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Stabroek News

Adonai sounding worldwide
published: Sunday | June 10, 2007

Lava Pryor (left) and Alkebu-lan in San Bennedetto, Italy, on New Year's Eve 2006.- Contributed

Teino Evans, Staff Reporter

It is not unusual for sound systems to appear and disappear from the dancehall scene in rapid succession.

However, the Adonai SoundSystem is one of the very few sounds to have started more than 20 years ago and continue to play strong today.

Adonai, which started in 1995 as a small sound system out of New York City, was formed by Manhattan College friends Larry Reid, Ras Adonai and Garth Gordon.

Larry and Ras Adonai, who also played on the 'Irie Jam' radio show on 93.5 FM every Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., wanted bigger and better things for their sound system, and this was what led to the root of reggae and dancehall music when they moved to Jamaica in 1997.

It was not before long that Ras Adonai, Scorpion, Dezi and Lava Pryor become household names on the worldwide reggae and dancehall scenes.

Played in major US cities

Since then, Adonai has played in most of the major cities in the United States and have toured extensively in Canada, England, Japan and the Caribbean.

Now, after 12 years of existence, Adonai selector and owner, Ras Adonai, says things continue to happen for the sound system worldwide.

"We basically been touring all over the world. We went to Gambia in Africa last year, we played in Italy New Year's Eve, we've been to tour in America, the Caribbean, Central America, Panama, Costa Rica and this year wi planning a European tour, and so far 20 venues have been confirmed throughout Germany and Italy," Ras Adonai said.

The reception, he says, is continuously overwhelming, but he points out that there are some songs that are not considered to be hot in Jamaica but are received with immense love abroad.

"Two years ago we went on tour wid Mighty Crown in Japan, and to my surprise, a tune name Pon Di Corna by Soldier, two bredda, trus mi, anytime it play up deh it gone! An memba, dis song nuh really play a Jamaica, but that is like the exception. Di regula artiste dem wi get dem forward same way," he said.

He added that "Another big song is from a yute name Marlon Asher, Ganja Farmer. Da song deh nuh really get nuh justice out here, but when dat play a Gambia a mad ting. An yuh haveartiste like Bob Marley, Buju, Anthony B, Morgan Heritage, Fantan Mojah, dem man deh yuh cyan guh 'roun'."

Ras Adonai says "Yuh cyan really watch di hype out here (Jamaica). Dem (overseas) appreciate di music and they go out to enjoy themselves. But trus' mi, is jus a different vibe."

For the past couple of years, Irish and Chin, promoters for the annual World Clash, have been responsible for booking Adonai and, according to Ras Adonai, "for us is really like a family thing. Mighty Crown and Coppershot are a part of the thing too."

In looking to the future, Ra-Umi Alkebu-lan, road manager/agent for Adonai Sound System, says "My aim for Adonai Sound is to make it become a world renowned sound system." The objective he says, "is to take this sound system to the four corners of the earth. We have to represent the culture. Our music is appreciated worldwide. Reggae and dancehall music have torn down barriers, so big up to brand Jamaica."

Alkebu-lan recalls taking Adonai to Italy last December and says "We played in Bologna and San Bennedetto and Adonai was well-received, and as a result we have been booked to play two dates in June 2007, the 1st and 2nd at Centro Sociale in Perugia and at Salviamoci la Canapa Festival at Riotorto Pineta, Piombino."

He says plans are also in place for them to return to Italy in July and August 2007.

"Right now I am in contact with promoters in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Brazil for dates this year. You see the unique thing about Adonai is that the selectors are versatile. They know how to keep an audience dancing, whether it is Ras Adonai, Scorpion, Lava Pryor or Desi," Alkebu-lan said.

Ras Adonai says in the mean-time "Wi have something going every Thursday, 'Rum Ram Thursdays', held in Portsmouth, across from Jam World. Flava Unit is the resident sound and it mad. Vybz Kartel, di whole Portmore empire forward, it well supported. Wi also planning to drop some mix CDs for the summer. The whole plan is to just tek it to dem."

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