BARRINGTON LEVY - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
237 W. 42nd St. (7-8 Aves.) - 212-997-4144
New York, NY 10036
Description: Barrington Levy's outstanding career as a top-class reggae vocalist began more than two and a half decades ago. Called reggae's 'Mellow Canary' by virtue of his strong, pure vocal style, he's renowned as the first original singer of the dancehall era, inspiring many imitators en-route. Barrington was born in West Kingston, but spent much time as a youth in Clarendon, where he developed his signature riff by experimenting with different vocalizations and bouncing the sounds off the surrounding hills. In 1975, Barrington recorded his debut track "My Black Girl" with the Mighty Multitude. During these early performances, his singing was often informally recorded and sent to places in England and the U.S. The first foreign release, "A Ya We Deh", was followed by a major hit with "Collie Weed", produced by Junjo Laws for Jah Guidance, and others like "Twenty-One Girls Salute" and "Mind Your Mouth". Producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes discovered him singing on a local sound-system, and wasted no time in taking him to Channel One for the first of many hit singles in 1979. With the Channel One All-Stars - later to form the nucleus of the Roots Radics - laying the rhythms, and Scientist mixing the finished results at King Tubbys, the new singer caused a sensation right from the start, ushering in the dancehall phase at the same time. The follow-up Englishman on Greensleeves established Barrington as the reggae star of the early '80's, spawning hit singles with "Sister Carol", "Look Youthman", "Eventide Fire A Disaster" and "Mary Long Tongue". Again Junjo was the producer, and the third album Robin Hood only served to maintain his already rocketing reputation. In 1983, Levy made a big splash in Great Britain with "Under Mi Sensi", a tune that spent 12 weeks topping their charts. The tune quickly made its way to the States where it became an instant hit. "Under Mi Sensi" also became the basis for the 1985 dancehall mega-hit "Under Mi Sleng Teng" - primarily credited to Wayne "Jammy" Smith (although Barrington actually created the melody). Levy's initial live appearances in England created a sensation, his astonishing self-confidence in his singing talent on stage at venues like the influential "100 Club" in London, enabling him to have audiences in the palm of his hand. "Under Mi Sensi", a formidable and decidedly heavyweight cut which found Barrington wailing with a power and depth unequalled before or since. Immediately the song became a classic, staying in the reggae charts for weeks on end. It was closely followed by "Murderer" for Jah Life, and then Barrington and Jah Screw's "Here I Come" in 1985 which was a national chart-hit through a major label deal with London Records - ultimately leading to his first UK TV appearances, where he sang the pro-ganja anthem "Under Mi Sensi" on Number 73 (a children's television show!). Throughout his professional appearances, Barrington has shared the stage with a veritable who's-who of the reggae and world music scene: Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Dennis Brown, John Holt, Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Lady Saw, Lady G, U2, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Shine, CeCile, Tony Rebel, Garnet Silk, Capleton, Sugar Minott, Coco Tea, Spanner Banner, Little Kirk, Sanchez, Papa San, Mutabaruka... just to name a few. Barrington continues to record and tour extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and remains Jamaica's #1 headliner. He's currently working on his latest (soon to be released) album, It's About Time, featuring Jamaican hip-hop sensation CeCile, on the hit single "Want You To Know". Barrington Levy is still "Broader than Broadway"; and still a major force on the dancehall scene !!!