Roots with Quality – Niney and Michael Rose at Rototom 2012

September 11, 2012

Day three of the University sessions celebrated giants of Jamaican music both absent and present. There in spirit was Jimmy Cliff – as University chair and author David Katz read from his latest book ‘Jimmy Cliff: an unauthorized biography’. The extract he shared centred on the young Jimmy’s first forays into music just before Jamaican Independence. His fortuitous meetings with the Chinese Jamaican producer Leslie Kong and the star of Day One’s session Derrick Morgan, were the catalysts in making his first number one hit.

The inevitable floor question, posed by selector Gabi Robbins, was whether Jimmy was unhappy at being written about without permission. David’s reply was that this was a short easy to read book containing no “kiss and tell” – just Jimmy’s music and activism.

Niney and Michael Rose - Rototom 2012

Part two of the session was advertised as centring around one of roots reggae’s greatest producers: Winston “Niney The Observer” Holness, alongside two singers who he helped to stardom – Michael Rose and Freddie McGregor. Niney and Michael (who appeared impromptu together on stage the night before for Niney’s pioneering roots reggae hit Blood and Fire) arrived at 6pm sharp. Sadly, McGregor, who released his debut album with Niney, had to cancel his appearance at short notice.

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