I-Tahweh’s Judgement call

I-Tahweh’s Judgement call

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

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Six years ago when singer I-Tahweh’s debut album Overload came out, he had had a lot of roadwork under his belt. The same could not be said for the promotional side.

"Is not like the music wasn’t good, but management wasn’t in place. We were jus’ giving out CDs to people who didn’t care," he said.

A lot of care went into Judgement, his second album, which was released on February 1 by his Tap Nat Music. It will be officially launched tomorrow evening at Nanook in St Andrew.

The set contains 16 songs, including Never Fade Away and Herb Treez which have been released.

Determined not to suffer the disappointments he experienced with Overload, I-Tahweh took a hands-on approach with
Judgement. He wrote all the songs, produced 14 of them, and played guitar and percussion.

"Dis time mi have more freedom an’ spend a lot more time on the music. Some of these songs I write from Mystic days when I living at Marl Road," he said.

‘Mystic’ is Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari, the seminal roots group founded in the 1950s by Count Ossie (Oswald Williams). I-Tahweh toured Europe with them as a bassist for several years.

Spiritual leader Sam Clayton and trombonist Nambo Robinson were in the Mystic ranks when I-Tahweh was a member. He rates that experience as a career highlight.

"It neva normal...feel like yuh in a school every day," he recalled.

Robinson, who died on January 25, played on Judgement. So did bassist Benjy Myaz and guitarist Winston Bo Pee Bowen.

Guinep Tree, a loping one drop number, and One Room Shack, about his time in the Kingston community of Marl Road, are other songs on the album.

I-Tahweh was born Donovan Cunningham in St Ann and grew up in the farming district of Prickly Pole. He started out musically as a guitarist with the High Cymbal band before going on the road with Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari and Sugar Minott.

Babylon Bridge, his first song as a singer, was produced and released by the French reggae band Broussai in 2010. The following year, Overload came out.

I-Tahweh is scheduled to promote s in March at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas. In June he is billed for the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in California.

– Howard Campbell

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