Friday, 2 October 2020

The Culture Rock Griot- New blog presented by Samantha Hollins

 We are all adjusting to living in a world that has been steam-rollered over by the Corona Virus. This disease has caused so much havoc that many of us are in the position of adapting and creating new ways forward.

Samantha Hollins, aka Ghetto Songbird, is an extremely talented artist who lives with her family in Philadelphia. I mention her family because this is fundamental to Samantha's lifestyle, having become a fantastic roll model not only to musicians and career people, but to anyone who enjoys witnessing a strong family foundation.   

Samantha is a Rock Singer/Guitarist whose presence on stage is extremely powerful and captivating; you can feel her vibes years later- I think powerful energy quite literally embeds within us. Returning to the Pandemic, one of the many issues is the decline in live performance; nowadays live performances across the arts are very few and far between. So many have moved online, including dance, poetry and other art forms. Sadly, I have heard that Facebook are going to stop these live streams. I don't know if this is fact or rumour, but, if it goes ahead, Facebook are virtually abdicating their moral responsibility towards contributing to improved mental health and people's general sense of well-being; when they really should be leading the way.

Lecture over, Samantha is very much a pioneer so instead of worrying too much about the present situation, she has taken a new direction employing her extensive knowledge of Rock combined with excellent writing skills to create her own unique platform:  The Culture Rock Griot Just to give you an idea, I'll quote Samantha's mission for you: 'All Hail the ancestral energy of Rock-n-Roll! My mission is to roll out the black-studded carpet and illuminate the smoke-eyed spotlight on African Diaspora Rockers' past, present and future. 

Now you understand, I'm not going to review the blog, suffice it to say, Samantha has many brilliant connections, she previously toured African and is more than qualified to present both artists and projects that will fill a void in many-a Rock fan's knowledge and pave the way towards a better future. I really hope you enjoy this 'magazine' and add 'The Culture Rock Griot' to your favourites!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician    Email:

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

SUMMERTIME by Clinton Rock Jones featuring Emiliyah

As we come to the end of Summer in what has proved the most unbelieve and life-changing year for the entire nation, I feel the need to share this fresh, new rendition of Summertime. I say fresh, but the reality is we are taken back in time by a somewhat bluesy/soulful interpretation of a well-loved classic.

Clinton Rock Jones is a world class guitarist who has reached a point where he choses to feature his guitar skills from a primary perspective, and, having worked extensively with highly talented vocalist Emilyiah, has chosen to feature her pure, agile voice on this single resulting in a recording of outstanding quality. 

Clinton has blown me away with his talents on several occasions in the past when playing live engagements and I'm pleased to see how he has carried the same feel across into his recording. Where Emiliyah is concerned, I found Summertime to be a real eye-opener, previously thinking of her as a talented Reggae artist. I clearly haven't paid enough attention to Emiliyah who has an outstanding vocal range! She brings undeniable passion and depth to Summertime, showcasing her vocal ability that takes you beyond the here and now. I really enjoyed this production which embodies the indescribable elements that carry you along with the music, leaving the here and now far behind.

As I post this blog, Clinton is Poland bound with Emiliyah and the MightyZ All Stars. They are embarking upon their latest tour. Once back, I am planning to bring you an interview with Clinton to find out more about this understated musician's journey and ambition, so there's something to look forward to!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician   email:

#summertime #clintonrockjones #rockguitar #jazzmusic #polishgigs #emilyahreggaesinger

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Guided Meditation For Strength- and a few thoughts!

Right now we are living in a world we barely recognise; a world in which we are severely restricted on many levels. Whatever the cause may be, we are left to cope with it and have to learn to operate in a new society that has stripped many of our freedoms and livelihoods.

So how can we go about re-asserting ourselves? The answer is always to look inwards before we turn outwards. Every idea that ever came into being started from within; the solutions to the current situation come from within; the solutions to your own peace of mind and future come from within.

Some of us have a full understanding of this process and practice connecting with our inner resources through prayer and meditation. When we are 'still in mind,' we become receptive to the true power of God, the Universe or however we choose to regard this amazing force, ultimate power and eternal vibration that helps us maintain a sound state of mind and offers assurance that all will be well.

There are so many meditations available but I have chosen to share this particular meditation which moves at a good pace, is well guided and allows uninterrupted space to go deep within and connect with the inner you. I try to meditate every day, and sometimes it's easy whereas, on other occasions, my mind is noisy and has difficulty settling. If you try to meditate and it's not working, don't waste your time. Find something else to do as you can always return to meditation later in the day. When the mind is anxious you may prefer to tune into music or the radio to create a different focus that actively occupies the space where your worries exist.

Over the years I have realised the importance of increasing my vibration, or current level of feeling, when I am in a low mood or feeling angry, anxious etc. You can hold onto bad feelings or acknowledge the depth of them, allow them to breathe and replace them with something better when you're ready. If you think- bad feeling- let's replace it now, you cannot process it and your body will absorb it, so you must allow yourself space to work through your feelings but do avoid over-analysing them.

I really enjoy meditation and often compliment it with candles and incense to create a special focused time. If you want to find out how to expand and gain more from meditation there are plenty of experts you can find on the internet. I haven't studied meditation at all and operate at a fairly basic level, however, I find I can still unwind and often receive ideas when in a meditative state.

If you haven't tried meditating before, have a go and be kind to yourself. Most of us find that our minds are inclined to wander but. like everything else, you will improve with practice. It is also worth checking out little 8 minute chakra meditations where you can just focus on the colour displayed- very simple and that's where I started. Whether you meditate or not, make time each day to enjoy something you like doing- me time is key time! Enjoy your day~ Jaz

Sunday, 7 June 2020

FONZi NeuTRON - Bounce Dat (Official Video) 2020

Oh My Word... I'm finally feeling summer's arrived! We've been confined for such a long time, so I wish I'd realised sooner that this fun-filled track from artist Fonzi Neutron has been up on YouTube since April. It's a fantastic workout video that we could easily use to accompany our daily exercise routine.

I particularly like the fun aspect within the video. It brings a little bit of quirky humour and we can certainly see the ladies getting jiggly to it! I think it's just what we need to lift our spirits during these uncertain times- let's skip the word unprecedented, it's been done to the point of boredom and I'm not a politician. I love the way Fonzi pokes fun at himself by wearing a blue wig, which instantly brought Andre 3000 to mind. In fact, this video generates atmosphere and energy in a similar way to OutKast's 'The way you move,' There is fluidity across the set and fitness elements exhibited from the humble hula hoop to push-ups. The fact that everything isn't executed perfectly is just so much fun- whatever you do to this song you will not fail! And please, observe people's expressions- priceless.

As a song, Bounce Dat certainly passes the test for a great summer tune. You can imagine it blasting from fast cars on a hot day and it conjours up the same timeless feel as 'Get Jiggy With It'- Will Smith. I think it's important to realise that the feeling a song generates is what makes that song memorable so that it sticks with you, especially where seasonal hits are concerned as they are often based on common familiar experiences, formerly beaches and barbecues to our current obsession with the gym.

For me, Bounce Dat has all the ingredients required for a hit record and this song can be found on Fonzi's latest album, DROP ZONE. Take a listen here on Fonzi's Spotify

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician 

Friday, 2 August 2019

Jimi Hendrix vibes at The Troubadour! Brought to you by Ghetto Songbird with Ese and the Vooduu People

L-R Chris Nelson, Ghetto Songbird, Pharoah S-Russell, Ese Okorodudu, Basile Petite, Sheena Ross

5th July was one of the hottest days of the year! Why? Samantha Hollins, AKA Rock singer/guitarist 'Ghetto Songbird' who lives in Philadelphia, returned to the legendary Troubadour with Roxploitation band member- keyboard/percussionist, Chris Nelson.

This guys is stage one of my dream (-when we reach stage two I'll tell you.) When you see two of your favourite artists on the same bill it really is mind-blowing. Ghetto Songbird and Ese Okorodudu got in touch following Sam's visit to London two years ago. Both of these women are rising Rock icons who record and tour with extremely talented bands. Sam formed the Roxploitation Band, and Ese, The Vooduu People. It is exciting to note that both of these artists are currently receiving good levels of recognition in their home countries and extending internationally.

Back to the 'Enchanted Rock Goddess Tour,'  specifically the show! Ese and the Vooduu People opened with a great set of songs from their debut album 'DYNAMITE.' I think the album title actually summarises the entire evening! Check out the link to hear how Ese's sexy 'Sade' tone suddenly explodes into a full-on rock voice. Included were 'Silver Spoon' and 'Fairytale,' both of which deal with the mysteries of life, stripping back to the sadness and disillusionment that we all experience at times. Ese has an interesting way of portraying the darker side of life and I am curious to see how her style expands throughout her journey. Dynamite threads so enticingly through her musical tapestry leading me to believe that the depth of her talent has an iceberg quality to it.

I find it interesting that both Ghetto Songbird and Ese have been liken to Jimi Hendrix, especially as their styles are far apart on the spectrum. Ese is very at home with a little Reggae or R&B whereas Sam is hardcore rock. I have to say, the first time I heard Ese sing solo her version of 'A Change is Gonna Come' cut right through me- the only other person who has achieved this is Wayne Marshall (of G.Spot fame.) When you can feel it you know it. 

Whereas Ese has a mixed catalogue, I have only ever heard Sam sing original material. To me, this displays a different type of inner strength, guts and the confidence required to be 100% Ghetto Songbird. Sam has had a tough time in the industry and this has helped shape her material. Sam's powerful presence was fully complimented by charismatic Chris Nelson- which I truly appreciate due to the back story. I met Sam online the week she was coming to London and was lucky enough to see her perform live at the Troubadour last time round. Having Chris by her side quite literally provided 'more power to her elbow!' Sam's voice alone is pretty phenomenal leaving the dual effect we experienced difficult to describe. In the first instance Sam and Chris sang by themselves as a guitar and percussion duo; prior to Chris's move to the keyboard. They were joined by Pharoah S. Russell, Ese's drummer who had already played a full set. The fusion was such that you honestly would not know Pharoah was a guest drummer.  I must add that Basile Petite, Bass guitar, did an awesome job too as did backing singer Sheena Ross, whose voice has a brilliant range. 

Sam's repertoire covered many of her classics including 'Alley of the Earth' and 'MuthaSucka BloodSucka,' which are highly dramatic- but I'm convinced even the alphabet would sound dramatic by the time Sam's done with it! Unfortunately I can't upload to this blog, as it does not upload videos, the pure energy Sam generates throughout her entire performance. She is even energetic whilst sitting on a chair never mind when she is dancing- through which Sam reveals her cultural awareness. When vibing with her guitar Sam almost looks bewitched! She more-or-less does a whole workout so it is clear to see where the Hendrix comparison comes from- I really wish I could post this for you! To bond with your guitar and feel free enough to up the anti in a performance is a gift in itself.

Time for the last sector- all six artists jamming together onstage. I can only add that by this point the vibe in the room was  intense. The audience was hyped up and the bands were in their element, creating a mega experience to round off the night. Even a guy in the audience grabbed the mic and started rapping along; which worked, no denying. 

Last thoughts: A few years ago I wrote a poem called, 'Expressive, Explosive Fun'  which will be included in my first poetry book. On Reflection, I think this is the best phrase to describe the evening and would just add- 'with a touch of genius!'

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

Maxi Priest - I'm Alright (feat. Shaggy) (Official Music Video)

Sometimes, when a song has such a great feel good factor I just have to share it! 'I'm Alright' is definitely one of those songs musically and lyrically. It doesn't matter who you are, you are alright and, with a determined attitude, you can get through any situation.

Our power lies within and we have the power to set ourselves free from everything in this life that is holding us back. Music plays a very important part in lifting our vibration so that we can find the good place we seek and from that place more good comes. If you find yourself in a position where you feel uncomfortable ask yourself why? Who are you listening to? That really is a key question because we tend to listen to others more than ourselves. Be bold, put your voice first. Do not be in bondage when you can free yourself. Sometimes we are held back through complying with public opinion, friends opinions or internal forces such as apprehension, fear of failure and so forth. Do what it takes to move ahead. Lift your mood before examining a situation to prevent the downside from clouding your view. If you want to progress you must view your life from the upside, so playing a track like this sets the intention whilst lifting your spirits.

Freedom of mind is an entitlement that many fail to recognise or claim. We can let go of worry and view positive solutions, even if this means mentally over-riding our current circumstances. Nowadays, when I start to worry I put a stop to it as quickly as possible and you can do this by thinking about something else. Life has a way of working out, so expect it to work out for the best and you will see an overall improvement. When I started this blog I created a series called, 'Live Life~ Love Life,' and still stand by that sentiment. Play this track a few times, feel great and enjoy yourself- after all, why be miserable when we have a choice? I'm alright guys and trust that you are too!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

#maxipriest #shaggy #behappy #im'malright #havefun #enjoylife

Thursday, 28 March 2019

A quick insight into artist Zeener!

Hi Guys. As some of you may know I occasionally write artists bio's and recently wrote the bio below which I have chosen to share. Zeener (formally Zeena) is a Dancehall artist who impressed me the very first time I heard her sing; which was at one of Michael Arkk's events for The Heritage of Ska. Since then she has continued honing both her performance and songwriting skills, resulting in some exciting opportunities as you will see!

As this is a mini bio focusing on Zeener's musical talents we omitted mentioning her natural acting ability, which is excellent, so I'll mention her key achievement here. Zeener played Denise in the popular comedy show 'Double Trouble,' touring with internationally known actors Charles Tomlinson, Devon Morgan and Lovena Brown. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience however decided to concentrate on singing rather than directing her attention elsewhere. Now we'll move onto Zeener's bio.


Meet Zeener! Original Solid Gold Posse daughter of the first Dancehall Kings and Queens! Bursting with energy, this authentic Jamaica artist catches people’s attention. Since Beenie Man called her on stage at the Pan Head Festival, she has opened for Lady Saw, Ishawna, Bunny Striker Lee and Fleur East in the UK. She has performed with Peter Hunningale. Owen Gray, and recently, Levi Roots at his Smokehouse and beloved Rastahouse. Other notable Venues include The Jamm, Hootananny, Boisdale- Canary Wharf, M.M.C.O. Emporium, Jazz CafĂ©, Kensington Roof Top Gardens. 

2017 Zeener made history. She won the first ever Song4JA with her original song, ‘Who Run De World, Jamaica.’  Zeener flew to Jamaica, courtesy of competition organizers UKunsigned/Song4Ja and JamIn_UK. Thrilled to leave ‘foreign’ and return to her homeland for Jamaica’s 55th Independence celebration, Zeener debuted her winning song on CMTV, Sunrise Live, broadcast internationally, and sang at the National Stadium during the standing ovation ceremony! She loved touring Jamaica as guest artist of the JCDC (Jamaican Cultural Development Commission;) especially her visit to Maxfield Park Children’s Home near her old primary school.

Zeener recently completed her album, voiced in Jamaica, under Midnight Rock Records and is currently working with Mad Professor, Ariwa Records, on a DJ-DUB Project which will result in a few single releases. She has a track on a Reggae Compilation Album called ‘Reggae United’ available March 2019 and is busy stamping her mark on the industry.

Jaz Mckenzie