Fredlocks & The Ultra Flex Crew
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Fredlocks & The Ultra Flex Crew

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE | AFM
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"Rasta on Horizon"

Rasta on Horizon
by Bob Covey, editor


If it truly is a reggae planet, as Fredlocks Asher has defined it, then Jasper might be one of its moons. "Jasper's always been pretty smooth," the Toronto artist with Jamaican roots professes. "We always like coming there."

Like many artists who make Jasper a regular stop, Fredlocks Asher has won over an audience on this little satellite. Now on June 8 and 9 he's rocketing into the Downstream Bar, propelled by the roots, hip hop and Rasta sounds that made him popular in the first place -- with dreadlocks flaring behind him like a comet tail.

Planet Reggae -- the artist's new CD -- is but one vehicle that Asher is using to spread the Rasta word. He's involved in other projects with his brother, Kwabena Reuben, but when he comes to Jasper it'll be just him, an MC and a drummer. Nevertheless, Asher said fans can expect a dynamic show.

"We're going from roots to reggae to dance hall to hip hop, with a little bit of jungle thrown in for good measure," he laughed.
Most of the band's members are from the hot, hot heat of Jamaica, so the irony of the group touring in Canada's north (after Jasper they make their way to Whitehorse) isn't lost on Asher.

"We were pretty paranoid the first time we went up there," he said. "We were going to a festival called Frostbite." The group managed to stay warm, Asher said. It was summer, after all.
"What was funny is that it's called the Land of the Midnight Sun," Asher said about the Yukon. "That same thing is mentioned in old Jamaican folklore."

Fredlocks has a deep connection to the stories and traditions of Jamaica, as well as the beliefs that come with being a Rastafari. The band's song titles, stage names and dreadlocks reveal as much.
Next week he'll bring that passion, channeled through his music, to Jasper. If her has it his way, by next year at this time it'll be a reggae universe.
Fredlocks Asher plays the Downstream June 8 and 9. Shows start at 9pm.



- The Fitzhugh, Jasper AB, June 2007


"Rasta Reuben & Fredlocks Asher Bob Marley Tribute @ The Port Theatre"

One love. One heart.

The simple message from reggae superstar Bob Marley touched people around the world and is a message that lives on long after his death. A reggae concert featuring Rasta Reuben, Fredlocks Asher and their band Selassie iPower remembers the Jamaican legend’s birthday Feb. 6.“We’re celebrating Bob Marley as a major force in history,” Reuben said. “He’s one of the freedom fighters, like Martin Luther King. “Instead of a speech, he did it in song – it was very effective.”
Reuben grew up in Jamaica where Marley’s music originated, a stone’s throw from the musician’s childhood neighbourhood. “When I was born, Bob Marley was already a legend – the music was everywhere,” Reuben said. “I remember it being played loud. “The people in Jamaica recognized the prophetic energy of him. ”Rastafari, the religion Marley adhered to, refers to Haile Selassie, the first emperor of Ethiopia. His pre-coronation name, Tafari Makonnen, was always preceded with the term Ras, the equivalent of duke in Ethiopia.

Selassie is regarded as a messiah, or a reincarnation of God, in the Rastafari movement, much like Jesus Christ in the Christian religion.“As Jamaicans, we have a unique take on the scripture,” Reuben said. Selassie led Ethiopia through many milestones during his tenure, including induction into the League of Nations, making him the only independent black monarch in the group. He was also one of the few black men welcomed to the White House – government couldn’t refuse a head of state.


“He was the Barack Obama of his time,” Reuben said.He created Selassie iPower in 1992 to recognize a century since the birth of the Ethiopian king.“The whole point of the band is to keep up the front line,” Reuben said. The Rastafari movement regards other black men in history as prophets – Marcus Garvey, an advocate of a free, black state, Martin Luther King, the American civil rights leader, and Marley.

“Bob Marley believed in Haile Selassie,” Reuben said. The lyrics from Marley’s song, War, were taken from a Selassie speech. The beliefs and tenets of the Rastafari movement are in the music, from the religious gospel sounds to the lyrics of politics, war, peace, social justice and above all, love. “The breath of life binds us all together,” Reuben said.

Through music, Marley encouraged people to look at the big picture, focussing on love and peace.
But being outspoken had its consequences. In 1976, Marley planned to play a concert in National Heroes Park in Kingston, Jamaica. Days later, an election announcement signalled renewal of a ghetto war and gunmen broke into Marley’s home and shot him, luckily only wounding him.
In defiance of the gunmen, he played a brief set at the concert.
Marley died five years later of cancer. He was 36.

Marley’s music, along with original songs, will be played at the concert Feb. 6, 8 p.m., at the Port Theatre.

Tickets $24.50; $19.50/students and youth. Please call 250-754-8550.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com
- Nanaimo News By Melissa Fryer January 2009


"Fredlocks & Ultra Flex Crew "United Against Empire Rally""

Fredlocks Asher & The Ultra Flex Crew were on hand to headline the "United Against Empire Rally"
in Nanaimo BC on May 17th 2009. The event, hosted by Vancouver Island University Campus Club,
Popular participation Movement, is in its 4th year and hopes to change the traditional Empire Days
Parade and celebration which has been taking place in Nanaimo for the past 145 Years!

The Rally and concert got under way at 2pm at Karll Space, in downtown Nanaimo following the empire Days
Parade which drew thousands of spectators. There were about 400 supporters in attendance at the rally.
Fredlocks Asher and the Ultra Flex crew deliver a highly energetic performance of mostly original material and
closed with a set of popular Bob Marley protest songs. Also featured was Kass One a young talented Hip=Hop
artist as well as some guest speakers and poetry.


The event was much enjoyed by it's supporters Organizers, Simond Schachner whose rally slogan was"
Parades are great Empire is Not" said " Reggae music was featured on this event because it represents one
love and equality and is inclusive to all people" Schachner also said " The goal of the PPM is to rename and
change the focus of the Empire Days celebration to include all people.
- Reggae X Clusive June 2009 Issue


"Fredlocks Asher's Winter Vibe"


By Dawn MacDonald

The temperature was dropping towards minus twenty that night, and it had been snowing for days. They don't call this festival "Frostbite" for nothing, but a warm spirit filled the Youth Tent on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse. When MC Prhyme took up the mike to announce Fredlocks Asher, a cheer went up from the crowd. Yukoners love reggae.

Fredlocks Asher is a reggae pioneer. He's been to Canada's Western-most community, Beaver Creek in the Yukon, to perform and to conduct workshops with the White River First Nation. He's reggae's northern ambassador, returning to the Land of the Midnight Sun time and again to satisfy the dancehall and dub cravings of the intrepid population living north of the 60th parallel.

The year 2007 marked the singer's seventh journey to the territory. On February 16th at the Frostbite Festival, he had the youth jumping in time to his message of peace, love, and universal understanding. DJ Nemo and MC Prhyme performed alongside Fredlocks that night, and for a repeat performance the next day at the venerable Capital Hotel. Dancers packed the floor all night, moving along to Fredlocks' dub and dancehall sounds.

Energy is running exceptionally high in Whitehorse these days as the small city of 20,000 people prepares to play host to the Canada Winter Games. Fredlocks will perform at the Yukon Arts Centre as part of the games' Cultural Festival, and will also be entertaining the young competitors at two Athletes' Dances. Between shows, he's helping CBC Television set up the tons of gear and miles of wiring that will bring this major sporting event to the homes of the nation. His last job for CBC saw him on the other side of the cameras, acting in an episode of the show "Intelligence" which aired in January.

Fredlocks Asher is featured on the new Dubmatix album, "Atomic Subsonic," from Toronto's Jesse King. He's hard at work on a new solo album called "Race: The final frontier" and he'll be shooting a video for one of the new "Race" tracks while in the North.

Despite obvious differences of climate, Fredlocks says that the spirit of Canada's North is akin to a Jamaican vibe. It's a relaxed community where people love music, welcome strangers, and appreciate the reggae beat.
- Reggae Exclusive,Toronto, ON March 2007


"Toronto dancehall frontman Fredlocks"

Toronto dancehall frontman Fredlocks salutes the reggae soldiers
By Shelley Arnusch
Who: Fredlocks Asher

Where: Boot Pub

When: Monday, Nov. 17

Maybe you can’t pin down the last time you heard reggae music on the radio, but according to dancehall reggae master Fredlocks Asher, it’s almost a guarantee that if you’ve listened to contemporary music lately, you’ve heard some reggae.

"Almost everything in the music industry right now has been borrowed from reggae," he emphasizes in a very non-emphatic laid-back reggae voice. "Everything from heavy drum ’n’ bass, everything in hip-hop. Hip-hop is like the American version of Jamaican dancehall. Reggae is the foundation."

He’ll be presenting that foundation – an authentic show of true dancehall jungle roots reggae – at the Boot Pub this Monday. The show is billed as a solo effort for Fredlocks (a nickname combining his given name of Frederick with a nod to his dredlocks). But more accurately, it’s a performance by an incomplete lineup of the Toronto-based collective Selassie I Power, which includes the other brothers Asher, Ruben and Uncle Dropsi, who tag each other off on bass and vocals. True to dancehall form, the show also includes special guest MCs E-Spliff and Twyla Disney from Vancouver rap group VBC.

Maintaining an ambitious touring schedule and currently working on a second solo album to be released under the title Race — The Final Frontier, Fredlocks has been busy in the past months. Contrary to what one might think, the dancehall reggae life is not just one constant chill-out session.

With the tremendous international success of artist Sean Paul, dancehall is the hottest sound currently floating across mainstream radio airwaves, adding an edge to recent R&B offerings by divas Beyonce and Blu Cantrell.

While undeniably pleased to see someone of his musical persuasion succeed, Fredlocks is taking pop culture’s obsession with dancehall mostly in stride.

"There are always different reggae soldiers that pick up the torch at different times, you know?" he comments. "Right now Sean Paul has the torch."

Should the current dancehall reggae it-boy’s star burn out, Fredlocks isn’t worried. He knows the music will go on, find a new modern incarnation, and continue to sell the world over.

"The way I see it is, reggae’s always conquered before," he assures. "The music is always good, it’s always been good. Dancehall has already conquered."

Fredlocks, along with members of Selassie I Power and guest MCs E-Spliff and Twyla Disney conquer the Boot Pub at this week’s Monday Madness live music event. Call 604-932-3338 for more information.

Reported in PIQUE Newsmagazine, Whistler, BC, November 2003








- PIQUE Newsmagazine: Whistler, BC, November 2003


"Wisdom Is a Word to the Wise"

Wisdom Is a Word to the Wise
by Michelle Morrow

It's a wonderful culmination of wide travel, increasing popularity and, after so many years of hard work, the opportunity to cast a few pearls of Wisdom along the way. Canada's consummate keyboardist and reggae vocalist Fredlocks Asher has just released his debut CD Wisdom on GMV Records.

Two of Asher's earlier recording efforts, the cassettes Canadian Ghetto and Black Love, were released in 1991 and 1993 respectively. Although some of that material was drawn from to round out Wisdom, the completion of the CD is a definite milestone and, in the words of the artist, "I brought the music up to my certain level of perfection. I'm more than a singer/songwriter. It's very important for artists to learn about as many aspects of the music business as they can. Not necessarily do it themselves, but to at least keep track of what others are, or should be, doing for them in terms of an artistic career. Major record labels want to know you're educated in at least the basic terms of production values, manufacturing, distribution and touring."

As for Asher, he has kept himself busy in the arts since his teenage years. Singer and songwriter, he is a multiple instrumentalist, including keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, saxophone and clarinet. He has also studied audio-visual technology and communications. What he describes as another giant step in his artistic process will be to go into video production and filmmaking. "We're going to turn this into a reggae planet for real, man," he says with his customary smooth laugh.

Reggae Planet is in reference to the title of Selassie I Power band's upcoming CD, also on GMV Records. Fredlocks Asher is a performer and keyboard player with the band, led by his brother Kwabena Reuben on vocals, with Sister Julie on lead and harmony vocals as well.

Much of the material on Wisdom was influenced in large part by a series of cross-Canada tours in the past three years to promote Selassie I Power's debut King of Kings CD, winner of the 1998 Canadian Urban Music Awards Best Reggae Album of the Year. From Tofino on Vancouver Island's western coast to the farthest reaches of Newfoundland, Fredlocks deems that "the final key to the puzzle of success is to stick to one band and conquer the stages of being termed local, national and ultimately international. There's no use re-inventing the wheel."

Family strength and togetherness is another appealing component of the Asher/Selassie I Power combination. Three of seven brothers perform on stage together on a regular basis. Besides Fredlocks Asher and Kwabena Reuben, there's Uncle Dropsi on bass. In keeping with the brotherly trend of talent, Dropsi, also a writer, is in the midst of recording a studio album aptly titled Incorrigible, which he describes as "a lyrical album with real angst." The beautiful thing about Dropsi's sound is that while many try to blend reggae and hip-hop with other feels, this man has truly succeeded. The production is taking place at Dub Vibe, a Vancouver studio headed by guitarist Danny Elmes.

Which leads to another level of discussion on Wisdom — that of the roles of the various producers and studios credited on the album. A producer himself, Fredlocks was basically taken under the wing of Bobby Simpson at Jah Studio, which during the 80s and early 90s was the most utilized studio for reggae music recording and rehearsals in Toronto. When Bobby and his wife Lana Biggs, who appears as a harmony vocalist on certain Wisdom tracks, relocated to Jamaica, the door was left wide open for Asher to naturally inherit the entity, which he morphed into his own UltraFlex Studio.

Wisdom has definitely benefited by input from the likes of JoJo Bennett of The Satellites. Asher praises, "He's an elder veteran who listens keenly and avoids chaos in the music. I accept his guidance. JoJo and I always link to this day."

Producer and drummer Big John Goddard of Yard Sound Studio and Garfield are longtime bredren who are, according to Fredlocks, all on target, brilliant and meticulous. "Different producers get different sound colours, different portraits of music. The chord arrangements I choose display a level of dispensation in terms of how the FATHER JAH RASTAFARI hands down the inspiration. Lyrically," he continues, "it's more than just cussing down Babylon; it's Lamentations and Psalms, a full embodiment of what it means to be wise."

Reported in Uprising International, February 2001.


- Uprising International, Toronto ON, February 2001.


Discography

Race The Final Frontier
More Lovin
Rain Single
Ultra Flex Volume One
Dubmatix "Champion Sound Clash"
Dub Life
Wisdom
Canadian Ghetto

Photos

Bio

"Some imitate while others create", Fredlocks & Ultra Flex Crew have been creating new cutting edge reggae for a life time Fredlocks is an original Jamaican reggae artist, performing the full spectrum of this art form including all the sub-genres of DANCEHALL, DUB, ELECTRONICA, LOVERS ROCK, JUNGLE, and ROOTS ROCK REGGAE.

Fredlock powerful mix of lyrics and vocals in a Dub and electronic reggae song by Dubmatix sent his voice soaring to the top 3 of radio playlists on the national charts "Journey to the center of the Dub" was a #1 top 40 on CIUT Toronto. Fredlocks & Ultra Flex Crew has released a variety of musically diverse reggae albums, including Wisdom, Dub Life, Ultra Flex Volume one, and More Loving. He is now set to release yet another full length solo album this year "Race the Final Frontier" set for release summer 2010.