Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, March 2, 2000

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
THC (The Hearticle Crew) has a new CD and will be performing
at the Bob Marley Tribute concert Saturday. From left, they are
Drummie, Poppa E, Isis, Binghi T and Maakah.

Back beat boys

Popular reggae band THC pays
its own tribute to Bob Marley and
reggae by playing backup for
other main acts Saturday

Bullet July 1999 article

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


FEW bands who have original material enjoy backing other artists. The Hearticle Crew is an exception. THC has been playing original reggae for years, and just released a new album, "Jah Music," but group spokesman Maakah says THC enjoys backing other artists for several reasons.

"Hawaii is missing out on tons of reggae artists who can't make it over here, and what we do is help get some of them over here because there's a band (that can back them) already here," he says.

THC is the senior Hawaii-based reggae band participating in the Bob Marley memorial concert at Blaisdell Arena on Saturday. The late singer would have been 55 on Feb. 6.

THC will perform music from "Jah Music" and stay on to back Shinehead, Sleepy Wonder and Dawn Penn.


Bullet What: Bob Marley Tribute concert: With Damien "Jr. Gong" Marley, Julian Marley, Shinehead, Dawn Penn, Sleepy Wonder, Fiji, Humble Soul, Macho, Ooklah the Moc and THC.
Bullet When: 5 p.m. Saturday.
Bullet Where: Blaisdell Arena
Bullet What: $20 advance for upper level reserved seating ($23 at the gate); $25 lower level dance floor. Tickets at the Blaisdell box office, all Tempo locations, House of Music-Ala Moana and University of Hawai'i Campus Center.
Bullet Call 526-4400 to charge by phone

Maakah says backing a singer on a one-nighter is a challenge.

"We got it harder than some of the bands on the mainland who practice with an artist and then do the entire tour. We have one shot only. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, and then one night only (and) you better nail it."

THC sometimes has to rehearse using tapes in which the artist's own musicians wobble between keys. Sometimes he buys an artist's albums just to get a clear copy of the studio arrangement.

"If the promoter is on top of it they'll send charts and everything we need but it's all different degrees."

One week away away from the concert, they were still waiting for one artist's set list.

"That's what we're dealing with," Maakah said.

A more enjoyable aspect of being a backing band is the opportunity to stretch as musicians. Maakah says working with Shinehead will be a welcome musical work out.

"We'll be doing some '70s soul songs by the Whispers and then back into some hip hop and R&B (while) he'll be busting some homeboy lyrics. Shinehead will take reggae versions and hip hop them out so we're even bending some of the reggae songs we know and throwing a hip hop beat. He plays instruments too so we'll see. It'll be fun."

With several years experience accommodating national acts, THC has had no problem supporting local artists. The group played an important role in helping to launch the duo Reality's live show and has collaborated with local reggae and pop artists as diverse as Justin, Jamin "Chief Ragga" Wong, Irie Love and B.E.T.

"There's a catch side to that because some people who don't know what you can do will start saying that (backing) is all you can do. Not at all! You can be strictly a backing band or you can have your band's identity and then do what we're doing and maintain both without getting lost."

Whoever they're working with and whatever the music they're playing, the quintet -- Maakah (vocals/keyboards), Idrum (drums), Isis (vocals/bass), Binghi T (vocals/guitar) and Poppa E (vocals/keyboards) -- maintains its commitment to roots reggae and the divine inspiration of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I Jah Rastafari. All five are longtime Rastafari, but Maakah says there are times when visiting musicians test them on religious or racial grounds.

"Sister Carol definitely has the hardcore New York Jamaican attitude and here we are, some white boys, so they were definitely working us, a little schooling, 'Reggae school is in session!'

"Definitely you can get slighted for the color of your skin or for not coming from Jamaica. Even if we were black there'd still be a Yankee element between them and us, so the first night was really tense but the second night was irie. Good learning, and they had nothing but good to say going back."


Blessed union of
reggae and religion

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


THE 2001 Hoku Awards are more than a year away but "Jah Music" should be on the final ballot in one of two major categories. As reggae music this is the real thing and as strong as anything recorded in Hawaii. Taken as religious music "Jah Music" is a perfect testament of faith in Almighty Jah (God).


Bullet 'Jah Music' THC (THC Music - THC 020)

Every song is an original. Most speak directly of Rastafari faith in Jah and the importance of acknowledging the presence of Jah in all things. The title track is a powerful anthem that explains the importance of music both in praising Jah and in bringing people together regardless of race or nationality.

The title track is a powerful anthem that explains the importance of music both in giving praise to Jah and in bringing people together regardless of race or nationality to overcome the corrosive materialism of the "downpressor" Babylon system.

"Jah Life" and "Strive" are obvious reggae-chart hits but almost every song effectively articulates the Rastafari creed of inter-racial unity and responsible righteous living. "Island Woman" is one of three songs with secular themes. "HI Town Ting" is a catchy musical salute to the local reggae scene. "Free Mumia" calls for the release of a death row inmate convicted in the murder of a police officer.

Three "dub" remixes, complete song lyrics and beautiful album art complete this release.


Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Jah Music
Bullet Jah Life
Bullet Strive
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin