Reggae is now a worldwide phenomenon. Having originated in Jamaica, Reggae has now spread to countries all around the world. Thus, it's no surprise that the nation's sixth largest city, Houston, Texas, should have bands specializing in Reggae music. Houston Reggae bands have the distinct advantage of being closer to the Caribbean than most of the United States and, due to this proximity, finds a large Jamaican population existing in the suburbs of the city. This community of Jamaican Reggae lovers would naturally create a demand for Houston Reggae bands to provide entertainment for their various events and celebrations.
Probably the best of all scenarios would be to find a band that also performed Caribbean Calypso, or Soca, music. (Modern day Calypso music is now called “Soca”. It is said that the term came from the combination of the letters “So” from Soul, with that of the “Ca” in Calypso to become Soca!) Houston Reggae bands that can combine these two distinctly Caribbean styles would indeed make for a fun, diverse mix of tempos for any event.
One such Houston-based group that does so is the band Irie Time. They also have the distinction of being the premier ensemble of Houston Reggae bands, performing together as a band for over 15 years. The group has released numerous original CDs, and has toured through the United States and Europe over the years. Their website, IrieTime.com, features excerpts from their albums, as well a video captured by a fan at a recent concert. The group is known for their extraordinary musicianship, and for their ability to tailor their sound to uniquely fit every event they play … from huge international festival concerts, to the smallest, most intimate reception.
A product of many cultures, Irie Time's world class personnel span the globe. Their bassist, Jairus Mage, came to Houston from Kenya, East Africa because of his love for Reggae music and the strong base the music held in the city. Irie Time recruited Jairus within his first year of residency in the U.S., and he has been with the group from its beginnings. A.B. Olowele, Irie Time's keyboardist, toured the world with perhaps Nigeria's most famous son, Femi Kuti, whose father was the international Nigerian superstar, Fela Kuti. A.B.'s astounding talent and experience have raised Irie Time to new musical heights, and his keyboard playing can be heard and viewed at the exciting fan video that resides on the Irie Time website.
An American, who traveled extensively in Jamaica for many years, is Irie Time's lead vocalist and guitarist, Scottie McDonald. Scottie lead the band to the streets of the Reggae (and Jamaican) capital of Kingston, Jamaica, to record tracks with famed Jamaican guitarist, Earl 'Chinna' Smith. Chinna played guitar in Bob Marley's Wailers band during an expansive phase of Marley's career, and later became the driving force behind Bob Marley's son, Ziggy Marley, as the Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers band became a worldwide phenomenon. Chinna was also a founding member of Jimmy Cliff's Oneness band, and accompanied Jimmy through his astounding career on Columbia Records and his resulting Grammy. (Jimmy Cliff was the only other candidate under serious consideration by Chris Blackwell's Island Records to receive the backing for Island's newly discovered phenomenon, Reggae. Blackwell chose to back Bob Marley, and the rest is history!)
Earl 'Chinna' Smith guided Scottie and Irie Time through some of the finest arrangements of the band's early career, and put Houston Reggae bands on the map. Irie Time continues to perform arrangements produced in those Jamaican sessions, and has expanded and enhanced the songs up to the current day. One need only hear their live album, entitled “Live Up”, which was recorded on tour in Europe, to hear the maturity of those Jamaican arrangements.
The IRIE TIME band performs Caribbean Reggae and Soca music, and continues to release original music CDs with worldwide distribution. More information can be obtained at www.IRIETIME.com or by contacting them directly at 713-398-3798.
IRIE TIME is based out of Houston, Texas and commutes to locations throughout the United States by means of the city's two international airports, enabling the band to provide entertainment services to all 50 states, including the Texas cities of Abilene, Austin, Beaumont - Port Arthur, Bryan - College Station, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Lubbock, Nacogdoches, San Marcos, and San Antonio, TX, as well as Louisiana locations of Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Shreveport, LA, and cities across the nation.
IRIE TIME also performs events internationally and has agency representatives in Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America.