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Center Stage with Reggae Icons Honors Clinton Fearon

January 2021

Cali Roots and Rootfire are honored to announce that their collaborative Center Stage with Reggae Icons  project will feature reggae pioneer, Clinton Fearon, who is celebrating his 70th birthday on Wednesday, January 13th and will boast a month-long exploration of his impressive career.

Clinton Fearon has been a composer, songwriter, singer and player of instruments since his early teens. With twelve albums and over five decades under his belt, his music has paved the way for future generations. Each song he has written is a strong message coming from the heart of a man who is dedicating his life to help a better world to come. With chiselled music and poetic lyrics, he opens reggae to a wider audience who simply loves his beautiful songs.

Born in Jamaica, Clinton became the bassist, vocalist and lyricist of the mythic Gladiators at the age of 19. He was also a session musician for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s at Black Ark in the 70s, two of the main producers on the island at this time. There Clinton composed some everlasting bass lines for well-known artists like Yabby You, Jimmy Riley, Max Romeo, Junior Byles and many others.

Read more on Clinton Fearon with Rootfire now and stay tuned for our month-long exploration of his history and impact on modern reggae music. 

Cali Roots, the largest Reggae music festival in the US, together with Rootfire, a cooperative label services program designed to provide interest-free loans for the production and marketing of recorded music, are committed to amplifying legendary Reggae artists via Center Stage with Reggae Icons.  Through this project they will take a deep dive into the featured musicians’ catalogs and careers with artist interviews, historic performances, streaming music, recommended films and books, and hosted panel discussions. The goal of this project is to serve as a bridge through music history education, to honor legendary Reggae art and share the artists’ stories with American fans. Each Reggae artist will be illuminated through a variety of platforms such as Rootfire’s Reggae Podclash, Sirius XM’s The Joint with Dan Sheehan, artist-curated playlists and more.  

The importance of launching Center Stage with Reggae Icons speaks to the current times. Since its inception, Reggae music has been deeply rooted in revolutionary protests for the rights of oppressed communities within Jamaica and a call for liberation, led by Rastafarian beliefs. In the spirit of Reggae music and the Movement for Black Lives, Cali Roots announced a pledge on social media in support of BIPOC creators. Center Stage with Reggae Icons is an activation of their pledge point, to share and acknowledge the history of reggae music that is rooted in Jamaica and to engage veteran reggae artists with the broader audiences their platforms reach. 

Cali Roots and Rootfire are committed to being active, long term, loud allies to oppressed groups, using their platforms to spread awareness, practicing anti-racism, and encouraging their community to do the same.

Continue reading…

Rich Man Poor Man – The Clinton Fearon Story

The Three Periods of Clinton Fearon’s Journey: Center Stage With Reggae Icons

November 12, 2020

Cali Roots and Rootfire are honored to announce that their collaborative Center Stage with Reggae Icons  project will next feature Sister Carol, a Grammy Nominated singer, DJ, songwriter, actress, educator and humanitarian, whose impressive career has spanned nearly four decades. 

One of the dancehall era’s most successful female DJs, Sister Carol was something like reggae’s answer to Queen Latifah: a strong, positive feminist voice who was inspired by her faith and never resorted to sexual posturing to win an audience. Leaning heavily on socially conscious material, Sister Carol delivered uplifting and cautionary messages drawn from her Rastafarian principles, while always urging respect for women. She was more of a singjay than a full-time toaster, capable of melodic vocals as well as solid rhymes

Sister Carol was born Carol East in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1959, and grew up in the city’s Denham Town ghetto. Her father worked in the music industry as a radio engineer, and in 1973, he moved the family to Brooklyn in search of work. Carol got involved in New York’s thriving Jamaican music scene, and tried her hand at singing; however, music wasn’t a career prospect yet, as Carol earned a degree in education from CCNY and gave birth to the first of four children in 1981. Not long before the latter event, she met Jamaican DJ Brigadier Jerry, who inspired her to try her hand at dancehall-style DJ chatting rather than singing. She developed rapidly under Jerry‘s mentorship, winning talent competitions in both New York and Jamaica, and toured as an opening act for the Meditations. Her first album, Liberation for Africa, was released in limited quantities on a small label the following year.

Read more in her 2017 interview with Rootfire now and stay tuned for our month-long exploration of her history and impact on modern reggae music. (


August 27, 2020

In recognition and acknowledgement of veteran Reggae artists’ careers, their creation of Reggae music, and role in music history, California Roots Festival and Rootfire are excited to announce a new collaborative project, Center Stage with Reggae Icons. Cali Roots and Rootfire are opening their platforms in service as a resource to living legendary Reggae artists.  

Center Stage with Reggae Icons will kick-off in September featuring Toots Hibbert of Toots and The Maytals!

We pledge to:

  1. LISTEN to oppressed communities and what they are asking for from allies.
  2. RECOGNIZE the Indigenous lands we live and work upon. Engage local leaders to inform appropriate cultural protocols and inclusivity.
  3. ACKNOWLEDGE the history of Reggae music is rooted in Jamaica and ENGAGE Jamaican artists, creatives and leaders to guide us in the best way to share this history with our Community.
  4. CREATE a council of partners dedicated to discussing & implementing actionable items to bring continuing awareness & change.
  5. DONATE money and time to anti-oppression organizations.
  6. COLLABORATE with nonprofit partners who are dedicated to making changes.
  7. COMMUNICATE actionable ways our community can participate in creating change.
  8. CHOOSE to work with staff, volunteers, vendors, sponsors, and other business partners whose values and commitments align with ours.
  9. ENCOURAGE our community to vote for people who will stand for the policy changes needed to protect the oppressed.
  10. CONTINUE to ENGAGE & INCLUDE our creative community in shaping events that serve the above goals.

If you would like to participate in the Center Stage with Reggae Icons project, please email rootfire(at)rootfire(dot)net. Examples of ways you can contribute: video shout outs, written memories of seeing Toots in concert or hearing his music for the first time, a playlist of your favorite songs from Toots and The Maytals, a photo of you with the man himself…all ides are welcome. Our goal is to rally the community and honor his legacy. Thank you for being here with us.


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Reid was born and raised in Sacramento, CA, and first connected with Rootfire in 2011 while living and working in New Zealand with The Black Seeds worldwide team. Before that he was the drummer of a folk-rock group called 2Me. Today he manages some of our favorite bands and oversees all operations of Rootfire.

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