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Soulful Sundays: Aswad

British reggae band, Aswad, has been around since the mid 70s.

Aswad

Aswad

Take a listen to one of their big hits, Don’t Turn Around.

Happy Sunday!

Soulful Sundays: Judy Mowatt

Though Judy Mowatt is best known as a member of the I-Threes, Bob Marley’s back up vocalists (Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths were the other two), she is also an accomplished songwriter who enjoyed a separate career as a solo recording artist.

Born Judith Veronica Mowatt in Kingston around 1952, Mowatt sang in a church choir and as a teen, was part of a dance group that toured the Caribbean. Later, she was a member of the trio, The Gaylettes, which had a major hit with the song, Silent River. Mowatt continued recording following the break up of the group and wrote several tracks for Bunny Wailer. However, because of contractual disputes, she used a number of different pseudonyms. Two of her tracks were on The Wailers’ Burnin album.

In 1974, Mowatt had a second hit with a cover of I Shall Sing, a song recorded originally by Miriam Makeba. When she and Rita Marley backed up Marcia Griffiths, they hit it off and a new group, the I-Threes, was born. They joined Bob in 1975 and continued to back him up until his death in 1981. During that time, Mowatt continued to record on her own. Her first solo album, Mellow Mood, was released in 1975. Her second, Black Woman, the first album recorded at Marley’s Tuff Gong studios, is thought to be the best album by a female reggae artist.

Mowatt followed up with Only a Woman and Working Wonders then took over producing her own music. She even founding her own label. In 1985, she became the first female to be nominated for a Grammy in the reggae music category for her album Working Wonders.

Formerly a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, a Rastafarian group, Judy Mowatt converted to Christianity in 1990 and now sings Gospel music.

In 1999, the government of Jamaica awarded her an Order of Distinction for her contribution to reggae music.

Here’s Mowatt’s Many are Called.

 

 

Soulful Sundays: Luther Vandross – Happy Father’s Day!

For several weeks now, I’ve been mulling over what to write for Father’s Day and rejecting each idea that surfaced. I was undecided and a little conflicted about what to share — I like to keep private the few memories I have of him.

Sixteen years since he passed, I still think about my father quite a bit. Sometimes I hear an item on the news and wonder what he’d have to say about it.

I have no doubt, for example, that he’d be watching cricket and talking back to the television as if that would help the performance of the current West Indies team.

Ginger Lily, Soulful Sundays: Happy Father's Day

Ginger Lily, Soulful Sundays: Happy Father’s Day

We’d both be older now and moving into different roles. I wonder what our relationship would have been like.  Would he let me fuss over him? Would he still be the same jovial person I remember?

Because of his job, my father traveled extensively around the island and overseas. Sometimes as I drive around now, I wonder what it would have been like having him as my co-pilot. I know it would have been fun to see the country from his perspective and share mine with him. I would have loved, for example, to have him show me his favorite places, the ones that were near to his heart, and meet some of his old friends.

I’d have been especially touched to have him show me the place that molded him into the man he became. From the stories I’ve heard over the years, his childhood home in the cool hills of Clarendon was a lovely place to grow up. Standing in the shade of a breadfruit or a mango tree, I would have loved to hear the stories again. This time, the images I’d created in my mind of where the yam hills were or the spot where the little shop used to be, and the school where he developed his thirst for learning would be replaced by new pictures with smells and sounds built in. I know there’d be at least one person whose house we’d have to stop at so he could say hello. And we wouldn’t have left without finding a bar to have a drink.

So on this Father’s Day, I remember Ken and wish, like Luther Vandross sang in this song, that I could have one more Dance With My Father.

Happy Father’s Day!

Soulful Sundays: Tanya Stephens

Tanya Stephens represents the new crop of female reggae artist, those who are as brash and as confident as any of their male counterparts. Her strong lyrics and well-crafted songs reflect the world of the contemporary woman who’s capable not just of bringing home the bacon but, if needs be, frying it too.

Tanya Stephens

Soulful Sundays: Tanya Stephens

Born Vivienne Tanya Stephens on July 2, 1973 in Kingston, she was named, along with Lady Saw, another Reggae artist, “top female artist in Jamaica” by the Washington Post in 1998.

Give a listen to It’s a Pity, the single that gained her international recognition.