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  Arts & Living
A Mad Night with the Professor at J Bar
Reggae Star "Mad Professor" Fascinates Seoul Fans
By Yoav Cerralbo
Editor / Staff Writer
The Mad Professor puts fans in awe at the J bar Saturday night.

The bar was hot and sweaty, the fans were jubilant and vivacious, and the venue was perfect for one of the masters of dub reggae music.

Most of us can't afford a trip to the Caribbean especially from South Korea so the Mad Professor brought dub reggae to Seoul in what was a remarkable and memorable show on Aug. 14, 2004 at the J Bar near Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon.

If you love reggae and missed the show you missed one of the top dub reggae DJs mix eight different samples which showed why he is "masta" of his genre.

But the Mad Professor isn't only about mixing music. He also entertained the fans with his charismatic attitude. During the show he even invited anyone who wanted to sing to step up to the mic while he mixed up a medley of heart pounding sounds. The result was an incredible collaboration that showed why artists such as the Beastie Boys, Jamiroquai, Depeche Mode, Rancid, the Orb, Perry Farrell, and Sade have all fused tunes with him.

For a little over two hours the bar was jammed packed with people from all walks of life and all age groups. They danced and watched in awe this icon do his "thang." By the end of the show everyone was exhausted and walked away content and satisfied.

The Mad Professor introduces his crazy mixes to a full house in Itaewon.

DJ Masta Lee and Sahjah warmed up the roughly 100 fans that came to the show on Saturday night with awesome mixes and chilling vibes. The only thing that was missing from the show was the smell of pot engulfing the venue.

This was the Mad Professor's first trip to the Land of the Morning Calm but he treated it like any other show he has played at anywhere in the world — he gave the fans what they came to see. In a time of over paid icons with little emotion for the music they serve, the Mad Professor was a refreshing thirst quencher for lovers of any music.

Even though the Mad Professor plays what can be called "the new era of reggae music" he is British and helped build the London dub reggae scene from his own living room in the 1980s.

"This concert was amazing" said one of the patrons at the J Bar. "I could have only wished that Lee 'Scratch' Perry were here also. I would have paid top dollar to see that."

Patrick mixing dub reggae music to warm up the crowd while they wait for the Mad Professor at the J Bar in Itaewon Saturday night.

The only problem with the show was that it was only two hours. Personally, I could have continued listening and dancing to his "mad" sounds all night. But, like all great performers say, "always leave them wanting more" and the Mad Professor did exactly that.

Who is Mad Professor?

Mad Professor
Real name: Neal Fraser
Born: in Guyana, West Indies
Genres: Reggae, Dub
Styles: Dub, Jamaica, Carribean
Instruments: Percussion, Drums, Vocals, Producer

A disciple of Lee "Scratch" Perry, Mad Professor was one of the leading producers in dub reggae's second generation. His "Dub Me Crazy" albums helped dub make the transition into the digital age. As his reputation grew, he became a remixer of choice acts, most notably revamping Massive Attack's entire second album under the new title No Protection.

Mad Professor earned his nickname as a preteen, thanks to his intense interest in electronics; he even built his own radio. At age 13, his family moved to London, and around age 20, he started collecting recording equipment: reel-to-reel tape decks, echo and reverb effects, and the like.

The Mad Professor mixes the sounds that have made him famous for his fans at the J Bar Saturday night.

Having built his own mixing board he opened a four-track studio in his living room, calling it Ariwa, a Nigerian word for sound or communication. He began recording bands and vocalists for his own label of the same name.

In 1982 he recorded his first album, Dub Me Crazy, Pt. 1, and quickly followed it with a second volume, the successful Beyond the Realms of Dub. From there, Mad Professor really started to make an impact on the British reggae scene.

He began to collaborate with the highly-influential Lee "Scratch" Perry, original producer of Bob Marley and the Wailers, as well as many other stars. With his high-profile collaborators, Mad Professor started to make a name for himself outside of the reggae community, and soon found himself in demand as a remixer for rock, R&B, and electronica acts.

Over the course of the '90s and into the new millennium, he would remix tracks by Sade, the Orb, the KLF, the Beastie Boys, Jamiroquai, Rancid, Depeche Mode, and Perry Farrell, among others. His best known project however — and the one that truly established his credentials — was 1995's No Protection a completely re-imagined version of trip-hop collective Massive Attack's second album, Protection.

For the past few years Mad Professor has been traveling the world, performing throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and the Pacific Rime including South Korea.



Related Articles
    "Mad Professor" Comes to Seoul in Mid-August

Other Articles by Yoav Cerralbo
    Perfect Honeymoon Found in the Philippines
    A Night of Romantic Rock with Air Supply
    Kangwon Land Is Much More Than a Casino
    The President vs. The Dailies
    South Koreans Worried about the Third Threat


Yoav Cerralbo, who studied journalism at Concordia Univ. in Montreal, Quebec, serves as staff writer/editor of The Seoul Times. The 35-year-old Quebecer also writes for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. about S. Korea. Previously, he worked on a syndicated radio travel show as a correspondent, co-host, and online editor. As a Concordia student he was the host of a comedy radio show which poked fun of everything and anything.

 

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