Biographyread full story
Beshara were a British reggae band from Moseley, Birmingham, that formed in 1976.The band are most notable for their 1981 Lovers rock hit "Men Cry Too", which reached number 6 in the reggae charts. Although known for their Lovers rock singles, they were also very capable of recording roots reggae. This can be heard in the rare and much sought after recording , "Glory Glory", as well as their cover of The Abyssinians song, "Satta Massagana".
The original line-up of the band included the late Elias Pharoah (Bass) and the late Ray Watts aka Ray Beshara (Rhythm Guitar), who then recruited Errol Nanton (Lead Vocals), Dixie Pinnock (Drums) and Michael Nanton (Keyboards). They were formerly named Cool Dimension and The Kushites until 1979 when the band settled on the name Beshara meaning ‘surprise’ in Arabic and ‘mystical’ in Swahili. Over the years the line-up of the band changed along with the roles of various members but as of 1980 the ever-present nucleus that was widely known as Ray Watts (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Dixie Pinnock (Drums, Backing Vocals), Michael Nanton (Keyboards, Backing Vocals) and Tony Garfield (Vocals, Bass), remained in their new roles.
Throughout the years Beshara gigged extensively all over the UK in the nation's major colleges, universities and clubs attracting multi cultural audiences. During their active years, Beshara never released (although recorded) an album but released many singles and enjoyed success with early recordings such as "Glory Glory", "Men Cry Too", which reached number 6 in the reggae charts and "Shadow of Love", which reached number 11 in the reggae charts. In the late 1980s the band members were headhunted by Ijahman Levi, to back him on his African and European tour, which saw the band members perform abroad for the first time. Beshara received much acclaim when they toured the UK and played alongside UB40, The Abyssinians, Beres Hammond, Simply Red, Dennis Brown, Bad Manners, Johnny Clarke, Leroy Smart, Sugar Minott, and John Holt.
The 80’s also saw them achieve well-earned TV exposure by appearing on the "Rockers Roadshow" hosted by Mikey Dread ,"Black on Black", "Here & Now", "Format V" and "Together". Beshara also appeared as a gospel group in the BBC Drama “Marjorie And The Preacher Man” starring the acclaimed British actor John Rhys-Davies.The BBC then used a Beshara song named “United” as the theme song for the BBC documentary, “Handsworth Boxing”. The song would later be covered by Pato Banton and renamed “United We Stand” while also featuring the vocals of Ray Watts.
In 1992, Beshara were asked by BBC WM to perform a headline concert in Handsworth, Birmingham, which was broadcasted on BBC WM. In the same year, the band decided to part ways only to reunite again in 1998 and they began to record in 1999 what was set to be their debut album. This was also the same year that Beshara shared the stage with Alton Ellis. Sadly Ray Watts passed away in the year 2000.Due to this the remaining members of the band decided they could no longer stay together without him and went their separate ways. In 2001 the ex band members arranged a memorial tribute concert for Ray Watts at the Irish Centre, Birmingham, which led to Beshara performing and sharing the stage with Steel Pulse, along with many other artists from Birmingham, including Skibu, Reggae Revolution, Jeremiah, Birry The Poet and many more. In the same year, Pato Banton’s album "Life is Miracle", which featured a song written by Ray Watts named "United We Stand", received a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album. The song has also featured on the Pato Banton albums, “Universal Love” and “Time Come” (Brazil Version).
2005 saw the ex members reunite to perform a one-off show at the ‘32 years of Lovers rock’ anniversary concert at the Hackney Empire in London.
Past members Steve Morrison and Michael Nanton, who began and crafted their musicianship in Beshara, now make up the integral part of the Reggae Revolution band. The Reggae Revolution have backed and toured the world with artists such as, Sting, Pato Banton, Apache Indian, Musical Youth, Gregory Isaacs and many more. They’ve also written or performed on the Grammy nominated albums "Rage & Fury" and "African Holocaust" by Steel Pulse, as well as "Life Is A Miracle" by Pato Banton.
In 2010, Beshara were featured in a documentary called Made in Birmingham: Reggae, Punk, Bhangra.
A non-performance clip of the band, that originates from the 1979 documentary “Format V”, was featured in the 2011 BBC Four documentary, “Reggae Britannia”.