Reggae and dancehall stalwart Capleton is encouraging younger artists to honour their forerunners.
“We just haffi mek the youths dem know seh humbleness is the key towards life and humility have to be there,” ‘King Shango’ told CVMTV’s Sunrise yesterday. “You have to respect track record. You have to respect longevity and substance.”
His comments come during an era where some emerging acts defer from name-dropping their musical influences. With an over-three-decade track record of his own, Capleton has never shied away from giving flowers to the figures who inspired his foray into music. Given name Clifton George Bailey III, the St. Mary native revered the work of artists like Bob Marley and The Wailers, Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, and Papa San.
I Need A Roof appeared on Mighty Diamonds’ 1976 debut, Right Time. Two of the group’s three members, Donald ‘Tabby Diamond’ Shaw and Fitzroy ‘Bunny Diamond’ Simpson, died within four days of each other last year. Romeo’s Macabee Version was first released in 1970 and later appeared on the Pray For Me compilation.
Perhaps with longstanding homage, one will earn the opportunity to record with a musical hero, as was recently the case for Capleton, who made a song with Max Romeo.
“Wah day yah me do a collab with him and me a show him seh this [Macabee Version] was one of my favourite songs when I was a kid growing up,” Capleton shared. “Mi father couldn’t lef the likkle turntable. Everywhere mi go, him haffi carry it. We give thanks fi the people who pave the way and set it.”
The Jah Jah City singer would take his affinity for the turntable more seriously at age 12, sneaking into dancehall sessions to absorb sound system culture. By 18, he moved to Kingston to pursue a music career, applying what he’d learnt by performing with numerous small sound systems before settling with Stewart Brown’s Jam-Canadian-based African Star. Their journey brought Capleton to a Toronto stage in 1989, a performance which impressed producer Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell and segued his entry to recording music.
The 56-year-old hasn’t slowed down since, adding more fuel to his ever-blazing fire with the reinstatement of his UK visa. The summer saw him performing at several festivals in Europe, including Reggae Sundance, Reggae Lake, Reggae Jam, and No Logo.
The Slew Dem entertainer is next slated to perform at Fyah In Da Ville in Negril, Westmoreland, this weekend.