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Dubbin' Away

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Album Review

Oku Onuora is one of the many obscure dub poets (other than Linton Kwesi Johnson and perhaps Mutabaruka, there really aren't any famous ones) that dot the reggae landscape, pacing to and fro like dreadlocked Cassandras and chanting messages of political apocalypse over fundamentalist drum'n'bass grooves. American reggae fans were introduced to his poetry and musicianship by the scrappy ROIR label, which released an excellent compilation entitled I a Tell: Dubwize & Otherwise on cassette in the early 1990s (it has since been reissued on CD). There was also a disappointing collection of synthesized instrumental dub called New Jerusalem Dub. Dubbin' Away consists of tracks taken from several Onuora albums that were never released in the U.S., and which improve upon his previous instrumental work by involving real instruments instead of synthesizers and sequencers. "Dub Sketches" was previously released with its vocal counterpart on I a Tell, but the rest of the program will be new material to most American ears: the swinging "Sun Dub (Solar Dub)" and the mildly funky "Dub Changes" are especially well put together, and the brief lessons in revolutionary rhetoric that Onuora interjects from time to time between tracks break things up nicely. Reggae fans will not be disappointed.


Born: March, 1952 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The name of Oku Onuora, Jamaica's best known dub poet, a notorious radical, criminal, and proud subversive, literally translates as fire in the desert and symbolizes the voice of the people. Considered the father of dubetry, a combination of haunting dub melodies and spoken word, Oku Onora was born Orlando Wong. During his youth, he joined the fight against the racist, oppressive policies of the post-colonialists. A disciple of Negus, young Wong was known for his many wall slogans and his demonstratinons...
Full Bio
Dubbin' Away, Oku Onuora
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  • $18.99
  • Genres: Reggae, Music, Dub
  • Released: 22 June 1999

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