Welcome return for ATF BandWednesday, October 13, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Like many of their colleagues, the ATF Band were sidelined by COVID-19 for most of last year. The quartet returns with Welcome to Our Land, a song expressing optimism in dark times.
Drummer Stephen Lee told the Jamaica Observer that he and his band-mates are aware of challenges the pandemic has presented. But while adversity usually inspires unity, he believes that has not been the case in Jamaica.
“I personally don't think that COVID has made us more appreciative of our little island as it seems that nowhere is safe anymore. What I do know is that the curfew and the lockdowns have taken a toll on everyone, both financially and mentally,” he said.
Because of continuous spikes in COVID-related deaths and cases, the Jamaican Government has instituted rigid curfews and lockdowns to address the virus' spread. Current curfews run from 5 am to 8 pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 5:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays; there is a lockdown on Sundays.
Last week, Jamaica recorded its 2,000th COVID-19 death.
Lee said the band — which formed in 2016 — wanted to make a statement with a song projecting brighter days amid the gloom.
“ Welcome to Our Land is driven by patriotism as we are proud to be Jamaican and also we wanted to do a happy, vibe song especially with what the world has been experiencing with COVID-19,” he stated. “The past year has been tough not just for us, but for everyone in the entertainment business. The way things are looking, it seems like we might not be able to do any shows until maybe next year sometime.”
Keyboardist/vocalist Herbie Harris, bass player Lyndon Webb and guitarist Courtland White are Lee's colleagues in the ATF Band which had a breakthrough song in 2019 with the humorous Yardie.
They have since released a cover of The Brotherhood of Man's Say A Prayer and Irie High. In July 2020, they released Yardie, their debut EP.