JAMAICA'S Legendary bass player Robbie Shakespear has died at age 68

JAMAICA'S Legendary bass player Robbie Shakespear has died at age 68

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 9, 2021 -Legendary Jamaican bass player Robert 'Robbie' Shakespeare OD, died yesterday at the age of 68 at his home in Florida, United States.

No official cause of death has yet been given but Shakespeare had been ailing for an extended period. Robert "Robbie" Shakespeare was born on September 27, 1953 and is regarded as one of the most influential reggae bassists.

 The dynamic duo, Sly Dunbar And Robbie Shakespear The dynamic duo, Sly Dunbar And Robbie ShakespearAs a part of Sly and Robbie, Shakespeare worked with various reggae artistes such as U-Roy, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and Yellowman.

Prior to Sly and Robbie and Word, Sound and Power, Shakespeare was a member of The Hippy Boys, Youth Professionals, The Aggravators and, at times, The Revolutionaries, house band at Channel One.

Shakespeare played on some of roots-reggae's finest moments, including Concrete Jungle by The Wailers, Bunny Wailer's Blackheart Man album, and Burning Spear's epic Marcus Garvey album. He and Dunbar became world-famous during the 1980s, working with Black Uhuru, as well as elite acts like Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Manu Dibango, and Mick Hucknall of Simply Red.

In reacting to news of Shakespeare's death on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, Culture and Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange said she was in shock. I am in shock and sorrow after just receiving the news that my friend and brother, the legendary basist Robbie Shakespeare has died.

She said Robbie and Sly have been among Jamaica's greatest musicians. The duo, she noted, took bass playing and drumming to the highest level as they made music for themselves and for many other artistes locally and internationally. According to the minister, Shakespeare's loss will be severely felt by the industry at home and abroad. In July last year, he placed number 17 on The 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time list, compiled by Rolling Stone magazine. The duo has also won a Grammy award for the album Friends.

Cultural Analyst Clyde Mckenzie: "Robbie Shakespear has left an indelible mark on Jamaica's music and Jamaica's popular culture.Cultural Analyst Clyde Mckenzie: "Robbie Shakespear has left an indelible mark on Jamaica's music and Jamaica's popular culture.Cultural Analyst Clyde Mckenzie, said "Robbie Shakespear has left an indelible mark on Jamaica's music and Jamaica's popular culture. We owe him a debt of gratitude. One can hardly think of another musical partnership that can rival Sly and Robbie in terms of its sheer productivity."

Sly and Robbie have their fingerprints on so many great musical hits. This innovative musical duo has not only worked with the greatest of Jamaica's musical acts, but has privided instrumental and technical support to some of the finest talents of our time," McKenzie noted, pointing out that their distinctive sound can be identified in so many places and spaces."

He informed that one of the seminal contributions to the the growth of Reggae, was the move from the traditional "One Drop" drum pattern that previously characterized Reggae, to that of the "Open Snare" drumming approach which is a feature of much of the Black Uhuru music.

According to Sly, "McKenzie said, " the 'Open Snare' has much more solid energy, which, when the music hits you, yu feel it in the stomach! When it hits yu, it really moves you,"  he said.

 

 

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