Tuesday, May 06, 2003


Saturday night. Shaka at the Rex. His first night since he burnt his hands in a fire that consumed half his record collection. The dance was absolutely full from start to finish and Shaka had lost none of his trademarks - shattering tops over iron basslines. In Shaka's hands reggae is stripped of its niceties, the melodies razed apart to reveal an angry, glaring bass, the hidden message lurking under roots' sweet harmonies. A true legend who continues to provide an authentic reggae experience, who has spawned a hundred imitators, Shaka's particular style and sound seems almost as important, at least in Britain, as Tubbys and Lee Perry. The rumours are that he is contemplating retirement, but the crowd left him in no doubt of their feelings by the widespread and heartfelt clapping at the end of the dance, a rare occurance at the best of times, but which showed exactly how glad the people were that he's recovered and is back, sound undiminished, heavy, rough.