Etana’s name means “The Strong One” in Swahili, and it’s a title she more than lives up to with her music and presence. Since debuting in 2006 with the thought provoking single “Wrong Address,” the Jamaican-born singer has established herself as one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in reggae, blazing a new trail in a genre that has long been male-dominated. Etana will take the ReggaeFest stage by storm on Saturday, August 19!
Antidoping is a Mexican reggae pioneer band that was born in the summer of 1992, founded by the brothers Manuel and Pedro Apodaca, originally from Coyoac’n, Mexico City. Antidoping is considered a band of cult and as one of the most important of Latin America in the genre reggae. Antidoping music combines elements, roots and forms of the city’s cultural mosaic with the rhythm and flavor of the Rastafarian movement to create an alternative within the expressions of the country’s musical milieu. Antidoping offers listeners the possibility of sensitizing themselves in body, mind and soul through a fresh and committed reggae, shaped by their experiences within a range of concepts that affirm their convictions towards respect, fun, peace and the reunion with nature and humanity. Antidoping is one of the founding bands of the Razteca movement that originated the idea of creating a hybrid between Jamaica’s Rastafari culture and Mexican culture. It is a group that has maintained its seal of love, peace and brotherhood for more than 23 years despite the political and social conditions that surround them. Antidoping is celebrating their 25th anniversary.
Aktivate (Calgary, AB)
Aktivate is a Calgary-based Reggae band led by a Jamaican-Canadian who has been creating and performing songs for many years. They have shared the stage with some of Jamaica’s greatest performers such as Culture, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Shaggy, and the Wailers.
Aktivate has been absent from the stage for some years but is looking forward to performing and releasing songs for the world to enjoy and be introduced to its style of rhythm and lyrics. The music reflects the band’s outlook on life and concern for all people, with a wish for peace, unity, and justice.
Kirk Diamond (Saskatoon, SK)
2015 JUNO Award nominee Kirk Diamond will be performing in Calgary for the second time. Nominated for, “Best Reggae Recording of the Year” the 90’s dancehall style influenced “Love inna wi Heart,” Kirk Diamond is quickly establishing himself as a top Canadian reggae talent.
Although his passion for music was always within him, it wasn’t until 2007 when he joined a friend who started a dance group, and, along with another member, brought the musical element to the equation. From there Kirk has spent countless hours in studio writing and recording, perfecting his craft.
Lenya Wilks (Jamaica)
Lenya Wilks is a recording artist known for her soulful and powerful vocals when delivering any of the different genres of music she covers. Her musical journey started while attending Charlemont High School in St. Catherine, Jamaica where she led the school’s senior choir for five years, winning more than twenty gold medals in various music competitions across Jamaica. At age 17, after dropping out of the Digicel Rising Starts competition, Lenya was invited to join the Harmony House Productions’ camp to open shows for Reggae icon Beres Hammond; one of those shows included Calgary ReggaeFest! In 2013, Lenya’s self-titled debut album was released worldwide to rave reviews. The album carries a mixture of Reggae, R&B, pop and alternative, and includes a collaboration with Reggae superstar Tarrus Riley – a lover’s rock song titled ‘Old Time Love’.
Pressure Busspipe (St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands)
Blessed with a smooth, melodic voice and an impressive innate writing ability that captures a story like no other, Pressure is poised to dominate the Reggae audiences of the world. Called “Pressure” by virtue of the hard times and daily struggle we all face, Pressure is an artist dedicated to consistently delivering conscious messages to teach and unite the masses through his musical talents.
Steele (Toronto, ON)
Steele is described as dynamic and sensational, with the versatility and range that defies restriction to any one genre. This artist is as captivating in his handling of R&B material as he is with soul, reggae, gospel, classical, and jazz. Born in Lucea, Jamaica, Steele’s inspiration comes from his parents who sang on the church choir, where he too began singing at the tender age of 10.
Al-Beeno (Toronto, ON)
Corie “Al-Beeno” Moodie also known as “Prince Yellowman” (and not to be confused with – Winston ‘King Yellowman’ Foster) is a young reggae dancehall deejay musician who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He later moved to Toronto. His catchy lyrical styles (mixed with hip hop urban beats, also know as raga) with fast beats earned him the nickname ‘Prince Yellowman”. He is Albinistic, hence the nickname ‘Al-Beeno’. By some he is considered as the next generation following popular dancehall artist ‘King Yellowman’ who became popular durung the early 1980s and throughout the 1990s.
Lyndon John X (Toronto, ON)
Music has been an integral part of Lyndon John’s life since he was a young boy growing up in the 1970s and 80s in Cambridge in a home filled with R&B, Reggae, and Calypso music. His formal interest in music began at the early age of 5, when he started lessons in violin and piano. Lyndon later took up guitar as his instrument of choice, and has been writing his own music since age 16.
Fast-forward to 2007, when the multi-talented vocalist, songwriter, producer and musician made his debut on the Reggae music scene in 2007 with the release of his critically-acclaimed debut album, “Two Chord Skankin’”. The project earned him a 2008 JUNO nomination and a nomination for Best Male Newcomer at the 2008 Canadian Reggae Music Awards. He followed that album up with two more albums, "Brighter Days" (released 2010) and “Escape from the Mongoose Gang” (released 2015), both of which received JUNO nominations the years following their release.
As an independent artist in a niche genre within the Rock-centric Canadian music scene, Lyndon and his team have worked tirelessly to deliver original Roots Reggae to the masses and help the genre gain more widespread exposure on the Canadian music stage as well as on an International level.
Louie Culture (Jamaica)
Some know him as DJ Louie Culture, as that is the name he entered the music business with, but ever since he scored with his big hit “Gangalee”, Dancehall fans home and abroad have branded him the original "Mr. Gangalee." He's very proud to wear this title, not only because he made it popular, but more so, because his belief in the concept of the word "gangalee" has been his main driving force to success.
Mad Riddim with Jason Wilson (Vancouver, BC)
Mad Riddim is a mash up making, drum and bass led groove machine, mixing classic dub sensibilities with the attitude of funk and the improvisational qualities of jazz. Formed in Vancouver, BC by drummer Richard Brown a.k.a Rb Drums and bassist Matt Reid, Mad Riddim is founded on an intuitive musical connection and a shared vision of pushing the traditional boundaries of a rhythm section.
Natural Fyah (Toronto, ON)
A fiery, young empress has burst into the cultural reggae genre! With a longing to sing from a young age, Natural Fyah began a journey into the art of music and expression. Through radio, she was exposed to many different kinds of music and took a liking to a variety of them.
As a Rasta, Natural Fyah's ambition is to now use her talent to produce cultural reggae music that speaks to the continued issues that are faced, in particular by the black community. Her messages about unity, peace, education and love are for the upliftment of those who don't have an outlet to speak through, and also her way to show her perspective on a variety of subject areas. Natural Fyah's goal is to leave a positive imprint on reggae music through her art form for the betterment of the people.
Oral Fuentes (Saskatoon, SK)
Oral Fuentes' musical experience started in his home country of Belize, where he was involved with a multicultural band, 'Caribbean Jam', playing for many local and countrywide events. Since then Oral has traveled intensively to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Surinam, Guyana, USA, and the Caribbean.
After moving to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1992, Oral teamed up with musicians from Saskatoon, playing the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Regina Folk Festival, Calgary Reggae Festival, Ness Creek Music Festival and many other festivals and cultural shows.
Oral's musical style includes Reggae, Soca, Punta-Rock and Brukdown (both musical styles from Belize) with other Caribbean and Latin Rhythms. Oral writes and performs his own songs.
PowerHouze Band (Calgary, AB)
PowerHouze is a dynamic & diverse multicultural band located in Calgary, AB. Variety is the spice of life with PowerHouze, which plays genres such as R&B, Funk, Soca and Reggae. The band is made up of world class musicians that have played with distinguished artists such as Ras Michael, Pink, Celine Dion, and many more.
There is never a dull moment for the crowd when PowerHouze plays thanks to their powerful stage presence that comes from their extensive background in the entertainment industry. Known for getting the party started all across Western Canada and Western USA, this is a band you don't want to miss when it comes to your city! The members of PowerHouze are focused on being a positive influence to the community.
Jason Wilson (Toronto, ON)
Dr. Jason Wilson is a two-time Juno-Awards nominee and Canadian Reggae Music Award winner from Downsview, Ontario. Born to Scottish parents, Wilson was the protégé of Studio One keyboardist Jackie Mittoo and is the cousin of UB40's Michael Virtue. Wilson played his first night-club gig with Messenjah when he was only fourteen. Known for incorporating jazz and Scottish and English folk influences atop a reggae foundation, Wilson is a multi-instrumentalist though is perhaps best known for his piano skills. The singer-songwriter has performed and recorded with UB40, Alanis Morissette, Sly & Robbie, Ernest Ranglin, Pee Wee Ellis, Dave Swarbrick, Ron Sexsmith, The Mighty Sparrow, Percy Sledge, Brinsley Forde (Aswad), Dick Gaughan, David Francey and many more. Wilson has extensive studio-session experience on his native instruments the piano and voice, but also on bass, guitar and accordion.
Hardcore (Toronto, ON)
ReggaeFest House Band - backing Kirk Diamond, Lenya Wilks, Pressure Busspipe, Steele, Al-Beeno, Lyndon John X, Louie Culture, Natural Fyah