November 9, 2022
WHENEVER Leroy Sibbles hits the stage for a performance, he wants it to be educational as well as entertaining. The veteran rocksteady singer/bassist makes his story part of the show.
It is going to be no different when he headlines Stars R Us on November 26 at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston.
“It is very important that Jamaicans know the history of their music, and since I have been in the business for over 50 years and was instrumental in creating some of the classic reggae basslines that are still being recorded over today, I can share that history with my fans and educate them on that history. It is always necessary for me to share and educate,” said Sibbles.
The Trench Town-raised Sibbles made his name in the 1960s as a member of The Heptones alongside Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn. That classic line-up thrived at Studio One with a slate of hit songs such as Fattie Fattie, Why Did You Leave, Sweet Talking, Party Time, and I Shall be Released.
During his time at Studio One, Sibbles was prolific on bass. He played on numerous hit songs including Sata Masa Gana by The Abyssinians, No Man is an Island by Dennis Brown, Queen of The Minstrel by Cornel Campbell, and Skylarking by Horace Andy.
Sibbles returned to Jamaica permanently in the mid-1990s after living in Canada for over 20 years, helping to develop that country’s reggae scene. He has made it a duty to bring the dancehall generation up to speed on his legacy.
“It is important to reach younger audiences as they represent the future and they should also understand the history,” said Sibbles, who was part of the 1990s rocksteady revival.
Stars R Us is the first major ‘vintage’ show in Jamaica for 2022. It also features Derrick Morgan, Ken Boothe, Johnny Clarke, Big Youth and Wesrok.
Noting that he wasn’t expecting to receive the scholarship, Anderson said, “I guess I looked at the other guys who were up for the scholarship and I thought they looked smarter than me and I just did not think I had a shot but it came right in the nick of time.”
Anderson noted that he is motivated to provide for other students, when he graduates from the school.
“The fact that it was provided by old boys just showed me that they can become successful and assist with the younger ones in school. It just inspires me. When I become successful I can give back to the school,” said Anderson who is studying Caribbean studies, sociology, history and literatures in English.
Meanwhile, Campbell was equally thrilled.
“I am extremely grateful. On a scale of one to 10, definitely 11. The fact that my school fee was paid, there was a weight lifted off my back and off my parents back,” Campbell told the Observer.
“It is a wonderful feeling because the camaraderie which is fostered at Kingston College by Kingston College old boys is really good. That’s really what I love about my school, the sentiments that surround my school is what I really love,” he added.
According to president of the scholarship programme, Dr Stephan Neill, this is the second year that students have received financial aid.
He said two students received scholarships in 2020 and 2022, as the novel coronavirus pandemic derailed the acquisition of funds in 2021.
“We came again in 2022 and awarded two more. The criteria wasn’t so much academic, it was more of a case of a needs basis. Through teachers at the school, we had them circulating the application link, to the students in their classes and they were asked to apply,” said Neill, noting that six students were shortlisted for interviews after essay submissions.
In the meantime, the scholarship awardees noted that they have learnt much from the experience.
“Let things go and let God do his work. I didn’t know how the school fee would be paid. I was stressing about it, did the interview and I was called three weeks after to say I was selected,” said Campbell.
While Anderson added, “Keep on persevering. No matter how difficult your situation might be or how hard you find yourself in situation, God will make a way, you will have a breakthrough. I never knew how my school fee would be paid and I applied just to see if I would get through.”
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