Journey continues - Addis Pablo keeps his father's legacy alive

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer

Thursday, July 05, 2012

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WHENEVER instrumentalist Addis Pablo performs, he says he feels the spirit of his father Augustus Pablo on stage. That celestial connection will be renewed tomorrow with a tribute to the dub visionary at the Wickie Wackie Beach in St Thomas.

The younger Pablo leads a "gathering of friends" in an event recalling the work of his father who died in May, 1999 at age 44. On Tuesday, he spoke with the Jamaica Observer about the importance of preserving the Augustus Pablo legacy.

"He's the one who did everything for me, so the fact that he's not physically here I have to do my part promoting him and playing his music," said the 22-year-old.

The show, which is scheduled to start at 3:00 pm, features musicians and artistes Pablo worked with for his Rockers International label. Among them guitarist Earl 'Chinna' Smith, who played on most of his productions; singers Spliffy Dan, Donovan Joseph and Jesse Royal.

Augustus Pablo (real name Horace Swaby) recorded some of the most creative sounds in reggae including the song Java and the classic albums, King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown and East of The River Nile.

The son of respected accountants, Pablo's talent was evident from his years as a student at Kingston College (KC). While still in school, he recorded as a keyboardist/melodica player for producers Herman Chin-Loy, Lee 'Scratch' Perry and KC schoolmate Gussie Clarke.

In 1971 he got the big break with the mystic instrumental Java, co-produced by Clive Chin, another KC 'old boy' and son of producer Vincent 'Randy' Chin. The following year, Pablo and his brother Garth formed the Rockers label which would produce a number of budding roots artistes like Jacob Miller, Hugh Mundell, Junior Reid and Yami Bolo.

Pablo developed a loyal fan base in Europe and Japan. Addis says the demand for his father's catalogue in those areas remain strong, but recently a fresh demographic has discovered his music.

"It's a resurgence as far as a younger generation of people, like college age students (in the United States) who might hear a band play his music and find out about him," he explained. "There are new markets opening up, like in South America."

A past student of Meadowbrook High School, Addis has been recording since his teens. His best known production is an update of Pablo's rocking Cassava Piece beat which he did with Rory of Stone Love.

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