The legendary “Bad Boys” (Cops TV Show soundtrack) of Reggae, Inner Circle; Junior Marvin, former lead guitarist/backup singer of Bob Marley & The Wailers and former lead singer of The Wailers; Billy Branch, a beacon of Chicago Blues and cultural activist, and “Da Prince Ah Belize,” Lova Boy are set to perform at the 21st Annual African/Caribbean International Festival of Life (IFOL) on, Saturday, July 6th in Union Park, 1501 West Randolph Street in downtown Chicago’s West loop.
For over 30 years, Inner Circle has given us numerous hits with their catchy pop-oriented Jamaican beats. Best known for their Grammy winning album “Bad Boys” – made famous as the introduction to the television show “Cops” and action film “Bad Boys” starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence – the group has transcended the traditional reggae genre and drawn appeal from fans all over the globe. Early in their career they were faced with tribulation when the untimely death of lead vocalist Jacob Miller forced the group into hiatus for a number of years. Yet they reemerged, attaining new levels of international success – performing at many of the world’s largest music festivals and headlining along icons such as Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, the Black Crows, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Carlos Santana, and many more.
Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues are a Chicago based blues band that are working hard to define the sound of blues for future generations. Billy picked up a harmonica at the age of ten and by the age of 25 had become famous after he beat a Chicago legend in a harmonica battle at the Green Bunny Club. He worked with the likes of Willie Dixon before forming his own band with musicians who were the sons of famous blues artists (S.O.B.s). Billy has recorded and performed with some of the Blues greats – Muddy Waters, Big Walter Horton, Son Seals, Lonnie Brooks, Koko Taylor, Johnny Winter, and Albert King. Billy is also passing on the blues tradition to a new generation through his Blues in the Schools program. He is a dedicated blues educator and has taught in the Chicago school system for over twenty years.
Junior Marvin has made an indelible mark in the music industry as a singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist in Jamaica, America, and England. He has worked alongside Blues great T-Bone Walker and R&B Icons, Ike & Tina Turner. In 1977 Junior was invited to join Bob Marley & The Wailers …the rest is history. “Exodus” was Junior Marvin’s first album with Marley and The Wailers and it was voted “Best Album of the 20th Century” by Time Magazine. He is on all Bob Marley and The Wailers Albums from that time. Since Bob’s passing, in 1981, Junior Marvin has released four CDs with The Wailers: “ID,” “Majestic Warriors,” “Jah Message,” and “My Friends” (Live). Junior can also be found on CDs with Burning Spear, Alpha Blondy, Bunny Wailer, Israel Vibrations, Culture, The Meditations, Beres Hammond, The Congos, O.A.R., and SOJA.
Lova Boy is an up and coming Belizean Punta Rock artist. Punta Rock is a form of the traditional Punta rhythm of the Garifuna people of Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala. In 2011, he released his first album Grand Opening with the hit song “Tornado.” With his career just beginning to take off, Lova Boy was tapped to work on projects with the Black Eyed Peas, Pras (The Fugees), and rapper and producer Warren G. He credits his versatility as an artist, that he can go effortlessly from Punta Rock, to reggae, all mixed in with a little bit of hip-hop. He was named ‘Belize Artist of the Year 2012.’