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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.
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):
|1||Ishan People||Tough Tight & Dread||4:31|
|2||Ishan People||I Shall Be Released||4:31|
|3||Ishan People||One Way Ticket||3:48|
|5||Ishan People||Your Money Or Your Life||5:29|
|6||Ishan People||Talkin' Blues||4:40|
|7||Ishan People||Situation Vacant||2:51|
|8||Ishan People||No Ganja||3:21|
Ishan People - Ishan People (a.k.a. Reggae Sun) (1977):
|1||Ishan People||Come To The Music||4:13|
|2||Ishan People||Hold On||3:45|
|4||Ishan People||Sweet Chariot||4:33|
|5||Ishan People||Let The Rhythm Roll||3:18|
|6||Ishan People||Mighty Warrior||3:48|