MACKA B, one of Britain’s most influential dancehall toasters, who has pushed the music back toward a Rastafarian political consciousness, plays Galway tomorrow night.
Rootical presents a live show featuring Macka B and The Roots Ragga Band, with support from Rootical and guest singers, in The Warwick Hotel, Salthill, tomorrow at 10pm.
Macka B has always been interested in music. At school he played the violin and he joined the school choir and at home he took inspiration from reggae music, listening to Burning Spear, Bob Marley, and Peter Tosh.
After leaving school he became a technical apprentice at Ever Ready. However he was made redundant due to factory closure, but this proved to be a blessing in disguise.
He started to practice DJing at home and converted to the Ras Tafari faith which is central to his life. In 1982 a visit to Jamaica inspired and encouraging him to develop his talent. In 1983 he entered a DJ competition at the Rising Star club in Bilston and this led to numerous invitations onto radio.
His name began to spread and eventually he came to the attention of BBC producer Derek Nelson, who asked him to perform on the BBC2 music series Ebony. He went down so well he received a regular spot on the next series.
In the mid-1980s Macka B released his debut solo album Sign Of The Times which went straight to No 1 in the reggae charts. He followed this with We’ve Had Enough (1987 ), Buppie Culture (1989 ), and Proud Of Mandela (1990 ), which celebrated the release of the long imprisoned South African leader, and earned Macka another No 1 slot.
The artist continued to release a steady stream of albums, including the award winning Jamaica, No Problem? (1992 ) and the compilation Roots & Culture (1999 ).
In 2002 Macka B teamed up with The Roots Ragga Band to release the album By Royale Command. In 2003 he made his debut African appearance alongside Baba Maal in Senegal. In 2004 he released the album Word, Sound and Power to critical acclaim. His most recent album is last year’s More Knowledge.
Macka B’s rough, gravelly, vocals give him an instantly identifiable sound. Although the vast majority of his material is devoted to spiritual and social messages, he also lightens the mood with perceptive, humorous, songs. He has shunned aspirations for a commercial crossover, however, staying true to the sound and spirit of his roots.