I started listening to reggae music on my local college radio station when I was in high school without really knowing what it was.

For me, it was exotic, a place I wanted to find out about, welcoming but it felt out of reach, particularly since college radio DJ’s have a way of playing amazing music but not ever telling you much about it.

harderIt was in this context that I first heard the soundtrack to the classic film, “The Harder They Come“, and the music of Jimmy Cliff.

It wasn’t until years later who the musician was. When I did, it opened the door to a whole new world of music.

When I first started DJ’ing at KCRW, I used to spend hours late at night combing the reggae section of the music library finding the artists I had heard so long ago.  I didn’t know their names, only their music — which I had on cassettes I’d recorded off my transistor radio.

This is all a round about way of saying that Jimmy Cliff was key in my discoveries way back in high school and then when I came to KCRW.

A couple of years ago he performed live on Morning Becomes Eclectic and when he played “Many Rivers To Cross”, it felt like a small circle completing.

Jimmy Cliff actually loved his live performance at KCRW so much that he released it as a live record.

He’s energy is electric onstage and I can’t wait to see him at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday night.

– Anne Litt

Editor’s Note: Rounding out the bill is platinum-selling, Grammy award-wining reggae artist Shaggy (his latest album is a collaboration with reggae royalty – Sly & Robbie!) and Jamaican singer Don Carlos and The Dub Vision Band. Find tickets here

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  • sue said:

    good article. thanks.

  • Matt Cooper said:

    Kudos to Mr. Bentley for his line on the radio just now re: Reggae Night:

    “The Bowl will be packed, in more ways than one.”


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