Music

PASSAGE - EARL “WYA” LINDO

2017 Entertainment Highlights

Monday, December 11, 2017

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The Jamaica Observer continues its daily look back at people, events and works that made an impact during 2017.

EARL “WYA” LINDO

ON September 4 came news that Bob Marley's keyboard player Earl “Wya” Lindo died in a London hospital after being admitted hours before. He was 64.

Cause of death was acute cardiac failure and arrhythmia.

Hailed as one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. Lindo started as a session musician while still a student at Excelsior High School in the early 1970s. He launched his recording career at Studio One; some of the songs he played on during that period were Dennis Brown's Money in my Pocket, produced by Derrick Harriott, and Games People Play by Bob Andy, which was produced by Federal Records.

He became an in-demand session player with the Now Generation Band, the house unit at Federal Records. That band included fellow keyboardist Robbie Lyn; the Chung brothers, Mikey and Geoffrey; and drummer Mikey Boo Richards who would also tour with The Wailers.

Lindo recorded and toured with Marley during the 1970s when the singer's career took off internationally. He played on Burnin' and Survival, two of Marley's albums for Island Records.

“He had a signature sound. Just like how you hear Jackie Mittoo, Wya had a different and unique sound. He was the best musician, and mi nah just say that because him dead — every musician can tell you. Bob Marley did love him sound, that's why he had two keyboard players, Tyrone Downie and Wya,” singer Marcia Griffiths told the Jamaica Observer. Griffiths was part of Marley's harmony trio, I Three, up to his death in May 1981.

Lindo last played with The Wailers in March in London when the grouped toured the United Kingdom.

Lennie Chen, The Wailers' manager, remembers Lindo being “on point”.

“Wya was part of that 15-show tour. With no rehearsals, Wya came in and mash up the place. He was excited in coming on the road with us,” Chen told Observer from his Florida base.

A thanksgiving service was held at Ruach City Church in Brixton Hill, London. Interment followed at Lambeth Cemetery in Brixton. Lindo is survived by his wife and children.

— Brian Bonitto

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