Category Archives: Steel Pulse

The Ethiopian New Year

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And it’s the year 2008 in Ethiopia, today.


This day has many other significances, including the death of Peter McIntosh and all those that suffered at the hands of 9/11, that negative milestone in American history.

Anyway folks, enjoy this day knowing that you are part of the equation when it comes to cultures being educated about each other.

Tribute to Rico Rodriguez (1934-2015)

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Rico Rodriguez, trombonist, was part of the backbone to the development of reggae music, ever since the genre itself was in its earliest stage as Blue Beat and Ska. His style derived from the Jazz music that was coming out of the USA.

We are delighted and proud that we encountered an experience with this individual, when he performed on trombone, along with “Satch” (trumpet) and Dick Cuthrie (saxophone), on our Tribute To The Martyrs album. This album has always been recognised by our hardcore fans as being one of our best efforts.

To our fans out there, Rico, a student at the Alpha Boys Music School, in Kingston JA, was born in1934, in Havanna, Cuba.

A big up to the UB40 crew, too. Rico, a Ras that no one could separate from his spiff, once said to me that the first time he every received any decent and consistent money in this business was when he teamed up and went on tour with UB40. He said, “The man dem a look after me good, Dread!! The man dem a look after me good!”

So to the “Man from Wareika,” Jah guidances through your transition.  A milestone!

RASTAFARI Lives On (1892-1975)

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Here is a painting I did of H.I.M. Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I, The Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  RASTAFARI liveth still.

And lest we forget, here is a photo of Emmitt Till:

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Yesterday was also the 60th anniversary of his death. Sixty years on and very little has changed in the Deep South of the US.

Emmitt, then aged 14, was taken out of the house of his relatives in the middle of the night while on vacation in Mississippi. Reason? It was said that he made some kind of pass to a white woman earlier that day. His corpse was later found with his face badly mutilated. When the body was return back to his home town, Chicago, his mother had him paraded in an open casket for the whole world to see.

Yes, August 28, 1955 was a sad day in America’s history.

Now, with the more recent death of Trayvon Martin and the never-ending stream of homicides of young black youths at the hands of a militarized police, we have tension once again in the streets.

This question is to each and everyone: are we witnessing the compound aftermath and effects of slavery and colonialism in today’s society?

As Dr Martin Luther King, who we respect for being an advocate that brought about the voting rights for Afro Americans, 50 years ago, this month, would say, “Let Freedom Ring.”

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.


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


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.