In a country that has had it's own annual share of political and various clashes with bordering countries, let it be known that Reggae Music, is very big in Thailand. Reggae and has become one of the uniting forces of the people that live there. Especially the younger gereration.The Pai Reggae International Music Festival No. 6 held at the Huay Tao Lake in Chiang Mai,Thailand is a great display of this One Love Movement there. Chang Pai Reggae Festival is the best Thai Rasta Reggae/Ska festival in the world.
The 6th Annual We Be Jammin International Reggae Music Festival 2011 is a 3-day 3-night celebration taking place from 21-23 January, 2011 at Huay Tung Tao, a popular lake in Chiang Mai. We Be Jammin Reggae Music Festival has been known as one of the best reggae festivals in Thailand. Look forward to over twenty performances featuring famous Thai and international Reggae & Ska bands, especially special Reggae artists from Jamaica and New York City as well as various DJs. "We Be Jammin'" is the biggest Reggae Music Festival held annually in the Northern Part of Thailand, hosted by the Pai Art Club by Mr. Aumnuay Srisombat in cooperation with the City of God Co., Ltd. led by Mr.Sorapan Kingpayome (aka P'Jo), Danny Teng and the major sponsorship from none other than Chang Beer. From 2006 until today,We Be Jammin International Reggae Music Festival has become a big part of the Thailand's Root Reggae venue. People count down each year to join this original root reggae rasta rhythm. The festival was known from the name "Pai Reggae Festival" as it was yearly held in Pai, a popular tourist destination surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery in Mae Hong Son province.
For this year 2011, it is the first time for "We Be Jammin" to be hosted in Chiang Mai from 21-23 January, 2011, at 3pm-5am daily at Huay Tung Tao, which is a popular natural lake for both locals and visitors. This is the new venue for this annual Reggae Musical Festival. It is believed to target more people than before. Here reggae musicians across Thailand together with Jamaican artists and many others from overseas will entertain visitors and locals through out 3 days 3 nights under the concept "social peace and environment". Pai Art Club by Mr. Aumnuay Srisombat in cooperation with City of God Co., Ltd., led by Ms.Sornpan Kingphayom, proudly present an epic of Reggae music under the name Chang Pai Reggae International Music Festival 2011#6. The festival has been moved from Pai (Mae Hong Son) to be held at Huay-Tung-Tao (Chiang Mai) on 21-23 January 2011.The 2011 festival lines up with local artists such as Soontaree Vechanont, T- Bone, Teddy Ska, Rajahsie Band, Sister Apsara, Sirajah Rockers, Somrom Band, Ta-Mone, Kai Jo Brothers Featuring Lanna Commins and definitely Job 2 Do, whose song "Doo Ter Tam" has become a big hit for reggae fans. Besides, as We Be Jammin Reggae Music Festival 2011 is back and getting stronger with each passing year, this year you will get close up with Ky-Mani Marley, a son of Bob Marley together with famous artists from Jamaica like Sister Carol, the Easy Star All-Stars from New York City, Astona Pai gypsy music from Greece and a lineup of top DJs performing dub, ska, and dancehall. In addition, your time will also be fulfilled with fire shows, hand made arts and crafts, an artisan market and streetstalls selling food and drink. I have had the pleasure of attending Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay Jamaica for the past 12 years accompanying Tony Rankin as part of his International Press and Media and this Festival was the most enjoyable Reggae Festival I have ever been to.I have a point of reference and I am sure you will agree with me after you have read this article.
After months of countless meetings, planning, e mails ,contracting and obtaining sponsors and bands, The City Of God Team and Associates posted a date for the Pai Festival. Finally, it came down to December 2010, a few weeks prior to the Opening Night. All The Bands were finally confirmed and ready for the long flight to Thailand.
Tony Rankin, who is also a travel agent, was given the job by Danny Teng and Sorapon Kingpayome (P'Jo) of getting both his crew, along with Sister Carol's Band confirmed for the trip.
We departed 17Jan and arrived 19Jan.Plenty of time to get acclimated to the 12 hour time difference from our New York Time zone.
After comparing airline prices, along with a decent airline, we were finally on our way. Tony Rankin, Cindy Simeon and Ruff Scott , all from New York City. Flying for over 20 hours to Hong Kong, in a seeming endless flight of 2 days of night from New York to Hong Kong, stopping in Vancouver, was enlighted by excellent in-flight service from Cathay-Pacific's professional staff, who served us scrumptious hot and cold delicious food at our service.
The next leg of the flight to Hong Kong to Bangkok. Once in Bangkok, we still had 1 more flight to take on Thai Airways to Chiang Mai. We were almost there. Ruff Scott and I felt the culture change as we did the time zone change. Tony Rankin was well used to this being, his 12th.time visiting Thailand (I-Land, a Term coined by Tony as he also termed "Thai A Binghi".) And this part of the world ,which he was unveiling to us. He knew where to go connect flights, what to do and how to make it easy flight connections for we first timers.Suvannabum ,Bangkok Thailand, wow! The edifice on the Bangkok's airport was pleasant to behold. As we traversed through the airport to make our connection to the last leg of the journey to Chiang Mai, my weary legs were invigorated by the beauty of my surroundings. The frusha, orange, purple, golden colors of the interior decor were vibrant and saturating. The pictures of the native people in a beautiful hue from a golden bronze, to a rich dark chocolate dressed in their cultural costumes was stimulating to the eyes as we journeyed on. As we got deeper into the land of Smiles "Thailand (We now call it I-Land),our amazement mounted. We were not prepared for what were about to see as we left the arrival lounge to where we were to be met.
Tony Rankin and Danny
We were immediately greeted by a dynamic young man called Danny Teng, who presented his awesome assistant Mai, and our liaison/guide/assistant/artist Ton (Zeehot). The van pulled up with the words "TONY RANKIN BAND" in the window and the poster of the Festival placed conspicuously on the front of the band. Wow we were here!!! We were driven out of the airport which was full of exotic flowers passing many spirit houses, numerous replicas of the Buddha in various forms, to a road that strongly reminded us of being on Gloucester Road outside the airport in Montego Bay. The tropical atmosphere was so obvious with the trees, smells and flowers which decorated the roadsides. The only difference was , this was Chiang Mai, Thailand,10,000 miles away from Jamaica.
Yes There is Reggae In Thailand , Yes Siam! Our hotel was The Imperial Mae Ping ,one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in the city is where all the groups coming in from America would stay, each morning we dined scrumptiously on a great variety of food, fruits and exotic tasting beverages.
As we had arrived ahead of the pack, we had the privilege of meeting each group as they came in from the airport. The first set was Nekeeba Sister Carol's daughter,Annecia Banks, Carol's her back up singer and Byron the keyboard player. Sister Carol and her husband Dean, had stayed in Bangkok to await clearance from Thai Immigration due to "Visa Problems" with other members of the group sorting out immigration situation. Danny was on top of everything, utilizing all the "Top Notch Connections" he had with the Thai Tourism and Government contacts, to smooth out all the creases. This was one great lesson for all to be learned,. If you are a band that plans to travel with non US Passport holder, the bands should always follow up on obtaining their own immigration documents. It should not be the responsibility of the promoters. The promoters can only do but so much to assist the traveling bands in certain areas. This makes it much easier for bands to be more independent and aware of certain travel restrictions. It usually only takes 48 hours to go thru the process and at a minimal processing fees ,if any. While in Bangkok, Sister Carol performed for immigration authorities took pictures signed autographs and became a very welcome guest to Thailand. Sister Carol came through with the rest of her crew, Judah Eskender.
The next day, The Easy Star All Stars came through. There was still one more artist "Jr" of the tour still outstanding because of immigration issues.
Finally all were in house and at the festival, mini interview with Danny Teng, Easy Stay All Stars and Sister Carol (Watch The Video)
The second night's schedule was rearranged but the show went on...All the acts were great.
Easy Star Band one of my favorites was from New York rocked the house. Ras I Ray, Bass Player, connected with the people and the spirit of the ancestors as he blessed the hallowed ground sending up his musical talents to the skies above, which gave another bang to the confetti stream bursting out love upon the blessed gathering who were gifted. As they played "Lucy in Skies" The sky was filled with The Fire Lanterns of Chiang Mai.The Kai Joe Band who was the main Band backing us and others they did a fantastic job with Lanna Cummins and. T-Bone rocked the house. Job To Do had the crowd swaying especially with his latest hit song
We Finally had a day to do some local tours and Visited Doi Sutep,well located on Top of the Highest Mountain in Chiang Mai., only to discover when we visited the Temple in the the local Hill Tribe children were doing the same dance that Sister Carol does. Awsome. Mother Culture and revealing her new name Empress High Grade as well as her dance to go along with it...Ganja Seed Dance.
Ky-Mani Marley was gracious and gave a great performance showing his telants with his new release Many More Roads and some of his father's hits. He worked the stage until he became saturated ans we beheld the steam leaving his body from his head on up. My mind is now in a worldwind, under the hand made leaved tached houses where we were able to brace ourselves in the chilly night air, filled with red, gold and green fire baloons which we too lighted, made our wishes and sent into the sky. There was an abundance of everything rasta, good food cooking all around us, a throng of reggae loving, rasta looking multi tasking young working people/ the ancestors came to bless us. The music swelled and filled the air more and more each night, DJ Seed (Reggae House) DJ Dragon, DJ Katsuji 420, DJ Oam, DJ Dapookster, were great. Tony Assassin was the best the Kalymistic Crew came through, the MCs, Cowboy, Joe, Hew Pearson all theofficials who came to give their blessings made the affair a success. The sponcers Chaing Beer and Water, SangSom Rum - smoothest in the world, with no hangover...Reggae Village, Blenders, True Mue moree, Amazin Thailand-Always amazing you...very true,,we were all amazed by not only how beautiful the country was but how beautiful the people are...Sawadee......
P.S The only thing I regret about the festival was that I did not dance more on stage.Contrary to all other festivals that I have attended these wonderful people WANTED and URGED beautiful and other participants to COME UP AND DANCE... instead of taking people bodily off the stage if they even deared to venture thereon...Now this is a wonderful thing... So as Mama I must send out Special Blessed Love, and Chinese New Year Greetings to all my children already mentioned and the rest as follows: Teddy Ska, Super Glasses Ska, GAPI, Srirajah Rockers, Tamone Band, Backer, Deep OSea, OK Mocca, Fantuzzi, The Impulse Afro, Mahajamreon, Plearn Promdang, Somrom Band, Sambrosa Band, Asto Na PAI, Gold Red, La fiesta Band, Tuk and Frends, King Kong..More Blessings to Cook, Pet, Leeroy, good friends in Chainmai, good friends in Bangkok, Sam and staff...Good friends in Pattya, Kings Bar, David, Kuk, Birthday Boy, Wife all the girls, staff, Black and White Bar and girlboys..The sun is now blazing into my living room...its Sunday morning at 7:41.
Mak Mak !!!!
Each night was building up to a great climax..The second night's schedule was rearranged but the show went on...All the acts were great. Easy Star Band one of my favorites was from New York rocked the house . Ras I Ray connected with the people and the spirit of the ancestors as he blessed the hallowed ground sending up his musical talents to the skies above, which gave another bang to the confetti stream bursting out love upon the blessed gathering who were gifted. Kai Joe Band who was the main backing Band and they did a fantastic job. T-Bone rocked the house. Job To Do had the crowd swaying especially with his latest hit song "Do Do Do".After Job2 Do Rajahsie Sound cam out with some wicked live band dub sounds with Dr.Pook up front.
Lana Commins was great Sister Carol was fabulous bringing a vibe to the stage as Mother Culture and revealing her new name Empress High Grade as well as her dance to go along with it...only to discover when we visited the Temple in Chiang Mai , Wat Doi Sutep, the children dancing there were also doing the same dance that she had done. "The Ganja Seed Dance". Awesome. There is and was so much to be mentioned about the Pai Festival. All the bands performed magnificently, the sound was great, production crew, vendors, stage hands, stage crew, back stage was also a very unique experience. Vibes were perfect, the air was very cool, but the music, the people, and the love kept all well warm.Frow the very moment we arrived till the time we left Thailand, the festival really let me know how real Reggae in Thailand is. Yes Siam. See You next year Chock Dee Krup Mak Mak!!!!!!!!