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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge

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Musician: Errol Linton

Location: Brixton, London

Instruments: voice, harmonica, guitar

Music: Blues/ Reggae

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story
The Home of Black Websites

Listen  Listen (4'14) to 'Man Shot Down' by Errol Linton's Blues Vibe from their album, Roots Stew (Ruby Records, 2002)

Errol was one of the artists featured in the World on your Street tent at WOMAD 2004

'It's a Brixton blues, that's all I'll say on it'

How I came to this music:

I grew up in Brixton so all my life I was hearing reggae on Capitol Radio when David Rodigan had his show and ska bands like The Specials and The Beat were all the rage. I picked up a harp (harmonica) one day, started blowing on it and never stopped. The harp led me to the blues, not the other way round. My parents are from Jamaica so I grew up jamming along to reggae, ska and my Dad's Louis Jordan records. I'm Jamaican, not from Mississippi, so that's my roots! Then friends started passing me blues tapes and when I first heard Sonny Boy Williamson it blew me away. But there's harp on Big Youth, Bob Marley and The Staple Singers. Even Augustus Pablo's on to something similar.

I was listening to the Howling Wolf tune, 'Howlin' For My Baby' where I heard a reggae bass line on the horn section so I slowed my band's version down and slung it round. There's a lot of New Orleans beat in Jamaican music because they used to listen to the New Orleans radio stations. That's where I find the blues and reggae really meet.

When I started out it was just me, a guitarist and the washboard player - more of a country sound. Now we've developed, I really want to take the music places. I do everything myself from releasing my two albums, 1998's Vibin' It and this year's Roots Stew on my own label to booking and managing our gigs. That's how it is because neither blues nor reggae get much promotion at the moment.

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