Ali Campbell: 'Raggamuffin should be reggae-only'

By Kristin Macfarlane


Reggae legend Ali Campbell says Rotorua's Raggamuffin should be a reggae-only festival.

It was announced last week that Campbell would be added to the Raggamuffin 2013 line-up in Rotorua. The sixth annual festival would be held at the Rotorua International Stadium on February 1 and 2. The rest of the line-up includes Toots and the Maytals, Lauryn Hill, Alborosie, J Boog, Fiji, The Green, Rebelution, Darky Roots, The Black Seeds, Three Houses Down, Herbs, Katchafire, Common Kings, Gappy Ranks, Hot Rain, Monsta G, Tomorrow People, Swiss and Brownhill.

Next year will be Campbell's fourth time as part of the  festival and he says it is getting back on track after having too many non-reggae acts in the past. He says acts such as Mary J Blige, Billy Ocean and Lauryn Hill were good

performers but weren't reggae artists which was what Raggamuffin-goers wanted to see.

Campbell, who was a judge in the popular television show New Zealand's Got Talent, described himself as a promoter of reggae.

He believed people lost interest in the festival after Mary J Blige performed but were now starting to come back.

"[Promoter Andrew McManus] sometimes gets it a bit wrong,'' Campbell said. "McManus had a few problems last year ... it's become on track again now.''

He said bringing non-reggae acts into the show didn't cater to the Raggamuffin audiences.

"When you're promoting any thing there's pitfalls and there's going to be problems. It kind of bit him on the bottom.

"Mary J Blige is wonderful but she's not reggae.

"They want to hear reggae, I think it suffered for that.''

Instead, Campbell said he would like Raggamuffin to focus on all types of reggae and celebrate it.

"I'd like it to become an annual party.''

Overall, Campbell said he loved being part of Raggamuffin and, as always, he was looking forward to heading to Rotorua and basking in the culture and the festivities of next year's event.

"The first was great to be part of,'' Campbell said. "Rotorua's got a fantastic vibe to it.''

He said he would head to the festival early and listen to as many reggae acts as he could. He was particularly keen to see Herbs, Katchafire, The Black Seeds and looking forward to getting to work with Toots and the Maytals again.

After Raggamuffin 2013, Camp bell will team up with Toots and the Maytals for a one-off concert at Auckland's Vector Arena on February 3 _ the day after Rotorua's Raggamuffin festival. Tickets go on sale for the Auckland concert today.

Raggamuffin promoter Jackie Sanders from McManus Entertainment did not think the Auckland concert would impact on Rotorua's Raggamuffin festival.

"Ali Campbell's UB40 appeals to a very wide ranging demographic. His performance in Auckland will target an audience that would not necessarily attend Raggamuffin,'' Ms Sanders said.

Campbell is the legendary voice of UB40 and the hits Red Red Wine, Kingston Town, If It Happens Again and I Can't Help Falling In Love. He has sold more than 70 million records worldwide as the frontman for UB40. They notched up four number No1 worldwide singles, more than  40 Top 40 UK singles, released 24 studio albums and received an Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement.

Toots and the Maytals influenced many future artists. Pressure Drop was covered by the Clash and Monkey Man became one of the signature songs of the 80s UK ska revival thanks to The Specials cover which was also later covered by Amy Winehouse and No Doubt.

Toots and the Maytals remain a relevant musical influence, with Grammy nomination for  the 2008 release Light Your Light. In recent years Toots has toured with The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow and Los Lonely Boys.

 

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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