Celebrate Jamaican independence at the Bridge

A REGGAE CELEBRATION featuring the House of David Gang from Toronto happens this Saturday at the Bridge Lounge in downtown Courtenay. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
A REGGAE CELEBRATION featuring the House of David Gang from Toronto happens this Saturday at the Bridge Lounge in downtown Courtenay.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

If celebrating 50 years of the Wailers isn't enough, how about 50 years of Jamaican independence?

The Bridge Lounge in Courtenay will be part of a tour celebrating Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and the Wailers as well as five decades of independence for the Caribbean island.

Hosted by Jamaican standup comedian Ronnie Edwards, the Sept. 22 celebration will feature Rasta Reuben and Selassie iPower. The Vancouver roots rock reggae band features Fredlocks Asher and UncleDropsi.

The bill also includes the House of David Gang from Toronto.

Ronnie Edwards

The irrepressible English-born, Jamaican-bred Canadian jester can make a crowd howl without opening his mouth.

But when he does open his mouth, he draws his high-flying, street-wise humour from so many sources that it's impossible to pin him down. His wide-eyed, good-natured schtick is clean, cerebral and cutting-edge cool.

This Hurricane of Comedy recently drew 900,000 Canadian viewers on the premier primetime episode of CBC TV's Comics!

In fact, the episode was such a ratings smash, it helped propel the series into its current prime time slot. "The show may have been the highest-rated entertainment show ever by a black performer in Canada," according to producer Joe Bodolai.

Rasta Reuben and Selassie iPower

Rasta Reuben Kwabena (aka The Reggae Planet Ambassador Worldwide), born in Kingston, Jamaica, is the lead singer, songwriter and bass guitarist for Selassie iPower. The singer and the band are growing in international popularity as one of reggae's and Rastafari′s greatest voices singer/songwriter and most revered live stage concert performer.

Rasta Reuben emigrated to Canada in the early 1980s. He started his musical career as the resident bass player with King Selah and the House of David Gang. He went on to form the Selassie iPower Roots Rock Reggae Band with original foundation members Sister Julie Anne, Marcia Levi Collins, David (UncleDropsi) Phinn and Fredlocks Asher Phinn.

Rasta Reuben and the the band have toured all across the country on several cross-Canada summer tours. Currently residing in Vancouver, Rasta Reuben will release the band′s new double disc CD Album Reggae Planet (Vol. 1 Revelation 21) Reggae Planet (Volume 2 Revolution 22) in October. Promotional touring in Canada, North America, Australia and Europe will support the CD and digital release.

Rasta Reuben′s musical influence was encouraged by his father, who was devoted to collecting all types of music, particularly black American music and Jamaican music. In his adolescent years, the music from Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, and Jimmy Cliff had a profound spiritual and creative impact on his life and inspired him to turn his poetry into songs.

Jamaican recording artist Joseph (Culture) Hill later played a major role as a musical and spiritual mentor in Kwabena's career.

Fredlocks Asher

Fredlocks Asher is an original Jamaican/Canadian reggae recording and performing artist, singer/songwriter keyboardists and record producer. Fredlocks Asher Phinn is a founding member of Selassie iPower. He's also released a variety of solo albums as Fredlocks Asher and the Ultra Flex Crew. He is set to release another full-length solo album, Race the Final Frontier, in December.


UncleDropsi is a roots reggae and dancehall bass player as well as an outstanding MC. UncleDropsi has performed on bass and vocals with several artists and bands from the Toronto and Montreal areas, including House of David Gang, Resinators Irey Band, Ultra Flex Crew and many more. He is set to release His first full-length vocal solo album.

House of David Gang

Now featuring a new generation of talented artists alongside founding members King Selah and Collin (Jahlin) Edwards, House of David Gang is Canada's busiest touring reggae band. Rooted in the timeless tradition of Jamaican roots reggae from the '70s and early '80s as embodied by the immortal Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer; House of David Gang adds a potent mix of jazz, funk and Afrobeat to create a true global reggae orchestra.

The band takes its name from the legendary House of David afterhours on Queen Street West in Toronto, where King Selah, Jahlin Edwards, Rasta Reuben Kwabena, Fredlocks Asher, UncleDropsi, Sister Julie Anne, Donna Makeda, and other artists from the city's burgeoning roots rock and reggae and dancehall scene would meet to jam until sunrise.

Over the years, members have included players from essential Toronto reggae bands such as the Resinators, Explorer Band, Revelation and Selassie iPower.

In the past several years, "The Gang" has been one of Canada's busiest touring reggae bands. Their annual Bob Marley Birthday Tribute and Food Drive tour has become a staple of the winter music calendar across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In Toronto, hundreds of reggae lovers come out for their springtime Original Wailers Showcase and Peter Tosh Tribute. House of David Gang has performed in front of thousands at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, Atlantic Jazz Festival, Evolve Festival, Nufunk Festival, The Word On The Street, Ottawa Reggaefest, Toronto Freedom Festival, and more.

• • •

The reggae celebration happens Sept. 22 at the Bridge Lounge in Courtenay. Music begins at 8 p.m. sharp. There's a $10 cover charge.

— Bridge Lounge


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