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Best of The Beat on Afropop: Reggae’s Michael Rose

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Roots reggae singer Michael Rose, best known to us old-timers as former lead singer for the crucial 1980s Black Uhuru trio, makes a rare New York appearance on Sat., April 30 at B.B. King Blues Club.

Black Uhuru began in 1972 and went through various configurations over time. Rose joined the group in 1977. The trio of Duckie Simpson, Puma Jones and Rose was the classic formation, known for roots-themed songs about Haile Selassie and herb,  and conscious, often militant themes.


With the heavy backup rhythm section of Sly and Robbie, they established their place in reggae’s top ranks. The group was the recipient of the first reggae Grammy award for Anthem in 1985. Michael promptly took to calling himself Michael “Grammy” Rose, and abruptly left the group to began his solo career.

Known for his strong, flexible voice and his signature Arabic-sounding vocal trill, his “tu tu tweng” and other scats have inspired many singers. The Beat’s correspondent Chris Boyle interviewed the outspoken, opinionated and now-solo act Rose in Los Angeles in 1988.

READ OR DOWNLOAD PDF: Beat7#2MichaelRose

“Chill Out New York” name checks Brooklyn and Queens.

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