rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 01/02/2006
One Night: Two Great Reggae Acts! How Can It Miss?
by Gary Hill

On January 14th Mary's Place will be jamming, mon. That's because it will be playing host to two powerful reggae acts. For fans of the musical style, this will be one not to be missed. For those who just like to get out and party, it should be on your "to-do" list, as well. In many ways, there isn't much more fun to be had at a club than jamming and grooving to some killer reggae.


The headliner that night will be Ras Len and Traffic Harmony. The Chicago (by way of Ethiopia, where Len was born) based artist has an international following. He'll be bringing all that star power, not to mention some great jams, to Mary's Place. Len is also known as Jah Len and Toki Aks, but his group Traffic Harmony is content to stick with one moniker. They have a new album just out called "Musical Rain," and I'd say it's safe to say you will get to hear some of the music from the disc at the show. Len is a multi-instrumentalist and that considerable talent will add to your experience. While the group will be playing roots reggae, it goes a bit deeper than that. Len manages to bring in his heritage by pulling in some of the sounds of his native Ethiopia into the mix. Add to that his 30 years of performing reggae, and it becomes obvious that this will be a unique performance not to be missed.


As if that isnýt enough, though, opening up the night will be Jah Volunteers. The group is composed of Robby Red Locks (guitar, lead vocals, harmonicas), Ras Antar (Nyabinghi drum, Djembe, percussion), RobYo (bass, backing vocals) and Ruggy (lead guitar).  Locks is the group leader and is certainly no newcomer to the music scene. He goes alternately under the name "Slider", but his "real" name is Robb Waak. He has been the "front-man" for several "Hippie-Stylie" cover-bands including Skeleton Key and Organic Blend. Currently now, though, his musical focus is on reggae and along with his "Jah Volunteers" he creates a blend of his original acoustic reggae. In addition the group performs covers of such artists as Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Sublime and others.


If you like jamming reggae, this is a show not to pass up. Mary's Place is located at 602 N. Madison St. If you pop by their website at you can check out more info and even hear a song by Ras Len. Come check out the show, mon. You won't regret it.

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