Back in the ‘80s, the Hudson Valley’s peaks and valleys began echoing with the sounds of reggae music. If promoter Lea Boss has anything to say about it, those days are about to return. Boss is promoting a short series of shows over the next month, beginning with a double bill at the Chance on Saturday, April 27: Mykal Rose of Black Uhuru and Sister Carol.
Boss’s enthusiasm for reggae is as apparent today as it was in 1984, when she began promoting a weekly concert series at the now-shuttered Joyous Lake in Woodstock. It’s not only there in her knowledge and dedication to the music, but also in her actions on its behalf, because Boss isn’t just a promoter. She wears many hats.
“I’m the promoter, publicist and all-around grassroots reggae person that travels all over the Hudson Valley talking to people on the street about reggae music,” she said in an interview hours after she did just that, handing out flyers and getting people excited about the upcoming shows. “I thought it was time to revive what used to be a given in the Hudson Valley, when the old teacher in me felt like I needed to educate people about the history of reggae. But the music kind of disappeared from the airwaves, and it hurt the reggae shows. I figured if that’s not happening, I have to bring back the live reggae. It’s the way it began: just having communities come together.”
To kick off the short series – which also includes a late-May performance by Toots & the Maytals at the Bearsville Theater – Boss not only dug at the roots of reggae, but also the roots of the genre’s impact in the Hudson Valley. “Black Uhuru was also the first international reggae band to play our region, at the Joyous Lake,” Boss said. “He’s still producing a lot of great new music. Couple that with Sister Carol, who was the queen of dancehall. She was one of the first ladies of reggae to pave the way for women afterwards.” Sister Carol is also widely known for her reggae cover of “Wild Thing” that was used in the Jonathan Demme movie Something Wild.
The co-headliners will be supported by Royal Khaoz and Bombmob, two bands whom Boss characterized as part of “the next reggae regeneration.” “So many people think reggae died with Bob Marley,” Boss said. “On the contrary, reggae has grown by leaps and bounds. We’re really lucky to have it as strong as it is in the Hudson Valley.”
Radio Woodstock and Upstate Reggae present Mykal Rose and Sister Carol on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chance in Poughkeepsie. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 the day of the show. For more information, visit www.radiowoodstock.com, www.mykalrosereggae.com and www.sistercarol.com.
Mykal Rose of Black Uhuru & Sister Carol, Saturday, April 27, 7:30 p.m., $20/$25, the Chance, 6 Crannell Street, Poughkeepsie; (845) 471-1966, www.thechancetheater.com.