Keeping the Dub alive

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Not much has been heard in Jamaica about the Dubtonic Kru in recent years, but drummer/co-founder DeLeon “Jubba” White told the Jamaica Observer recently that the band is alive, and kicking and working on new material.

White and guitarist Orlando “Jallanzo” Johnson were members of roots legend Max Romeo's band for his Put On An Iron Shirt Tour of the United States west coast and pacific north-west in March/April. With co-founder bassist Strickland Stone, they are preparing to record songs they hope will see them making a return to the road soon.

Those new songs, White stressed, must reflect their live set.

“Over the years our studio albums never really represented what our true energy is like on stage, and though we have always talked about doing that, it never happened. But now, we are about to embark on a project that represents just that,” he said.

According to White, the upcoming album, Dubtonic Kru's fourth, will be “reggae, dub, jam with a psychedelic experience”. Dubtonic Fever, their previous album, was released in 2009.

During the interim, White and Johnson have worked with other artistes and on solo projects. White produced several songs on American singer Aaron Nigel Smith's album, In Our America, released in March; he also produced Kenyan singer Alekey Marshal's Sweet Reggae Music in Ostroda, theme song for the Ostroda Reggae Festival in Poland.

In February, Johnson released Guitsy, his second album.

White, who lives in Oregon, formed Dubtonic Kru with Stone in the 1990s. They recorded and toured with a number of artistes including Max Romeo and The Mighty Diamonds, before cutting their own songs and performing at major festivals in the US and Europe.

The highlight of their career was winning the Battle Of The Bands contest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2011.

However, White admits keeping what was originally a five-piece band together, has been challenging.

“The last four years have been quite a reflective period, with various transitions. Individual members were focused on personal goals but for the last year, things started reshaping, and the need to present the evolution of the band became a priority,” he said.

The Dubtonic Kru are also working on a project with American singer Jah Sun.

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