ATF Band adds humour to Yardie


ATF Band adds humour to Yardie

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

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IT is a dilemma many Jamaicans face at airports abroad — demeaning treatment by customs officers who ask inappropriate and ignorant questions. Those scenes begged for a song and the ATF Band were only glad to write and record it.

Yardie is the name of their humorous take on harassment Jamaicans are subject to as they negotiate Customs. According to Yardie, officials ask everything from, “How come yuh come from the islands an' don't walk with two dozen ackee” to “yuh an' Bolt a family'?

Stephen Lee, drummer for ATF Band, said the song was inspired by personal experience and observing the challenges Jamaicans endure coming through airports.

“It is based on a little bit of both. You know Jamaicans are always harassed when travelling overseas, so we took that and added some humour to it,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The band was formed in 2015 by Herbie Harris who plays keyboards and handles lead vocals. Bassist Lyndon Webb is the other core member of ATF. Self-produced, Yardie is their first song; it was recorded last December and released one month later.

Harris and Lee are former members of Kotch, a band that had success during the 1980s with the song, Jean. Harris is the most experienced of the trio, having toured with Pablo Moses, Freddie McGregor, Maxi Priest, and Third World.

Webb, a trained audio engineer, lived for many years in the United Kingdom and was a member of the Ruff Kutt Band there. He has toured with American reggae band Big Mountain.

Lee, son of Sonic Sounds founder Neville Lee, said Yardie was released after months of rehearsals and shows.

“We were doing a lot of local gigs and working on our sound. Also, we needed to get the right band and studio equipment,” he said. “We played a lot of small local gigs at places like The Haven, Joe Joe's, Calabash,The Oxfordshire and The Paladar.”

Say A Prayer, a cover of the Brotherhood of Man's 1970 classic, is the ATF Band's next song.

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