Delbert “Ngoni” McKay

DELBERT “Ngoni” McKay, singer/founding member of the British-based reggae group Misty in Roots, died at his West Midlands home on October 1. He was 67.

His wife, Sham McKay said the singer was ailing for some time and confirmed his passing.

“He wasn't well... He was diagnosed with lung cancer last year November and, in spite of that, we tried to live a normal life. Things, however, took a turn for the worst. He went into cardiac arrest,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

McKay, who formally tied the knot with her husband on September 21, remembers him as a loving and kind person.

“He was family-oriented. He never deal wid nuh war; jus' peace, love, and unity. He was a hard-core Rastaman, who tried to do what was right. We went to Ethiopia and got our blessings, so that kept us going for a long time,” she said.

Hailing from Braeton in St Catherine, McKay migrated to the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. He was one of the vocalists for Misty in Roots, a roots-reggae band formed in Southall, London, in the mid-1970s. The group's first album was 1979's Live at the Counter Eurovision, a record full of Rastafarian songs which helped to bring roots reggae to a white audience.

During his its early stage, the band was a collective with five lead singers and various musicians, though by the time of the second album, the band had slimmed down to just three members. Along with Steel Pulse, Aswad, Matumbi, Cimarons and Black Slate, Misty in Roots were one of the most popular British reggae bands of the late 1970s.

Misty in Roots's albums include: Misty Over Sweden (1979); Wise and Foolish (1981); Earth (1983); and Musi-O-Tunya (1985).

According to McKay, her husband had stepped away from the group for awhile.

“His favourite songs were Food Clothes and Shelter, Jah Protect I & I, Poor and Needy, Save A Thought for the Children,” she said.

In addition to his wife Sham, Delbert McKay is survived by six children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Delbert “Ngoni” McKay and his wife, Sham, on their wedding dayon September 21, 2021.
BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto & Entertainment bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy