One of the longest performing reggae bands of all time, Third World has remained one of Jamaica’s greatest exports, consistently popular among international audiences. Part of the group’s appeal lies with its vision to assimilate elements from soul and funk, African music, jazz and pop to a solid reggae foundation.
“That’s what we set out to do,” says Third World’s founding guitarist, Stephen “Cat” Coore. “It was just natural because when we were growing up, we heard a lot of R&B. We were all James Brown and Temptations fans, all Impressions and Delfonics fans, and Ohio Players and Earth, Wind and Fire. It was just part of our history.”
This creative fusion produced many memorable songs including “Now That We Found Love,” “96 Degrees in the Shade,” “Try Jah Love” and “Lagos Jump.”
For many people outside of Jamaica, Third World provided their first exposure to the island’s music. In 1978, they attained a worldwide hit with a roots-reggae interpretation of the O’Jays song “Now That We Found Love.”
Their universal approach to creating music attracted Stevie Wonder, who was inspired to compose “Try Jah Love” (which became the group’s anthem) and “Playing Us Too Close” for the band.
“Stevie Wonder came down to Jamaica to feel the vibe,” Coore explains. “We had met him in L.A. and were on Reggae Sunsplash in ’81 and he wanted to do a song with us. The relationship grew from there.”
Wonder’s affiliation with the band led him to record the Bob Marley tribute “Master Blaster” and “Boogie on Reggae Woman.”
Then came their hit “Lagos Jump” in 1983, which featured the Earth, Wind and Fire horn section. In 1984, the group released its “Serious Business” album, topping the urban charts once more with the single “Forbidden Love,” featuring rapper Daddy-O from the group Stetasonic.
Third World revisited its classic song “96 Degrees in the Shade” on the 2011 album, “Patriots,” with an updated version featuring Damien and Steven Marley that included new rap lyrics that amplified its meaning. It’s a tribute to one of Jamaica’s greatest heroes, Baptist preacher Paul Bogle, who was hung by British authorities in 1865 after he led a rebellion against their oppression.
“Damien did some research online about Paul Bogle, and he came up with the whole idea of the rap,” says Coore. “He was very familiar with the song and the theme of what it was all about.”
A star-studded project, “Patriots” teamed Third World with a host of veteran reggae artists and some younger, contemporary musicians ranging from Gregory Isaacs, Toots Hibbert and former Black Uhuru singer Michael Rose, to Capleton, Tessanne Chin and Tarrus Riley.
With so many stars helping out on “Patriots,” the reggae veterans crafted another widely appealing album packed with gems from the updated “96 Degrees” and the catchy opening “The Spirit Lives,” to the Cool Ruler himself, Gregory Isaacs, singing one of his last recordings with “Front Door.”
In 2014, they released “Under the Magic Sun,” a collection of popular songs interpreted reggae-style. Covers ranged from John Fogerty’s “Have You Seen the Rain” and Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” to the Blackbyrds’ “Walking in Rhythm.”
“Revisiting these great songs was a pleasure,” says Coore.
The album was dedicated to the memory of the group’s late singer, William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke.
Third World returns to our island co-headlining the Reggae Summit Maui with Luciano.
A devout Rastafarian known as “the Messenjah,” this inspirational singer/songwriter first found fame in 1993 with his album, “Moving Up,” which included the hits “Poor & Simple” and the devotional anthem “Chant Out.” Luciano’s follow-up, “One Way Ticket,” has been hailed as one of the greatest reggae albums of the 1990s. And the subsequent “Where There is Life” roots collection had some comparing him with Bob Marley for the spiritual content of uplifting songs like “Good God” and “It’s Me Again Jah.”
“I am a child of a king and I just want my family and my fans to receive the blessings that God has given through me as a messenger and an instrument of peace,” Luciano has said. “Music is a medium through which you and I link with each other upon a spiritual level.”
On one of his most popular albums, “Messenger,” he ranged from soulful ballads to Latin and dancehall-influenced tunes, and the stirring “Carry Jah Load.” His latest release, the Grammy-nominated “Zion Awake,” includes an update of the Abyssinians’ “Satta Massagana” and the instant classic “Prophecy.”
Another great lineup of island talent will assemble at the 25th annual Ki Ho’alu Guitar Festival on Sunday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s A&B Amphitheater in Kahului.
This free event includes performances by Brother Noland, George Kahumoku Jr., Paul Togioka, Bobby Moderow Jr., Stephen Inglis, Kawika Kawiapo, Glen Smith, Ian O’Sullivan, Aja Gample, Donald Kaulia, Dwight Kanae and Keale, plus special guests Amy Hanaiali’i and indie folk/pop band Streetlight Cadence.
* Gates will open at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, with the show starting at 1 p.m. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets or mats. For more information, visit www.mauiarts.org.
Legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz will open a show of some of his iconic portraits at 8 p.m. June 30 at Fleetwood’s on Front St. in Lahaina.
The event will be hosted by Mick Fleetwood, and Diltz will present a “Behind the Lens” talk in the restaurant’s Club Keller as part of the official opening of the new Morrison Hotel Gallery.
Praised by Country music star Garth Brooks as the God of his profession, Diltz’s photos have graced hundreds of album covers from James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” and the Doors’ “Morrison Hotel,” to the Eagles posed as outlaws on “Desperado” and Crosby, Stills and Nash’s classic front-porch shot for their debut album.
During the folk boom of the early ’60s, Diltz was a member of the Modern Folk Quartet, and he picked up his first camera while on tour with the band.
While living in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon, he began to photograph friends and neighbors like Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Stephen Stills and Jackson Browne. He was an official photographer at both Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival.
Explaining the Doors’ hotel cover, Diltz told NME: “The owner of the San Francisco hotel didn’t want to let the band in, so they waited ’til his back was turned, ran in, did the shoot, and ran out again.”
The Morrison Hotel Gallery is teaming with Fleetwood’s. It has other gallery locations in New York and Hollywood.
“Morrison Hotel Gallery is the real deal in fine art music photography,” says Fleetwood.
* Doors will open at 7 p.m. June 30. Tickets are $25. For more information, call 669-6425.
The Wahine Week Music Festival on Saturday at the Maui Brewing Co. in Kihei will feature some of Maui’s most talented female artists.
The lineup includes the Deborah Vial Band with special guest drummer Kenny Aronoff, Ciao Bella, Shea Butter and The Cream, and the duo of Louis & Lewis.
A legendary drummer, best known for years backing John Mellencamp, Aronoff has played with a who’s who of the music industry, from the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, to Sting, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Eric Clapton. Rolling Stone magazine listed him in its ranking of the 100 Greatest Drummers of all Time.
Having the honor of playing with both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America” concert in 2014, Aronoff told Ultimate Classic Rock: “I’d met both of them before, but I never played on the same stage with them. I told Ringo, ‘You’ve heard it a million times and it’s so cliche, but you’re the reason why I’m playing drums. You’re the reason why I decided to be a musician.’ I always thought, I wish I could be in the Beatles, so to end up onstage playing double drums with Ringo, it was incredible.”
* The festival will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Maui Brewing Co. located at 605 Lipoa Parkway in Kihei. General admission is $30. For further information and tickets, visit www.wahineweek.com.