THE high esteem in which the Rockfort community in east Kingston is held for its musical heritage was celebrated at the launch of the Uprising Roots' debut album Skyfiya at the Bob Marley Museum on Monday evening.
Director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, Herbie Miller highlighted the musical tradition of that Corporate Area community, which has spawned a slew of pre-eminent local musicians including the Gaynair brothers, 'Bra' (Wilton) and Bobby, Tommy McCook, Dizzy Johnny Moore and Don Drummond.
Stressing the musical worth of that end of the city, he recalled that the incubator was the Alpha Boys School and the finishing school was the legendary Count Ossie's Drummers from Warieka Hills, which would later become Mystic Revelation of Rastafari.
"Uprising Roots is now extending that tradition, not only because freedom of expression has become so liberal, but also because technology has developed to the point where new bands without great financial backing can establish their own recording facility and record their own music," Miller added before declaring, "It is with that confidence that I declare Uprising Roots future masters of Jamaica's rich musical heritage. I consider them a first-rate band that will continue to uplift the reputation of East Kingston as an incubator, college and finishing institution for more generations of some of Jamaica's best musical ambassadors."
A lot of love and positive energies marked the unveiling of Skyfiya. Rastafari queen mother, Mama Gloria Simms lamented, "It reach the point where we need to rise again within the music to a new dimension," before conducting the African ritual of offering libation using a dried coconut.
"Producing really good organic music, that has a number of benefits. Meaning, that outside of the sound that it gives, it also shows to those communities that the creative industry is also real. Is $749 billions that is the value of the industry, which has grown the most during the recession and has gained about 18 per cent from the year 2000. There is no industry that Jamaica engages in that brings in that kind of revenue. And the most innovative and creative youths out there are the youths from those communities," UWI lecturer Dr Kadamawe K'nife attested.
Uprising Roots' drummer/lead vocalist Rashawn 'Kush' McAnuff's roots run even deeper. He is the son of reggae veteran Winston 'Electric Dread' McAnuff with whom he started his career by touring with him.
On bass is Ruel Ashbourne, aka Pot a Rice, who at an early age first learned to play the drum, later moving on to the guitar, keyboard and eventually the bass. On keyboard is dub poet Lloyd 'Akinsanya' Palmer; Joseph Sutherland better known as Junior, is the percussionist and veteran guitarist Winston 'Bopee' Bowen formerly of the 809 Band, completes the quartet.
The Uprising Roots aggregation was conceived on New Year's Day, 2006, in a yard where the core members met and began jamming together. Skyfiya is produced by veteran producer Paul 'Computer Paul' Henton. The CD contains the tracks, King Rastafari, Blessings, Brightest Light, Steamers, Know Yourself, Most Royal, Marcus Garvey, Who Caan Hear, Positive, Shining So Bright, Krash Like Lightening, Brighter Days and of course, the title track — Skyfiya.