Remembering those we lost
Written by fiweh4lf on January 7, 2021
The year 2020 dished out more than its fair share of losses, but fortunately, no amount of tears can wash away the enduring legacy of those in music, film, theatre and dance, who answered the higher calling.
In the words of baseball great, babe Ruth, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”
Today, we salute the legends.
The National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) pressed the pause button for a second when the veteran dancer, choreographer and artistic director’s passing was announced in January after a battle with colon cancer.
Frederick ‘Tippa’ Moncrieffe
‘Tippa’, a popular dancehall choreographer died of cancer in February. He was 52.
Pre-COVID-19, reggae singer Derrick Lara, of reggae group The Tamlins, passed away in Miami, Florida. The singer and drummer had been battling lung cancer for less than a year. He was 61.
A sound engineer and a member of the historic 1988 Jamaican bobsled Winter Olympic Games team, Clayton died from the coronavirus in March.
A member of Sean Paul’s Dutty Cup Crew, deejay Mr Chicken suffered a stroke and passed away in April. He was 47.
Albert ‘Apple Gabriel’ Craig
An original member of roots reggae trio Israel Vibration, Apple passed away in March in the United States.
The singer who had a stint with The Clarendonians made his transition on March 31 in the US. He was 75.
One half of the duo Alton (Ellis) and Eddie, who, in 1960, recorded what would become a monster hit, Muriel, passed away in New York in April.
Golding, who resided in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, died in April of natural causes. His S wing Magazine covered the Jamaican entertainment scene for over 10 years.
Veteran reggae vocalist and prolific songwriter Keith ‘Bob Andy’ Anderson answered a higher calling in March after a battle with cancer. He left an enduring musical legacy both as a solo artiste and as part of the duo Bob and Marcia (Griffiths).
The singer made headlines across the world when Island Records founder Chris Blackwell announced her death from a stroke in May. Small is credited with introducing the world to ska with her smash hit My Boy Lollipop.
In July, the Loving Pauper who gave Jamaica That Wonderful Sound, passed away, reportedly, from complications caused by COVID-19.
The pioneering radio broadcaster, a champion of West Indian radio in New York known as the ‘Godfather of Reggae Radio’, succumbed to COVID-19.
A giant of British reggae, Washington was also cut down by COVID-19. One of the first reggae artistes signed to major record companies such as CBS, Island, and Virgin, he was remembered for his organisation, the Federation of Reggae Music, through which he “fought tirelessly to represent a generation of Caribbean musicians who gave their best years to the UK music scene”.
There was an outpouring of love in the New York area in April when the Power of Reggae founder passed away from cardiac arrest due to complications from COVID-19.
The Grammy Award-winning producer, who earned the title of one of the founding fathers of the global dancehall movement, succumbed to kidney-related illnesses in May.
In July, Jawara ‘Tosh 1’ McIntosh, the youngest son of reggae legend Peter Tosh, made his transition. In 2017, he was left comatose after being beaten in a New Jersey jail by another inmate while serving a sentence for ganja-related charges.
Dancing legend Labba Labba passed away at the age of 75 at his home in Trench Town, Kingston, also in July.
Actor Clive Duncan, popular for his role as ‘Mr Upton’ in Lime Tree Lane, died in July following a battle with cancer.
The veteran deejay who found fame in the 1980s died in August at the Kingston Public Hospital. He was 58. One of the famous trio of albino deejays, he was affiliated with Junjo Lawes’ Volcano Records camp.
Singer Pad Anthony a popular figure of the 80s Reggae Dancehall movement, died in Kingston on August 28. Anthony, who had been battling health issues, was 57.
In September, master percussionist and songwriter Denver ‘Feluke’ Smith lost his battle with cancer while in Mexico for another round of treatments.
On Friday, September 11, thirty-three years after the death of the iconic Wailer Peter Tosh, Frederick Nathaniel ‘Toots’ Hibbert made his transition. Toots, a national treasure of international acclaim, was 77 years old.
Audio engineer Barry O’Hare passed away, aged 56, in September. O’Hare reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and was being treated at hospital before he died.
Richard ‘Richie Mac’ McDonald, a former lead vocalist of The Chosen Few, died at the Kingston Public Hospital in October. He was 68.
Edward Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee
Legendary reggae producer Edward Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee Sr died in October in hospital in Jamaica. He was 79
Musician Courtney Robb, a former member of Byron Lee and The Dragonaires, passed away in November in Florida.
Veteran sound system selector, Courtney ‘Likkle Wicked’ Boyd died in November after suffering a massive stroke. Likkle Wicked was affiliated with popular sound 4 By 4 Exodus in the ‘90s.
Veteran guitarist Dalton Browne, one of the musical Browne brothers, had a massive heart attack in November. He died at the University Hospital days after undergoing a quadruple bypass surgery.
Frontman of the veteran reggae band The Gladiators, ‘Youth’ as was affectionately called, died in December. He was 74 years old.
Jamaica-born Denise Jones, founder of the JAMBANA One World Festival in Toronto, died on December 3 at her home in Brampton. She was 64.
In July, veteran singer and songwriter Ernie Smith lost his beloved wife, Janet, and reggae artistes Shenseea, Capleton, and Beenie Man mourned the loss of their mothers.