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    On October 10, 1977, Joseph Israel was born Joseph Montgomery Fennel in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Fayetteville, Arkansas Joseph’s father opened a live music venue called “Jose’s Restaurant and Club”. Growing up, Joseph could often be found at the club engaging with the many musicians that would perform over the years. Joseph showed a natural calling for music from an early age.

Very much influenced by Bob Marley and the Rastafari way of life, Joseph, at age 14, took his first trip to Jamaica. As a youth, he would travel seven more times to the Island, counseling with Rasta elders such as Ras Bee-Bow of Negril and Bongo Hu-I, the great teacher and herbalist of Montego Bay. As the Rasta Philosophy took root in Joseph, so did long dreadlocks. Israel felt a mystical identity to Jamaica; its people, and their music.

Back home Israel became a leading influence among young musicians and formed a band called “Root Kind”. Joseph was so inspired by creating music that he organized funding through his school to record at a professional studio.

In 2000 Joseph put together a new band, “Kepha”, meaning “The Rock” in Hebrew. They recorded their only release “Redemption Time” live at Crisp Studios in Fayetteville. The 10 track CD featured all original music. The band went on to perform at reggae festivals in the south and Midwest U.S. and shared the stage with reggae legends like Culture, Burning Spear, Itals, and many more.
Out of “Kepha”, the Lion’s of Israel” was created in 2002 and toured regionally throughout the Rocky Mountain States and the West Coast, where they received radio play and an enthusiastic response from the crowds. Lions of Israel paved the way for Joseph’s career and birthed the name of his production company.

In August 2003, Joseph’s career took a fortuitous shift as he performed acoustically to a packed house for superstar Ziggy Marley on his Dragonfly tour. He connected with members of Ziggy’s band who are some of Jamaica’s greatest musicians. He had the honor of working with Christopher Meredith and Ian “Beezy” Coleman. Together they produced some demo tracks to be released on the Lions of Israel label.
In the fall of 2003, Israel connected with Robert Roskind, author of “Rasta Heart” and “Gathering of the Healers”. Lions of Israel were invited to join what became a national tour that Roskind was sponsoring with VP recording artist, Abijah. Joseph performed a fiery set each night; sticking mostly to material he had written himself. The tour was a success for both Israel and AbiJah and was an inspiration for things to come. It was from the last show on this tour that the Lions of Israel Live! CD was produced.

At the end of 2003, Joseph put a new team together to join forces with Mikey General for a national tour promoting the General’s latest VP records release Red, Green and Gold. This tour included female backing vocalists Erica Newell who tours with Ziggy Marley and Rochelle Bradshaw who tours with Luciano. Out of this tour came a united effort by each of the members to produce a new song entitled “Universal Love” which appears on Israel’s soon to be released CD.
Joseph returned to Jamaica to produce what many are calling a “Master Piece” album. The production took place in Kingston at Jamaica’s top studios. These studios included Tuff Gong (Bob Marley’s studio), Big Yard (Shaggy’s studio), Buss Out Studios (Chris Meredith’s studio), and Bobby Digital’s studio. Once again Joseph was recording with Jamaica’s # 1 musicians which included Chris Meredith on Bass, Earl Chinna Smith (Melchezidic the High Priest) on lead guitar, Dean Fraiser on sax, Ian Beezy Coleman on rhythm guitar, Wilburn Squidley Cole on drums, Paul Scooby Smith on keys, Bubbler, and Paul “Wrong Move” Crossdale on piano, also included in this line up are the harmony vocals of Erica Newell and Rochelle Bradshaw. This culmination of musicians, are comprised of Ziggy Marley and Luciano’s bands. They have united together to form the Jerusalem Band for this new CD entitled Gone are the Days. The music and lyrics of this CD reflect Israel’s deep-rooted knowledge of the Bible.

As the CD was being built, excitement could be felt all around. A high point for Joseph was working with Luciano on the hit single “Ruff Times”. This single exploded onto the scene receiving enormous airplay in Jamaica, America, and Europe. In August of 2004, Luciano invited Joseph to join the U.S. tour promoting his new album Serious Times.

After the tour Israel returned to Jamaica to further promote the “Ruff Times” single and his soon to be released album. The official single launch was held December 9th at Hope Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. It was well attended by the press (both journalist and radio dj’s) and a roaring audience.
Word is spreading of this Israelite youth from the U.S. whose music and prophetic message are an inspiration to all. Israel has received many different offers to perform at shows and festivals all over Jamaica. Joseph has performed all over the Island but his biggest appearance was when he joined the stage with Luciano who headlined Rebel Salute (the biggest roots and culture show in Jamaica).
In the summer of 2005, Joseph Israel joined again with Jah Messenjah Productions and the world-famous Luciano for the Jah Words Tour. The tour spanned from coast to coast and touched many reggae hot spots like Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, House of Blues: San Diego, and B.B. King’s Blues Club in N.Y.

Joining Joseph on tour will be Erica Newell. Erica has recorded and toured with Ziggy Marely and the Melody Makers since 1985. She is a major force in the group providing sweet and powerful background vocals. Erica has worked with the legendary I-Three (Bob Marely’s background vocal trio), which includes Judy Mowatt, Rita Marely, and Marcia Griffiths. Erica has also worked with Reggae’s prince, Dennis Brown, Damian Marley, and Mikey General. She has performed live with the internationally acclaimed group, U2 and has done studio sessions with the Fugees and The Black Crowes. Erica is coming out with her debut album this year.



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