Success and not greatness is the deity the world serves, but Uprize recording artiste Penco understands that the latter is within his grasp, and he plans to embrace that greatness with both hands.
It is his destiny and he seems bent on doing something unprecedented in the world of reggae music in the 21st century. Ras Penco wants to revive the heartbeat of a generation gone dumb from crippling poverty, broken promises and seemingly endless violence. His songs harkens back to a gentler time, and his breakout hit, Thousand Miles is testament to this, a bonafide reggae classic on which his voice soars masterfully over a compelling track.
The song strong-armed the number one spot on all local reggae charts in 2009, and for a time, temporarily broke the hold that dancehall music, more specifically the Gully-Gaza fixation, had on the minds of Jamaican youth. “Mi just a try put out substantial music, to provide positive food for the people's minds and souls. Reggae music is about motivation and encouragement especially in these difficult times, I just want to provide songs of prayer, of love and unity, you know word, sound and power," he said. The video for his breakout hit, Thousand Miles, peaked at number five on the popular CVM E Strip Hitlist, and at 8 on the TVJ's Fiwi Choice top ten charts.
"The video is still getting crazy rotation on HYPE and RE TV, plus Synergy in Trinidad, MTV Africa, all over the world,” he said. Over the past year, reggae’s latest and most exciting new prospect has performed at concerts in North Carolina, New York, Florida, California and the Cayman Islands. He also delivered a well-received performance at the annual Nevada Freedom Festival that wowed a large reggae audience who were enamoured with his mature performance.
He also did a gig at a club in Holland in 2009. “The last year has taught me the importance of being focused and being disciplined if I am going to make it in the world of reggae. My message is one of love, peace, harmony, tolerance and solution to my problems, and I am going to bring it to the world,” he said.
Ras Penco will be going off on a four week European tour during the summer of 2010 that will see him doing a number of gigs in Germany, Holland, Italy, France and England. “The world needs righteousness, I can feel the cycle coming around again, so I am building up my thing, I am in the studios working on tracks for my debut album, so that I have material to feed the people when I am out on the road,” he said.
Ras Penco followed up the success of Thousand Miles with an artfully penned, polished Be By My Side which was released in late 2009. The song hit the top 20 of the Jamaica Music Countdown charts, peaked at 8 on the Fiwi Choice Top Ten hit, and 2 on the CVM Hitlist video charts. This sophomore effort firmly established him as one of the artistes who will push the soulful horizons of reggae music well into the 21st century. Ras Penco earned two nominations in the annual EME Awards, scoring nods in the Best New Artiste Male and the prestigious Reggae Song of the Year category. "I feel grateful that the fans have nominated Thousand Miles in the Song of the Year category because it is a special song, and whenever I perform it, the people sing it word for word, mi just glad say it ah get some glory…it is a timeless song for anyone who has ever been in love," Penco said. Hailing from Riversdale, St. Catherine, Reinford 'Ras Penco' Woodburn, is one of a new vanguard of upcoming reggae artistes that are ready to take the music into the new millennium. Born February 22, this artiste is living up to his name Mighty Warrior.
Once he left high school, Ras Penco hooked up with the successful recording outfit, Fifth Element Records and put out his first single "Go for Your Gold". After Fifth Element Records closed its doors, Ras Penco dusted himself off and continued to pursue music, dropping songs such as Right Place and So Free. He went to England in 2007 where he spent a few months doing several promotional appearances and media interviews. He then hooked up with Notice Production and Uprize Music who combined to produce his debut album. The album, which will comprise 14 songs written by Ras Penco and assistant writer Wayne Thompson, is expected to be released summer 2010.
Ras Penco has performed on several stage shows and concerts locally and abroad including Reggae Sumfest 2009, Sting 2008, Trelawny Family Fun Day 2009 and 2010, West Kingston Jamboree 2009, and Pepsi Rebel Salute 2010. The year before that, he performed at Longing for during Curefest on October 14, 2007.
He has performed at several other major shows such as All Spice an annual concert held at the Belvedere Sports Complex. Internationally, he has performed at the South of France Reggae Festival as well as Irie Jamboree and California Reggae Pon Di River in the United States.