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Aswad (“Black” in Arabic) are a long lasting   group, noted for adding strong R&B, soul and soca influences to the reggae sound. They have been performing since the early 1970s, having released a total of 21 albums.

As naturalised children of immigrants from the Caribbean, part of the aftermath of World War II, the “kids” were moved to London. They attended a local high school near Ladbroke Grove, and various junior schools as Tan Tan children of immigrants from the Caribbean around West London in 1975. Vocalist Brinsley Forde had a brief career on television on the British children’s TV series “Here Come the Double Deckers” in 1970-71. 

The original members of Aswad were Brinsley Forde, George Oban, Drummie Zeb and Donald Griffiths. Courtney Hemmings was a frequent contributor in the 1970s, including as part of the backing band on Burning Spear’s 1979 Live album, recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London.

They became one the UK’s top reggae bands with songs, typical of the time, about the oppression of black youth, such as “Three Babylon” and “It’s Not Our Wish”, and the powerful jazz-influenced instrumental “Warrior Charge” (full versions of these available on the Showcase album).

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