From Garvey to Wilmot – A Rasta Journey.
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  An amazing look into Growing Up a Surfer and Rasta in Jamaica. It Means Being More of an Outsider Than You’d Think.  by Chris Dixon Marine biologist, fisherman and musician Inilek Wilmot talks about the myth and reality of growing up a Rastafarian – and a surfer – in Jamaica. I grew up Rasta in Jamaica; I also grew up surfing on that rock. I didn’t and don’t however, see myself as a ‘Rasta-surfer’ – distinct from other surfers my family and I knew. The Jamaican surfing community was – and still is – so small that we’ve only ever seen ourselves as just surfers. We were spread across Jamaican cultural and socioeconomic borders but were a small enough tribe that there weren’t really any sub-groups – except perhaps being from Kingston, Bull Bay (the coastal community near Kingston where I grew up), or out east in rural Portland. Each of these subsets had their unique qualities, but whenever and wherever we came together, the fact that we were surfers has always overridden everything else. But to persons outside the surfing community, my Rastafarian family was peculiar. Thanks to my dad, an incredible surfer who believed the sport could present an opportunity for Jamaica’s underprivileged kids, and a well-known reggae musician who also had a role on a Jamaican TV drama called “Royal Palm Estates,” surfing skyrocketed into Jamaican attention when we were teenagers. Then, like it or not, my three brothers and sister became minor celebrities. So we […]

The dark side of Cuban Hip Hop.
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The plan of the US Agency for International Development was seeking the same purposes as the frustrated ZunZuneo network and its Latin American travellers contractors: to enlist youth to promote a movement against the Cuban government, “no matter putting in danger those it had recruited “says an investigation by the news agency Associated Press (AP). The documents obtained by the AP show that for more than two years, USAID secretly infiltrated the Hip Hop movement on the island and recruited several rap musicians without their consent for this subversive purpose. The terms for explaining the operation were also repeated: “break the information blockade” and create a network of young people who seek a “social change”. The AP is scathing in its assessment: “But the operation was executed with little professionalism and failed miserably.” “Any claim that our work is secret or hidden is simply false,” said USAID in a statement Wednesday. The revelations have taken up space in major US and European media, reports PL. The program again manipulated people who were unaware of being part of a subversive project of USAID, and the AP considers that it ended up hurting the active Hip Hop community on the island. Other analysts weigh up that some of its members were turned into instruments against national stability, so ended up leaving the country, or failing to present their shows with lyrics that offended the authorities. In this new anti-Cuban monster also reiterated the name of its executors: The program was conceived and […]

Brutal in Cuba – It’s back again…
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      Bands from four countries will make the musical scale in six Cuban cities as part of the summer edition of Brutal Fest. European groups, exponents of extreme metal, will seduce a national audience by participating in the Brutal Summer Fest, a traveling event that will come in its eighth edition to six cities, from 15 to 24 of this month. Festival organizers told the press that this time the bands Dead Cowboys, from France; Carnal Demise, Finland; Insanity, Switzerland, and Neid, from Italy, a country represented for the first time, will be performing at the event. The tour will begin in Holguín on the 15th Then will follow presentations in Bayamo (August 16), Santiago de Cuba (17), Camaguey (19) and Santa Clara (21). In the Maxim Rock in Havana the capital followers expect to have these groups for two nights: 22 and 23; the last stop of the tour will be Pinar del Río (24th). Local groups will accompany each show, said David Chapet, general producer of Brutal Fest. Also the director of the French label Brutal Beatdwon said this festival, sponsored by the Cuban Rock Agency and the record label he leads, has boosted, since its inception in 2008, the exchange of experiences between Cuban and foreign artists; hence it is highly anticipated and fills the participants with enthusiasm. This time around for the island Switch, Deadpoint, Stigma DC, Congregation, The Shepal, The one who bleeds, Wishbone, Metastasys, Parasomnia, Resistenzia and Trend are performing.  

Cuban Punk Invasion is heading to Canada…
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SUNDAY JUNE 15 SOLIDARITY ROCK PRESENTS SLATES – ARRABIO – ADICTOX – VIKING FELL – BOOK OF CAVERNS – BACK TO THE BLANKET BARBER HA $12 at door SLATES – New Damage recording artists ARRABIO – CUBAN HARDCORE HEROS ADICTOX – SANTA CLARA STREET PUNX VIKING FELL – Melancholy Dance Rock BOOK OF CAVERNS – DIY true believers BACK TO THE BLANKET – Hip Hop breakouts from Eden Valley, AB Solidarity Rock is back with a history bending Cuban punk invasion. June 15, Edmonton heavies SLATES will take the stage with their Cuban brethren for the first time in 4 years. Trinidad, Cuba’s Hardcore heros ARRABIO return to Edmonton, their second home. This time, they will travel with ADICTOX from Santa Clara, the punkest band in the world (not joking). This will be ADICTOX’s first show out side of Cuba. VIKING FELL is the latest Canadian band to make the journey and tour across Cuba. They are sportin new dance jams and can’t be stopped. BOOK OF CAVERNS are a DIY tour de force. Building and crashing, singing songs with heart and a pile of emotion, this is straight outta 1998. BACK TO THE BLANKET are a young hip hop act from Eden Valley, AB and will be playing with ARRABIO and Adictox in towns across treaty 7 territory later in the month. Cash bar, early start, Don’t miss it. THIS IS SOLIDARITY ROCK. WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER – ESTAMOS JUNTOS EN ESTO  

Cuba’s Rock’n’Roll and Hardcore Gods…
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ARRABIO hail from the Trinidad, Cuba, the 500 year old jewel of the nation’s Caribbean coast. After years in isolation The band has distilled its unique sound, carving their spot in the international hardcore community. It was once illegal in Cuba to play rock n roll, now this 4-piece has been at the forefront of creating a DIY rock n roll revolution in Cuba, a country hungry for something new.

A timeless revolucion – Standby Collective
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Standby Collective (Humberto Rodríguez and Elvis Morales) was one of Cuba’s first grassroots, underground, skateboarding and surfing film creators, capturing some of Cuba’s and Havana’s best. Check out Revolucion – Evolution from early 2011, a movie they made with another Havana-based skater and filmmaker who operates under the name YMG Films.     La evolución nunca termina, perseverancia, adaptación, coraje, instintos, supervivencia y autoestima son las cualidades que nos permitirán seguir adelante. Dedicado al skateboarding en Cuba y a todos los que ayudan a la escena skater cubana en el mundo entero. Revolución – Evolution es una coproducción de Standby Collective y YMG Films filmado desde principios del 2011 y estrenado en Cuba en Mayo. En casi 40 min abarca lo mejor de todos los skaters de La Habana y otros extranjeros que han patinado junto a la escena skater de la isla. The evolution never ends, perseverance, adaptation, courage, instincts, survival and self-esteem are the qualities that enable us to move forward. Dedicated to skateboarding in Cuba and all those who help the Cuban skater scene in the world. Revolution – Evolution is a collaboration of Standby Collective and YMG Films filmed from early 2011 and premiered in Cuba in May. In nearly 40 minutes covering the best of all skaters in Havana and other foreigners who have skated with the skate scene of the island. Skaters: Yohani Pérez (Mamerto) / Che A. Pando / Humberto Rodríguez (Bankai) / Raciel Pereda (Raper) / Fernando Verdecia / Yoan Galiana / Reinaldo Vicet (Karem) […]

‘The Time is Now’ – Burning Spear & Joel Harper
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Royal 70 and Cuba’s small surfing family, over the years, have been blessed with some amazing support. This has included writer, musician and teacher Joel Harper and his book All the way to the Ocean. All the way to the Ocean came to life after Joel had an epiphany while riding home on his bicycle one day. He noticed the effect pollution in the storm drains was having in his community. He realised he needed to do something meaningful with his talents to help change the way people interacted with their environment. Joel’s vision became a reality with his popular children’s book and social anthem, All the Way to the Ocean in 2006. Today, Joel is working with his partners at Mediatavern to take his idea to the next level, and tell his story in an even more powerful way. Animation. Check out this snippet from the amazing track by Joel and leading Rastafarian/reggae artist Burning Spear featured in the upcoming movie based on Joel’s book.     www.allthewaytotheocean.com The Time is Now – Burning Spear & Joel Harper Purchase The Time is Now here | iTunes                    

Friendship through punk rock…
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Solidarity Rock: The Oral History of Arrabio and the DIY Punk Rock Movement in Cuba.   For years, Cuban punk-rockers bought and sold records illegally. Some musicians were repressed and their shows banned. Now attitudes have changed largely due to the work of William Garcia one of the original Cuban punk rockers. William’s music, work through the Cuban cultural ministry and relationship with Edmonton based Music Promoter and Filmmaker Drew McIntosh was the cornerstone to create Solidarity Rock. This artist run organization works to partner musicians, artists and creative people in Cuba, Canada and beyond. Since 2008, Solidarity Rock has been helping build the Cuban alternative arts scene; overcoming political, social and economic barriers while doing so.   On Thursday, October 25, 2012 The Oral History Centre held a public interview with Solidarity Rock organizers William Garcia and Drew McIntosh. The talk was moderated by OHC Audio Technician Kent Davies. The following video contains excerpts of that interview.     http://www.oralhistorycentre.ca

Where you been, Cuban Cowboy?
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The Cuban Cowboys are back in true Rock’n’Roll Style. Read what Jorge has to say about their disappearance.   Where you been, Cuban Cowboy? November 13, 2013   I’ve been nowhere and Everywhere.  “Nowhere” speaks to the fact that TCC’s only played two shows this year. It also refers to our relative radio silence over the past two years. No new albums, no email blasts, no press, etc. Joo get the picture. We released our last album in 2010, toured a bit, got featured on NPR, then poof.Nowhere. “Everywhere” speaks as much to where I’ve been (Spain, Morocco, Cuba, Mexico) as it does to the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual ‘places’ experience has brought me to since last we spoke. “Everywhere” refers to the fact that life happens. For an artist, life’s happening impacts art-making by influencing the emergence, kinds and intensity of inspiration that make the art possible to begin with.   Art springs from life. Moreover, and with apologies to John Dewey for my clumsiness herein, experience can itself be art. Expressions like “live an artful life,” and “living artfully” come to mind. They convey a sort of grace upon everyday life, elevating it from the ordinary and toward some higher form or purpose. Put in a deeper or more rigorous way, the work of philosophers like Dewey and William James (you should check that shit out, yo.) argue that the lines between Science, Art and Experience are blurry and arbitrary. What I’m getting at here is that by saying […]

Solidarity Rock Comp Vol 1…
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Want to support musicians in Cuba? Check out this compilation of bands supporting Solidarity Rock and for a few dollars you too can help. Bands: The Mandates, Uh-Oh, No Problem, The Vibrating Beds, Adictox, Eamon McGrath, SLATES, Kids on Fire, The City Streets, ARRABIO,Guerillas of Soul, The Fight, Falklands, Gatillo, The Get Down, Morals, Old Wives, Limalla, Vicious Cycles, Previous Tenants Compiled by James Stewart Mastered by Jesse Gander

Forget World War Z…
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Juan of the dead is the real thing. Juan is 40 years old, most of which he spent in Cuba doing absolutely nothing. It’s his way of life, and he’s prepare to defend it at any cost, along with his pal Lázaro, as lazy as Juan but twice as dumb. Juan’s only emotional tie is his daughter, Camila, a beautiful young girl that doesn’t want anything to do with her father because the only thing he’s good at is getting into trouble. Suddenly some strange things start to happen, people are turning violent attacking one to the other. Juan was first convinced it’s just another stage of the Revolution. Official media refer to the attacks as isolated incidents provoked by Cuban dissidents paid by the US government. Little by little Juan and his friends start to realize that the attackers are not normal human beings and that killing them is quite a difficult task. They’re not vampires, they’re not possesed, but they’re definitely not dissidents; a simple bite turns the victim into other violent killing machine and the only way to beat them is destroying their brains. Juan decides that the best way of facing the situation is making some money out of it….. “Juan of the Dead, we kill your beloved ones” becomes his slogan. Lázaro, along with his son Vladi, and Camila (who had no other choice but joining her father after he rescued her from grandma´s killing desires) are Juan´s army, and their mission is to help […]

For the love of Hardcore…
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In August 2011, Royal 70 was contacted by a US filmmaker by the name of Steve Tozzi. Steve had an inspired thought. He was interested in taking US hardcore punk bands into Cuba to do some shows, hoping to enlist the bands with which he was connected to perform. Bands like Youth of Today, Vision, Token Entry, Sick of it All, Agnostic Front and Mouthpiece. I loved the idea, and I knew Cuba’s punk and hardcore scene would, too. Unfortunately, I received his email just a few days before we were due to leave for Cuba ourselves for a few months, so I passed on his details and ideas to Drew from Solidarity Rock and William from Cuban hardcore punk band Arrabio, knowing that if anyone could help Steve out it would be these guys. They had been taking rock bands into Cuba for shows since 2008. Steve’s idea never came to fruition, but all was not lost. One year later, Arrabio travelled to Canada to open for Agnostic Front. Steve’s dream of bringing US hardcore bands to Cuba may not have been realised, due to the politics between these two countries, but he has still opened doors to realise a dream for a bunch of Cubans who are doing so much for punk on the island.  Riot on the Dance Floor is Steve Tozzi’s latest film. If you love a little chaos, history and hardcore, learn more about it at, www.citygardensfilm.com

Solidarity Rock – Supporting Cuba’s misfits
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Solidarity Rock is an artist run organization working to partner musicians, artists and creative people in Cuba, Canada and beyond. Since 2008, they have been working to collect instruments and musical equipment to help friends in Cuban rock bands find their own way through music. Working together as well as supporting Cuba’s hardcore band Arrabio, SR have done so much for the Cuban punk/hardcore music scene and have inspired us at Royal 70 to never give up on our own Cuban surfing family and friends. You can check out and support what these legends are doing at www.solidarityrock.com      

Who the F#@k are The Cuban Cowboys?
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They are the world’s greatest Cuban surf rock band and have supported Royal 70 and the Cuban surfers from day one…   Que es/What is un Cuban Cowboy? A berry good question. The Cuban Cowboy is not a tipico cowboy in the mold of a cheesy-quesoso Hollywood Western. Horses? He has none. His bovine encounters are limited to the meat aisle. He (or she) sleeps on a mattress, rides a subway train, and owns no rifle. The Cuban Cowboy is a breed apart–a hy-breed. The tools of his trade are a musical instrument, a silvery tongue and a pair of twitchy hips. He is the bastard love-child of Ricky Ricardo and Tom Waits, Elvis eats azucar. The musical estilo of The Cuban Cowboys is as itinerant as the elusive creatures who spawn it. A capricious mixture of tradition and revolt, it features tasty rhythmitos ofMontuno and Guajira served up under swooning surf guitar and dark post-punk power chords. An occasional hillbilly root thrown in the pot not only justifies the wearing of cowboy hats, but also makes an excellent garnish. Armed with intelligent lyrics and catchy mambo riffs The Cuban Cowboys swivel forth to enclose their audience en un rock ‘n’ roll abrazo: suave, firme y muy—¿como se dice?—SEXXAY. Today the band is busy wreaking havoc on cultural assumptions and rocking their culos off along both U.S. coasts: spreading the word, playing the tunes, and promoting the traditional Cuban values of Ritmo, Amor, y el Consumption of Pork Products. The Cuban Cowboys may not know joo yet, but already they burn with lob for joo… […]