Nambo Robinson & Idrin Workshop
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Nambo Robinson & Idrin Workshop

Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica | SELF

Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica | SELF
Band World Reggae


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"'Nambo' takes the spotlight"

After years of backing top acts like Sly and Robbie, Dennis Brown and Burning Spear, trombonist Ronald 'Nambo' Robinson gets his place in the spotlight tonight at the Red Bones Blues Café in St Andrew.

Robinson will lead a band that includes bass player Andrew Ayre, drummer Shawn Anderson, Stephen Maxwell on keyboards and his son, guitarist N'namdi Robinson. They will play songs that cover the gamut of Jamaican music - from mento and ska to rocksteady, roots-reggae and dancehall.

"It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but didn't have the time or support," Robinson told The Gleaner.

He said the enthusiasm abroad for classic Jamaican popular music spurred his determination to perform a live set of songs mainly from the 1960s and 1970s, at home.

"Every time I travel I meet young musicians who know everything about Jamaican music. It's not so here where we tend to discard things," he said.

Robinson is originally from east Kingston where many of Jamaica's leading musicians, including the legendary trombonist Don Drummond, got their start playing in venues like the Bournemouth club.

Strongly influenced by Drummond, Robinson began recording in the early 1970s when hornmen were still in demand.

Worked with biggest names

Over the years, he has recorded and toured with some of reggae's biggest names, including Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Freddie McGregor, Maxi Priest, Max Romeo and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari.

His distinct sound can be heard on Marley's Wake Up and Live, Honey by Bob Andy and That Thing, the massive hit from singer Lauryn Hill's Grammy-winning album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

With the advent of the computerised Sleng Teng rhythm in 1984, many Jamaican producers opted for multi-faceted keyboards to create their music and cut production costs. The musicians, especially drummers and hornmen, were alienated.

"Even now, you don't hear a lot of instrumentals on radio, it's just dancehall. Wi trying to change that," Robinson said.

Robinson has recorded four solo albums.
- The Jamaica Gleaner

"Musical tribute to Count Ossie 33 years after death"

Oswald 'Count Ossie' Williams' influence extended far beyond the camp in Rockfort, east Kingston, where he hosted extended music sessions in which the drums and brass instruments featured heavily. The musicians, including the core of the Skatalites, went on to define another stage in the development of Jamaican music.

While the ensemble he led was still named the Count Ossie Group (it later developed into the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, with the addition of horn players through Cedric Brooks), in 1960 the drumming was fused with the Folkes Brothers singing and Prince Buster's production in the enduring, Oh Carolina.

Redressing this imbalance

Count Ossie died in 1976 when he was just 50 years old and, unfortunately, in the way of many an outstanding Jamaican musician, there has been scant consistent acknowledgement of his contribution.

On Sunday, October 25, at Temple Hall Estate, in St Andrew, trombonist Nambo Robinson plans to redress this imbalance somewhat with Freedom Sounds: A Tribute to Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. It is a very personal tribute for Robinson, 33 years and a week after Count Ossie died.

"I got to know him very early in my career," Robinson said. In fact, he knew Count Ossie before he got into music, sitting in on many of the music sessions. When he started playing, Robinson says, "is the first group I performed with as a musician. We did the first CARIFESTA in Guyana in 1972. That was my first journey abroad performing as a musician".

Focus on Rastafari music

Among the musicians who will be performing on the tribute are original Mystic Revelation of Rastafari members and, Robinson says, "The emphasis will be on the Rastafari music as it relates to Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. We will be playing a lot of music from their repertoire."

Among the recorded material to choose from will be the Grounda-tion (1973), Tales Of Mozambique (1975) and Man From Higher Heights (1983) albums.

Robinson and members of the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari would also know material that had not been recorded, but was played in the numerous sessions. "On Sundays, he would have regular jam sessions at the National Water Commission Sports Club at the foot of Wareika," Robinson recalls.

Robinson says that among the musicians who would play at those sessions were Tommy McCook, Lennie Hibbert, Larry McDonald and Rico Rodriguez. And Robinson encountered trombonist Don Drummond, a major musical influence, in east Kingston too.

"The same place he (Drummond) killed Marguerita is where I saw him," Robinson said. Drummond was convicted of the 1965 murder of his girlfriend Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood.

Freedom Sounds: A Tribute to Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. and will run for a minimum of two hours.
- The Jamaica Gleaner

"'Nambo' nabs spotlight at Redbones"

For someone who has spent most of his 30-odd years in the music business at the back of the bandstand, Ronald 'Nambo' Robinson sure knows how to handle the glare of centre stage.

Last Thursday, the burly trombonist led an eight-piece band through 'Freedom Sounds', a rollicking show at Redbones The Blues Café in St Andrew. Robinson not only proved his chops as a musician, but showed he can more than hold his own as a vocalist.

The band rocked throughout the 90-minute set. They started off with rocksteady standards like Rockfort Rock, Swing Easy and Real Rock, before going into roots-reggae favourites such as Jah Jah See Them A Come by Culture.

Great second half

They were really at their best in the second half of the show on the Skatalites' Addis Ababa and Lumumba, which was originally recorded over 40 years ago by the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari.

"The first time I heard this song it brought tears to mi eyes," Robinson told the gathering as he called the latter, a song about Patrice Lumumba the Congolese prime minister who was mysteriously killed in 1961.

Robinson's interplay on the song, with saxophonists Everald Gayle and Jeffrey Brown, and trumpeter Craig Henry, evoked the passion of his youth when the song first caught his ears. This did not go unnoticed by an appreciative audience which erupted into spontaneous applause.

The band, which also included Maurice Gordon on lead guitar and Robinson's son, N'namdi, on rhythm guitar, delivered a stirring version of Bob Marley's Concrete Jungle. Robinson sang the 1972 classic about the trials of ghetto life with as much verve as the reggae king; his smooth vocal was complemented by a searing solo by Gordon.

Fitting end

Fittingly, Robinson and company closed an entertaining display with Eastern Standard Time, another Skatalites gem composed by trombonist Don Drummond, one of his biggest influences.

Bassist Andrew Ayre, drummer Derrick Stewart and Stephen Maxwell completed Robinson's side which also backed singer, Sherar, the evening's support act, who gave a favourable showing with her rendition of Leona Lewis' Better in Time and her original, Here I Am.
- The Jamaica Gleaner

"Rock at either ends of 'Rock U'"

Think of Sunday evening's concert at Temple Hall Estate, St Andrew, as a rock sandwich. Not rock as in the ones remaining in the ruins that formed part of the beautiful backdrop for the performers, of course, but musically 'tough' rock, nonetheless, Gibby's guitar was on the leading edge of the experience.

However, despite being named 'Rock U', the outright hard rock came at the beginning and end of the approximately two-and-a-half hour concert. In between, were the ska of the hornsmen, led by Nambo Robinson; the softer, lyrically potent delivery of David M and Della Manley; rockers of Sophia Brown; De Franco's wistful longing and roots style dub of Spiritual.

The performances were short; hence, inevitably, there was a sense of having the tastebuds awakened without the palate being sated. However, the variety of the musical fare prevented that blurring feeling which comes from a series of truncated performances in the same genre.

And the members of the small audience scattered at white-clad tables on the lawn seemed to appreciate the music, bursting into cheers where warranted (notably for Spiritual and his Freedom Fighters) and listening attentively to and then applauding David M and Della Manley.

An especially interesting aspect of the 'Rock U' was a near rerun of the line-up, Nambo Robinson, Spiritual and Della Manley recalled for a second, shorter stint on stage, before Gibby put the rock lid on the musical sandwich.

Robinson was his jolly self, switching between trombone and vocals, singing "strange things happen in the Congo Land and I think it is unfair", then, along with his fellow hornsmen, taking a gentle voyage to the Far East.

David M is far from being an outstanding singer, but he is an excellent writer and possesses an expressive voice which, along with his body language, carries the message of his slow songs well. Sitting at the keyboard, he played as he sang Lest We Forget, written when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, then stood to sing as the band carried the music.

Sophia Brown was brash with her reggae rockers, informing "love you baby" and declaring "I'm hungry for the spotlight/shine the light on me". Hips and lips emphasised her assessment "you give me that good love".

Della Manley speaks in an off-hand, almost self-deprecating manner onstage. When she starts to sing, though, there is nothing casual about her delivery. There was a combination for the rockers of If I follow my heart and her interpretation of Fade Away hit home, while It's OK was given the ska treatment.

Spiritual, combining the repetitive approach of Burning Spear with the nasal intonation of Pablo Moses on thumping reggae rhythms, was a hit with the audience, from opening with a snippet of Culture's Conqueror. He also defined who he does not want in My World.

'Rock with me'

DeFranco moved from back-up duties to do It's No Fun Anymore, falsetto scatting emphasising his relationship blues.

Then came the reruns and the extended closing rock, complete with leaping guitarists to the invitation "rock with me tonight".

Nancy and Italee, both dressed for the rocking occasion, hosted 'Rock U'. The latter was upbeat about the turnout, telling the members of the audience not to look at the spaces between them. "Next time we keep this show, you won't have space to move," she said optimistically.
- The Jamaica Gleaner

"Music connects Temple Hall with Wareika Hills - Tribute concert to Count Ossie, Mystic Revelation of Rastafari superb"

Trombonist Nambo Robinson took an obvious, unfettered and near child-like delight in the music he played and the musicians he marshalled at Temple Hall Great House, St Andrew, on Sunday night.

The era that the night honoured did take him back to his childhood, the combination of rhythm section, horns and drums laying a bed of music for host, Herbie Miller, to read Robinson's recollection of first hearing the sounds which led him to a lifetime of music.

"As a youth at about age five or seven, I had just moved to Glasspole Avenue at the foot of Wareika Hills, Rockfort. It was during the Christmas holidays, one night or early evening, I heard the drums of Rastafari for the first time in my life and I could not sleep. I kept wondering who were those people playing," Miller read. When the child asked his Mama Ruby "a who dem people a mek dem soun' deh?" and said, he wanted to go see them, she said, "no yu cyaa go up deh. Dem a smoke weed an a celebrate fi de New Year".

Freedom Sounds

He did get to go and listen to Count Ossie and the drummers and horn players, eventually becoming one himself, and on Sunday night's concert reached back into those formative years to present 'Freedom Sounds' in honour of the life-shaping experience.

Although it was a night of memory, Nambo Robinson and Count Ossie's daughter, Mojiba's voices breaking with emotion at different points, it was far from a maudlin affair. It was a merry night when the tributes were spoken mostly in brass in a reconstruction of the music format, which pulled Nambo Robinson into the hills of East Kingston - with the addition of the amplified rhythm section.

Not only was the music absolutely beautiful, but the obvious camaraderie among the musicians and extemporaneous solos made it even more enjoyable.

First the drummers played by themselves, then in the second section Robinson called in the horn players individually, Everton Gayle, Vivian Scott, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts student, Sheldon and Dean Fraser. When Fraser took out his large horn, Robinson joked, "Him get the Order of Distinction him can't play the little one anymore. Him have to play the big one."

Then the drummers returned, fusing with the horns and rhythm section (the horn players parted to show Maurice Gordon as he soloed on Concrete Jungle, transporting the audience back to the times in Wareika Hills. There was a big difference though, the members of an extremely appreciative audience were seated on chairs and oversized Ottoman's, not grass and logs.

Peace and Love

There was rockers in Rockfort Rock. Robinson sang at points, including delivering Willie Williams' Armageddon. Ethiopian Rhapsody was poignant and the band dipped into the Skatalites material (the core of which came out of the Count Ossie and Mystic Revelation of Rastafari experience) and chanted Peace and Love.

And, at the end of a long concert, which could have continued forever if the audience had its way, Robinson made another childhood connection. He invited all to return to Temple Hall Estate for the next event in the concert series. "This also is education," Robinson said.

- The Jamaica Gleaner

"ZonaReGGae reviews….Nambo Robinson meets Dub Caravan – Happy and Free 2011 Dread Camel Records"

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ZonaReGGae reviews….Nambo Robinson meets Dub Caravan – Happy and Free 2011 Dread Camel Records

2 Reason vote!

If there’s one aspect proven in this new millennium reggae music, it’s that teaming up longtime Jamaican veterans alongside upcoming worldwide producers is the best way to push forward the Roots of Reggae back into nowadays.

Dread Camel Records’ brand new LP ‘Happy and Free’ rounds up 2011 with one of the most exciting co-works of the year, bringing together London producer/multi-instrumentalist Dub Caravan with Jamaican accomplished musician Ronald ‘Nambo’ Robinson.
After vocal works alongside Haji Mike, Ras Zacharri or Bulgarian crew Roots Souljah, Dub Caravan presents the voice and trombone skills of Nambo Robinson, member of legendary Jamaican groups like: Mystic Revelations of Rastafari, We The People Band, Jamaican most recorded horn section The Ras Brass or more recently Sly & Robbie and The Taxi Gang.

Active in the music business for over 40 years, Nambo Robinson is not just a much requested studio and recording musician, but one of the supreme Jamaican trombone players with a successful solo career.
‘Happy and Free’ will be a pleasant introduction of Nambo as a singer, with 4 tracks where his energetic, sweet and authentic voice, brimful with words of happiness and consciousness as only a true veteran in reggae music can do!
Since the opening title track Nambo makes a statement of his own to the simple, yet most meaningful things in life: experiences, happiness, friendship and Love!

On the A side, The Roots Reggae in modern manners will get you grooving in the title track ‘Happy and Free’; as fans of lovers rock will also be marveled by the love livications in ‘Thank You’ with Leiba Hibbert’s special appearance in some sweet harmonies.
Two stand-outs for ‘Letter to LKJ’, with Nambo in the finest dub poetry style praising Linton Kwesi Johnson stand to the test of times, and the Ska/rocksteady flavored ‘Praises’.

While flipping to the B-side, 4 dub instrumental tunes, plus 2 bonus tracks will impress you with Dub Caravan production quality (enhanced by famous Lion and Fox Recording Studios mastering work) and Nambo Robinson’s magnificent horn arrangements.
Both ‘Dub to LKJ’ and ‘Mountainside’ (featuring Nnamdi Robinson additional guitars) are two of the most outstanding Dubs yet listened from Dub Caravan, and the uplifting ‘Praises’ gets extended with ‘Praise the Horn’ and ‘Praise the guitar’ in a…praising version galore style!
‘Happy and Free’ gets the same special treatment with Nambo’s ‘Happy Trombone’ shining all over, and ‘Happy Melodica’ featuring the always beautiful melodica playing of Shaky Norman.

With some quite amazing well-crafted musical arrangement details in organ, guitar and horns, Dub Caravan keeps his well-known tuff bassline trademark in this new production, and still his simple and pure approach to reggae music, really sparkle that organic Roots originality, providing the space for Nambo Robinson’s voice and trombone to glow all over the LP.
A marvelous and genuine Roots Revival production certified to put a smile on your face and a swing on your hips!

DUBCARAVAN bandcamp (full album stream available!)

‘Happy and Free’ available from the 1st December (LP/digital) from Dub Caravan’s independent label Dread Camel Records.

Nambo Robinson Meets Dub Caravan – Happy and Free (LP/Digital)
Release date: 01st December 2011
Label: Dread Camel Records

1-Happy and Free
2-Letter to LKJ
4-Thank You
5-Happy Trombone
6-Dub to LKJ
7-Praise the Horn
9-Praise the Guitar
10-Happy Melodica

Music Mixing and Production by Dub Caravan.
Vocal and Trombone by Nambo Robinson
Backup vocals on ‘Thanks You’ by Leiba Hibberts.
Additional guitars on ‘Mountainside’ by Nnamdi Robinson.
Melodica on ‘Happy Melodica’ by Shaky Norman.
Mastered at Lion and Fox Recording Studios Washington USA
Art design by:

- ZonaReggae


Reggae in my Bone
Nambone Ska
Nambo Sing and Play
Raw Roots Rock Reggae
Dub Caravan Meets Nambo Robinson



My name is Ronald “Nambo” Robinson, and I am a veteran musician, vocalist, percussionist and recording artist in Jamaica. I am recognized among my peers as one of Jamaica’s foremost trombonists.

I have recorded with various artists such as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Lauryn Hill, Gregory Isaacs, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Beres Hammond, Shaggy, and Buju Banton. Also I performed live with Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, Lloyd Parks and We the People, The Tony D’Acosta Affair, The Boris Gardener Happening, Light of Saba and Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. This vast array of experience not only made me a true expert in composing reggae music, but also exposed me to genres such as jazz, classical and rhythm and blues.

I have recently launched a series of shows that feature young Jamaica musicians. The purpose of this effort is to showcase these talented young musicians while celebrating the various genres of indigenous music such as Mento, Ska and Rocksteady.

I have launched solo projects with the release of five album/CDs, titled Reggae in my Bone, Nambone Ska, Nambo Sing and Play, Raw Roots Rock Reggae and Dub Caravan Meets Nambo Robinson. Along with that, I perform regularly at studio sessions for many of the island’s contemporary artists.

Nambo Robinson and the Idrin Workshop is available to lecture at your university! While we perform all genres of music for the local audience, our goal is to promote increased awareness of Jamaica’s rich musical history from its origins in “ska” to today’s contemporary “reggae” art forms. By doing this, we shed light on Jamaica’s musical diversity through education and entertainment.

With this objective in mind, my group and I would like the opportunity to teach/perform this art form at your institution in the capacity of a visiting expositor, so that we can help to foster an environment of cultural outreach and exchange through music.