Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ishan People: A Little Jamaica By Way Of Toronto


The development and acceptance of reggae in Canada followed the same pattern as that in Britain and United States: when Jamaicans settled into this country in the 50s and 60s, they brought the music of their homeland with them.  Eventually, they began to promote and record their own releases here.

Pioneers in the 60s included Toronto's first ska and rock-steady groups, The Rivals, The Sheiks, The Cougars, and The Cavaliers.  In fact, the city became of hotbed of North American reggae, what with several reggae venues opening up: The West Indian Federation Club, Club Jamaica, Tiger's Den and The Blue Angel.  Jackie Mitoo became the first reggae artist to record a disc in Canada.  He was soon followed by Stranger Cole, Tony Eden, Audley Williams, the Webber Sisters, Leroy Brown, and Joe Issacs.

The First Record

In 1976, Toronto's Ishan People -- featuring vocalist Errol "Johnny" Osbourne (a.k.a. Bumpy Jones), Larry Silvera on bass, drummer Karl Parris Jr., keyboardist David Jones, Glen Daley on percussion and guitarists Michael Murray and Anthony Campbell -- recorded their first album, Roots, for GRT Records.  While Roots was a mélange of Jamaican rhythms, it also reflected the band's Canadian home; in other words, it was nice.

The Followup

But where Roots lacked in production values and ferocity, the followup a year later was an improvement.  While, still not as biting as their brethren back home in Jamaica, the production is better on this one.  And clubs around Toronto took notice: Ishan People performed on many of the same bills as the city's notorious punks of the era.

By 1979, however, Ishan People went their separate ways.  But their influence was immeasurable: the following 15 years would spawn a plethora of Canadian reggae bands such as (in no particular order) Messenjah, Fujahtive, Sattalites, Truths & Rights, 20th Century Rebels, Sonia Colleymore and others.

After the band's demise, Johnny Osbourne returned to Jamaica, where he began a prolific recording careers, where he would record a stunning 18 albums in the space of just 12 years.

Ishan People - Roots (1976):

1Ishan PeopleTough Tight & Dread4:31

2Ishan PeopleI Shall Be Released4:31

3Ishan PeopleOne Way Ticket3:48

4Ishan PeopleLies4:07

5Ishan PeopleYour Money Or Your Life5:29

6Ishan PeopleTalkin' Blues4:40

7Ishan PeopleSituation Vacant2:51

8Ishan PeopleNo Ganja3:21

Ishan People - Ishan People (a.k.a. Reggae Sun) (1977):

1Ishan PeopleCome To The Music4:13

2Ishan PeopleHold On3:45

3Ishan PeopleInflation3:32

4Ishan PeopleSweet Chariot4:33

5Ishan PeopleLet The Rhythm Roll3:18

6Ishan PeopleMighty Warrior3:48

7Ishan PeopleRainbow3:13

8Ishan PeopleTrenchtown5:35


PierAJackson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Son of Spam said...

Hi PierA:

That's actually, no problem at all. I've already complied with a request to take a download down, after it was pointed out that the particular release in question has been re-released for commercial profit.

My blog is an attempt to showcase music that otherwise would not have been heard.

So I'll gladly remove the links. However, I have to say that I don't appreciate the SOCAN warning...all you really had to do was ask me and I would have complied.

You know...catching more bees with honey rather than vinegar.


PierAJackson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grant said...

I have a copy of "ROOTS" and I often find myself singing "Tough, Tight and Dread" to myself. It was nice to read about the history of this group which I didn't know much about. You didn't mention that the records were produced by the great David Clayton Thomas.

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

trustNjesus -
all you gotta do.

Julius STARROS said...