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Rob Symeonn

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Symeonn sang for the One Love International sound system prior to relocating to New York, USA in 1978, settling in Flatbush, Brooklyn. His reputation on the sound system blossomed and he gained significant notoriety among New York’s Caribbean community. Symeonn later worked alongside the Freedom International and Macca Bee sound systems, which led to an introduction to the Easy Star recording artist, Ruff Scott in 1986. Through Scott he was enrolled as part of the Easy Star posse, a group of like-minded individuals who were committed to helping return reggae to its roots. Using his timeless voice and songwriting skills, Symeonn began building a successful career and was widely tipped as being poised to join the international reggae scene. Reflecting his strong moral beliefs in a world of guns and slackness, Symeonn’s lyrics brought a positive and conscious message to his listeners. His 1997 debut for Easy Star, ‘Anything For Jah’, proved especially popular with roots followers worldwide. The song expressed a feeling of the Rastafarian devotion to Jah and also featured real musicians providing the rhythm foundation. Singing in a roots style similar to artists that inspired him such as Bob Marley, Jacob Miller, Hugh Mundell, Sammy Dread and Fred Locks, Symeonn asserted that: ‘like those who came before him he understood that a universal message and a catchy song would best spread Jah’s words of love’. He followed up with the equally popular ‘Delilah’, recorded in combination with Ranking Joe. While maintaining his career as a performer Symeonn worked concurrently with the New York City Board of Education where he felt his Rastafarian beliefs assisted him in guiding the youth through a righteous path. His musical career was further enhanced during this period when he supported visiting Jamaican performers such as Tony Rebel, Tiger, Yellowman and fellow ex-patriot Sister Carol. In 2000, Symeonn continued to perform on the east coast, but with only sporadic record releases the earlier predictions of a triumphant career began to falter.

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