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MailTribune.com
  • Black Uhuru brings Jamaican reggae to the Ashland Armory

    Local roots trio Indubious will open the show
  • VIDEO — Reggae group Black Uhuru formed in 1972 in the Waterhouse District of Kingston, Jamaica. Derrick Simpson, Garth Dennis and Don Carlos initially called their group Uhuru — Swahili for freedom.
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    • If you go
      Who: Black Uhuru and Indubious
      When: 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9
      Where: Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.
      Tickets: $20 in advance; $25 at the door
      Call: 800-992-8499 or see www.ticketswest...
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      If you go
      Who: Black Uhuru and Indubious

      When: 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9

      Where: Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.

      Tickets: $20 in advance; $25 at the door

      Call: 800-992-8499 or see www.ticketswest.com
  • Reggae group Black Uhuru formed in 1972 in the Waterhouse District of Kingston, Jamaica. Derrick Simpson, Garth Dennis and Don Carlos initially called their group Uhuru — Swahili for freedom.
    Later Simpson formed a new group called Black Sounds Uhuru with Errol Nelson and Michael Rose. Its debut album, "Love Crisis," was released in 1977.
    Sandra Jones from South Carolina replaced Nelson that same year, and the band took on the name Black Uhuru. The trio worked with drum and bass duo Sly & Robbie and recorded a string of successful singles, including "General Penitentiary," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "Shine Eye Gal," which featured guitarist Keith Richards.
    The band drew from the singles in 1979 to record "Showcase" and performed at the 1980 Sunsplash Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It signed with Island Records in 1980.
    "Red" followed in 1981, then "Chill Out" a year later, when Black Uhuru toured with The Rolling Stones.
    Its most successful period was in the '80s, with their album "Anthem" winning the first Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1985.
    Rose was replaced by Junior Reid, and the group signed with RAS Records and released "Brutal" with the single "The Great Train Robbery." Jones was replaced by Janet Reid, and the group released "Positive" in 1988.
    In 1990, Simpson, Carlos and Dennis reunited and recorded "The Now," released in '91.
    Later — after a legal battle over the band's name — Simpson formed a new lineup with Andrew Bees, also from Kingston, and Kay Starr and released "Dynasty" in 2001.
    Simpson, Bees and Starr will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. Tickets to the all-ages show cost $20 in advance and can be purchased at Music Coop in Ashland, Bad Ass Coffee in Medford, Dragon's Lair and Listen Here in Grants Pass, online at www.bendticket.strangertickets.com or www.ticketswest.com, or by calling 800-992-8499.
    Ashland power trio Indubious — with Evton Burton on keys, Skip Wicked on bass and Matty T. Wells on drums — will open the show.
    The trio's music is steeped in roots reggae, but its members bring rock, progressive jams, electronic dance music, deep crunchy drums and synths, and dancehall influences to their sound.
    Burton and Wicked are brothers — born with cystic fibrosis. Early on, the two were forced to look at their own mortality. So, according to Burton, they quit their day jobs, focused on what they loved and set out to make the world a better place.
    "When you overcome something so surmountable, there is an experience of huge growth," Burton says in a press release. "It becomes a big blessing because though there may be boatloads of suffering and pain, that's just life. At the end of it you will look back and be grateful for the chance to live and experience the miracle."
    You have to live "indubiously," he says. That is living without fear or doubt and with faith in the fact that we are here for a reason.
    "We've achieved happiness by being true to ourselves," Burton says. "Our aim is to inspire others to do the same."
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