Reggae, Mon

Caribbean Posse toasts island music

Entertainment Writer

Forgive the members of Caribbean Posse if they feel they've had too much wine -- "Red Red Wine." The reggae-pop band has been a fixture on the local music scene since the early 1990s, serving many a "glass" of that UB40 hit.

Caribbean Posse includes keyboardist and singer Ken-e Williams, who hails from the island of St. Vincent in the British West Indies; percussionist Tommy Orta, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico; bassist Julius "Ooze" Cooper, a native of Trinidad and Tobago; guitarist/singer Ronnie Rogers, from Washington, D.C.; and singer Suzanne Doane, from Indiana.

This weekend, the quintet headlines the fifth annual Reggae Fest at Inlet Harbor Marina & Restaurant in Ponce Inlet.

And CP continues its residency as the house band at the Ocean Deck Restaurant and Beach Club, 127 S. Ocean Ave., Daytona Beach. Hear them rock and reggae the club at 9:30 p.m. today through Sunday and Wednesday through Aug. 20.

The band recently talked at the Ocean Deck about reggae, a "nookie" song and the one person, alive or from history, they'd like to see at a Posse gig.

Q. What's in Caribbean Posse's repertoire?

WILLIAMS: We do all the old Bob Marley like "Three Little Birds," "Jamming," "One Love." New reggae -- Sean Paul's "Never Gonna Be the Same" and "Temperature." A lot of Third World, too, like "1865 (96 Degrees in the Shade)," and, of course, you have to do "Red Red Wine" (entire band groans and laughs).

We do some hip-hop like (OutKast's) "The Way You Move," Latin stuff, the new soca guys (soca is a Caribbean fusion of soul and calypso), and reggaeton (a blend of reggae, hip hop and rap).

Q. Reggae can be socially, politically and spiritually oriented. Do you perform some of the more "serious" songs?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, and we do "War." We've been finding the audience well-educated in reggae. They go on the Internet and pull things up. They've been asking and we're like, "Where did you hear that?" (laughs). One guy asked for "Sun Is Shining" by Bob Marley. The Internet is educating them.

Q. Are the messages connecting?

(Doane shakes her head no.)

WILLIAMS: I think maybe 10 percent of them get the message.

Q. What party song always gets the crowd excited?

DOANE: "Crazy." That's the new Gnarls Barkley.

ROGERS: "Nookie Tonight" (a soca song by Jamesy P), but that has a Mr. Cooper twist on it (laughs at bassist Cooper).

COOPER: "Red Red Wine" -- I'm kidding.

Q. If you could pick one person, living or from history, to attend a CP gig, who would each of you choose?

DOANE: Stevie Wonder. I love him. I'd want him to hear me sing.

ORTA: My friend Giovanni Hidalgo, a congo player. We haven't crossed paths (in a while). I would like him to see the band and jam, too.

COOPER: George Ngwai. He is the manager of one of the bands I played with. I'd like for him to see where I've taken my career since I've left Trinidad.

ROGERS: James Brown. He's become a good friend of mine. One of my best friends, Robert Mousey Thompson, has been with him for about 17 years as his lead drummer.

I'd like to see the Godfather roll up here. He probably wouldn't stay long -- just to have him check it out.

WILLIAMS: My friend Elvis Rose. He played drums when we were growing up together. He had to get into college . . . so he spent two months learning guitar and got a guitar scholarship to the University of Texas.

He went to Mexico, learned to speak Spanish and he's a professor at one of the universities there. Now he also plays vibes.

Q. What is one of the most memorable/crazy times CP has had while performing?

ORTA: We played a wedding. The father of the groom, he tells us we could eat. So we were eating. His wife (later) tells us we have to pay for the food (entire band laughs). "You have to pay for these steaks and stuff." It's funny 'cause you always get to eat at weddings. She was serious.

If You Go

WHAT/WHO: Fifth Annual Reggae Fest featuring reggae-pop band Caribbean Posse, entertainer Keith Poulsen, limbo and Hula Hoop contests, island food, face painting and other activities.

WHEN: 11a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Caribbean Posse performs noon to 5 p.m. both days.

WHERE: Inlet Harbor Marina & Restaurant, 133 Inlet Harbor Road, Ponce Inlet.


INFORMATION: (386) 767-5590.