reggae’s preeminent harmony group. Born in the 70′s
golden age of reggae, the ever viable Culture garnered continual US and
international acclaim for its long series of classic “roots” albums.
Culture’s legendary “Two Sevens Clash” (Shanachie) was Reggae Album of
the Year in 1977 and is acknowledged today by Rolling Stone Magazine
(April 11, 2002) as #25 of the 50 all time coolest records (the only
reggae album to make the list).
Culture’s music, featuring the shining lead vocals of
Joseph Hill, is solidly roots, perfectly executed and delivered with
genuine emotional fervor. Joseph Hill’s devotion to the traditional
Rastafarian values of purity, simplicity and justice is exemplified by
Culture’s lyrical themes. Milo Miles, writing for The New York Times,
named Culture as “the leading exponent of ‘conscious reggae’”. Hill’s
message is clear and uplifting. His songwriting abilities are
outstanding and music reviewers have lauded his achievements for two
Culture’s level of energy and creativity are
consistently superlative. They have performed brilliantly to spellbound
audiences at countless festivals, concerts and clubs around the US and
throughout the world. Culture’s backing band provided cohesion and
energy behind the sweet harmonies of Albert and Telford Nelson and
Joseph’s dynamic lead vocals.
Kenyatta Hill’s career began the day his father’s ended. Joseph Hill,
singer and songwriter for the legendary Jamaican vocal trio Culture,
collapsed and died while on a 2006 tour of Europe. To the amazement of
promoters, fans and critics alike, Kenyatta stepped onstage and
delivered electrifying performances time and again – nineteen shows in
all – until the tour was complete. This was unheard of in any genre of
music at any time. Kenyatta gave of himself so totally – as his father
had for so many years – that the two seemed to become one, the eerily
similar voices and the vibes igniting the critics and yielding a new
reggae mantra “magic, not tragic!”
Influenced by elements of dancehall, grounded in the
roots tradition and motivated to carry on his father’s work, Kenyatta
set to writing – to finish songs that Joseph had started and create new
music of his own. On his poignant debut single, “Daddy,” (Tafari
Records), backed by a masterful roster of musicians including Sly Dunbar
and Dean Fraser, and produced by Lynford “Fatta” Marshall, he confronted
the emotional pain and uncertainty he felt after the loss of his father.
He cried while he wrote, just as audiences in Europe had cried while he
Pass the Torch, the complete CD described as having “a collector’s item
feel,” was released in 2007 to longtime Culture fans and critics who
have embraced the son, named for Jomo Kenyatta, the first Prime minister
of Kenya. With its “very lovely and high level vibe” Kenyatta Hill’s
first CD prompted one longtime Culture fan to proclaim “Culture is
Indeed, Culture featuring Kenyatta Hill continues to
share the wisdom of Joseph’s conscious reggae overlaid with Kenyatta’s
own lively and youthful musical vision. Touring in support of Pass the
Torch with a number of festival appearances continued throughout 2009,
including most recently a highly successful US tours with Beres Hammond
in 2009 and 2010.
2011 saw the release of “ Live On “ a highly
acclaimed tribute to the music of Joseph Hill and Culture with Kenyatta
performing fresh renditions of some of their classic compositions..
Since 2012 Kenyatta has released solo projects and
collaborations on the Honest Music Label , toured with Culture and
toured on his own to promote these releases including the 10 track
Riddim of Life released in 2014 with the singles and Videos “Afrikan”
and “Jah is my Friend” receiving worldwide critical acclaim. Kenyatta’s
most recent release “Policeman “ also on Honest Music features Akae
Beka & Puma Ptah of Theivery Corporation.
While pursuing an active solo career Kenyatta
Hill keeps the Culture Legacy alive by thrilling old and new Culture
fans with the classic sounds of this legendary harmony group. On
this 10th anniversary year of the passing of the torch
from father to son , Kenyatta continues as lead vocalist of
Culture along with original founding member Albert Walker and
long time harmony singer Telford Nelson.
Producer and head of Penthouse Records, Donovan
Germain, on a mission to share the music of a bygone era with a younger
generation has re-recorded the music of reggae legend Peter Tosh and
singer Beres Hammond done by younger acts and is currently in studio
doing post-production work on the music of Joseph Hill, performed by a
Kenyatta and many of reggae’s best known artists. The release will
coincide with the 10 anniversary of Hill’s death.
will see Culture’s “Two Sevens Clash “40 Years Anniversary Tour on
The tour will
feature Kenyatta Hill on lead vocals with original backing vocals and
long Time backing band and will give everyone an
opportunity to go back in time to the beginnings of The Golden Era
of Reggae and see how relevant it still is today.
best reggae record ever made and the only reggae record to appear in
Rolling Stones Top 100 coolest records ever made. Culture made only
strong albums for 30 years. “
vibe is strong as ever since Kenyatta Hill has taken the place of Joseph
Hill on his passing while on European tour in 2006. Kenyatta Hill,
Joseph’s son who had been tour engineer stepped away from the sound
board and finished the tour in his father’s place as lead vocalist of
this iconic band.. and it was magical.
“Likewise, the band’s signature
tune Two Sevens Clash, conceived by Joseph Hill as an apocalyptic
prophecy to mark the ominous arrival of 1977, is still an infectious
dance floor filler four decades later.
Kenyatta channels the energy, the passion, the voice and mannerisms
to a tee and must be seen live to get the full experience.
Preparing for Armageddon in 1977, Joseph Hill made the greatest
reggae album of all time
Proudly pronounced "one of
the ten best reggae albums ever cut" in 1987, when it was released
stateside a decade late, Two Sevens Clash may even be the very
best. Never did Kingston hillsman Joseph Hill approach Bob Marley's
ambition or sophistication. But never did Marley construct an album as
perfect beginning to end. Although Two Sevens Clash was the first
of many LPs from this harmony trio, at the time Hill wasn't sure there'd
ever be another. Following Marcus Garvey, he believed worldwide
conflagration was due in 1977, the year the two sevens clashed. Much is
made of the political content here, but Two Sevens Clash is
basically a Rastafarian gospel album. ". There are few voices like this
anywhere -- Winston Rodney of Burning Spear comes closest. Imagine it's
how a prophet might sound if the prophet believed in black starliners.
You have to hear it to believe it.
Rolling Stone, Aug. 23, 2007
Robert Christgau, dean of American rock critics
Culture featuring Kenyatta