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Big Youth, (Manley Augustus Buchanon) is renowned as one of the founding fathers of reggae's "raggamuffin" style. Born in Febuary 1955, this master of clever rhymes pre-dates modern rap with his half-singing , innovative artistry that faithfully expresses the authentic sound of the Jamaican ghetto. It was Big Youth who coined the term "natty dread" --- a phrase now used around the world! One of Jamaica's most successful early reggae deejays, this policeman's son converted to Rastafrianism in his late teens. His employment as a mechanic for the Skyline and Sheraton hotels brought him into contact with hotel entertainers. Eventually he became a resident deejay for the Lord Tipperton Sound System --- one of the top Kingston sounds in the early 70's.
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

Big Youth
Big Youth
photo credit: David Wendlinger, taken at SNWMF '96

His "S.90 Skank" reached the top of the Jamaican charts in 1972 with lyrics warning that if "you ride like lightning --- you'll crash like thunder"(!) In the 1970's, Bob Marley was the only artist to approach his popularity! His raw and uncomromising style, with its politically aware message of human rights continues to win the respect and admiration of a new generation of reggae enthusiasts. We look forward to a dynamic performance by an original raggamuffin master whose expertise with the microphone will be sure to stir up some "lightning and thunder"(!)

Artist Biography courtesy of Ariana

 

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