The Reggae Veterans Continues To Fly The Flag
Aswad still remains one of Britain’s best loved Reggae bands after fifteen albums and well over three decades on the music scene. Originally led by the trio of Brinsley ‘Dan’ Forde (on vocals and rhythm guitar), Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye (on vocals and drums) and Tony ‘Gad’ Robinson (on bass), they’re celebrated amongst Reggae fans for their rich melodies and gripping harmonies, woven over hard rhythm tracks and inspired horn riffs. Aswad (a name derived from the Arabic word for ‘Black’) was formed in West London in 1974. Along with contemporaries Matumbi, The Cimmarons and Black Slate, the band was the first home-grown acts to prove that Caribbean music could successfully take root in Europe. In the early years, Aswad was the only British group to record and/or perform with several top Jamaican artists like Burning Spear, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer (in fact, Bunny was known to refer to Aswad as the ‘Young Wailers’).
The trio first gained national attention in 1976 when their debut release ‘Back To Africa’ torched top spot in the UK’s Reggae charts. ‘Love Fire’, the popular anthem of 1981, became part of the Reggae canon and is still covered today by many Jamaican record producers (an honour no other British band has been awarded). During the ‘80s, Aswad’s prolific rhythm section of Drummie Zeb & Tony Gad contributed to top British Reggae hits by Janet Kay, Smiley Culture, Trevor Walters and Trevor Hartley. The Band also worked with the likes of Dennis Brown, Maxi Priest, Hugh Masakela, Shabba Ranks and became known for their adventurous fusion of different musical styles: Dancehall, Funk, Hip-hop and Dub. Their massive hit singles ‘Don’t Turn Around’ and ‘Rise & Shine’ topped the UK’s Pop and global charts bringing the group to the full attention of the masses worldwide. Yep, Aswad are still the purveyors of the UK Reggae scene and will continue to be way into the next millennium.
About To Blow … Ex-Aswad Member announces his Arrival
Rising from the cavernous rhythmic epicentre of his genetic Reggae roots, Soloman, the talented offspring of Aswad’s Drummie Zeb, rips Reggae into 2010 with the launch of his debut album, ‘About To Blow’. With high profile live performances set throughout August including the Notting Hill Carnival, Soloman is guaranteed to leave an indelible stamp on the UK’s Pop and Reggae audiences this summer. Deep, gritty vocals enveloped around strong off-beat rhythms and interspersed with supersonic Rappistry deliver a unique ‘Soloman sound’ that distinguishes his fresh take on Reggae from the rawer, more typical version of the genre.
This debut album culminates an eclectic melting pot of modern musical influences ranging from the likes of Shaggy, Sean Paul and Damien Marley whilst drawing inspiration from Hip-hop, R&B, Ragga and Rock. Produced by Derek Taylor (ex-member of Roachford and Gabrielle’s musical director), ‘About To Blow’ is a stunning collection of diverse and captivating alternative Reggae tracks. The album also treats audiences to an unscheduled Aswad guest appearance with a special band interlude. The set traverses the entire spectrum of musical genres and sounds adding a subtle Pop-Reggae sprinkling that’s sure to appeal to the widest of audiences.
The Soloman story is little short of incredible - a pure demonstration of how true talent can quite literally pin-point its blinding spotlight on chosen gifted individuals and catapult them into its unplanned limelight…. He was brought-up in the throbbing heart of Brixton, South London. His father, Drummie Zeb, was a founding member of Aswad - the UK’s most successful Reggae band ever - so inevitably, Soloman was raised on a hearty diet of Reggae music nurturing his young and influential mind. One of Soloman’s earliest memories is dancing on stage at the tender age of five with Aswad and Shalamar so, it’s no surprise that he went on to study dance at London’s Brit School. He became part of a dance group and often beat-boxed or played drums during performances - but never once sang.
Until one day, during a phone conversation with his dad from the recording studio, Soloman overheard a track in the background which caught his attention. The track was on the line-up for the then forthcoming Aswad album and needed a Rapper, a job for which he volunteered his talents, even though he had never Rapped a line in his life! As he stood by the Mic with a crumpled page of scribbled lyrics in his hand, neither he nor the Band knew what was going to come out of his mouth - the result was amazing and the Rap secured its place on ‘Shine’, one of Aswad’s biggest UK hits to date! At the age of just 15, the talent of an unsuspecting youth had quite literally exploded across the world. Since then, Soloman has performed live with Leftfield and recently supported UB40’s Ali Campbell on tour.
Now, Soloman dons the ‘solo man’ mantel as he launches his incredible singer / song-writing genius to the UK and the world. His beaming smile says it all as it radiates Jamaican sunshine before he’s even sung a note. Grab a slice of the amazingly fresh talent and brace yourself as this ball of dreadlocked energy is about to blow!