Black Uhuru reminisce on Reggae's pass Image

by Biko Kennedy

From the Grammy winning album 'Anthem' to a musical catalogue wrapped with hit singles including 'Sponji Reggae', 'Solidarity' and 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner', Black Uhuru's musical journey from the 1970's to now is packed with ups and downs but kept afloat for over 4 decades.

In a recent sit down with Hot Press, during Electric Picnic 2013, the group – currently consisting of Derrick "Duckie" Simpson, Andrew "Bees" Beckford, Kaye Starr with Ras Iqulah - took interviewer Olaf Tyaransen down memory while talking about struggles of yesteryear and their currently status in Reggae's musical soundscape. 

On their recent performance to over 70,000 persons in Zimbabwe: "It was a very positive vibe because you know the amount of atrocities that the people in Zimbabwe have been going through…Duckie [insisted] that we should use the opportunity to leave a positive impression…perform with a positive vibe." 

On the Jamaican musical landscape in 1972: "It was not beats like today but keys and chords…people would [mostly focus on harmonizing to specific keys and chords] but today it's more about the beats. In the 70's there was a lot of groups and we patterned out [vocal style] from the Americans like Smokey Robinson, Chi Lites and in the 80's it was mostly [about] singing."

On Chris Blackwell: "He's a vampire…he's like the Christopher Columbus of Reggae…he took it all. [We] put out 5 platinum albums for Chris White-worse and [we] didn't earn a cent from it and he took those 5 albums and turn them into 42 CDs…so he robbed [our] children of their birth right and all their possessions and stuff like that. We don't call him Chris Blackwell cause he's not well we call him Chris White-worse..."

On Duckie's musical relationship with Bob Marley: "I learnt a lot of things from Bob. I was around him for 2-3 years and we learnt a lot of things from The Wailers; even my harmonizing skill came from the Wailers and the Wailing Souls."

Check out the entire video interview here.

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