(l-r: Raymond Cole - lead singer, Maxi on percussion, Buddy's arm, Ras Matunji on bass). The band Spirit I performed on a Saturday afternoon WRUW "Live From Cleveland" show in The Mather Memorial Courtyard. The far right photo has just in view, the left arm of guitarist "Buddy." Buddy played rhythm and lead guitar and sang backing vocals with Spirit-I, Kaya, and many more bands in Cleveland during the 1980's and into the 1990's. Buddy now lives with his family in Florida.
At the Juva De Party Center it was Jaro for a New Year's Eve Celebration. Juva De was split into two sections (right/left) and most of the time the sounds would play on the right side.
Macka B died tragically this past Tuesday morning (9-2-08). Condolences and prayers go out to his family.
Macka B - with eternal dreadlocks sprouting from his head, was a fixture in the Cleveland reggae music scene. It is sad to have a reggae music standout pass at the young age of 33. His memory can be, in part, expressed by his devotion to promotion, his style and vibes, and his personable nature.
Macka B has been active in music here in Cleveland for well over 15 years. In the mid 1990's, Macka B worked with WRUW's Jah Rock playing music at Ruben's. Ruben's was located by Monticello Road and the combo was able to build a considerable following through the play of fast-paced upbeat reggae, setting a trend for enjoyable nights of music. Over a decade ago, Macka B promoted a successful Gregory Isaacs show here in Cleveland. In the past five plus years, Macka B spent a good deal of time promoting local and large-scale dancehall shows. His promotion was so active that it is difficult to list all the shows that he promoted. Macka B also worked closely with Mega Force Sound and maintained "Jiggy Fridays" for well over three years at Dailey's Blue Mountain Inn. Macka B brought Tony Matterhorn to Cleveland, promoted Black Chiney for the Christmas Bash 2007, and arguably the best event was his week-long birthday - "Six Day Birthday." This week-long birthday featured parties held at various locations throughout the week and Exodus Nuclear Sound was brought in from Jamaica as a special touch.
Just this past week Macka B visited WRUW FM to promote a show. He was upbeat and positive - as always. Macka B loved promotion and worked hard at it. He was continuously circulating promotional cards for events and networking with a range of people - from reggae lovers to major artistes in Jamaica. Macka B wouldn't hesitate in calling up Ricky Trooper at his home in Jamaica to hammer out a detail for a show. One of his skills is that he was a people person. He was a natural communicator who broke down the barriers to spread the music that he loved.Just this past Sunday, Macka B passed through a local club where this writer was playing music. Macka B hailed up our group and he moved through with his characteristic style of walking, arms swinging aside his wiry frame as he walked.
Macka B was always big on fashion and obviously paid attention to what he was wearing. He was regularly seen with designer jeans with colorful embroidery and patches - all coordinated with his shirts, his hats, and even his shoes. If it was on the night of one of his shows, he was sure to have something special to wear. The fashion was only a backdrop to the vibes that Macka B brought. He had a special energy and seemed to be at virtually every Jamaican event that took place. Our "Chatboutcleveland.blogspot.com" website was quick to pick up on this energy and in October of 2007 ran a profile on Macka B as a "Featured Promoter." It was clear that he was looking toward the future and others wanted to join along to know what was going to happen next.
One of the best qualities of Macka B was that he was genuine. There was a level of honesty in Macka B that is not always present in the business. Macka B was interested in what people thought and listened to what they had to say. By being so personable, Macka B had a lot of friends and earned the respect of others. In conversation, Macka B often reflected back on his enjoyment from the nights spent playing music at Reuben's and always looked forward to spinning records and talking on the mic at Jiggy Fridays.
One of my earliest meetings with Macka B was at the Gregory Isaacs show referenced earlier. This event was a proper stage show with a band. The hall was very long and narrow and the only light emanated from the stage. Amidst the loud music (really loud) Macka B appeared from the shadows with a baby blue full track suit on, to challenge me as to if I remembered him from a past meeting. I remembered the wiry Macka B that night and I'll continue to remember Macka B.