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THE SECOND COMING OF ROOTS SINGER I KONG!

 I Kong—

Roots singer I Kong had a decade as an entertainer under his belt when he recorded the song The Way It Is in 1972.

Released in 1978, The Way It Is was produced by Tommy Cowan with the Inner Circle band as musicians. Michael Lee was executive producer.

The song, and album, never gained mainstream coverage but always had an underground following in Europe where it is currently enjoying a revival.

“It’s really a revelation to see and hear how the people there have responded to my performances. This song was given to I by Jah himself, I have not heard anyone who does not love this song,” said I Kong.

 Mathias Liengme, a 21-year-old Swiss musician, has played a major role in resurrecting I Kong’s career. A fan of roots-reggae, he describes The Way it Is as ‘a masterpiece’.
I-KongALittleWalk

Liengme also produced A Little Walk, the singer’s latest album, and organised shows for him in Switzerland and France last summer.

I Kong, 67, recently spoke to the Sunday Observer about the high points of his newfound recognition in Europe.

“Without a doubt, being in Switzerland performing at the Ella Fitzgerald Stage and Festi Jam Festival in France. Also, the photo shoot at the Eiffel Tower and my appearance at Radio France,” he said.

A nephew of pioneer producer Leslie Kong, I Kong was born Errol Kong in Kingston. Though he never recorded with the group, he was a founding member of The Jamaicans, along with Norris Weir, Keith Brown, Martin Williams and Mibsey Curry.

Cowan joined the group in the mid-1960s. They won the second Festival Song Competition with Ba Ba Boom in 1967.

I Kong recorded as a solo artist (initially as Ricky Storm) for several producers including Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry during the early 1970s when he ‘sight up Rasta’.

The Way It Is, recorded at Dynamic Sounds, remains his signature.

Pass it On, I Kong’s next album, is also produced by Liengme. To be released in June, the title song is a collaboration with the Raging Fyah band.

—By Howard Campbell

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