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Yami Bolo at Stillwater

Jamaican-born, classic roots reggae artist Yami Bolo graduated from the true college of music in Kingston — hanging out on Montgomery Avenue, learning to sing and play instruments alongside other young rasta musicians. He sang with Sugar Minott and the Youth Promotion Crew in 1986 and alongside a pack of other reggae artists that included Nitty Gritty, Tony Rebel, Junior Reid, Tenor Saw and Half Pint.

Born Rolando Ephraim McLean in October 1970, Bolo's first big stage show was at the age of 13 at St. Andrew Technical High School in Kingston, where he performed his hit single "When A Man's in Love." Bolo has recorded albums since the late '80s and has a respectable body of work to his credit.

Bolo and his band, the Yameuphomy Band, featuring Ozou'ne Sundalyah, Howard Brown, Danny Thompson and Wilbert Ellis, will perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Stillwater, 1951 Highway 66, Ashland. The group has a new album of music coming out called "Masterpiece."

Bolo's singing style is aimed at moving the hearts of crowds all over the world. He has presented successful shows in the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. At the age of 17, Bolo toured with Jamaican record producer Augustus Pablo's Rockers. Pablo took Bolo under his wing and encouraged him to perform and record as a naturally gifted vocalist.

Then Bolo made an impression on the 1994 Japan Splash tour that led to a collaboration between himself and the island nation's superstar Kazafumi Miyazawa. The project garnered best music video that year, earned Bolo Sony's Silver Grand Prix Award. His album with Miyazawa, "Love is Dangerous," became a best-selling reggae album in Japan.

Bolo's career has led him to work with many other Jamaican record producers, such as Coxson Dodd, Lee Perry, Winston Riley, Clive Hunt, and Sly and Robbie, among many others.

True to his spiritual roots, Bolo says that it is the Almighty at work and committed to conscious lyrics throughout his music. This fact is apparent on Bolo's albums and other work. He appeared in the recent documentary, "Life and Debt," that addresses the impact of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and current globalization policies on developing countries such as Jamaica. His single "Worldwide Corruption" is featured on the film's sound track.

Bolo's collaborations with Ghetto Youths' Damian "Junior Gong" and Stephen Marley include hits such as "Still Searchin'," "She Needs My Love" and "Stand A Chance" for the Motown-released Grammy Award-winning "Halfway Tree" album.

Tickets to the show at Stillwater cost $15 in advance; $18 at the door. Local reggae trio Monk will open the show. Call 482-6113.

Yami Bolo’s collaborations with other reggae artists show his commitment to youth living in less than ideal economic and social conditions. - yamibolo.com