Black Uhuru

The long-standing Jamaican roots reggae band that was popular from the late 1970s to the early ’90s. Jamaica’s Black Uhuru was the most successful second-generation reggae band. They have maintained their high standards despite many personnel changes over their long history. Black Uhuru was the first reggae group to win a Grammy for Anthem in 1983. They were a progressive and dynamic band during their 1970s and 1980s glory years. The group’s original lineup was led by Derrick “Duckie”, who enjoyed renewed critical acclaim in early ’90s with albums such as Now and Strongg. However, the group split into two warring factions. Simpson won the right to keep the name of the band, which he used into the new millennium for Dynasty. Other than a few collaborations between Simpson, Michael Rose (’80s) and others, the rest of the 2000s saw rumors of Black Uhuru’s long-awaited album, As the World turns, but it wouldn’t be released until 2018. The name of the band, which derives its name from the Swahili term for “freedom”, was created in 1972 by Simpson, Don Carlos and Rudolph “Garth” Dennis in Kingston’s Waterhouse district. They first played under the name Black Sounds Uhuru. Five years later, they changed it to the more familiar form. After the group had difficulty securing a recording contract, Spencer decided to go solo and Dennis joined The Wailing Souls. Simpson, the constant thread through the evolution of Black Uhuru, reorganized the group with Errol Wilson and Michael Rose, the quivery-voiced lead singer. Sly Dunbar, drummer, and Robbie Shakespeare (bassist), would be accompanied by Simpson. They would go on to become Sly Shakespeare, a pioneering production duo.

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