When reggae emerged in the late 60s, it was a cultural revolution not only to Jamaica but globally. Reggae has influenced societies throughout the world, contributing to the development of new counterculture movements principally in Europe, the USA and Africa. By the 1970s, it impacted on Western punk rock/ pop cultures and inspired the first rappers in the USA. Since then it has also influenced singers originating from Africa, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Lucky Dube.
One of the UK’s most highly regarded roots reggae outfit Steel Pulse formed in 1975 in Birmingham, England, specifically the ghetto area of Handsworth. The founding members were schoolmates David Hinds (the primary songwriter as well as the lead singer and guitarist), Basil Gabbidon (guitar), and Ronnie “Stepper” McQueen (bass).
Their 1978 debut, Handsworth Revolution, is a reggae classic, which captured the second-generation British black experience with songs written in Birmingham amid the rise of the far-right National Front. Decorated with beautiful harmonies, fuelled by Steve Nisbett’s directional drumming, displaying their knack of dropping a song to bare essentials, and shifting from melodic to percussive at will, Handsworth Revolution was a triumph. It shipped a quarter of a million copies on release, unheard of for a British reggae act at the time.
Four decades later, their new opus, Mass Manipulation, marks the return of the band as it is their first studio album in 15 years focusing on today, with themes ranging from human trafficking to child prostitution to climate change.
Remember the word ambition. Steel Pulse were not happy to be just a British reggae act. They wanted to be global ambassadors for the informed and vital music they loved. There were changes ahead for them, but they succeeded. A true revolutionary of its kind, Steel Pulse is revered by the younger generation of artists and remains a powerhouse on stages around the globe. Catch them tonight!
Friday • June 28 • 8:30 PM • MTELUS, Montreal, QC
Opening act Jah Cutta. Puchase your tickets, in advance here
Bossa Nova Royalty, Bebel Gilberto is in town for the Jazz Fest. She is also a must see!
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