The first in-depth history of the school that started a musical revolution
Behind Jamaica's global musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns, with a brass band that helped shape the sound of some the world's most beloved musical forms. Under a strict disciplinarian regime, 'wayward boys,’ many of whom were orphaned or from deeply troubled backgrounds and hailing from some of the toughest streets in the world, went on to lay the foundations of Jamaican jazz, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dancehall and dub.
Alpha Boys School: Cradle Of Jamaican Music takes a look at the lives of over forty of these influential musicians who against a backdrop of extreme poverty, gun culture, street gangs and an urban civil war, attained virtuoso musicianship to create their own sonic revolution. Told in a narrative style with a wealth of interviews, exclusive photos and archival material this book is a long overdue look at the lives and impact of the Alpha Boys. Noted Alpharian musicians include Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, ‘Deadly’ Headley Bennett, Johnny Osbourne, Albert Malawi, Yellowman, Leroy Smart, Bobby Ellis, Cedric ‘IM” Brooks, Joe Harriott, Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton, Vin Gordon, Rico Rodriguez, Owen Gray and Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace. Each has their story of how Alpha saved them from challenging early life circumstances by giving them the gift of music. The book also tells the story of Sister Mary Ignatius, the remarkable nun who ran the music department at Alpha Boys School for 64 years, inspiring generations of young men to make music their occupation. Famed for operating her own bass-heavy sound system where she would spin her collection of the hippest jazz, r’n’b and ska 45s, Sister Ignatius was adored by her boys and remained friends with them throughout their lives, wherever they were in the world. She is true Godmother of Ska and Reggae.
Featuring a foreword by world renowned reggae DJ and broadcaster David Rodigan and stunning cover art by French oil painter Jean-Christophe Molineris.
A5 Paperback: 399 pages
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