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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » AFTER A FEW YEARS AWAY, DR. DREAD OF RAS RECORDS IS BACK IN THE BIZ!

AFTER A FEW YEARS AWAY, DR. DREAD OF RAS RECORDS IS BACK IN THE BIZ!

By Richard Johnson—

 Gary ‘Doctor Dread’ Himelfarb, principal of DDP Records.—-

THE reggae landscape is dotted with a long list of non-Jamaicans who have taken to the music and, over the years, worked to spread the music and its message globally.

Among those in that category is American-born Gary Himelfarb, popular known as Dr Dread.

His love affair with reggae music grew when he worked on radio in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he had been a private collector of the music and wanted a way to spread the infectious beat.

“I remember listening to The Wailers on Catch A Fire. I was just blown away by the beat and rhythm and the message of this music. In a bid to learn more, I came to Jamaica in 1977, immersed myself in the Rastafari culture, grew my locks and the name Dr Dread was born,” he said.

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Dr Dread describes this period as the golden age of reggae music. Artists such as Daddy U-Roy, Don Carlos and Jacob Miller ruled the air waves.

That was nearly a generation ago, and today, Dr Dread is back in reggae. Having taken a hiatus from the music, it was the sounds of reggae singer Barrington Levy which has brought him back.

He is involved in the promotion and distribution of Levy’s latest project, Acousticalevy.

“I was 100 per cent blown away when I heard the vocals on this album. It is simply world-class. Handel Tucker has done a marvellous job in producing and I just want to showcase this to a wider audience. Barrington Levy is not just a great reggae act… he a great artiste. I want to help him transcend reggae’s borders and showcase his vocals to the world,” Dr Dread told the Sunday Observer.

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Having worked with a long list of reggae’s finest through Ras Records, which he founded in the 1970s, Dr Dread noted that the key to making it for a reggae artist in this ultra-competitive market is to be “creative and original”.

“If given the opportunity, I would work with Jesse Royal. He very natural and a big star in the making. Gyptian also caught my eye years ago when he burst onto the scene with Serious Times. I am open to working with these creative and original acts. Back in the day, we signed Tenor Saw and a deejay like Tiger… nobody sounded like these guys; they had that unique quality and that is what I look for in an artist.

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