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Band World Reggae


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The best kept secret in music


"LAZO signed by RAS Records"

June 1993 was the month Lazo embarked on a 5 year recording and distribution deal with Washington, DC based RAS Records. And, at present, he is performing around Canada on his way to the stars...

The first Canadian reggae artist to be signed to Dr. Dread's label. This will enable him to increase his exposure to fans in North America, as well as Europe.

The Dominican-born singer won "Top Reggae Performer Of The Year" at the internationally recognized Canadian Reggae Music Awards (1993) in Toronto, Now, he is poised to make waves!

Lazo's music holds a distinctive groove, highlighted with soulful vocal stylings, touching love songs and tough messages.

Testimonial to his style and success is his recently released CD "Impetus", which charted on Vancouver's Z95.3's Top 30 as the only Independent, along with the likes of Bobby Brown, Third World, Arrested Development.

Previous to "Impetus", "Satisfaction Guaranteed" (released 1987), attracted radio airplay across Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean. Christened Lazarus John Finn, Lazo has been singing since he was 15 years old. The Castle Bruce artiste attended the Clifton Dupigny Community College in Dominica where he studed plumbing engineering. The Wailers, he says, has been the biggest influence on his life. Lazo has been performing in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States of America for more than 13 years. He has recorded and performed as a member of "Identity" (Island Records), "New Connection" and "Black Blood" (charted #2 on the Caribbean charts)...all successful groups who received extensive radio exposure.

As a solo artist, Lazo has toured through the Caribbean receiving outstnading response in St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Antigua, St. Lucia and Dominica. Canadian performances include regular appearances at top rated venues such as Harbourfront, the Bamboo, the El Mocambo, the Jerk Pit and Club Blue Note. Benefit concerts include Arts Against Apartheid Rally and the Peace Festival at Toronto City Hall's Nathan Phillips square. Lazo has also shared the stage with the likes of Maxi Priest, Third World, The Wailers and Sly and Robbie.

Lazo is a likeable artist whose dedication is unshakeable. His music holds meaning and warmth, making people from all walks of life listen and dance. Recognition from his peers and audience alike make Lazo an important artist, with a great future. With the release of his latest album, "Impetus", Lazo Finn takes credit for writing, arranging and producing...and he still finds time to promote his product. Lazo's "Impetus" kicks off with the popular "Radical Reggae", a jumpy tune that opens the gates to music from one of the premier purveyors of the form.

Lazo is gifted with a poet's perspective, and his vocals run the gamut from plaintive (Seeking You) to demanding (Judgement Day).

- Uprising International

"Lazo Wins Juno Award - Best Reggae Recording"

Lazo won Best Reggaw recording with 'Heart & Sou'. He told Pride Magazine: "Winning a Juno means a lot to me. It makes me realize that my peers recognize my work. It has been a dire struggle but the reward is to keep the people happy with my work.

"Reggae music," Lazo continues, "is still being marginalized by the Juno's and the only way to combat that struggle is to apply more pressure on the CARAS to get equal representation. We depend on the media to assist us in getting our music across to the people and that's why we need to ascertain our own (black) radio station so that no form of Canadian urban music is annihilated." - Pride- Canada's weekly African-Canadian/Caribbean News Magazine

"Lazo maintains tradition of Bob Marley reggae"

The way Toronto based artist Lazo sees things, there's no reason why Canadian based practitioners of reggae arts should have to take a back seat to anyone. Realistically though, he realizes performers like him - Montreal's Kali & Dub, the Sattalites and the great LeRoy Sibbles - will always have to work twice as hard for half the reward.

"Reggae is not merely Jamaican music," the former Lazarus J Finn says over the phone from his Toronto home. "It's an expression of beliefs, it's commentary on social conditions and society. It's political music, but it applies around the world.

"Bob Marley knew that, Bob Marley celebrated that. That's why we celebrate Bob Marley" at the 15th Annual Ottawa Remembers Bob Marley Reggae Festival at the Civic Centre, Salon B, on Saturday night.

To Lazo, there's a thread connecting the First and Third Worlds in matters such as economic justice, the environment and human rights. And, as proud as he is of his adopted country, he says Canadians have no reason to be complacent. Songs on his Juno nominated album 'Something Real' call on Canada and Canadians to take a stand.

"This is a wonderful country. It's known around the world for fairness and justice. That's why it's necessary to take a leadership role in addressing these problems," he said.

Speaking of adopted countries, Ottawa is, in fact, his first Canadian hometown. He arrived here from the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica almost 15 years ago to sing and play guitar in an early version of Garnet Challenger's veteran Connection band, which is also on the bill Saturday night. In Dominica, he'd been making a comfortable living playing his own mixtue of reggae, calypso and "zouk" but, once here, he saw his future was in reggae and Rastafari. Once that became clear, he also saw he'd have to move.

"There was no choice. I could approach the world better from Toronto." - The Ottawa Citizen

"Lazo returns to Indies roots"

Reggae performer Lazo's career has fresh 'Impetus'. That's the forward-looking title of the Dominican native's first release in three years and the songs from it will be the meat of Lazo's Saturday set at the Real Jerk Pit on Richmond St. W.

Impetus signals a new direction for Lazo and he can't wait to lay it on the city.

"That first album I was working very closely with a band. After a while, the songs started to grow away from me.

"There was too much guitar in the songs, too much of a rock influence. I didn't think it was such a good idea at the time, but I went along with it.

"Between albums I travelled a lot in the West Indies. I spent some time in Dominica rediscovering my roots.

"I knew the next reocrd had to reflect my own experience more directly. I wanted it rooted in the music I grew up with an din what I was doing in reggae."

Impetus is a showcase for Lazo's many talents: he plays almost every lick on the album that he produced, arranged and sells from the stage.

"I'm taking a different tack with this one. I'm not so interested in shopping it to the record companies. I want to break it through the alternative circuit, get the right press, get some radio play and see what develops from there. If the quality I hear is really there, something will happen with it.

For Saturday's record release party, Lazo will be backed by an eight-piece band, including the Ace Horns and accompanied by vocalists Sheri and Marcia English.

It's a rare opportunity to catch Lazo working his soulful vocals with the kick of a full band and the only one this month - April 25 sees him off for a series of gigs in Dominica. - The Toronto Star

"Conquering the world one Juno at a time"

If determination is an asset, then lazo is the man to be left standing. After 15 years of playing the reggae sene he brings his latest album 'Heart & Soul' to the foreground. recorded at a number of studios for a complete sound with his band, this album features a style of music that is all Live Roots. So those who were expecting Bob Marley's influence will not be disappointed. The sounds of this album are so raw that you'll be able to trace not only the sounds of Marley, but Peter Tosh, Junior Brown and other great reggae artists. It's a sound that will have you wanting to order Rum Punch and getting high from the sound of pure bliss.

Staring out in the Dominican is no easy feat, but determination has allowed this University of Toronto political science student to try and achieve the impossible dream. He has been able to escape the poverty of the Third World and make a name for himself in another country. And while preparing for end-of-term exams he also had to prepare to accept the Juno Award for Reggae Album of the Year.

"It was a great album," Lazo explains. "One reason is commitment. Previous albums were done with computers and stuff. This album was live from the floor. Timing has a lot to do with success. This momentumm has been happening for quite a while. I felt real food because a lot of people had been calling me up after the Junos and saying, 'Lazo, I'm happy for you, you deserve it' I knew I should have won. I knew the other contenders. I checked out what they have."

If winning a Juno results from hard work, then it is a hard-knock life to try and win recognition from the media who are not embracing this artist without giving his sound a try.

"The reggae scene in Toronto is very, very difficult," says Lazo. "Reggae music is very political, you know. Political music is not like pop - it deas with very serious issues and life. Especially struggles of black people; they have been through a lot, 500 years of being abused, used and misused. These are the issues that reggae music is dealing with. The main stream radio stations and mainstream media have shunned reggae music everytime. If radios and newspapers are not promoting the stuff then people are not going to know about you. This is very detrimental."

Lazo says campus radio has been the real spirit behind his commercial success.

"Campus radio stations get max respect, to CIUT, CHRY, and CKLN. If it hadn't been for these radio stations, black music wouldn't be dope in Canada," he states.

After winning the award, Lazo did something in the next few days that few people could say they have done. He brought the house down at an impromptu performance after the Junos for his professor, TA's and class. The applause was so astounding that another professor had to quiet the sounds that were travelling through the otherwise soundproof room. It's not every day that the person you sit next to in class gets a Juno award.

"It's a lot of work," declares Lazo. "I've been doing this work for a long time, over fifteen years. I had three other albums that I did with three other bands; the Unity Band, the Connetion Band and some other bands, some rock bands. I've done the circle.

Lazo has received a lot of recognition in other parts of the world, such as the US and Europe. This summer a video is being shot to help promote the album, while another is in the works. A European tour is also planned for this summer.

Time and time again, when Lazo takes his live act to the stage, the results are astouding. An example of this was a show that he did in Rochester, New York.

"Best show, response wise, (was) in Rochester," he says. "I was absolutely mobbed; people took off my clothes. I had to sign autographs on their backs, on their buttocks, all over the place. My CD's were sold in a flash."

The Juno Awards show came a close second, however. Not only do the Junos bring recognition to an artist along with national exposure, they are an excellent place to meet people. The Heritage Minister held an after-show party for all of the musicians. Lazo wants to work with other Canadian musicians like Bryan Adams, that he feels stay 'true' to their music.

"The guy from Tea Party wants to team up," says Lazo. "I want to work with Bryan Adams. (He has) a real spirited sound."
- The Varsity

"With a name like Lazo, he's got to be cool"

Do you remember the way we used to sit in a government yard in Trenchtown? well, I don't, and neither does Lazo, because he is from Canada. Yes, that's correct, they have reggae musicians in the Great White North and theylove it up there. Lazo won a Juno award (the equivalent of an American Grammy) in 2000.

Born Lazarus John Finn on the island of Dominica, he started his singing career at the age of 15 and moved to Canada in 1980 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional reggae performer. If you're wondering why he picked Canada, that makes two of us.

Lazo is a multi-instrumentalist, providing the bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals for his new album 'Children Of The Palm Race', as well as doing all of the writing, arranging and producing.

Lazo also seems to be breaking new ground in Reggae: a thorough examination of the lyrics to his songs reveals not a single mention of smoking marijuana. You get the other standard reggae fare of social awareness and good vibes, but there is nary a trace of spliff smoking or ganja passing. The album flows so nicely that you don't miss it, though.

I admit this is my first introduction to Lazo, but judging from his 8 X 10 promotional shot he is a pretty straight-up guy. We have a few cabinets full of promo pictures here in the office and when it's slow in the office, I lilke to rifle through it and smirk at all of the different ways musicians have of trying to convey their creativity and soulfulness through their 8 X 10's. I'm not naming names, but there are quite a number of bands out there that just try way too hard. No Lazo. He is just staring at the camera and smiling and you can tell that the photographer was taking too much time and by the time this shot was taken Lazo was getting sick of it and his smile became a simple bearing of the teeth. A guy who can't fake a smile is a guy you can trust. Lazo is keeping it real. - Chris Riordan


Congo Natty Dread (Y.T. Records) 2004

Children of the Palm Race ( Y.T. Records) 2002

Love is on Your Side (Y.T. Records) 2001

Heart and Soul ( Y.T. Records/ Factor ) 1998

Something Real (RAS) 1995

Impetus ( RAS ) 1993

Satisfaction Guaranteed (independent) 1990


Feeling a bit camera shy


Whether you follow Worldbeat or Reggae music or not, everyone has heard of the legends of those genres – The Wailers, Maxi Priest, Third World and Burning Spear come readily to mind. Well, Lazo has shared the stage with them all and for good reason. Lazo belongs in their company.
Honoured with awards from industry peers, Lazo was chosen as the Top Reggae Performer of the Year from the internationally recognized Canadian Reggae Music Awards and along with many Juno nominations; he garnered a Juno Award in 2000 for Best Reggae Recording for his “Heart and Soul” CD. The optimism shared from his beautiful composition, “If Love Is on Your Side” captured a Juno nomination as did another album “Something Real” in 1995

Hey, the guy’s got 5 CD’s out and is currently recording his 6th. In fact, “Impetus” is such a strong effort that it was the first independent album to chart on Vancouver’s Z95.3 (TOP 30) and was scooped up by the Washington DC based RAS records, becoming the first Canadian artist to be signed by the label. Lazo’s music video, “Crucial”, produced by Video Fact and RAS Records reached #3 on the charts in Guyana, South America and received extensive play on CSN (Caribbean Satellite Network), as well rotating on America’s BET (Black Entertainment Television).

Lazo tours tirelessly throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean with an eye to tackle Europe in 2006. His list of international festivals is ever growing, this year adding Brazil’s Carnaval de Salvador. He is such a favourite at London’s Sunfest Festival that he has performed there for 10 straight years, last year as headline performer.

This charismatic artist who holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto, against all odds left his small, beautiful island of Dominica, on a hot day in December 1979, only to arrive in Ottawa , Canada on a cold snow-stormy night and made a name for himself in the world. This mover and shaker plans to make a difference in the world, musically and politically.