Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
THERE WAS a time in Jamaica's music when playing in a band was cool. But the advent of the computer in the mid-1980s changed the scene and musicians took a backseat to programmers.
There are still some bands around, though most are satisfied just to back artistes on live shows. The Uprising Band out of east Kingston wants to do that and more.
The quintet, which formed in January, 2006, comprises Rashawn McAnuff (drums), Ruel Ashburn (bass), Lloyd Palmer (keyboards), Phillip Porter (guitar) and percussionist Joseph Sutherland. Ashburn, McAnuff, Palmer and Sutherland are original members.
To date, the Uprising Band has played at the Caribbean Culture Fest in Nassau, Bahamas and performed throughout the Caribbean with singer Gyptian. But Ashburn says with several established bands on the local show circuit, the calls have not been flooding in from promoters for their services.
Instead of sitting around and twiddling their thumbs, Ashburn said they decided to take things into their own hands.
"We decided to create our own space and go back to the basics," he told The Gleaner.
Uprising's 'space' is a recording studio at Windward Road in east Kingston where they are currently recording and producing veteran roots singer Prince Alla and aspiring singers Elijah Prophet, Vania, Ishmael McLaw and Matthew McAnuff.
Darren Hamilton, the band's manager, reckons Uprising has recorded close to 100 songs for their Tru Music label. Kingston City and Youthman in The Ghetto, songs by Prince Alla, have been released. Rainy Night in Summer by the Westmoreland-born Prophet, is scheduled to be released in August.
Hamilton believes the Uprising Band has the right chemistry to establish itself as a backing and recording unit, just like in the old days when bands like Now Generation and the Soul Syndicate ruled the bandstand and charts.
"We are trying to keep that unity; live as one, eat as one. Once we have that, we know that will show in the music," he said.