Singer Delroy Washington dies in hospital


Singer Delroy Washington dies in hospital

Observer senior writer

Monday, March 30, 2020

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Delroy Washington, the singer/activist and mentor who helped nurture British roots-reggae, died on March 27 in a London hospital.

Reports in the British media differ on the cause of death; one piece said it was due to the coronavirus, while another reported that he succumbed to diabetes.

Washington was reportedly born in Westmoreland in 1952 but migrated with his family to the United Kingdom in the early 1960s. As reggae flourished throughout that country in the 1970s he befriended Bob Marley, who spent a lot of time in the UK.

Among his early songs was Lonely Street, produced by Ephraim “Count Shelly” Barrett, and Give All The Praise to Jah, which was released by Virgin Records. Washington did two albums for Virgin — I Sus in 1976 and Rasta, which came out one year later.

In recent years, Washington, through his Federation of Reggae Music organisation, worked with the Brent Council in London to recognise the borough as reggae's official home in the UK.

Deejay Dennis Alcapone knew Washington since 1974. He recalled his work assisting upcoming bands like Aswad and mentoring troubled youth in his hometown.

“He was an inspiration to di youths dem in Harlesden because he had a great vision. He encouraged them to do the right thing,” Alcapone told the Jamaica Observer.

Washington was instrumental in the placement of Blue Heritage Plaques at homes in the UK where Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Liz Mitchell once lived.

None of the reports of Delroy Washington's death mentioned him having any survivors.

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