Classics keep Tibet current

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Senior Observer writer

Monday, December 09, 2013

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THE journeyman performer has helped keep reggae's pulse beating for over 30 years. Artistes like singer Admiral Tibet may not have big hits, but clocking thousands of tour miles have ensured them long careers.

Tibet, 53, returns to the local stage on December 25 for the GT Taylor Christmas Reggae Extravaganza in Black River, St Elizabeth.

The St Mary-born Tibet says this year has been a busy one show-wise, with most of his dates being overseas in Barbados, Japan and the United States.

He is still in demand despite not releasing a new album in seven years and no new songs on the market since 2012.

"I give thanks to God fi some great songs, 'cause anywhere in the world I go dem still want the old tune dem," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Those old tunes include War Between me And The Babylon, Serious Times and Leave People Business Alone which were all recorded over 20 years ago.

Tibet says he is due for new material, but contends that recording profusely has never been a routine for him.

"Mi neva like rush things...Mi really write off vibes," he said.

His overseas itinerary usually comprises festivals in Europe and on the US west coast. He also does club dates in the US, playing in venues that usually accomodates as many as 500 patrons.

Admiral Tibet was born Kennel Allen in the district of Free Hill. Influenced by Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Edi Fitzroy, he got his start in music with the Torpedo sound system, owned by Glen Douglas.

It was Douglas who produced his first song, Too Many Violence, in 1982. Three years later he hit with War Between me And The Babylon for producer Sherman Clachar.

Other hits followed, namely Serious Times and Leave People Business Alone, for Lloyd 'King Jammys' James and Winston Riley, respectively. A remixed version of Serious Times with deejays Shabba Ranks and Ninjaman gave Tibet his biggest hit in 1992.

Though the hits have dried up, promoters continue knocking on Tibet's door. He is philosophical about his career.

"If mi get half slice a cake, mi satisfied, 'cause I coulda get none at all," he said.




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