2009 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Island Records, arguably the most prestigious record label in the history of British music. To mark this milestone the label is collaborating with Island founder Chris Blackwell to arrange the Island 50 festival.
Chris Blackwell founded the Island label in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 with capital of just £1000. Relocating to London in the early 60s Blackwell built the most diverse and enviable back catalogue of any independent record label in history.
From Island’s early Jamaican roots in ska and rock-steady, through the label’s expansion to become the cutting edge of progressive rock in the late 60s, and then on to the signing of such international superstars as Bob Marley and U2, Blackwell brought to Island a unique vision and passion which still informs the label’s approach to this day.
Blackwell has agreed to oversee festival planned for May 2009. Island Life – a week of live shows by Island artists past and present – will take place at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire week commencing 25th May ‘09.
Grace Jones, Aswad, the i-Threes (featuring Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Erica Newell), VV Brown and Tinchy Stryder will be the featured singers with Sly & Robbie and The Compass Point All Stars on Tuesday 26th May at Shepherds Bush Empire as part of the previously announced Island 50th birthday celebrations. Each of these will perform a song or two (or even three) from Island’s illustrious back catalogue with one of the most famous Jamaican rhythm sections of all time.
The ‘Island Life’ line-up confirmed so far is as follows:
- 26th May – Sly & Robbie & The Compass Point Allstars Featuring Grace Jones, Aswad, The I-Threes, Tinchy Stryder, VV Brown;
- 27th May – The Fratellis; Steel Pulse; Bombay Bicycle Club;
- 28th May – Cat Stevens/Yusuf; Baaba Maal
- 29th May – Paul Weller; Spooky Tooth; Ernest Ranglin
- 30th May – Keane; Tom Tom Club; Ladyhawke
- 31st May – Amy Winehouse; Toots & The Maytals; I Blame Coco
Tickets are available from http://www.island50.com and other agents.
By: Michelle Adabra
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