Jamaican band to perform April 17 at Richland club

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerApril 12, 2013 

The legendary Jamaican band Skatalites will drop into the Tri-Cities for a one-night performance April 17 at the Emerald of Siam in Richland.

The band has been kicking up lively dust since the 1960s with its engaging Caribbean sound, though only two of the original musicians remain with the group. Alto sax man Lester "Ska" Sterling and vocalist Doreen Shaffer still have what it takes to keep the Skatalites touring the globe.

The band has featured more than a dozen musicians during the past 40-plus years. It currently includes Val Douglas on bass, Sparrow Thompson on drums, Cameron Greenlee on keyboards, Aurelien Metsch (aka Natty Frenchy) on guitar, Andrae Murchison on trombone, Azemobo Audu on tenor sax, and Travis Antoine on trumpet, said Ken Stewart, the band's manager and former keyboards player.

"The membership ranges in age from 23 to 77," Stewart said. "Four are from Jamaica, three from the U.S., one Frenchman, and one from Benin City via United Kingdom who is now living in New York City."

The Tri-City gig will feature some of the band's latest music from their recent album release, titled Walk With Me.

The band's early heyday included playing with other legendary ska/reggae musicians such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Prince Buster, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

Tickets to the Emerald concert are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or at the Emerald of Siam, in the Uptown Shopping Center on Jadwin Avenue in Richland.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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