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Angus “Drummie Zeb” Gaye leadsinger of Aswad

FIRST-GENERATION Britons of West Indian heritage, David Hinds and Angus “Drummie Zeb” Gaye had a lot in common. As young black men during the early 1970s they experienced rampant racism in the United Kingdom but also found solace in the rebel tones of reggae music.

Both became co-founders of influential bands — Hinds with Steel Pulse and Drummie Zeb in Aswad. Hinds told the Jamaica Observer that the latter’s death “is a sad loss to our reggae industry”.

Drummer/lead vocalist for Aswad, Drummie Zeb died September 2 in London at age 62. Aswad and Steel Pulse are contemporaries, having formed in the mid-1970s when British reggae was taking shape.

“Aswad as a band was almost a mirror image to what we wanted to achieve, and that was to spread that unique style of British reggae across the globe. Drummie Zeb played an intricate part of that development. We recognised him not only as an innovative drummer, but also an aspiring vocalist and an excellent producer,” said Hinds.

Drummie Zeb was born in London to Grenadian parents while Hinds’ parents are Jamaicans from St Ann who settled in the Midlands borough of Handsworth. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Aswad and Steel Pulse helped fashion the British reggae sound with impressive albums like New Chapter, Live And Direct, Handsworth Revolution and True Democracy.

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