and we are looking at further Asia dates
open dates June 19,20,21,22,23
The Soul2Soul Soundsystem Features Jazzie B DJ Set, Caron Wheeler on Lead Vocalist , on the Mic Mc Chickaboo, and also travelling will be Brendan the Engineer & Tour Manager .
Jazzie and friend Daddae started a sound called Jah Rico when they were just 13, which played mainly reggae music. After a three year apprenticeship as Jah Rico, Soul II Soul was created.
“We came up with the name Soul II Soul not just because of the music we played, but it also stood for Daddae and myself - two souls moving together.”
Soul II Soul had by now achieved a name on a community level, but still needed funding. At age 18 Jazzie worked as a tape operator for Tommy Steele and was one of the few black people in a sometimes hostile music business. “It made me vexed in one way, but it made me see that there are parts of the industry that we’re not taking care of because we always want to be so upfront. It also hardened me.”
With a new sound emerging, Acid House was in full swing by the mid 1980s. “We were very arty as an early sound. We never had conventional speakers, we used pyrotechnics in a dance and we had banners and strobes in a house party!”
Soul II Soul then landed a gig at the now legendary Africa Centre in London’s Covent Garden and it wasn’t long until record labels were chasing them down.
Soul II Soul signed to Virgin in 1986 and enjoyed chart success with ‘Keep On Moving’ and ‘Back To Life’. There were the resident club nights throughout the UK and abroad and Jazzie’s show on London’s Kiss FM.
In 1990 they picked up two Grammy Awards. Jazzie was given the keys to seven cities in the US, including LA and New York. There’s even a Soul II Soul day in America.
Soul II Soul signed to Motown as a label, with a production deal with Epic to follow.
This was alongside the Virgin deal in the UK. After eight years with Virgin, Jazzie signed an artist deal with Island in 1996.
Jazzie B has not only produced a string of successful cuts for Soul II Soul, but he’s also managed to produce and re-mix tracks for the likes of The Fine Young Cannibals, James Brown, Public Enemy, Sinead O’Connor, Ziggy Marley, Nas and Destiny's Child.
Soul II Soul has sold over 6.8 million albums worldwide. Jazzie has accreditation on over 35 million albums in over 100 territories and has appeared at some of the most famous venues in the world including Wembley and New York’s Universal Ample Theatre.
Jazzie now runs a successful independent label called Soul II Soul Recordings out of his studio in London and also does a regular radio show for BBC Radio London.
In May 2008 Jazzie, “the man who gave British black music a soul of its own” won the Ivor Novello Award for inspiration. The same month there was royal recognition, when after thirty years of dedication, Jazzie was awarded an OBE for services to music.
The first sound man to be honoured by Her Majesty the Queen, and probably the most deserved investiture ever.
Caron Wheeler... The voice behind the group Soul II Soul? The band collectively known as the“Funki Dreds”, how they conquered the world with their signature sound and style? The world rocked to the beats of “Back to Life” and “Keep on Movin”? All the while, breathing life into the sound, rang the voice of Caron Wheeler.
Her cool, mellow vocal style and arrangements, flowing, becoming one with a tidal wave of sound. Recall the accapella version of “Back to Life”, this alone bears testament to the strength of Wheeler’s instrument, her voice. Flashback to midnite ravers singing along with her, unknowingly creating maybe the biggest ever British R&B international club classic of all time. Groovin to nothing but her solid tones until a wall of harmonies, heralded the beats return and.... THEY...LOST IT! The single version of the song also won Caron a Grammy for that year’s best R&B vocal performance by a duo or group.
Despite being billed as a featured singer on Soul II Soul’s first album to their audience, Caron was an integral member of the band. With a crown of locks, sitting majestically on her head, she gave vision to the term “Funki Dreds”. Sparse lyrics gave colour to that sound and hinted at deeper mysteries. The album opened with the lines “IT’S OUR TIME, TIME TODAY, THE RIGHT TIME IS HERE TO STAY. STAY IN MY LIFE, MY LIFE ALWAYS, YELLOW IS THE COLOR OF SUNRAYS.”
So whatever happened to Caron Wheeler? If Soul II Soul had only hinted at her potential, then her first solo album “UK Blak” released in 1990, exposed her spirit.
UK Blak chronicled the plight of Caribbean and African peoples in England. It rejoiced in Black pride and strength, as experienced by people of African descent, raised in Britain. When her first single, “Living In The Light” stole across the UK charts rising to no. 14, with the haunting lyric “CHILDREN OF NATURE, FROM ANOTHER CULTURE, HAD TO SURVIVE, LIVING IN THE LIGHT. STOLEN FROM THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, UNTIMELY DEPARTURE, SOMEHOW SURVIVED LIVING IN THE LIGHT”. It signaled a return to music created to soothe the spirit. Wheeler’s music now explored a spiritual arena. It was within that landscape that her second album, “Beach of the War Goddess” was released in 1993, solely on the EMI U.S. label. Despite containing the Billboard R&B Top 10 Radio hit “I Adore You” (Which also appeared on the multi-platinum selling soundtrack “Mo’ Money”) the album never reached the market place. Defying easy categorization, it failed commercially due to a weak marketing campaign, along with being uniquely ahead of its time. Simply put, “Beach”, laid foundations for the advent of Erykah Badu & Lauryn Hill’s multi-million selling debuts almost a decade later.
Though Caron’s solo work was critically acclaimed at the time of its release (often times achieving four out of five stars by many music critics), the media misunderstood, and therefore caused her to reassess her musical career and life focus. She questioned whether there was indeed an audience for this type of music. White audiences were intimidated by her so-called “militancy”, whereas Black fans didn’t seem to care. For a while Caron thought of quitting, but the urge to create and the need for an outlet for her soulful expressions prevailed.
Apparently the world still remembers her as the lead singer of Soul II Soul, regardless of the band having showcased numerous vocalists, they never achieved the same success as when Caron was fronting the group. So, in 94, when the call came from Virgin Records to guest on Soul II Soul’s fifth album, curiosity and hunger to record again drew her back into the past. The initial demos for the album, hinted at recovering the strength of the original releases, but the disappointing final mixes, along with inclusion of constricted string and rhythm arrangements, resulted in Caron exiting the project. Wheeler felt the band should be
producing contemporary beats, not just replicating the old sound. Although the band retained the songs she had co-written with other vocalists recording over her lead vocals, the album as Caron had predicted, was a commercial failure, resulting in the band being unceremoniously dumped by Virgin Records.
The past ten years have been a process of re-evaluation for Wheeler, seeking to reclaim the core of herself and her music. However during this time, Caron’s music could still be heard on successful movie soundtracks including: Barbara Streisand’s, The Prince of Tides, How Stella Got Her Groove Back starring Angela Bassett, Jason’s Lyric starring Jada Pinkett-Smith, The Hip Hop cult classic, Belly, starring Rap stars DMX and Nas, and Black Rain starring Oscar winner Michael Douglas.
Finally, in her own words she says “living has taught me a lot”. “It’s helped me to appreciate what I have and who I am. Reflecting back to the beginning, the BROWN SUGAR, AFRODIZIAK, SOUL II SOUL days, I have realized that I’m a songwriter, a singer and I’ve been blessed to live fully, doing what I love best, MUSIC!” “Presently I’ve decided to bring my music back to those die-hard fans directly; live shows, touching souls.” “Bringing the art full circle is what it’s all about, creating a special platform, serving up dynamic beats without apology or restriction and letting the people decide for themselves.”
Surviving industry changes, growing and re-building through numerous management, record label and personal life situations, it seems Caron is still very much in demand as ever, maybe even more. The songs she sang over a decade ago, can be heard daily around the globe. Maybe the most famous voice of Black British Soul ever!
MC Chickaboo is a female drum and bass DJ Rapper /mixer from London England.
In 2002 her profile got larger when her collaboration on Timo Maas "Shifter" went to number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Music / Club play chart
MC Chickaboo started out in Birmingham in 1992 with GE Real working the big raves such as Fantasia, Dreamscape and Jungle Fever! Whilst working in the Drum&Bass scene Chickaboo MC’d with some of the best DJS around, including DJ Dazee, DJ Craze, Jumpin Jack Frost, DJ Storm, DJ Bailey, Goldie, Afrika Bambaata
Never one to stay settled in her comfort zone, and having the lyrical talent to MC to a spectrum of musical sounds, Chickaboo exploded into the BreakBeat scene and before long was working with top producers and DJs alike including Timo Maas, Rennie Pilgrem and SuperStyle Deluxe to name but a few. She is the front person for Rennie Pilgrem’s band TCR Allstars who have performed at a number of festivals and clubs including Glade, Glastonbury and Fabric. In fact it was with Rennie Pilgrem and BLIM she won the best song “Specify” at Breakspoll 2006
She has written, performed and recorded vocals for many producers including: Timo Maas, Rennie Pilgrem, Prodigy, General Midi, Suda (Faithless_ Bitches Brew, Jeans Jacques Smoothie, Stabilizer, Superstyle Deluxe and BLIM. In 2004 MC Chickaboo started working with the original Funky Dred Jazzie B OBE and regularly tours with the Soul 11 Soul Sound System, which includes festivals, intimate parties, corporate events and the Back II Life festival in Antigua. As well as supporting artists like Alicia Keys’ Mary J Blige and Blondie