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Band World Reggae


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"2007 JUNO Award Nomination"


Listed by Category 2/28/2007 11:45:08 AM

"Hard To See" - Humble, Soundcheck Records
"Xrated" - Korexion, Kornerstone*Kornerstore
"Monte le son" - Kulcha Connection, SubSonik*Independent
"Survival" - Kwesi Selassie, Independent
"In The Streets" - Trinity Chris feat. Blessed, Startinlineup Records - CARAS - JUNO Awards

"World-beat Artist Kwesi Selassie...."

World-beat Artist Kwesi Selassie Aims To Win Crossover Success In Canada
Publication: Billboard
Date: Saturday, April 29 2000

TORONTO - Like a growing number of world-beat recording artists in such large Canadian multicultural cities as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, Ghana-born Kwesi Selassie is earnestly seeking the path that will allow him to cross over to the mainstream.

With its funky party jams, deft rhymes, and lyrics sung in both English and the Ghanaian Fante language, Selassie's music is an intoxicating mix of reggae, ragga dancehall, hip-hop, and Ghanaian highlife styles. "I call it highlife dub reggae," jokes the 33-year-old multi-instrumentalist, who has lived in Toronto for three years.

Last month, Selassie completed recording his self-produced fifth album, "2000 Years Of Love," in Toronto; it will be released by his own Lion-of-Africa label in Ghana next month and in Canada-where the label is self-distributed-in September. Selassie will tour Ghana and Nigeria for two months in the fall, performing with a six-piece band.

Since the late '80s, Ghanaians have planted deep roots in Canada, particularly in Toronto, which now has a Ghanaian population estimated to be more than 50,000. Among the first acts attracted to the city were the Afro-funk band Native Spirit as well as top Ghana highlife vocalists A.B. Crentsil, Jewel Ackah, and Pat Thomas. "Canada is the best place in the world for multicultural people," says Selassie, who last returned to his homeland five years ago. "The only thing not good is the music scene."

World-beat African-Canadian artists like Selassie rarely receive mainstream media coverage in Canada and get no airplay outside of community and college radio. They instead work on a national touring circuit in the spring and summer of folk and jazz festivals that feature international styles. "I don't play much in Toronto," says Selassie.

"With an existing infrastructure for rock and country musicians in Canada, there's more radio, television, and concert opportunities for those artists than world-beat performers," points out Phillip Vassell, publisher/editor of Word, Toronto's R&B cultural magazine.

Adds Derek Andrews, music programmer at Toronto's Harbourfront arts complex, which books Canadian world-beat acts throughout the summer, "Many African musicians are making a go of it, but they tend to support themselves by teaching music or other means. I can't imagine Selassie is making a living from performing. You'd also think he would have crossed over more than he has to the Jamaican community because he plays reggae music."

"I'm not doing pure reggae music," counters Selassie, who confirms that he does have a day job. "I have my own style. I work with musicians from Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, wherever, so as to make my music different."

Selassie, however, was the first African to perform at the annual Canadian Reggae Music Awards in 1995 in Toronto. In 1997 and 1998, he was voted top reggae musician at the Ghanaian-Canadian Community Heritage and Music Awards in Toronto, and he was honored for top reggae album ("Judgement Day") and top reggae band at Canada's 1998 Music Africa Awards in Toronto. The following year, he was named top producer.

Despite its dominant reggae character, Selassie's music is rooted in the upbeat, horn-inflected popular highlife music that originated in Ghana in the 1920s. It fostered two primary strands: dance band highlife, associated with the urban elite, which continued to flourish into the 1950s and 1960s with bands like the Ramblers International and Uhuru Dance Band; and guitar band highlife, including the "palm wine" guitar style that has long been popular in Ghana's Akan tribal group, which includes the Asante and Fante tribes.

Born in Sekondi-Takoradi, the eldest in a family of five boys and one girl, the young Kwesi-born John Sackey-Selassie-was raised in affluent circumstances. "We are descendants of the [Fante] royal family," he explains. Selassie began singing and playing guitar at 11; he later learned to play drums and piano and soon embraced Jamaican reggae.

The '80s saw an enormous growth in reggae's popularity in Ghana. Singer Amekye Dede became a superstar there with his reggae-inflected highlife, while other acts, such as Kojo Antwi and KK Kabobo, also found domestic success.

Like many others, Selassie discovered that reggae rhythms were easily adaptable to the loping gait of highlife, and at 16, he was playing the hybrid with several local bands.
However, rather than pursue a music career, Selassie went to London to study criminal law at the College of Law. Then, much to the consternation of his parents-particularly his father, who is a lawyer himself-he abandoned his studies after three years and returned to Ghana.

Selassie then began playing bass or drums in a number of bands in West Africa-from Ghana and Guinea to Senegal-before moving to France in 1990, where he briefl - Billboard Magazine

""Judgement Day" Song Review"

Judgement Day

• #299 in Reggae
Best ranking:
• #170 of 1,139 in Funk/Soul/R&B on 22Dec2002

Track Of Day: 8Jul2001

Band: Kwesi Selassie !The Lion of Africa!
Genre: Reggae (Reggae)

The Lion preaches his conscious lyrics along side Little Buju. - This material was nominated for the top Reggae album at the Canadian Reggae Music Awards in 1999. - Nominated in four of 10 categories for the Best Band, Album, Composer, and was awarded the Producer of the Year at the November 1999 African Music Awards. You may find out more on this material at, click on artists free pages, go to the fifth CD Kwesi Selassie Judgement Day, April 29,2000 International section click on interviews. - Billboard Magazine/GarageBand

"Kwesi Selassie Profile"

Kwesi Selassie !The Lion of Africa!

Kwesi Selassie !The Lion of Africa!'s Newsletter

Genre: Reggae (Reggae/World)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Kwesi Selassie The Lion of Africa has been recording professionally since 1992. Kwesi Selassie was the First Continental African to Ever be invited to perform at the Canadian Reggae Music Awards in 1995 and was the First Continental African to Ever be nominated in 1997 for his False Prophets CD and again this year (1999) for his Judgement Day CD for the Top Reggae Album of the Year. In November 1999, Kwesi took the African Music Awards by storm as he was nominated in four of ten categorys for the Best Band, Album, Composer and was awarded the Best Producer of the Year Award. Kwesi was the only artist nominated in four categorys. Kwesi has already recieved 1 nomination this year for the best band of the year. It has been stated in the April 29th,2000 issue of Billboard Magazine that Kwesi's material is an intoxicating mix of high life dub reggae. Kwesi speaks English, French, Fanti and ten other local dialects of African languages making him the sole multilingual artist from Ghana, Africa. Kwesi was born into a Royal Family and is a Prince. This musical Lion just released his fifth CD in Ghana, 2000 Years of Love, soon to be released in North America. Kwesi is an artist of unsurpassed character, boiling with enthusiasm charismatic, and has the ability to mesmerize his fans with high flying energy in an audience interactive performance. You may find out more on this artist at April 29,2000 International section, click on artists free music pages, click on interviews. Kind Regards

Laura Allen: Manager,
Kwesi Selassie Lion of Africa: Lead Vocals

Artist URL
Kwesi Selassie !The Lion of Africa! on iLike

Sounds Like Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Micheal Jackson, Burning Spear, Culture
Influenced By Bob Marley, Micheal Jackson
- GarageBand

"Kwesi Selassie - "False Prophets" CD Album Review"

Kwesi Selassie, Toronto, ON Genres: Africa
Label: The Lion Of Africa

Kwesi Selassie, also known as “The Lion of Africa” was born in Sekondi-Takoradi but Kwesi hails from the Agyekum Royal Family in Agona Nsaba, the Central Region of Ghana, West Africa. First African invited to perform Canadian Reggae Music Awards in 1995 FIRST African Nominated in 1997 False Prophets CD, 1999 for Judgement Day CD for the Top Reggae Album of theYear. November 1999, Kwesi took the African Music Awards by storm Nominated in four of ten categories Best Band, Album, Composer and awarded the Best Producer of the Year. According to Larry Leblanc of Billboard Magazine- Kwesi's material is an intoxicating mix of High Life - Dub Reggae.
- CBC Radio3


HAKIMA CD Single (2008)
2000 YEARS OF LOVE (2002)

Several tracks have received radio airplay across North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Jamaica and Africa.



KWESI SELASSIE, a.k.a. “The Lion,” was born in Sekondi-Takoradi, the capital twin-city of the Western Region of Ghana in West Africa. At 11 years, he began singing and playing the guitar, drums and percussion. Soon he was dubbed the “musical prince” by his secondary school mates and everyone in his hometown.

Like most parents, Mr. Kweku Sackey-Selassie and Queen Mother Nana Baah Agyekum 1, encouraged Kwesi to strive for a professional career. Strongly influenced by his parents, Kwesi proceeded to London to pursue a law career. However, his drive to become a musician was too strong to be reversed. After three years, Kwesi ended his law studies much to the disappointment of his parents and returned to Ghana to embrace his first love, music.

Kwesi signed on to sing and play guitar with several spectacular bands all over West Africa. Maturing as an artist, Kwesi began writing, arranging and producing songs in his native language Fanti as well as in English, French, and ten other African dialects, making him the preeminent multi-lingual reggae music artist. He also began travelling and performing around the world. In 1990, Kwesi was invited by Mr. Mario Gauthier to Quebec City, Canada where Kwesi would begin the upward trend in the global music industry.

Kwesi has maintained the original blend of his music comprised of grinding highlife (original music from Ghana), Reggae, Ragga, and a touch of European influence, as what he calls "Highlife-Dub Reggae." His musical themes deal with emancipation of all people, love, peace, unity, spirituality, human rights, and socio-economic justice, a.k.a. conscious reggae music.

In 1995, Kwesi performed at the 11th Canadian Reggae Music Awards, and was nominated in 1997 for his CD album “False Prophets.” He was nominated in 1999 for “Judgment Day” as the Top Reggae Album of the Year. In November 1999, he was nominated in four categories at the African Music Awards in Toronto for Best Album, Composer, Release, and won Producer of the Year award for “Judgment Day.” With six acclaimed CD albums to his credit, Kwesi was nominated for “Reggae Recording of the Year” at the 2007 Canadian JUNO Awards for his CD album “SURVIVAL.”

Kwesi’s latest CD album “PROMISED LAND,” featuring 13 vocal and 4 instrumental tracks, was released on May 17, 2009 and is available for digital download and at local retail outlets. Kwesi is currently staging live performances in North America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.