Alexandra Simon (Caribbean Life) writes about the Grammy-award winning reggae band Morgan Heritage, who began their Africa X Jamaica tour on Dec. 21. They began their series of concerts in Harare, Zimbabwe. Simon reports:
The sibling-comprised band — all children of reggae artist Denroy Morgan, will kick off the premiere show of the Africa x Jamaica tour in Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare. The band is also set to perform in Zambia on Christmas Eve, Ghana, Kenya, and close out the tour with a final show on the Tanzanian island, Zanzibar on Jan. 19.
Their current song “Africa x Jamaica,” featuring Ghanian dancehall artist Stonebwoy, and Tanzanian Afro-pop singer Diamond Platnumz, is a major hit that continues to gain increasing popularity.
The group said the tour will be as much of a tour as it will be an ancestral trip. They are also looking forward to meeting eager fans who have expressed a strong interest in seeing the band perform live, said Mojo Morgan. “This Africa x Jamaica tour is the beginning of something great for us as a group and a family of African decent,” said the percussionist and vocalist. “For years our fans in Africa have been asking us to perform more because they only get to see us on video. So as we prepare to release our new album we will give them what they want as the great Burning Spear would say.”
The band won a Grammy for the best reggae album in 2016 for their “Strictly Roots” project. They were nominated in the same category earlier this year for their most recent album, “Avrakedabra.”
Morgan Heritage, formed in 1994, made their first appearance at Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica. They were subsequently signed by MCA and released their debut album Miracles the same year. They have since criticized the Miracles album as being overly pop-influenced.
After the release of Miracles, the family moved to Denroy’s homeland of Jamaica. In this period, three family members left the group. Once in Jamaica, Morgan Heritage began working with famed reggae producers Bobby Dixon and Lloyd James, resulting in the release of their critically acclaimed second album Protect Us Jah (1997), followed by One Calling (1998), and the spiritually-inclined Don’t Haffi Dread (1999). They have released three compilation albums by “The Morgan Heritage Family and Friends”, and a live album, Live in Europe!, recorded on their 2000 tour. Following the release of their 2001 album More Teachings… Morgan Heritage toured Europe again, and they have returned several times since.
Their sixth studio album, Three in One, came out in 2003. They have released two successful DVDs, “Live In London” and “Live Over Europe 2003”, and their seventh studio album Full Circle was released in 2005. Their latest album, Mission In Progress, was released on 15 April 2008. It includes the singles “Faithful” and “Raid Rootz Dance.”
After several years working on solo projects, they released the single “The Return” in 2012, and indicated that a new album would be recorded after their 2012 European tour. The album, Here Come the Kings, was released by VP Records in June 2013, followed by a tour of Europe.
The Royal Family of Reggae, has taken the impressively significant step forward by releasing their upcoming album, “Strictly Roots” in 2015 on CTBC Records. They have worked with many of the top reggae bands and DJs of today including Capleton, Junior Kelly, Luciano, Gentleman and Beres Hammond. The group’s 2015 album Strictly Roots won the Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category in 2016.