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At a time when the international need to focus on positivity, creativity and harmony is paramount, a young Jamaican roots & culture artist is breaking new ground. Outstanding production and the most compelling Rasta chants to be heard from Jamaica in years make Bushman a force to be reckoned with in contemporary reggae.

Now 28, Dwight Duncan aka BUSHMAN is an artist carved out of the same musical tradition as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Luciano, who he quotes a being his dominant influences. Hailing from the small rural parish of Prospect Beach, Bushman was raised as a Rastafarian. By the tender age of nine he had grasped his musical potential.

Moving into his teens and now known as Junior Melody, he kicked off his career proper as a selector on the Black Star Line sound system. Taking his talent to the next stage, i.e. recording, meant travelling 70 miles to Kingston, as there were no Studios in St. Thomas. Being poor, he would hitch-hike into the city. One day he met Steely and Clevie at Arrows Dubplate Studio during an impromptu game of football, and sessions were scheduled.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

    Photography by Francesca D'Onofrio ©2001

Their first song together was "Grow Your Natty," a remarkable debut, which was swiftly followed by "Call the Hearse." Steely renamed him Bushman, although not without a certain amount of resistance from the young singer. (He changed his mind when he discovered Bushman is an African term for ‘medicine man.’ "Music," he later wrote, "is the original medicine.") This confirmed Bushman’s vision that music was capable of inspiring love, unity and self-awareness. "Call the Hearse" became a big hit in Jamaica, followed up by a rapturous US tour and headline dates at Jamaica’s top clubs.

After the release of his debut album, Nyah Man Chant in 1997, Bushman reached a natural hiatus in his career. An artist with true integrity, he chose to take a year away from the music business and spent his time "looking inward." His search for perspective and musical direction proved fruitful.

Bushman’s newly enriched creativity led him to the legendary Lloyd James aka King Jammy. He says of their working relationship, "Jammy listens to my ideas and knows what I want, so he gets the best results." The collaboration resulted in a mature and focused second album, Total Commitment released in 1999.

Bushman is back with his third full length album Higher Ground. Higher Ground is a recording of the purest roots & culture, which King Jammy rates as "one of the best albums I’ve ever produced." Bushman continues to bless listeners with his inspiring lyrics.

Despite the ever increasing recognition of his talent, Bushman remains a humble and down-to-earth figure. He still lives in St. Thomas, frequently taking to the hills with his Bible and meditating in the lush Jamaican countryside. He sticks to a strictly I-tal diet comprising natural juices and vegetarian dishes. He bathes in the hot water springs of his native parish and considers his Rastafarian faith a "levity" (total lifestyle, not a fad).

bio Courtesy of Greensleeves Records


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