The Roots Daughters
Ariwa Showcase featuring Sista Aisha, Awa Fall and Redhed QI at Wilkswood Reggae 2023.
The main stage at this year’s festival will feature a unique fusion of some of the best and brightest female voices in UK reggae. A special showcase from Mad Professor’s Ariwa label will see The Roots Daughters making a heartful and defiant impression on the Wilkswood Reggae faithful. Sista Aisha, Awa Fall and Redhead QI will be joined by the Robotiks for some solid live roots.
Sista Aisha (born Pamela Ross in 1962) began singing for her father’s soundsystem at the age of 8, building up a strong local following in her home town of Wolverhampton. At the age of sixteen, she met Lippy, owner of the Locks City sound system, and she sang over the system’s dub plates. In 1979, she successfully auditioned for the band Capital Letters as a backing vocalist. Going solo in 1984 she was soon introduced to Mad Professor and, after a few singles, he produced Aisha’s debut album, High Priestess (1988). A second album, Daughters of Zion appeared in 1993, with further albums in the years that followed including collaborations with Norman Grant of The Twinkle Brothers. She also featured on the Roots Daughters series of albums, alongside artists such as Kofi, Fabian and Sandra Cross.
Aisha first performed in Jamaica in 2000 at the Augustus Pablo Benefit concert, and her debut performance in the United States came in 2004. She performed at the Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry-curated 2003 Meltdown festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall, which saw The Daily Telegraph describe her as “the closest we have to a female Bob Marley”. Sista Aisha has toured internationally with Mad Professor’s Ariwa Posse since 2006 and this will be her second visit to Wilkswood Reggae.
Awa Fall, aka Sister AWA, is an internationally acclaimed roots reggae artist and a particularly gifted singer in all black music genres including soul, rnb, blues and rap. Born in Bergamo, Italy in 1996 to a Senegalese father and an Italian mother, Awa started performing at the early age of fourteen in a guitar and voice musical project together with her auntie Valentina where the two of them performed all over Italy. At the age of eighteen, Awa decided to start her solo project and released her first solo album ‘Inna Dis Ya Iwa’ in 2016. Backed either by The Eazy Skankers, The Smoke Orchestra or with her Women Soldiers project, Awa has toured and performed all the biggest festivals of the continent such as Rototom (Spain), Uprising (Slovakia), Overjam (Slovenia), Africa Festival (Germany) and many many others.
Her second album ‘WOW-Words Of Wisdom’ was released in January 2019 on the Bonnot label and features Kumar Fyah, General Levy and M1 – Dead Prez. Awa’s now finalising the tracks of her upcoming album ‘Fire & Flames’ with collaborations with producers Paolo Baldini and Gaudi and featuring artists such as Brother Culture, Ombre Zion, Bunna and Jah Defender. The release date for Fire & Flames is expected for April 2023.
With 18 years delighting national and international festival and stage audiences, Redhed Qi brings her soulful spiritual style of roots reggae to this year’s main stage. Her roots may be firmly in reggae but Redhed brings a depth and scope to her singing that incorporates soul, funk, jazz and gospel.
An Ariwa staple, Redhed has released a number of tracks for the label, including her own album ‘Rootikal Love’ aka ‘I Am What I Am’, produced by Mad Professor & Joe Ariwa. ‘Love Me of Let Me Be’ was the last official single released to date by Redhed Qi, produced by Mikey Red for Makjam Productions, it boasts and old skool lovers rock flavour with a key ageless message.
Redhed is hugely spiritual: “I am a lover of music full stop. Soul-stirring music of all genres and when I say soul-stirring, I mean music that is actually energetically beneficial for the upliftment, health & wellbeing of the mind, body and soul. If we are what we eat we must be mindful of what we consume on all levels.”