August 22, 2022
REGGAE legend Jimmy Cliff says he has always admired Wyclef Jean for his musical prowess. He recently collaborated with the Haitian star on the song Refugees, the title track of Cliff’s latest album.
“Wyclef is really a good friend from long time, and I admire him from that time. Working with him on this particular song was a great experience. We may potentially work on other songs down the line,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Jean, 52, is a former member of hip hop group The Fugees, alongside Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel. He has won three Grammy Awards and inducted Cliff in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
In a release, Jean said Refugees struck a chord with him.
“For me, coming to America wasn’t easy when I first got [t]here. Having family members who suffered political torment, it wasn’t easy for us. When I say ‘Fugees’, Fugees is short for refugees. I was always like, ‘If I could penetrate a message, it would be that.’ And who inspires that? Jimmy Cliff is one of my biggest inspirations ever, and he has always stayed on message when it comes to peace, love, and unity. The collaboration with this record is just what we are, talking for the forgotten. In an era where love is needed I don’t think anybody can convey that better than the king,” said Jean.
Refugees, the album, is a 13-track set released August 12 by Universal Music Enterprises.
“The album took five years to complete. I was in a higher spiritual place when I did this album,” said Cliff. “I definitely want it to resonate with everyone who listens it. I would love them to accept it.”
Other tracks include: Money Love, Here I Am, Security, One Song, My Love Song, Moving On, Bridges, and Happy Day. The set’s other collaborations are with Dwight Richards on We Want Justice and Lilty Cliff on Racism.
Richards has been touring with Cliff for two decades. He multitasks as opening act, back-up singer, musician, and tour manager.
Lilty Cliff is his 18-year-old daughter. She shared how she became part of the project.
“The way the song came about is just a story about musicians having fun together. I was just messing around [and] the band leader ended up recording a few things. Next thing I know, I hear I’m actually going to be featuring on a song. Jimmy’s a man who has always stayed true to his beliefs. I think Racism is a song that really shows what the whole Refugees album is about, which is unity and tolerance. The fact I get to be a part of is really amazing,” she said in a release.
Cliff does not have a favourite song on the album. He says all of them are meaningful.
His last album was Rebirth in 2012. It was nominated for the Best Reggae Album Grammy that year.
A two-time Grammy winner, Cliff is best known for his role as Ivan in 1972 movie, The Harder They Come. He also appeared in the action film Marked For Death (1990), starring Steven Seagal, and the comedy Club Paradise (1986) which starred Robin Williams.
A native of Somerton in St James, Jimmy Cliff, whose given name is James Chambers, began making music for producer Leslie Kong at Beverley’s Records during the early 1960s. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 2003 by the Jamaican Government.
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