In an industry where some younger acts shy away from speaking about their musical influences, roots singer Kumar Fyah is not hesitant to share his all-time favourites.
The former Raging Fyah frontman gave BUZZ his top picks in reggae in light of Reggae Month, and cover maestro Sanchez tops his list.
Check out Kumar’s top six below. He’s a singer too, so quantifying his influences to just five is tough.
“For me, my personal-personal favourite is Sanchez; him have something weh it’s like just haffi listen Sanchez,” Kumar said.
Many may share a similar sentiment. Sanchez rose to prominence in the late 1980s with the Red Man label track Lady In Red. His interpretation of classics like Jermaine Jackson’s Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone, Larry Graham’s One In a Million You and So Amazing by Luther Vandross has solidified him as one of the reggae’s finest vocalists. His original tracks Never Dis The Man and I Can’t Wait have also added to this.
The late frontman of reggae fusion group Third World is also enlisted.
“Mi love Bunny Rugs; I really enjoy his singing, and I think he is one of Jamaica’s best singers,” Kumar said.
Rugs died in 2014, but not before gifting reggae with tons of hits as part of Third World and also as a soloist. He is remembered for his wide-ranging vocals heard on tracks like Now That We’ve Found Love, Forbidden Love and Committed.
Brown, who would have turned 63 on February 1, is long hailed as the crown prince of reggae music. Starting his career as a pre-teen, Brown soon captured the hearts of many beyond the borders of Jamaica with a tremolo signature and consistent recordings amassing over 70 albums.
Reggae’s elder statesman, Burning Spear, is often associated with shaping roots reggae music because of his Pan-African themes and promotion of Marcus Garvey’s black consciousness teachings. His 1975 album, Marcus Garvey, was more than an ode to the National hero and is revered as one of reggae’s greatest projects. Spear is a double Grammy recipient, for his albums Calling Rastafari (2000) and Jah Is Real (2009).
A gem of rocksteady, Boothe emerged in the 1960s and has built an impressive catalogue of originals and covers. Among his best-known recordings are Puppet On A String, Moving Away, Everything I Own, Lady With The Starlight, Train Is Coming Baby and Artibella.
Kumar could not exclude the king of reggae from his list of favourites.
Marley is respected as not only a pioneer of the genre, but one who used his perspective as an interracial child and inner-city youth to promote love and unity among all races and better opportunities for the less fortunate. Starting his career with childhood friends Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, he formed The Wailing Wailers and went on to record with the I-Threes. Though he died in 1981, his messages reign eternal in songs like One Love, Redemption Song and No Woman, No Cry.