Category Archives: Steel Pulse

Remembering Ras Gerry

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It has been half a year since Ras Gerry made his transition and he is still very much missed by us. I’m only so happy to have linked with him and had that chance to see him at his favorite pastime; playing the steel pans. The rehearsal he had with his local band in Orlando, completely held my attention.

Sadly, I was unable to attend the funeral that was held in Ft. Lauderdale due to a snow storm that had the airlines cancelled in NY.

Talking about vibes, out of NY’s 9,000,000 people, I was at a department store standing in line waiting to be served. Right next to me there was his sister whom I had never ever met, who heard my accent. Realizing I was a Jamaican, she turned around and went on to say that I reminded her so much of a brother she’d just buried. After a minute of exchanging details of his description, come to find out that before Ras Gerry had passed he had posted a photo of a stranger to his sister. She showed me the picture. Guess who the stranger was…???

Medgar@ 90

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Although this is the last day of July, I would like you take some time and join me to pay tribute to Medgar Evers, because it was in this month, the 2nd of July to be precise, he would have turned 90 years old.

For the many world wide who is unfamiliar, Medgar Evers was the leader of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement for Coloured People), based in Jackson Mississippi. He was cut down while leaving his parked car, walking towards his home and family, on June 12th 1963.

Although Medgar was not internationally known as Dr Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his role as a Freedom Fighter and activist was easily on par with the others. As a matter of fact, I personally consider him to be the most courageous of them all due to the fact that he was against all the odds, residing in the most racist zones in the US at that time, unprotected by the law or an entourage of friends and well-wishers.

I present another painting of mine, once again, unfinished in honour of such an icon. Medgar, may you continue to make your friends, family and mankind, proud.

Madiba @ 97

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Hail Mi Irieites,

Today, would have been the 97th earth day of Nelson Mandela. May he be continued to be remembered in all of us, especially in this ignorant phase this world happens to be going through at this time in regards to racism.

I present a painting for this special day, though unfinished. Enjoy!

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Blessings on Father’s Day

Hail Mi Irieites,

Blessings to our fans out there. Here we are throughout the longest day of the year wishing all A Happy Father’s Day. I thank you also so for the support our fans have given us on the west coast of the USA, with me suffering from laryngitis. After “40 years” of hard slogging on the road, it was touching to witness you all joining in on the songs with such intensity.

Thanking all the band members too, including our friend and co producer, David “Cirious” Elecciri. But least not forget the “Charleston 9″ that were brutally gunned down only a few days ago.

Our prayers go out to the whole nation in mourning.

Bless.

Farewell, B.B. King: Remembering Our 3 Kings

bbking

Yes, this is a tribute to the Legendary, Riley B. King, better known as B. B. King, born September 16, 1925 and was approaching his 90th birthday this year.  Passed May 14, 2015.

I had the pleasure to be present at a Grammy Award back in 1985/86 and watched B.B. jam on stage with Mark Knopfler, Hank Williams Jr, J.J. Cale and others. They all had their guitars screaming out all at once, playing every note on the fret board.

Except for B.B.

He just stood there and played one single note and it stood out by far from that wall of a sound coming from all those other guitar players. Yes, B.B. King had the most distinctive guitar tone ever. On that day I learned that guitar playing is all about quality and not quantity. Yes, we all know the story of saving “Lucille” from a fire, but there was an interview that I read of his many years ago about how he came to develop that tone. He said something about trying to emulate all those guitar effects including the wah-wah pedal, by trilling extra hard the notes with his fingers on the fret board. But from the upbringing he had, he had no idea that the effects were coming from pedals and other electrical devices, so thinking one had to be one heck of a guitar genius to get that sound. So out of sheer, blessed ignorance B.B. created a style of playing that was second to none.

Today B.B. King has been hailed as one of the top ten greatest guitar players of all time. Unlike many of the traditional blues guitarists, BB had a good knowledge of chords that were not used in traditional 12 bar blues; chords like 7 flat 5 chords and chords that were leaning towards the jazz format. Although there are many songs that were hits, one of my favourites of his is How Blue Can You Get.

Upon B.B. King’s passing, we mark the end of “The Real Deal” orthodox blues, as we know it.

But while I am at it I would like to pay tribute to the other Kings in all of this. Least we not forget the efforts of Albert King (1923-1992) and Freddie King (1934-1976). The three Kings were gracious and majestic with their achievements. With none of them being related to each other, B.B., Albert and the youngster Freddie all played major parts in keeping the blues alive in a time where rock n’ roll was the order of the day.

Freddie, having the rockiest tone of the Kings was trying to develop a crossover sound, by having quite a few of his songs, played upbeat. One of my favourites of his was Big Legged Woman.

Albert, on the other hand, had lots of popularity among others such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Clapton, and the list goes on. Hence there have been albums and live performances with him featuring cats like these and visa versa. My favourite of his was The Sky is Crying,  originally done by Elmore James.

By the way, I had the pleasure to meet Albert King in a hotel lobby, in New Jersey, somewhere back in 1989. I also had the pleasure of him taking a photo holding an ESP telecaster of mine. Now it beats me what I’ve done with the photo, although the guitar itself was stolen within a couple of years of that experience.

So B.B. King, The Thrill is Gone. No way bro, you will be forever in our hearts.

Steel Pulse will be appearing at your New York nightclub come August 6th. Our show will be livicated to you. All Hail, The King of the Blues.

 

RasTafari Returns

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I hope I caught the date in time but today May 5th, 2015 is a year shy of the 75th anniversary since H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie returned from exile to Ethiopia from the town of Bath, UK to reunite with his countrymen to defeat the Italian invasion.

Ethiopia is still hailed as the only country in Africa that was never colonised. That became a bonus and incentive for the rest of the continent to seek total liberation.

From Selma to Montgomery, 21st to 25 March – 1965: The 50th Anniversary

Blessings Mi Irieites,

SELMA

Been flying around today, so please forgive me for not blogging this sooner. The “livication” continues for Dr Martin Luther King, who this day 50 years ago, started what would be the march that became a success, from Selma to Montgomery, in Alabama. After a series of attempts previous to this historical event where all the protestors gathered on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, the march was completed 4 days later in Montgomery. The protestors had travelled on an average of 12 miles a day and took refuge and shelter wherever they could along the way.

We Steel Pulse, tip our crowns out of maximum respect for those who courageously conducted their moral duties during that episode. Thank you for moving the world a few steps closer to civilisation.

The Return to Handsworth

As we are into our 40th year of existence as a band, we give thanks for each and every moment for the opportunity that was given to us by the Most High. Because we are totally aware that if it was not for H.I.M, there would never be a “Steel Pulse.”

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Our first recognition on ‘centre stage,’ was our debut album, “Handsworth Revolution” (1978), which came at time when the UK was facing absolute turmoil in regards to the policies that were very much disenfranchising the first generation of blacks of post colonialism, stationed throughout the many pocketed communities in Britain. Already plagued with unemployment, there were laws and socially political issues that were not working in our favour. Having our limited outlets of entertainment under constant surveillance, along with the youths no longer accepting the “back seat” (so to speak), that was offered and accepted by our parents, and to top it all, the occasional police brutality…. it was only a matter of time for the lid to have been blown off that pressure cooker.

Steel Pulse predicted the sentiments of Handsworth Revolution at least three years before the very first riots kicked off in Bristol, back in 1981. HR became a landmark, a milestone; call it what you may, in the history and development of ‘Black Culture,’ in Britain. As a result the band played a significant role among the punk and new wave music that was sweeping across the country. Our lyrics and stance became part and parcel to the issues that the punks were lashing out against. it was at a time when being left winged and being an anarchist, was at its heights.

Today, we can see clearly how current and relevant those lyrics and ideologies of yesteryear have become. Now, do you see why I started out this blog by thanking the Most High, in the first place? In all honesty, the band never dreamed that the whole HR experience would have taken such a stronghold throughout the rest of the world. We could barely play our instruments when all this happened. Yet, we were eager to make a difference in our lives that we had hoped, would in turn, influence others.

We are looking forward to returning to the shores of England, after a very long hiatus to deliver this same album that created us, “live” in its entirety to the nation that was first in line to bear witness to such an enlightening experience. We sincerely hope that you can be present to join the masses that will be attending this walk down memory lane.

Everything Bless

David Hinds

Impressions of the Musee d’Orsay

Speaking of having “a blast” in New Caledonia (Kanaky), while on route to our Costa Rica festival, I had a few hours to kill in Paris and got “blown away” by the visit I made at the Musee d’Orsay.

Imagine, all the artists that I adored as youth, had a good chunk of their paintings hanging right there. The experience was like that of a kid in a candy store. Both the Impressionist and Post Impressionist movements have been my favourite periods of art. And to see the paintings for the very first time in front of me, has left me satisfied with life for the rest of the year.

These guys were geniuses, especially Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne.

Sorry, I just can’t recall the great Louve Museum giving me such a buzz.

So, to the Musee d’Orsay…. your door step will be worn down by the time I’m through… That’s a promise!

A Report from New Caledonia

Yes Mi Irieites,

Had a blast in New Caledonia, not realising that the island next door, Vanuatu, was having a blast also with a cyclone. My prayers go out to the inhabitants, hoping that you can at least cope to a certain extent, until aid finally arrives. While checking out the museum here in NC, I see that they have also included Vanuatu, although once British, as part of its history.

Melanesia

Melanesia

Melanesia

Melanesia

Melanesia, you are the best. Never a dull moment here. Thanks to Ronnie, Gaza, CiGi, and the Killdem Crew. Yes NC badda than you!