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The Twinkle Brothers hail from the North Coast of Jamaica and the ghettos of Falmouth, in the Parish of Trelawny. The two brothers, Norman and Ralston Grant, started singing in the Sunday school choir at ages six and eight. They made their musical instruments because they could not afford to buy them. Various tin cans and fishing lines became guitars and drums.After Jamaican independence from England in the early 1960s, The Twinkle Brothers began singing in competitions. At that time, the government of Jamaica started National Competitions called "Po and Mento" festivals. In these competitions, you would start at Parish level, then move up to Regional level. If successful there, you moved on to the National finals. They broke the barriers at the Regional Finals in Montego Bay and went on to the Nationals in Kingston, winning First Place in the "group category". They reigned supreme for years in the National competition and won several medals.In the early 60s, the Twinkles Brother joined a band in their hometown of Falmouth called "The Cardinals". The members were Falmouthians, from middle-class society; teachers, bankers and accountants. Young Norman and Ralston were the bands only 'ghetto boys'. The Cardinals started playing in hotels and nightclubs throughout the island.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

The Twinkle Brothers
The Twinkle Brothers

By the late 60's, the Twinkle Brothers started recording, going to Kingston to try for auditions with Coxsone, Prince Buster, Beverly's and Treasure Isle, to name a few. They were fortunate enough to get their first recording, a solo by Norman called "Somebody Please Help Me', recorded by Leslie Kong on the Beverly's label. A year later came their first single, 'Matthew and Mark', recorded by Duke Reid on the Treasure Isle label. In 1970, they entered the Jamaica Festival Song competition and placed third behind Hopeton Lewis and The Jamaicans. During that time, the Twinkles were on the Jack Pot label, produced by Bunny Lee. From there on they moved to bigger and better things: recording for Dynamic Sounds, Federal Records, Sun Shot and Upsetter labels. In 1970, they formed their own Twinkle label. The band established itself as an accomplished vocal/instrumental group on Jamaica's North Coast at an early age. It's quite a feat for musicians to support themselves with music anywhere --- let alone in Jamaica's hard economy. The Twinkle Brothers went into self-production, financing their sessions through Norman's employment as a solo artist. In 1975, the Twinkles released the celebrated 'Rasta Pon Top' which included such intrinsic Rastafari anthems as 'Give Rasta Praise', 'It Gwine Dreada', 'Beat Them Jah Jah' and the fiery, assertive title track: 'Rasta Pon Top'. In 1997, they signed to Virgin Records' newly established Frontline label, a move that saw the release of the highly acclaimed 'Love'. This was followed by 'Praise Jah' and triumphantly, in 1980 by the class 'Countrymen' which featured premier, heavy roots items such as 'Never Get Burn', 'Since I Threw the Comb Away' and 'Jah Kingdom Come'. Today, The Twinkle Brothers have produced 63 albums (with more to come!) plus numerous singles, a 'live' Sunsplash album and video, one live album in Poland, three albums on Virgin label and one on Quiet Storm released last year. With most of the band living in England, The Twinkle Brothers have toured Europe, America, Africa, Scandinavia, Poland, Belguim, Spain and other countries. In Europe, The Twinkle Brothers are an in-demand live attraction. The Twinkle Brothers career is still in full flight. The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival welcomes their 'landing' at this year's show on Saturday.

Artist Biography courtesy of Wendy Russell Productions

 

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