New frontman for Wailers
Published: Sunday | June 27, 2010
Krista Henry, Staff Reporter
The Wailers band has been injected with new life. The addition of Koolant, the new lead singer of the legendary band, has been notable.
Known around the world, in the main for its association with Bob Marley, the Wailers, in England alone, have notched over 20 hits on the charts. With Marley, the Wailers have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide.
Outside of work with Marley, the 12-member Wailers have also played or performed with international acts like Sting, the Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, and Alpha Blondy, as well as reggae legends such as Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and Burning Spear.
With years of experience in the business, the Wailers are hoping to breathe some new life with young singer Koolant, who joined the crew in February.
Backbone of the Wailers
The Sunday Gleaner recently sat down with Koolant and bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett, known as the backbone of the Wailers.
The nucleus of the Wailers was created in 1960 when Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh recruited the Barrett brothers, Aston, and drummer, Carly, to play for them. Wailer and Tosh left two years later. It was at this point that the in-demand Barrett brothers - whose rhythms also underpinned innumerable '70s reggae hits by other acts - assumed the title of Wailers and backed Marley on the group's international breakthrough album Natty Dread. The work with Marley continued even after his death in 1981.
Years of hard work have brought "Family Man" Barrett many memories.
One of those, a performance in London, Barrett has called his most memorable.
"In setting the pace for the Jamaican reggae music, our first opening was in London. We played at a place called the "Speak Easy" doing two shows a night for two weeks at one spot, and after we finished, it was written in the paper that the first song we did cast a spell on them, and after that it was like magic."
Today, Koolant is casting all the magic.
It was an average day in St Thomas when Koolant received a life-changing call from the Wailers.
"The Wailers call me up and dat's it. Ask me how I would like to perform wid the Wailers group, and I didn't turn down the offer 'cause being a solo artiste in Jamaica is very hard. So getting that opportunity to be with one of the most legendary groups of all times was very important to me. It gives me the chance to expand what I have in me, it gives me the chance to spread the music to the people, and gives me a chance to sing the legend, Bob Marley's music is a great honour," said Koolant.
According to the band's lead singer, Bob Marley's music has long been an inspiration to him.
"Right now, being the lead singer of the Wailers, expect new material being brought forth to make it stronger. Bob Marley made it strong, but now is the time to press on."
So far, Koolant says the experience has been good. For the first time, the singer has performed to crowds of 20,000.
With youth on its side, the Wailers continue to do great things in the business. Their most recent collaborators include international acts Kenny Chesney, Eve, Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. Recent work also includes the song Step For Mankind (it's great; listen below), which was written by Duane Stephenson for the United Nations' World Food Programme, and another song called Shining Star.
"We're going off to Europe for the summer. Looking forward to that - that's my first time going to Europe."
From Jamaica Gleaner News.