Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Reggae Will Rule the Toon

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Reggae Will Rule the Toon

Article excerpt

Newcastle hosts the Boss Sounds Reggae Festival at Northumbria University next month ( the biggest reggae event in the UK and arguably a line-up which would be hard to better anywhere in the world.

The organisers of this Jamaican jamboree, Newcastle's Jumpin' Hot Club and Trojan Records, aim to illustrate the history of reggae music with leading lights from several of the components - ska, blue-beat, dub, etc.

Boss Sounds forms part of the Newcastle-Gateshead world-class festivals and events programme; booked to appear are Jimmy Cliff, Prince Buster, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Horace Andy, Linton Kwesi Johnson, plus Dennis Bovell's Dub Band and DJ Don Letts.

I spoke to Jimmy Cliff, on the French leg of his European tour this week, and asked if he imagined at the time of his early 1960s records, such I'm Sorry, Hurricane Hattie and King Of Kings, it would lead to a 40-odd-year career:

"The way I looked at my career was, I first wanted to be an actor. That's what I loved. I still think I'm a better actor than singer!

"I've not done enough acting for people to really see, but both acting and singing go hand in hand for me. My big love is still acting but I went into this business knowing singing was what I wanted to do."

Although he had universal success with Cat Stevens' Wild World it was his original songs such as Wonderful World, Beautiful People, You Can Get It If You Really Want and Many Rivers to Cross that confirmed his international status.

His songs have been covered, apart from countless reggae acts, by a diverse group of artists, but Cliff is most impressed by the praise he received from Miles Davis and Bob Dylan, two artists he places firmly in his own personal top 10.

He is in no doubt about reggae's place in history: "Reggae was a major force in Africa. We helped break the apartheid system, we helped to give Africa political liberation. …

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