Jamaica's main man heads Backstage for Onefest

The third instalment of Radio One's Onefest features New Zealand dub-reggae outfit Dubwize.

Frontman Gabe Calcott says the band has been flat out like a lizard drinking.

"We have been busy with our new album Dubwize presents Snypa Levi - The Sojourner, which was released in New Zealand in May with distribution through Rhythm Method.

We started work on the album at the beginning of 2004, straight after the release of Reality Chant, our second studio album.

"The album is the solo release for Dubwize lead vocalist Snypa Levi and is a collection of songs, some of which were written back in the '90s, like Rasta be Militant and Men of Athens, mixed with newer cuts, like the horn-driven roots anthem Country Living.

"The new album is also the first release for my new label Reality Chant, which is a dedicated reggae label established to release my own productions in New Zealand and worldwide."

As well as cementing the band's place in New Zealand's reggae scene, Dubwize has been clocking up a few frequent-flier miles.

"In the last year, Dubwize has done a lot of shows around the place. Late last year, we went over to Australia for a tour, with shows in Sydney and Perth.

"It was excellent to get over to Australia and check the vibes over there. The gigs went off and we made some good connections.

"We are planning to release the new album over there and do another larger tour."

As far as recording goes, Calcott has forged a connection with the home of reggae.

"At the moment, I am working on an exciting project for Reality Chant with Jamaican artists Luciano, Mikey General, Jah Mason, Chrisinti Ginjah, Natty King and more. I am releasing a series of seven-inch 45 records of all the main tunes followed up with a full-length various-artists compilation CD.

"I am in the process of negotiating an international distribution deal with One Love International, in Jamaica. NZ meets JA!

"The release will be a first for New Zealand-produced reggae music with collaborations with Jamaican artists of this calibre. I'm planning the release of the 45s [seven-inch singles] in early September."

While Calcott can't promise international stars in Friday's set, he's bringing some sweet voices with him, and says a high-energy reggae and dancehall set can be expected.

"We will be showcasing material from the new album The Sojourner. Think big bass and good vibes. We are bringing Tu Whaea, our sweet harmony singers, and I will be dropping the heavy 'riddims' mixed specially for the big soundsystem."

Support act Koile has been playing shows around Otago and Southland on its Local Warming tour.

Dubwize plays with Koile and others at Onefest, which is free to the station's Onecard holders, but will cost regular folk $25.

See them

The Dubwize gig, supported by Koile, is at The Backstage on Friday, August 1.

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