Live Music: Black Uhuru Live at the Pink Garter Theatre
Previewed By: Heather Cosby
Through the various assemblages of members, Black Uhuru has maintained a presence in the Reggae community since their origins in the Waterhouse District of Jamaica in 1972.
Originally comprised of Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, Garth Dennis, and Don Carlos, the band was originally dubbed Uhuru, a Swahili word meaning freedom. Though their first official release was a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Romancing to the Folk Song”, the band is known for their classic backbeats or One Drops, Rockers and Stepper percussion styles found in classic Reggae music. In fact, the legendary duo of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare who pioneered the Rocker beat, worked extensively with the band during the 70’s.
In true musical fashion, the band’s name evolved as its members changed, from Uhuru, to Black Sounds Uhuru, and finally to Black Uhuru in 1977. The band’s colorful history includes a series of disagreements, members leaving to pursue solo careers, new people brought in, original members returning, even a lawsuit over the band’s name.
It was during the 80’s that the band had a lucky strike when the Grammy Awards added a category for Best Reggae Album, which he band took in 1985 with their album, Anthem.
The band’s most recent line-up includes Duckie Simpson, Drew Bees, Kaye Starr, and an impressive band. This tour includes special guest Indubious, who by all accounts, brings a refreshing twist to the classic reggae sounds, inviting soul-swinging vibrations everyone could use, especially on Valentine’s Day.