Sly & Robbie

Grammy Award-winning reggae duo Sly & Robbie will top off FIBArk’s Friday musical entertainment at 8 p.m. in Riverside Park. They’ll be joined by reggae legend Mykal Rose.

by Steve Chapman

Special to The Mail

Day 2 of FIBArk music gets started at 3 p.m. Friday with Alternative People playing a two-hour set at Riverside Park.

Hailing from Gunnison, the four-piece band delivers jam-fusion with dance-oriented tunes influenced by a wide range of genres, including funk, metal, bluegrass and hip-hop.

Following a brief break, Salida’s own Blue Recluse performs, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

A local favorite, Blue Recluse features Shawntel Royale on vocals, Ernie Mose on drums, Christopher Hudson on bass, Ernie Hatfield in keys and Mike Twarogowski on guitar.

Known for a powerful voice with sultry tones, reminiscent of Etta James and Susan Tedeschi, Royale began singing in Austin, Texas. Ernie Mose has a career covering multiple genres and has played in Front Range bands for the last three decades. Lead guitarist Michael Twarogowski is another longtime veteran of the Colorado music scene who tears through blues tunes with intensity and passion.

Playing acoustic and electric bass for Blue Recluse is Christopher Hudson, who has a background in Latin jazz, swing, rock and country, in addition to blues. Ernie Hatfield’s keyboard play accompanies several Salida bands, including Mo’Champipple and the Miso Horns.

Rounding out the Friday concert is the famous duo Sly & Robbie, who perform along with reggae legend Mykal Rose at 8 p.m.

Since the 1970s, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have been Jamaica’s most prolific rhythm section and production duo, playing or producing more than 50,000 songs.

Winners of a Grammy Award in 1984, the first year reggae had its own category, the pair also won Grammys in 1998 and 1999. In 2001, they received a nomination for their work with the band No Doubt.

Sly & Robbie are master innovators, introducing new beats and new sounds, including a harder beat called “Rockers” and the “Rub A Dub” sound of the early 1980s. The pair were also crucial in the movement toward computer-assisted music and programming. Their combined work has provided the base for classic records by Grace Jones, Joe Cocker and Gwen Guthrie.

The 1990s saw more new sounds from the production powerhouses when they introduced a new sound with the hits “Bam Bam” and “Murder She Wrote,” matching soulful singing with rough DJ vocals. Some later adopted this style in rap music, where a guest artist sings a hook while the verses are rapped.

In the 2000s, Sly & Robbie fused dance hall sounds with Latin music to take their sound in yet another direction.

Even after four decades together, the pair continue a relentless touring and recording schedule, touring with the likes of Bunny Rugs, Tony Rebel, Half Pint and Sinead O’Connor. They’ve also produced many tracks for other musicians, including Paul McCartney and Brittany Spears.

Joining Sly & Robbie on stage is Mykal Rose. Through a 25-year career, Rose has gained a reputation for his brand of militant, hardcore reggae. Many singers have been inspired by Rose’s distinct vocal style and scats.

Rose made his bones with Black Uhuru and increased his stature as a solo artist even as Jamaican music has faded in and out of popularity. In 1984, Rose and Black Uhuru won reggae’s first Grammy award for the album “Anthem.” The group went on to become the best-known act in the genre since Bob Marley.

Breaking out as a solo artist, Mykal Rose busted out with new material produced by Sly & Robbie, including the singles “Monkey Business,” “Visit Them” and One A We Two A We,” along with three albums.

In 2004, Rose rejoined Black Uhuru but also continues touring as a solo act in the United States and Europe, often performing with long-time collaborators and producers Sly & Robbie.

When the two acts combine on stage to headline Friday’s FIBArk concerts, history, innovation, the roots of reggae and powerhouse music will fill the air. The result should be one for Saida to remember for years to come.

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