Lord Tanamo dies in Canada

Saturday, April 23, 2016

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LORD Tanamo, a former member of the legendary Skatalites band, died Tuesday in Toronto, Canada. He was 82.


The singer/percussionist, who was born Joseph Abraham Gordon, combined ska with mento and calypso on several of his songs including Japanese Invasion. He led the Skatalites on songs like Come Down and I’m In The Mood For Ska.


Musicologist Kingsley Goodison remembers Lord Tanamo as a very influential member of the Skatalites.


"In addition to having his own songs, he was a percussionist as well as a back-up vocalist. He acted as emcee for the band and introduced the songs before they were played," Goodison told the Jamaica Observer.


Raised in Denham Town, West Kingston, Lord Tanamo was strongly influenced by the legendary Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Kitchener, who lived in Jamaica during the 1940s.


At the dawn of the 1970s, when calypso and mento waned among Jamaican artistes, he kept the beat alive with songs like Rainy Night In Georgia, originally done by Tony Joe White.


He migrated to Canada during the mid-1970s but continued to record singles and albums for producers in Jamaica, most notably Bunny Lee and Sonia Pottinger.


"He left and went to Canada with keyboardist Jackie Mittoo. They performed together and became a big hit there," Goodison added.


In 2008, Lord Tanamo suffered a stroke that left him unable to talk.


At press time, the Sunday
Observer had not heard of funeral arrangements.

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