Reggae music has never stopped evolving but for millions of people from around the world it’s still defined by the songs of Bob Marley and the Wailers. It’s been their heartbeat rhythms that have inspired so much of what’s followed since, as evidenced by the enduring popularity of the “one-drop” reggae sound.
The history of the band during Marley’s lifetime is well known. Just to recap, their music has sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide. In England alone, they’ve notched up over twenty chart hits, including seven Top 10 entries. This was no accident. Apart from Marley, the Wailers have performed with international acts such as Sting, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, as well as reggae legends Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Burning Spear. Their most recent collaborators include Kenny Chesney, Eve, Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. They’ve also completed innumerable tours over the years, playing to an estimated 24 million people across the globe, including groundbreaking performances in Africa and the Far East.
The anchor of the band is Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who in addition to being Marley’s most trusted lieutenant, played on countless other classic reggae hits throughout the seventies. The authenticity he brings to the Wailers’ sound is indisputable and yet today’s line-up combines old school know-how with lead vocals from one of Jamaica’s most exciting new singers.
Koolant joined the Wailers soon after his cameo appearance in the film Made In Jamaica. A solo track, Rat Race, was getting regular airplay and things were looking up for this young Rasta artist from St. Thomas, who’d already performed at East Fest and several other major stage shows in Jamaica. His first recording was Keep The Faith produced by Morgan Heritage, who included it on their 2002 album Family & Friends Vol. 3. By then, he’d gained valuable experience from entering national song competitions and was writing his own material, inspired by reggae’s golden era.