Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Burning Spear to play VPAC

May 23, 2024, 7:58 am

The Vail Valley Foundation on Wednesday issued the following press release on Burning Spear coming to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek:

Beaver Creek, Colo., May 23, 2024 – Two-time Grammy winner and renowned Rastafarian Burning Spear is headed to the VPAC, spreading his message of love and peace through his award-winning music. This show presented by the Vilar Performing Arts Center and local radio station KZYR 97.7 the Zephyr. 

Burning Spear, born Winston Rodney, is a Jamaican roots reggae singer-songwriter. Since his emergence in the 70s, Burning Spear has been an influential roots artist. A music maker, community icon, educator, and spiritual uplifter, Burning Spear’s importance to culture existed before the media spotlight, and has only grown since.

Burning Spear has been performing since the 1960s, and he continues to enjoy being onstage. “I love what I do. There is no pressure. The music doesn’t like pressure.” 

His own musical influences included artists played on U.S. radio stations when those broadcasts reached Jamaica. These included R&B, soul, and jazz, and Burning Spear himself notes Curtis Mayfield and James Brown were among the largest influencers of his music.

However, a chance encounter with reggae legend Bob Marley decisively led Burning Spear down the musical path that eventually came to define his career.

“The way the whole thing came about is that I found myself moving along up in the hills of St. Ann’s and I ran into Bob at the same time. And Bob was going to his farm. The man was moving with a donkey and some buckets and a fork, and cutlass and plants,” Rodney recalled. He told Marley, “I would like to get involved in the music business. And Bob said, ‘All right, just check Studio One.’”

On Marley’s advice, Rodney auditioned with Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label – along with Rupert Willington – which led to the release of the duo’s first single, “Door Peep.”

A trio formed with the addition of Delroy Hinds following the debut, with several more singles added to the label, in addition to two full albums. The group moved on to record with Jack Ruby in the mid-70s and recorded “Marcus Garvey,” which was an immediate hit. Several other tracks followed, including “Slavery Days.” A deal with Island Records followed, which gave the group a wider reach, but also saw the record label remix and alter track speed on the album, much to the disappointment of Burning Spear and its fans.

Rodney set up his own label, Burning Music, to avoid this outcome in the future. He also split from Ruby and the other members of his band, becoming the sole member of Burning Spear. Members of the group Aswad provided backup for Burning Spear for live shows as well as the studio album “Social Living.” Additional record label changes followed as Burning Spear toured extensively and grew a dedicated following of fans and accolades.

Since the mid-90s, Burning Spear has called Queens in New York home, along with his wife, Sonia Rodney, who has produced many of his albums. Burning Spear won Grammys in 2000 and 2009 for his albums Calling Rastafari and Jah is Real, respectively. Burning Spear retired for a time in 2016; however, he took on a limited number of performances in 2022, eventually ramping up his tour schedule again.

​For nearly four decades and more than 25 albums, he has carried the torch of the gospel of political activist Marcus Garvey, promoting self-determination and self-reliance for African descendants through lyrics and rhythms that truly deliver the messages of peace and love to all.

Burning Spear (June 5) kicks off a jampacked summer lineup that includes Tanya Tucker (July 5), Blackberry Smoke (July 10 & 11), Joss Stone (August 13), George Thorogood (August 28) and many more. For more information about VPAC’s schedule and to purchase tickets, visit vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *