Friday, July 22, 2005

UB40 Spanish tour runs into difficulties

The concert by famous UK reggae band UB40 at the Mijas Hippodrome on Saturday has been postponed, the group’s official web site has confirmed.

The Spanish leg of the tour seems to have run into difficulties that also caused the postponement of their scheduled concert in the Spanish capital earlier this week.

A band spokesman said:

“Due to unforeseen circumstances the promoter of the Mijas Festival on Saturday July 23rd has in agreement with UB40 postponed the show until further notice.

UB40 are very disappointed that this is the case and would like this opportunity to apologise to everybody travelling to the festival for any inconvenience caused.”

Local fans who were expected to attend en masse – including two local support bands for the night – will be bitterly disappointed by the news.

Sista Dee

When local musician Sista Dee heard that reggae supergroup UB40 were playing at Mijas Hippodrome her first thought was to rush out and buy tickets and set the date in her diary, imagine her delight when the band’s promoters gave her a call asking her and her band to be the support act.

Sista Dee released her excellent debut album ‘Wise Up’ in September 2004, a brilliant fusion of afro-Caribbean, Arab-Andaluz and African musical styles bringing out the talents of fourteen local musicians.

Dee, a mixed race child from Irish and Trinidadian parentage grew up surrounded by the infectious Jamaican musical beats and soon developed a talent for singing and freestyling enabling her to express herself through this highly contagious medium. A familiar face in Gibraltar for over twenty three years Dee carried on her love of music as a featuring artist but secretly yearned to produce her own material and put to music all her ideas and experiences.

Knowing what producing an album entailed Dee patiently waited for her children to reach teenager status and then pressed forward on a quest for the right musicians. She went to local pubs and watched live performances and simply approached people to appear on her album; most were willing to participate purely for the love of music. She then needed to find a studio and got in touch with multi-musician Peter Martinez who was happy to help and recommended further musicians for the combo, add to this some old friends and family members and the crew were ready to start realising the ‘Wise Up’ sound which took two years to complete starting from the first lyrics to the final mixing and mastering at Jet Star Phonographics in London.

Unfortunately we in Gibraltar tend to underestimate our local talent, sometimes not even bothering to listen to the product and forming our own opinions. It is a local affliction which sees us only taking notice of those who hit the so-called ‘big time’; there are fantastic musicians and artists all around the world who don’t want all the here-today-gone-tomorrow negative experiences of the commercial music scene and wish to simply play and release their angst and emotions.

This is apparent on the ‘Wise Up’ album where Sista Dee is quick to argue that it is not a medium to express any one political view but a way of making the listener conscious of the state of the world socially, ecologically and politically with tracks like ‘Killing Mother Nature’ and ‘War Perception’. There is also a softer more feel-good aspect reflected in the infectious ‘Mi Cuddley’ and ‘Zung Zeng’.

For the local purist in all of us ‘Winston Boyz’ is a definite treat telling a tale we can all relate to, complete with helicopter sound effects and at least three catchy riffs impossible not to sing along to and all the while giving a very strong message; ‘Winston Boyz’ has proved to be the stand alone track on the album and can regularly be heard emanating from car stereos around the Rock.

Sista Dee’s compositions brought to the fore through an ever perfect Peter Martinez arrangement presents us with a well balanced and layered sound; Dee’s ‘tell it like it is’ raw vocals are embellished to great effect with three female backing vocalists and the inimitable local boy Don Spider whose voice can only be described as liquid chocolate sounding as if he’s just arrived from Senegal.

This complete and unusual sound was what attracted the UB40 promoters to ask Sista Dee and also Don Spider’s band Mystic Mountain to support the British reggae legends on this leg of their current world tour.

The ‘Wise Up’ album is great summer listening and far superior to the mass produced Spanish summer compilations one often hears blasting out at barbeques and dare I say it the Gibraltar National Day rally. Go out and buy it and form your own opinion.
‘Wise Up’ the debut album from Sista Dee is available from Music Corner, Vijay and reggae distributors Jet Star

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