Daddy U-Roy Crowned As The King Of Deejays
Over the weekend, Ewart Beckford, more popularly known as ‘Daddy’ U-Roy was crowned as the ‘King of Deejays’ at the tenth (10th) anniversary of ‘Reeewind’, the popular stage reggae/dancehall show hosted by Irish and Chin. At the event, U-Roy was acknowledged for his pioneering efforts that took the musical form of ‘toasting’ to international levels. Although he was not the first to create this particular form of music, his style garnered worldwide attention that inspired many generations of ‘toasters’ to follow in his footsteps. The crown was donned to U-Roy by Grammy award winning dancehall artiste, Shabba Ranks. In the words of , Garfield Chin Bourne ( CEO of Irish and Chin & Soundchat Radio ), “I’m not waiting on death to honor the legends in our culture,” he said. **
There are many note-worthy accomplishments on U-Roy’s decades long journey in the musical industry but we tried to streamline it. Here is our Top Five list of monumental moves in this icon’s musical journey:
- Born Ewart Beckford in Jones Town, Jamaica, in 1942, he received his famous moniker from a young family member unable to correctly pronounce Ewart and the nickname stuck.*
- U-Roy started his professional career as a DJ in 1961. He was inspired by fellow toaster,
Count Matchuki, to make the move and began by working with Dickie Wong’s sound system.
- Daddy U-Roy’s first singles were released in 1970 on Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle Label. The songs ‘Wake The Town’ and ‘Wear You To the Ball’ were hits in Jamaica and they played an instrumental role in establishing him as one of the most popular toasters.
- He first toured the UK in 1972 with Roy Shirley and Max Romeo.
- U-Roy started his own sound system in 1978 called Stur Gav (named after his sons). This sound system helped to launch the careers of many generations of toasters including Jah screw and Josey Wales.
Toasting : Toasting is a style of lyrical chanting which in Dancehall music involves a deejay talking over a riddim. Though the art of chanting over a beat is quite ancient, and found in many African-based musical traditions, Toasting became quite popular in Jamaica in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Source: https://jamaicansmusic.com/learn/origins/toasting
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