Reggae Royalty: Aswad Live and Direct from Hammersmith


Reggae royalty Aswad has represented the best of Reggae since their founding in 1975.

Greeting Sisters and Brothers, and all readers and viewers of the Black Star News, to our fourth episode of Black Star News' "From the Art Archive."

From the Art Archive features music, poetry, and any artistic expression created by artists of African descent. Because of the strong Pan-African leanings of the Black Star News, we showcase artists who exhibit that sensibility--many of whom will not be household names in the Hollywood and MTV mold.

In the following selection, we look back at a classic 1988 live concert by Reggae band Aswad, at the Hammersmith, in London, England. The concert showcases the versatility of the group (something they have actually received criticism, by some, for) as the seamlessly move from roots and dub Reggae songs to more R&B, Pop, Jazz, and Rock influenced songs. In this concert, they are also backed by their killer horn section featuring Michael "Bammie" Rose and Eddie "Tan Tan" Thornton – trumpet.

This legendary Reggae group, which was formed by in London by the children of Caribbean immigrants, was at their height of popularity as their cover of the popular song "Don't Turn Around", by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren hit #1 on the U.K. charts. The song was on their groundbreaking "Distant Thunder" Album.

Aswad was formed in 1975. The original members were: guitarist/vocalist Brinsley "Chaka B" Forde, drummer/vocalist Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye, lead guitarist/vocalist Donald "Dee" Griffiths, bassist George "Ras" Oban, and keyboardist Courtney "Khaki" Hemmings. By 1976, Hemmings had left the band followed in 1979 by Oban, who wasreplaced by longtime, and still current, bass player Tony "Gad" Robinson.

Today, Aswad still currently tours extensively. In 1996, co-founder Brinsley Forde departed the group on amicable terms. Since then, Aswad has soldiered on behind the efforts of Drummie Zeb and Tony Gad.

For another killer live Aswad concert check out their 25 Live Concert (audio only.)

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