Recorded at: Studio Jamaica

Backing Vocals:Angela Garzia

Mixed by: Riccardo Rinaldi “Ohm Guru”

Master: Riccardo Rinaldi “Ohm Guru”

Studio Engineer: Vincenzo Morello “Morello Selecta”

Studio Assistent: Chiara Carbone

Cover Design: Maico Graphic

Release: 10/05/2016

YAH MAN RECORDS / Born new Label from Salento – South Italy of Morello Selecta

PNGlogopugnotrspBN.png12916826_197037690678301_1725323968099657054_o (1)

From the experience of the Dj from Salento Vincenzo Morello, a new indipendent label called “Yah Man Records” is born, dedicated to black music, based in Trepuzzi (Le). 

“After so many years working as a Dj and in the team production of Adriatic Sound now Ska Nation Band, I felt the need to create something else, something strictly mine. That’s how this new label is born.. ” Morello Selecta tells us.

The desire of working and creating is so strong that as a result, “Express Love Riddim” is the first brand new riddim on which we will find several important artists from the international reggae scene. We’ll discover them by every single release on www.gege-vibes.com. The riddim was created with the collaboration of some components of Bag a Riddim Band (legendary band of Sud Sound System, which is now also working with Jamaican singer Richie Stephens). We find Maestro Garofalo on keyboards and arrangements, Papa Leu on guitars, Fossa Drummer on drums and as a big surprise Morello Selecta on bass guitar and as sound engineer. 

Mixing and mastering are followed by the capable hands of Riccardo Rinaldi “Ohm Guru”. The riddim was recorded in Mad Vibes Studio Recording, Adriatic Sound Studio and Drumm Studio, all three located in the small town of Trepuzzi. There is much more to find out on “Express Love Riddim”.. In the meantime, you can follow the label “Yah Man Records” on the official website www.yahmanrecords.com

Stay tuned!!

INTERVIEW WITH RICHIE STEPHENS

INTERVIEW WITH RICHIE STEPHENS

04/14/2016

by Munchy

by:http://www.reggaeville.com/nc/artist-details/artist/richie-stephens/news/interview-with-richie-stephens/ac/news/update/1.html

richiestephens-interview2016.jpgYour latest project is a Ska album entitled Internationally, which is indeed an international production of you as Jamaican and The Ska Nation Band from South Italy. Hearing you promote the record you seemed pretty excited?
As you said, I am very, very excited. Ska music has been one of my all time favourites for many years. I think it provides a lot of energy. It is very unique. It allows me to dance and I love to dance. It’s just a great Jamaican genre that is not celebrated any more. I always felt that I wanted the opportunity to do a Ska album but my observation over the years was that to get into the genre is one thing, but if it’s a genre that nobody believes in any more it would be difficult. So I searched and searched and searched until I found some guys in Italy and decided to work with them because they have equal interest in Ska music to do this project together. Ska music is well loved, supported and celebrated in South Italy, in a place called Salento. So I thought we could use there as a base and start this project called Richie Stephens & The Ska Nation Band. Yes I am extremely excited!

When and how did you meet The Ska Nation Band? How was the vibe, how did you know you wanted to do works together?
I was invited last year to do a festival called Casalabate Music Festival put on by Ranking Lele and Papa Leu. These are two artists from Salento. They’re very known there, very well-respected. They were excited about my songEverybody Dance, which is a Ska song that I did two years ago, that did very well in South Italy. They expressed a lot of interest in doing a remix for the song. They did the remix and it impressed me so much. I really loved how it sounded, so I said to them I would like to do some more work and so we decided “Hey, let’s do a project together!”. I had this concept of Richie Stephens and the Ska Nation which included some dancers. We extended it now by saying Richie Stephens & The Ska Nation Band. They loved the idea. I still have the dancers all over the world, from Japan, Germany, Jamaica, America. They support what I am doing which makes it very exciting. I am serious about this project and we’re gonna go all the way to make it work.

Half of the record was done in Italy, the other part in Jamaica. What was done where and how did the production actually work out? Have you been in the studio together at some point?
Everything about this project is unique and different. (laughs) What I mean by that is that the first song that was done between me and The Ska Nation Band was the remix for Everybody Dance, where I sent them the vocals and they did the remix. It was a totally different sounding song. Originally Everybody Dance was done in a Ska-Tech kind of style, where we put a little Techno in the Ska. What they did is bring it back to foundation Ska, which I really like and what I really wanted to do, but I was afraid that people wouldn’t want to hear that because it was too old. But then I said to myself “Let’s do Ska music in its original form” because I heard some criticism as well about the electronic sound in it. I like to listen to the voices and what people think. We decided to bring it back to undiluted foundation Ska, which is a good decision because a lot of people really prefer that. We did half of the album in Jamaica, half in Italy. How we did it? I went back to Italy and we did about five to six songs. We laid the tracks, I voiced them. Then I went back to Jamaica and The Ska Nation Band visited here. We got them in the studio with Sly and Robbie, Lenky Marsden, Kirk Bennett, Dean Fraser, and just did some collaborative production having great Jamaicans play with great Italians. I particularly loved the way the album was put together. Also half of the album was mixed in Jamaica by Jamaican engineers, the other half in Italy. So it’s got a Jamaican-Italian flavour and that’s what makes it so interesting.

How was working with The Ska Nation Band? What do you appreciate the most about their works and sound?
First thing, let me single out Papa Leu. Papa Leu is such a technical person and a workaholic. He is very detailed and I like that quality within him. Some things that I think are not a problem, he thinks we should work on it some more. In terms of the vibe and the energy now, Ranking Lele is always there to say “That groove could be a little more like this” or “I love that groove, I think we should work with it like that“. But particularly what I love about the whole project is that the Italians interpret Ska a little bit different from Jamaicans and that makes an interesting blend, because some things that we’re not even thinking about, they are thinking about it. They put a lot more colouring on top. If you notice the horns sections are very colourful and I ended up loving the way it sounds. They are more into horns and flair in the music, while we as Jamaicans concentrate more on the drum, bass and guitar. All together it made a really nice blend. And let me not forget Morello, who is a selecta. He is the one who reached out to me online and that is how the whole thing came together, about me doing the festival, meeting Papa Leu and Ranking Lele. Morello was always there during the production giving his advice as well.

Why did you turn your back on EDM and proceeded to do original Ska after the release of your Ska-Tech singles before?
Yes, I started out doing Ska-Tech because to be honest with you, I was kind of nervous about how people would receiveRichie Stephens doing Ska. Especially here in Jamaica you don’t hear Ska music on the radio at all. It is not celebrated. For that reason I was trying to put a little bit of what is going on now in the Ska. But after releasing two songs I listened to the voices of the people and people who really care about Ska are not into the Ska-Tech thing. They prefer Ska in its authentic and natural form, because it is such a pure music, it doesn’t need to be diluted. I understood clearly and was happy to know that these people were assuring me that they love it in its original form. So it takes no effort at all to just go back to the foundation and that is what I wanted to do from the beginning. This is a good, good vibe to me. I like that. And if you notice the album starts with a song called Foundation Sound in which I am highlighting and bigging up all the veteran Ska musicians and singers from back in the 50s. They are the ones who created the music and opened the door so that Richie Stephens and The Ska Nation Band can now put together a wonderful album such as Internationally. So there were never worries to just x out the EDM.

On board for Internationally are some legendary musicians from Jamaica such as Dean Fraser, Sly & Robbie, and the Browne brothers Danny, Dalton and Clevie that were surely excited to return to the foundation of Jamaican music. How did younger musicians like Kirk Bennett and Lenky Marsden enjoy the project? We know them mainly from Dancehall productions like the infamous Diwali riddim or Busy Signal’s Bedroom Bully.
If it was for the musicians Ska music would be produced and played on the radio every day but unfortunately there is a music industry that stipulates what is played. So naturally musicians will want to play what they can get out on the radio and in the music space much easier. Kirk Bennett and Lenky Marsden are very versatile, talented and into music for the music of it. When I came to them and involved them with this project they were very happy because they also wanted to express themselves doing Ska. We love and respect the music that we and our forefathers created. But unfortunately powers like the media here in Jamaica tend to just want to concentrate on one style and one genre. Even Reggae is not so celebrated in Jamaica as it used to. They tend to just want to give you 24 hours of Dancehall and that’s really messed up. We need to highlight the different genres of Jamaican music in Jamaica.

On board as featured artists are your brother Gentleman and Sean Paul for Original Style but for Internationally also the great Italian group Sud Sound System, the pioneers of Italian Ragga. How did this collaboration come up?
Sud Sound System is without a doubt the heavy weights of Reggae in Italy. I truly admire how they stick to the music for all these years and the love and respect they have for Reggae. I learned about them being a band that looks out for the people. They use their talent in a positive sense and advocate for the rights of the people in South Italy. I grew a lot of respect for them. To do a collaboration with them is an honour. Going in their neck of the woods can only help me and help them around the world. It works for both of us and the long and short of it, I respect them as human beings and what they’re doing, as well as their music. It was a great idea to do a song with them.

As you mentioned already, today very few Jamaicans still do Ska music. Why do you think that is? In other parts of the world Ska experienced new periods of hype with 2-Tone in the late 70s and the Third Wave in the 80s.
As I explained earlier you cannot ever think about the music that plays and has been produced here and use it as a way to judge the standard of music that we produce in Jamaica around the world. There are so many Ska bands around the world, even though you probably can’t find one or two from Jamaica. That is unfortunate. The reason being it is not celebrated. When something is not celebrated in a particular country it’s difficult to try to do it or stay with it. But the love that I have for Ska and the fact that I always travel, I know that there are people out there that appreciate me doing Ska. I think that there is a certain amount of people out there that really need Ska coming from Jamaica as well. As much as they enjoy Ska from other parts of the world they wouldn’t mind Ska coming from a Jamaican, too. Me lending my voice and doing the Ska project I am not sure if we’re going to do another album or two or three more, but I am particularly happy to know that the music that I love so much, the music that I grew up on I get a chance to do a complete album. Having The Ska Nation Band, a total set of Italian guys makes the project very interesting because this is a blend of cultures. Without a doubt I feel that this is going to create a new wave in the world.

Do you think Jamaicans should put more emphasis on their musical history, create a greater awareness? How should that be done?
That goes without saying. As Jamaicans we are very creative people. A professor told me that Jamaica is the only country that created so many different genres in the last century. When I listened to that statement I said “Wow“. She was talking about Mento, Kumina, Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady, Dancehall… We create a lot but we don’t document a lot. There is no library to safe the history of our music. There is no place where young people can go and research. When I play Ska here to some 20-year old youngsters that don’t know what genre it is. They don’t even know that this music was created here in Jamaica and that’s a shame. Hopefully this album Internationally will be a success and it will bring a certain amount of attention to the genre itself, that especially young people in Jamaica will be able to catch up and understand that this is one of our own music that we no longer celebrate and remember. I am just praying that this will be a tremendous success to not just do good for us but the entire industry and the Jamaican people, especially the young ones.

In the opening track Foundation Sound you mention many legendary musicians like The Skatalites, Prince Buster, Derrick Morgan, Toots & The Maytals, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. Who are your favourite Ska artists? Whose music inspired you the most while working on this project?
When you talk about Ska music you have got to mention The Skatalites. To me they’re the group that really pioneered the sound. A lot of the musicians I mention were are part of original The Skatalites. Later on some branched off into different areas but The Skatalites are credited for being the forefathers of Ska music. After that I mention Bob Marley and The Wailers. Tunes like Simmer Down or Put It On are some of the foundation monster hits. Millie Small’s My Boy Lollipop is credited to be the first big international hit from Jamaica. That is also a Ska song. That is why I sing in Foundation Sound that “Ska is the original sound, our first international music“.

Will you also tour the album with The Ska Nation Band?
Yes, yes, we will be touring together all over. We are going to Japan and several countries in Europe to start the promotion. The whole plan for this year is to make physical appearance and play with the band.

Wonderful! I already love the album and I am looking forward to experiencing it live as well. Do you have a final message you’d like to share with us?
I am glad you love it and I hope others will grow on it as well. (laughs) I want to send a shout out to the people in South Italy. Thanks for the support they have been giving me. Big up the whole crew there. One love and respect! Especially Luca Manno, the saxophone player of the band. He was very instrumental in helping with the production. Big up all the people involved in the album! Jamaica and Italy coming together… Richie Stephens and The Ska Nation to the wooooooorld!