Reliable Connection

Tafari Music provides the reggae hookup

But, tired of the Southwest, Garrick moved to New York and lived there briefly before relocating to South Florida, where he DJ'd at a couple of contract stations at first. Not happy with his time slot at the second station, he gave up the reggae show and went to work for the ag department six months ago.

Charlton entered the picture in April 1998, when she and Garrick met at the now defunct Bumblebee nightclub in North Lauderdale.

"We met there, and a few days later, we met again on the beach," she says. "And what he spoke to me about was that he needed somebody to organize the business he wanted to start."

They get around: Tanto Garrick and Judith Carlton cruise Fort Lauderdale beach
Preston
They get around: Tanto Garrick and Judith Carlton cruise Fort Lauderdale beach
Inner Circle rides into Atlantis for a show and release party for its latest, Big Tings
Inner Circle rides into Atlantis for a show and release party for its latest, Big Tings

Details

Sunday, August 27. The event is also a record-release party for Inner Circle. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is $22. Call 954-532-3859 or 954-779-2544.
Atlantis, 219 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

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Garrick's initial concept was to fund a reggae radio show of his own by selling advertising, and he and Charlton formed Tafari Productions. When that didn't pan out right away, the pair forged on, intent on promoting a reggae concert while they worked out the radio idea. But a friend suggested they rent a storefront near his, on NW 31st Avenue near Sunrise Boulevard, and open a record shop instead. "We could do our concerts out of that office, as well as sell CDs and T-shirts," says Charlton. "The location wasn't fabulous, but we thought it would be a good starting place for us, and so in October of '98 we opened our record store, Tafari Music and Culture."

Using Garrick's contacts, they pulled off a Mystic Revealers concert at Atlantis in July of 1999 and a Yellowman concert in September of that year.

"It's international artists that we're working with," says Charlton. "And the good working relationship that Tanto has with these bands, it's remarkable. They will work one-on-one with him rather than go through their booking agents."

"They trust me," Garrick interjects.

"Over the years he has provided everything for them," Charlton continues. "He has provided rooms and food, and they go to his house and cook and wash their clothes. They are like family. He treats them really well, so they come back to him.

"But after the Yellowman show," she recalls, "we decided we were putting more money into the store than what we were making, and that maybe what we should do was just close it and continue with our concerts."

"What our goal is," she reiterates, "is for our concerts to provide us the funding to open a store closer to the beach."

They've been able to bring big names like Maxi Priest and Bunny Wailer to Atlantis, although to date the only show on which they've turned a profit was Steel Pulse.

Says Garrick: "What's keeping us alive right now, it's not the money. It's the total togetherness and friendship that we have with these musicians and bands that come through, you know? A lot of them come through, and we can't pay them, but because of that friendship and that trust that they have in me, we can do it.

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