Music

Tama keeps beat alive

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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Having developed his skills working with stalwarts of British reggae, Errol Melbourne wants to now pass his knowledge on to a new generation of musicians. He has the opportunity to do that through Learn Music Mondays, a weekly workshop.

Melbourne, a drummer known in music circles as Tama, is head tutor at Learn Music Mondays, which is located in Dudley, a town in the British Midlands. It offers training sessions for various instruments as well as audio and technical engineering.

“It was an idea that I had for a while, so when the opportunity presented itself I wasted no time in getting it started. Through the efforts of Dannet Gittens, we have secured funding by DMBC Innovation Fund for the next three years. May blessings be bestowed upon her as we work to build a better place in society for our youths,” Melbourne told the Jamaica Observer.

DMBC (Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council) Innovation Fund provides financial assistance for different initiatives, including the arts, the disabled and education.

Melbourne said his spouse, Natasha Gordon, came up with the name Learn Music Mondays. “We have had a mixture of people from all races, and it is very important to include everyone,” Melbourne said, he is keen to reach out to children and grandchildren of West Indian descent in the Midlands, where he was born.

“There are quite a few youths from the Jamaican community who have somehow lost touch with the authenticity when it comes to reggae and I want very much to change this dilemma,” he stated.

Melbourne, whose parents are Jamaican, moved to Jamaica with his grandparents in the early 1970s and lived in Kingston before returning to the United Kingdom in 1977.

Finding a mentor in influential musician/producer Dennis Bovell, Melbourne joined his band Matumbi in 1979 and established himself as a live and session drummer in the UK during the 1980s. He has worked with numerous reggae artistes including Michael “Mikey Dread” Campbell, Horace Andy, I Roy, Prince Lincoln and The Royal Rasses, Barry Brown, Sugar Minott, Eek-A-Mouse, Lutan Fyah, Sizzla, Capleton and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Melbourne operates Tama Music Productions in Dudley, which has produced songs by British gospel acts Peter Spence, Jamaican dub poet Robbie Salmon, and 12-year-old Zion, a singjay from August Town.

He also counsels persons suffering from drug abuse.

Through Learn Music Mondays, he hopes to present his students with the break music gave him.

“It truly is an amazing feeling to be part of this kind of project, let alone to be running the show. The aim and intention of this project is to get the youths from age 16 and over off the streets and out of trouble, which is of paramount importance,” Melbourne said.


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