Tag Archives: howard campbell

Garnet Silk Legacy Discussed with Rebel, Garrick & Semaj

Garnet Silk Returns to Zion

by Howard Campbell      V13#2 1995

Garnet at home, 1/13/94

Before we proceed, let’s get one thing straight, Garnet Silk was no Bob Marley. He didn’t profess to be Bob Marley, nor did he want to be. Despite the obvious similarities in religion and profession, the two possessed entirely different personalities.

The inevitable comparisons that have been made since Garnet burst onto the scene three years ago have been further fueled since his death a few months ago. Such a flattering likeness is evidence of the social impact the 28-year-old singer made in such a short period. In fact, he created a spark more famous names, like Ziggy Marley, failed to ignite among the masses.

That was probably the most glaring similarity between Bob Marley and Garnet Silk, the fact that they were both hero-worshipped by Jamaica’s lower class and, through their music, transformed the status quo of a country obsessed with social standing. Continue reading

Judy Mowatt – Singer on Sisterhood V14#5 1996

Judy Mowatt – Leading the Charge of Sisterhood   1996

By Howard Campbell.       V14#5 

judy mowattA visitor to Judy Mowatt’s home is in for a fairly long walk before he or she reaches the spacious front porch which houses a piano. Mowatt’s not pounding the keys today; she’s enjoying some peace and quiet at the back of the home near the hills of St. Andrew, Jamaica, not too far away from where she was born in the small village of Gordon Town.

An admitted lover of the soil, Mowatt’s cozy back room hideaway is surrounded by a small farm of sugarcane and bananas. Gospel music wafts through the air as she appears, barefoot and bareheaded, her locks complimenting her African-style blouse. A photo of Emperor Haile Selassie greets you upon entering, with another postcard-sized photo of the Wailers, circa the Uprising album, occupying one of the shelves of a nearby cabinet.

judy mowatt calendar 1994
Judy Mowatt graced August in our 1994 Calendar

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1995 & IT’S HIP TO BE RASTA Buju Banton, Capleton, Dermot Hussey, Cat Coore

It’s 1995 in Jamaica and It’s Hip to be Rasta

By Howard Campbell    V13#1 1995

Buju Banton cries out for divine help in “God of my Salvation”; Capleton gives assurance that the Emperor still sits on the throne with the constant reminder that “Selassie liveth every time,” while Garnet Silk’s equally prolific shouts of “Jah Rastafari” have given the proclamation Bob Marley made internationally famous new flavor.

buju banton, rasta got soul, reggae, dancehall, reggae report
Buju Banton’s Rasta Got Soul LP

Such are the lyrics of cultural change that have been blaring through the speakers of Jamaica’s dance halls in recent times, replacing the gun and ribald lyrics of the DJs that dominated for the greater part of a decade. The cultural rebirth in the dance halls has also sparked a second coming of the Rastafari religion that traces its roots back to the late 1950s and which gained worldwide prominence in the 1970s with the international emergence of the dreadlocked Marley.

Buju’s newfound faith has been wholly accepted by the youth with whom he can do no wrong. The same can be said of fellow DJ Capleton and charismatic singer Silk, one of the forerunners of the revival. Their impact is there for all to see. It’s in vogue to wear locks again. It’s even cool to openly acknowledge Jah without fear of being ridiculed. It’s Jamaica 1995 and it’s hip to be Rasta. Whether a “God of my Salvation” will hold relevance as a “Roof Over my Head” 10 years from now is left to be seen. That could all depend on whether Buju and Capleton decide to forsake their still growing locks and Rasta rhetoric for the latest “talk,” or look, in the coming months. Continue reading