Roni O'Brien

Since discovering soul music at the tender age of 13 Roni has achieved most if not all of her soul bucket list.

While all her friends were dancing to Madness she was gripped by The Players Association, Gonzalez and then got 'Swingin' with Light of the World!

Her Soul sessions didn't remain a secret for long, her lunchtimes became popular amongst friends where they all discovered the latest sounds in Soul and Jazz-funk. She bought her first 7"inch, Geraldine Hunt -'Can't fake the feeling' and gained instant credibility with her very soulful English teacher.

She by chance discovered a Radio Station, the signal was weak...and if she hadn't lived on a hill, would never have found it. Radio Horizon and then JFM....quickly became the reason her homework wasn't being done!

At 15 she went to her first concert Maze at the Hammersmith Odeon, which she attended with her English teacher Miss Burton with her wedge haircut and mark III Cortina the teacher bought Roni’s first alcoholic drink at the bar!

Roni copied the write up in ‘Blues and soul’ about the concert and her teacher wrote “straight out of Blues and Soul” in red letters on the bottom!

At college she quickly took over the role of organising events by hiring clubs like Flicks and the Goldmine and she knew the importance of having the right DJs for the night. Tom Holland, Chris Hill and Robbie Vincent became the icons of her Tribe ‘The Jazzers Incognito’. They travelled the country looking for the best sounds around. Being from Essex meant they never had to go too far!

She discovered the Caister Soul Weekender, the Lacy Lady and then the Special Branch in Tooley Street.

After leaving college she became involved with the fashion industry and it became more and more of a part of her role to organise fashion shows, presentations and provide music for Italian and French Designers, Salvatore Ferragamo, Charles Jourdan and Christian Dior.
The music never left her and she took over organising the music in all the venues that she worked.

Through this she got the opportunity to present a Radio Show on Solar Radio.
Since 2003 she has presented on Europe’s premier Soul station Sky 0129 every Wednesday at 8pm.
Roni has now played alongside all of her DJ idols but one Robbie Vincent remains elusive. Her gigs have included Ronnie Scotts, Soul Heaven, Henrys, Club, The Woodville Halls, Chelmer Soul, White Hart & The Squire.

The first time she played at Soul Heaven, she was given the Tom Holland treatment!
He accidentally whacked her round the head with her CD case and gave her a concussion minutes before doing her set.

We have since been told this is a soul Mafia initiation ceremony. She survived and played her first main room set at the Caister 2005 New Years Eve!

Since this she has survived her ‘date with destiny’ Brian Rix’s very own initiation ceremony…….. Roni said “It was a surprise to find myself sharing a bed with a chicken leg however I will remain a vegetarian”. Luckily only Chicken leg and not a Horses head! Which I have heard is a Rixy speciality!

If you can’t wait for the next Caister for some great tunes then listen to Roni’s Show
‘Insatiable Soul’ on –Sky 0129 Every Wednesday at 8pm.

Roni’s Top Tunes
A Touch Of Class-I love you pretty baby
McCrary's-Love on a summer night
Harold Melvin-Prayin’
George Duke-I want you for myself
Manu Dibango-Soul Makossa
Lonnie Smith-Funk Reaction
Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson-I need it
Johnny ‘Hammond’ Smith-Fantasy
B.B.Baker and the Chocolate Co.-Snow blower
Jimmy Smith-You can’t hide love
Jimmy Messina-Do you wanna dance
Al Hudson-Spread love
Harold Melvin-The Love I Lost
The Equals-Funky like a train

Roni’s Top Films

Carry on screaming
The life of Brian
Devils advocate
The green mile
Whatever happened to Baby Jane
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Keeping Mum