The “Living Heart” of Xterminator Productions
A Tribute to Philip “Fatis” Burrell
Living Heart Volume 1 produced jointly by Kareem Burrell and father Philip “Fatis” Burrell is a twelve track tribute to the life and works of the patriarch of XTM.Nation. It also represents a silver anniversary celebration for Xterminator Productions; however the songs chosen for the compilation are nothing short of golden. So is this opportunity to share my humble thoughts on the legacy of such an astute name in the musical arena, who is Philip “Fatis” Burrell.
From the first guitar strum on the first track song “Part of One Big Family” featuring Luciano, there is an immediate feeling of love and family, emotions strongly connected to the heart are stirred by The Messenger.
Luciano is perfect on this one as the Living Heart of XTM opens itself to the world. He repeats these lyrics ‘I’m a part of your father’s family, we’re apart of one big father’s family, you’re part of my Father’s family’. Family it seems is a very important theme and rightly so as son salutes father with respect. For what is family without the heart of love and togetherness? This one could very much be the album’s anthem.
The legendary Lee Scratch Perry is featured on “Stand in Love”, track two from the album. His delivery is simple and whimsical, no stranger to the eccentric, he delivers gems of wisdom. He pays tribute to the glory and power of love. No doubt Philip “Fatis” Burrell life was one of love and giving. We are encouraged to ‘manifest your dream’, and here the dream is fulfilled with the rise and legacy of XTM.Nation, which lives in Kareem Burrell.
Track three “Shield and Guide” finds voice with Pressure. It’s a noteworthy ode to Jah being our shield and guide. The saxophone support provided by Dean Fraser is stellar. You won’t be able to resist moving to its catchy rhythm and lyrics, giving you a genuine reggae feel with the full support of band in tow. This easily segues into the more deliberately fiery “Show Dem How fi Blaze” with Jah Man featuring Jesse Royal, who are a perfect combination on this track. This one will be a sure hit.
Listening to this production of both tracks provides glimpses of the perfection and quality work put into the music by the XTM.Nation Team. Setting themselves apart from all others they continue to blaze a trail of excellence. The Xterminator Label will “live on while d rest a cascade”, from inception to present day, creating hits and making timeless music.
Gentleman softens the fire created by Jesse Royal and Jah Man, with “Eyes wide open”. He opens with the lyrics ‘So many idle words been spoken but no righteousness in the meaning’, this heralds the truth that XTM.Nation stands for righteous words, to uplift and not just to obtain hype. As someone who has appreciated the works of Kareem Burrell teamed with Jesse Royal, I can fully second this assessment of the music put out by the label.
Music for a change, a message for change, transforming from the inside, Sizzla chants on track five entitled “Daylight”, “Teach us for what it’s worth… Give us Ras Tafari first”. This is a signature Sizzla track; high notes included showing his versatility and firm meditation which has made him beloved in the hearts of many. “Your good deeds will be your strength for tomorrow”, how true and accurate these words apply to the works done by Philip “Fatis” Burrell. His works continue to bring good through those he “fed” in his living days. Befitting the relationship forged between both men, Sizzla delivers his tribute in fine style to his former Manager and Mentor who played a significant role in his ascendancy and legendary contribution to reggae music.
Track six “We pop it off” is lyrically potent, delivered by Ini Kamoze, the upbeat rhythms with Ini Kamoze’s witty lyrical content is a perfect marriage. After a few listens, I began to think of Jesse Royal royal speaking, rebellious but with a righteous cause. I can trace in the musical timeline incarnations in each generation of artists and producers alike, the preservation of authentic sound, consistent themes and fire energy in the music.
After this “direct hit” declaration by Ini Kamoze, I am now completely convinced that Xterminator “nuh graze”, yes wi musically yes wi pop it off”. Who can disagree with those words, certainly no lover of authentic and resonating music which is Living Heart Volume 1.
The album then moves easily to “Little did they know” featuring the wise words from the small axe, Jesse Royal. The Palace pickney eases out speaking truth authentically on this one, declaring himself “Selassie Son fi true, nuh care weh dem hail from nuh bizniz a who”. Defiant but not arrogantly so, letting his unique message be heard, it is signature Jesse style, wise message music and lyrics.
The next track entitled “Oh My Father” is a raw, acoustic and organic presentation by Buju Banton. It was a definite treat hearing the acoustic set, delivered with true passion as a prayer to the Most High. One on one communion with the Father, this is music in its most revealing state, just a guitar played by legendary Earl Chinna Smith, a voice and all the experiences of the singer laid out on the track. It made me think of the loss that must have been felt by the family and loved ones by the XTM.Nation family when Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell transitioned. It could also have easily been a father‘s prayer to ask the Most High to watch over his family as he transitioned, wishing all “a perfect and pleasant day” as he trod on. I couldn’t help but also think of Buju’s incarceration as he sings his heart out. This song is the most cathartic of the collection.
After this emotional outpouring, “Do It Now” helps you pick up the pieces of the sensed loss, as the great Beres Ford Hammond delivers sweetly in fine style an ode to staying in the moment while recalling memories of good times spent with loved ones, no doubt referencing times spent with the Burrell family. He gently persuades you to ‘When you love … love strong, do it now”. As I soaked this one in, the production is again flawless and so is Berris‘s classic soulful sound. This one is a true testament and example to great music. Again saxophonist Dean Frazer is exemplary.
An even sweeter delivery follows with Kayla Bliss singing “One More Chance”, the first of the feminine energy on the album. She delivers a soulful lover’s rock piece supported by beautiful musical accompaniment. She represents well the new generation of XTM.Nation continuity in providing soul satisfying music. The second female voice on the album is easily recognizable, Nadine Sutherland with her rendition of “Pair of Wings”. Living Heart closes beautifully with this one, the piano and Nadine’s voice are heavenly and the delivery is also emotional as we come to the conclusion in musical tribute to Philip “Fatis” Burrell, the man and his works. The works spanning two generations speak to the larger than life stature of the work that began and continues with XTM.Nation. Philip “Fatis” Burrell was a man as evidenced by the works of his mind and hands, spiritual but connected to his time, his ability to identify unique talent and also work with artists to provide high quality and timeless productions, show he was a man with a deep sense of appreciation for purposefulness.
“Music was not just a business but a spiritual force” – John Massouri, these words conclude and summarize my response to this musical tribute. “There are no limitations to music”, how true this is just take a listen to Jesse Royal and Kayla Bliss protégés of the new era of XTM.Nation. My ears and soul were blessed with this album, I found it aesthetically beautiful but it also provided inspiration for my own sense of purpose as a writer. Living Heart Volume 1 gets full marks for providing a musical history lesson with some of the greatest voices in Reggae and the rising stars of the current generation.
Thanks to Sameel Kush I for affording me this opportunity and special salute to the Burrell and XTM.Nation Family for the contribution to music which will stand forever. Manifested dreams live on forever. Long Live Xterminator, Rise and Shine XTM. Nation, stand and rise forever.
BLAK IWA TV
The Dub Treatment with Janine ‘Jah9’ Cunningham
‘An offering of Service to the Afrikan Commune-ity”
February 27, 2014
The wonderful opportunity was extended to BLAK IWA TV which we humbly accepted, to stream the event dubbed “The Dub Treatment” with our Warriess Priestess, Sister Janine Jah9 Cunningham and others from the Revival Community on February 27, 2014. I thought how grand to ring in the one year commemoration of Jah 9’s New Name Album by bringing this auspicious event to the internet family overseas and elsewhere and to also be associated with such a celebration of Life, Art and Ras Tafari. This was indeed perfect synchronicity. From the moment I saw the event being advertised, a little seed was planted and here it had come to bloom.
Yoga on Dub opened the evening with participants fully equipped with Yoga mats on the grounds of the Country Side Club. The instructor was quite pleasant and meticulous during the exercises and participants seemed grateful for the occasion to bring themselves back to alignment and balance. In her closing remarks Jah 9 remarked that yoga is not an ‘uptown ting’ it’s for everyone. Herself a yoga instructor, she was seen assisting participants during the exercises; I smiled and thought this is a true woman of service.
The yoga session ended and the next segment of the gathering was opened in traditional Afrikan style with the offering of libations complete with re-calling the names of those transitioned by the audience. It was a powerful experience to hear each one call the name of beloved from memory and into the moment paying homage to the ancestors gone before us. I personally, was especially moved because the memory of a dear friend who recently transitioned was still fresh so in like manner I spoke his name and felt the warmth of his presence again.
With this acknowledgement complete, Abbebe Payne was introduced to begin his spoken word offering. His delivery, as always, was potent, passionate and emotive. This was followed by fashion display from Iya Wear, designed by Arlene Paisley and pieces form Mamayashi’s collection and then a presentation of Afrikan Dance. The apparel lines for women were as beautiful to behold as the ‘womb-men’ who wore them. Filling in the spaces was Rory Stone Love echoing sounds of dub throughout the venue.
It was then time for Jah9 to make her presence felt in word sound offerings. She began with ‘Intentions’ firmly backed by her newly formed band The Dub Treatment, this was followed by ‘Gratitude’. In between delivering the lines, she emphasized the importance of gratitude in one’s attitude to override all negativity. Her words burned in me as I realized this was not just words from a song but a call to become your higher self.
“Brothers” was delivered in tribute to all man of right who inspire and lead within the community. This hit a deep note as Jah 9 commented on the imbalance in relationships and the need to have mutual love and respect between partners, as mirrored in the example of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen I.
From “Brothers” she transitioned easily into spicy ‘Avocado,’ then segued into ‘Taken Up’. In this moment, it hit me that “New Name” album was more than a musical compilation, it is an entire work of dedication and love towards the upliftment of the I in I likewise to all I’s in the commune-ity.
While we were taken up, we floated over to the Kush Treatment segment which was dedicated to the demystification of Herb, the steamers and using the Herb as medicine, Jah 9 took us to the school, demonstrating the use of the steamers and cited personal benefits of harnessing the healing properties of herb.
This was quite educational as well as eye opening. She cited that this was also preparation for the pending decriminalization of the herb in Jamaica. I felt like this was needed, I had never been to any event where conscious efforts were made to educate persons instead of just speaking of herb use as a means to just get “high”. Professor K’adamawe K’nIfe then delivered in almost lightening speed a discourse on the usefulness of herb for Industry Medicine and Food drawing the analogy that Herb and all its benefits could replace the debt situation of the country. It was a conscious but concise and revealing discourse.
To wash all of this knowledge down were performances by Keida with ‘Ganja Tea’, Kumar Bent of Raging Fyah with ‘Ganjah’, Micah Shemaiah with 'Ganja Farmer' which featured Infinite, Selah and Chronixx. Then he performed 'Reggae Rock it' which features Infinite and Matthias. Jahkime then performed 'Farmer Dem' featuring Kazam and Exile Di Brave then segued into 'Kannabis' joined by Micah Shemaiah, Infinite and Chronixx. Micah Shemaiah was especially impressive. The man known as ‘The Voice’ was in fine form and the infinitely talented Infinite was in his element. All worked together well adding lots of flavor and spice to this tribute to the “green”. The “Nrg”and synergy was unmistakable. Then Alexandria gave her quick contributions. Later Kazam Davis entered stage front and was rejoined by Jahkime and Exile di Brave, for ‘Ganja Farmer’. Nomaddz then provided a colourful rendition of ‘Ganja Stain’ as only they alone can, to close the proceedings.
I must not forget to mention that also highlighted in the village was the artwork of visual artists, most noteworthy Djet Damani Layne who had painted the Mural of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen. This provided a most beautiful backdrop for the proceedings as well presence of arts and craft from several other contributors which were laid out for viewing. There was also an artist who could be seen front stage creating, as Jah 9 performed her first set, no doubt drawing inspiration from the night’s entire proceedings. It was definitely a time to let the creative juices flow.
In celebration of Ras Tafari, Ras Ivi Tafari, A Rastafarian elder within the ‘commune-ity’ provided a historical context for Ras Tafari ‘s ascension to the throne of Ethiopia. He gave sufficient facts of His Majesty’s birth, coronation and its significance. This was especially informative. As the programme had progressed, it began to seep in that there were inevitably those in the ‘commune-ity’ who perhaps had attended with the intention of just being entertained but there was enough information and history for all to leave with something newly learnt. This bit soaked in most deeply for I, the name Ras mean ‘The Head One’ and Tafari means ‘to be feared;’ translation the Head One to be feared. As I heard this, immediately in my consciousness, came the words every knee shall bow to the Most High.
Quite befitting this moment, Jah 9 returned to the stage and with the prowess of a Warriess Priestess performed ‘New Name’ complete with perfect hornsmanship from her band. She then moved on to ‘Preacher Man’ and closed her performance with ‘Reverence’. The presentation was made complete with an impromptu nyahbinghi, with drumming and singing (chanting), bringing a beautiful vibration in closing to an already soul edifying event.
This presentation of Life, Art and Ras Tafari had taken the audience through a beautiful progression to a most “fillfulling” climax. Jah 9 closed with asking persons to love ferociously and confidently: beautiful words to those who had witnessed this supremely epic event. The Dub Treatment was organic edutainment with all three ingredients, live music, arts (spoken word, fashion, dance and art), and herb within the commune-ity led by the Omega "Nrg" (energy) as expressed in Janine Jah 9 Cunningham, amply and sufficiently supported by a most creative and inspired team. It was an event like no other I have ever been and I make no apologies. It set standards which I believe display the modesty, humility in service that are attributes of Jah 9 and they were demonstrated as needed for I ‘commune-ity’ in this time. Much Thanks to the team and to all who contributed to The Dub Treatment. Team BLAK IWA TV was extremely happy to be there, to bring it to the international audience by live stream as I also record in words, the impression it made on me. I give mighty thankhs.
Love, Light and Blissings I send to all till next time.
Who am I?