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BIOGRAPHY - Burning Spear


Winston Rodney "Burning Spear", is a Grammy Award winning Jamaican roots reggae singer and musician. Like many famous Jamaican reggae artists, Burning Spear is known for his Rastafari movement messages.

Rodney was born in Saint Ann’s Bay, St. Ann, Jamaica, as were Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey; who both had a great influence on Rodney’s life. Garvey in his philosophy, which Burning Spear greatly took to, and Marley in directly helping Burning Spear get started in the music industry. Burning Spear was originally Rodney’s group, named after Jomo Kenyatta, the first Prime Minister and President of an independent Kenya. As fame took hold the name of the group gradually became synonymous with Rodney. For more than 35 years, Burning Spear's music-thus, his life-has inspired people on numerous continents. Since the beginning, his songs have implored listeners to fight oppression in all its forms, to work at improving their own condition and to consider the social impact of their actions. Burning Spear advocates messages of honesty, peace, and love, which tie in with his religious and political messages of Rasta and black unity.

Seen as one of the most brilliant and respected roots artists in Jamaica's history, Burning Spear history, Burning Spear has unleashed a host of classic dread records over the years. Part Rastafarian preacher, part black historian, more than any other roots artist, Burning Spear has illuminated Rastafarianism in song, sharing his beliefs with an avid public. Burning Spear is one of the strongest proponents of Marcus Garvey’s self-determination and self-reliance for all African descendants, thus leading to several album releases in commemoration of the African activist. In 2002, Burning Spear and his wife, Sonia Rodney who has produced a number of his albums, founded Burning Spear Records. Burning Spear Records released Freeman in 2003, followed by the hopeful Our Music in 2005. In a prolific and productive career, Burning Spear has released more than 50 albums. Has won two Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album; one at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000 for Calling Rastafari, and one for 2009's Jah Is Real. "Jah Is Real" is one of the strongest entries in his monumental catalog. It uses modern technology and recording techniques to deepen and strengthen his signature sound: a dry, heavy blend of horns, chanted melodies, two-ton basslines, and devotional lyrics. On this album he's helped out by what might seem at first like an unlikely duo: bassist Bootsy Collins and keyboardist Bernie Worrell, both charter members of Parliament Funkadelic. But the disconnect is only superficial: funk and reggae have deep roots in common, and both Bootsy and Bernie fit into the band with seamless ease. Highlight tracks include the resolutely rocking "People in High Places," the contemplative "Step It," the calypso-inflected "One Africa," and especially, the simple and moving title track. As with most Burning Spear albums, though, this one isn't characterized by sharp high and low points; it's a slow and steady journey through the soul and mind of one of reggae music's most beloved figures, and it moves with all the irresistible momentum of an elephant herd. Winston Rodney "Burning Spear" continues to tour extensively, and several blockbuster live albums have been issued. His concerts are events, and each subsequent record that he releases is greeted with eager anticipation by reggae fans everywhere.

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