Nyahbinghi celebrations for 'Bongo Joe'
Eric "Bongo Joe" McDonald (centre) with his daughter Ruth McDonald and guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith.

'Nyahbinghi Celebration For Bongo Joe', an event marking the work of percussionist Eric "Bongo Joe" McDonald, is scheduled for November 18 at Cyprus Hall in Belvedere, Red Hills, St Andrew.

The evening show, organised by his daughter Ruth McDonald, will feature several acts including guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith and his Binghistra acoustic group.

Bongo Joe died in September 2021 at age 85.

The Binghistra ensemble was one of many acts he collaborated with during his 55-year career which started at the famed Studio One during the mid-1960s.

The Hanover-born drummer played on a number of timeless songs including Drum Song by Jackie Mittoo, Equal Rights by Dennis Brown, and Leave my Kisiloo by Stanley And The Turbines.

Bongo Joe was also a member of Ras Michael and The Sons of Negus.

McDonald, one of his seven children, told the Jamaica Observer's Splash that Nyahbinghi Celebration is a tribute to his talent as a musician and committed parent.

"Over the years, I see him as a Rastaman doing his thing, commit himself to the Nyahbinghi movement from 1957. Love children, kind-hearted, and a loving person who dedicated his life so much to the music industry. I see it fit to honour him in this way, because this is what he always said he wanted to do, keep up his Nyahbinghi celebration," she said.

In the latter stages of his career, Bongo Joe toured France with the Binghistra. He also played on several acoustic albums by artistes associated with that group, including The Congos.

Howard Campbell

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