By Chido Nwakanma

One of the icons of reggae music, Ewart Beckford, known globally as U-Roy, has joined the heavenly orchestra.

He died on Wednesday 17th February 2021, reportedly from a heart attack. He was 78 years old.

"Ewart Beckford OD (September 21, 1942 - February 17, 2021), known by the stage name U-Roy, was a Jamaican vocalist and pioneer of toasting. U-Roy is noted for a melodic style of toasting applied with a highly developed sense of timing", according to Wikipedia.

U-Roy was the rebel who asked young people to Go there, Natty Dread. That track in the album was a monster hit. His Natty Rebel album was the party mover for many years. Even now, the rhythm of the track has people shaking heads and legs. It had syncopation.

In “Badie Boo”, he asked where you gonna run? The “rebel in the morning and rebel in the evening” proclaimed, “I am a living man, and I got a lot of work to do”. He worked indeed.

On the streets, people sang Go Dey Natty Dey for his Go there, natty dread! What mattered was that you could hum and dance to the music that reigned for so long. Some often confused him with the other singer, I-Roy, he of the London Bridge is falling down!

U-Roy was a deejay and musician who made many happy with his music. May he find joy in the other realm. We are “bound to remember the travelling man”. RIP, U-Roy! NNL.

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