Special Request: Garnet Silk “Mama Africa” Live

The Reggae ArchAngel’s First Number One

Garnet Silk was just 26 years old when he died in a tragic accident in December 1994—dashing into a burning building to save his mother. At that young age he had established himself as reggae’s leading roots and culture singer. Hard at work on a new album for the U.S. based label Big Beat/ Atlantic, Garnet was perfectly poised to carry on the work of such legendary figures as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Hard to believe the rail-thin Rasta youth with the majestic voice had started his path in the music business as a DJ named Bimbo, but Garnet soon linked with Tony Rebel (seen above with Garnet in this classic Brian Jahn photograph) and found his true calling: singing cultural reggae music in an era when dancehall had become the dominant musical force on the island.  Garnet’s first number one song, topping the charts in Jamaica and the UK, was a tune called “Hello Mama Africa.” Recorded for Richard Bell’s Star Trail label, this rousing tribute to the motherland was an utterly original tune, yet reminiscent of the similarly titled Peter Tosh album. Video After The Jump…

This was not Garnet’s only song inspired by motherly love—his track “Mama,” a reworking of Clarence Carter’s 1970 soul favorite “Patches,” played incessantly in those awful days after Garnet’s passing. We choose to livicate “Hello Mama Africa” this Mother’s Day as a special request to all mothers around the world. “Hope when you hear these words your grays turn blue.”

Mama Africa Live in 1994


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