Maroons and Music

Basil Walters

Thursday, June 12, 2014

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WHAT do Clement 'Coxson' Dodd, Arthur 'Duke' Reid and the Blake brothers of Merritone fame have in common, other than music? They have Maroon connections.

Reid and the Blakes have Maroon ancestry, while Dodd attended school in a Maroon community. This was revealed by Maroon colonel Frank Lumsden at Monday evening's launch of the sixth annual Charles Town International Conference and Celebration at Redbones Blues Café in Kingston.

"Zedekiah Dean, the grand- uncle of Winston Blake, was a Maroon colonel in St Thomas; Coxson Dodd went to school at Asafu Yard (home of the Charles Town Maroons in Portland) and Duke Reid was a Maroon from Scotts Hall," Lumsden disclosed.

Monte Blake, who attended the function with older brother Winston, confirmed Lumsden's statement. He said their uncle Zedekiah Dean was indeed a Maroon chief who lived in Rolandsfield,
St Thomas.

This year's five-day conference takes place June 19-23. On the afternoon of June 22, Winston Blake will play music produced by Reid and Dodd who were arch- rivals during the 1960s rock steady craze.

The Merritone 'sound' was founded in St Thomas by the Blakes' father in 1950.

Reid, owner of the Treasure Isle label and Trojan sound system, was born in 1915 in neighbouring Portland. He died in 1975 at age 60.

Dodd is arguably the most influential Jamaican music producer. His Studio One label released countless hit songs and nurtured the careers of numerous artistes including The Wailers, Marcia Griffiths and
Bob Andy.

Dodd died in 2004.

The Maroons were enslaved Africans who rebelled against slavery and plantation owners during the 18th Century. Nanny, a Maroon leader, is one of Jamaica's seven National Heroes.




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