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For over 25 years, Michael Rose has been recording and performing his brand of militant, hardcore Jamaican music to the delight of reggae fans around the world. As a solo artist, with Black Uhuru, and back as a solo artist, the "Ruff" Rose has achieved great success throughout his career, even as different Jamaican musical styles have phased in and out of popularity.
Perhaps the highest profile recognition came in 1984, when Michael Rose and the other Black Uhuru members (Duckie Simpson, Puma Jones, Sly Dunbar, and Robbie Shakespeare) won reggae's first Grammy award for the album, Anthem. But the story doesn't begin with Black Uhuru. In 1976, Michael Rose was already a seasoned performer, having honed his skills by performing on Jamaica's hotel circuit. When an early incarnation of Black Uhuru (Ducky Simpson and Errol Nelson) approached Michael to join the group, he already had several solo singles to his credit. These include the original "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" and "Clap the Barber," both recorded for producer Niney The Observer, and "Running Around" for Winston Campbell.
Black Uhuru's first full length was released in 1977 and called Love Crisis. It was produced by King Jammy (then Prince Jammy), and the big hit of the album was "I Love King Selassie." But it was not until the Showcase album was released in 1980-with a new lineup of Michael Rose, Duckie Simpson, and Puma Jones-that Black Uhuru reached their creative peak. Heartbeat reissued the set on CD (Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, HB 18), which includes the massive 12" singles "Shine Eye Gal," "General Penitentiary," "Plastic Smile," and of course, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner." At the forefront of the recordings and live shows was the charismatic Michael Rose, who had incredible stage presence and a vocal style all his own. So popular was his trademark sound that singers like Don Carlos, Junior Reid, Yami Bolo, and others embraced it as the "Waterhouse" sound.
Throughout the first half of the 1980s, Black Uhuru continued their success with albums on Island Records-Sinsemilla, Red, Chill Out, and Anthem, along with compilations, dub albums, and live albums. They became the best-known reggae act since Bob Marley, and won the first reggae Grammy for Anthem in 1984. Even today, Island continues to capitalize on the group's success by re-compiling and re-releasing the group's Island years material.
Sister Carol, born Carole East, is one of Jamaica's top entertainers. Having been born and raised in the ghettos of Kingston till the age of 14, her family immigrated to Brooklyn, NY in 1973 to look for work. Who knew that the thriving dancehall scene in New York City in the 70's would lead Sister Carol to a path Sister Carolthat would include movies, albums, television appearances and a Grammy nomination for her highly regarded 1996 release, Lyrically Potent.
Music has always been close to Sister Carol's heart. In fact, her father was an engineer that worked in radio at RJR in Jamaica and would regularly be part of the music scene that was being established in the 1960's by Studio One's legendary Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. These early influences came into play when Sister Carol began her musical career, following in the footsteps of one of her mentors and friend, DJ Brigadier Jerry. Having won talent contests in both Jamaica and New York, Sister Carol was offered an opening slot for one of Jamaica's finest vocal trios, The Meditations, who had provided harmony vocals for Bob Marley. Bringing her greater recognition and a wider audience, as well as firmly establishing her as a cornerstone of the dancehall/dj movement, this opportunity opened the door for her to record her first two records, Liberation for Africa and Black Cinderalla. Sister Carol also began another facet of her entertainment career as an actress, appearing in two Jonathan Demme movies, Something Wild and Married to the Mob.
Having succeeded in a musical genre that is widely dominated by male performers, Sister Carol's life is a true testament to the spirit and energy that she conveys in every live performance she gives. In her personal life, she has succeeded at being a wife and a mother, not only raising her children, but also acquiring a teaching degree in education at the City College of New York. Professionally, Sister Carol has appeared on NBC's David Lettermen and Late Night With Conan O'Brien, as well as earning praise in publications such as Billboard, the Village Voice, and many others. She has toured the world several times over and was the familiar voice behind Night Music with David Sanborn as the MC. In 1999, Tuff Gong, the label started by reggae icon Bob Marley, released Sister Carol's Isis-the Orginal Womb-man. Couple this with over 8 albums, dozens of singles and the aforementioned Grammy nomination, and its clear to see why Sister Carol is at the top of her field.
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