Ijahman Levi


Ijahman Levi was born in the cool hills of Christiana, in Manchester, Jamaica, on June 19th 1946 and named Trevor Sutherland. In 1962 Sutherland's mother and father took up residence in England on the eve of Jamaica's independence. The entire family followed in 1963. In 1970 Trevor ran foul of the law and was sent to prison in England for three years and while in prison he changed his stage name from 'The Youth' to 'Ijahman Levi' and wrote the song 'Jah Heavy Load'. In 1974 Ijahman was released from prison. However, by this time his wife, Miss Beverley, and family had deserted him. With no family to turn to he took to the streets and found refuge in the house of Rastafari at St. Agnes Place, the headquarters of the Twelve Tribes and studied The Bible. In 1975 Ijahman made his 'anthem' song 'Jah Heavy Load' recorded on the Concrete Jungle label for Dip Records and produced by Ijahman. In 1977 Ijahman went to Jamaica in search of a producer and found the late Mr. Geoffrey Chung and together they produced two of Ijahman's most famous albums 'Haile I Hymn' and 'Are We A Warrior' on the Island label. The albums were released in 1978 and 1979 and they received international acclaim. Ijahman then chose to set up his own recording company 'Tree Roots Record International' with the Jahmani label and severed ties with Island Records.

1981 Ijahman remarried this time to his duet partner Madge and in 1985 he produced the hit single 'I Do' with Ijahman and Madge. This release reached number one status on the British Reggae chart for six weeks running.
To date, Ijahman has 27 albums to his credit. This is his 28th album, featuring 10 new tracks and two tracks -Bun Bun and Armageddon Warriorsare previously released as 45 singles. Ijahman's own words about the album : "The Ark of the Covenant is in my heart and my heart is in Africa - the concept behind the album design. The songs on Ark Art was written to focus on life, my past, present and why we need to change to make a better future."

The album is a distinctive mix of roots tunes and lovers tracks, which will appeal a lot of reggae fans. His vocal delivery is still strong after all these years and the excellent backing is provided by such fine musicians as Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Flabba Holt, Earl 'Chinna' Smith, Lloyd 'Obeah' Denton, Chris Meredith, Gladstone Anderson and Sticky Thompson.

Although the music is rooted in the sound of traditional reggae, the album as a whole has a very fresh and contemporary vibe. Nuff highlights on the album : Micky Mouse in The House, Talk To Me, Slave Driver, Bun Bun and the anthemic title track Ark Art.
With 'Ark Art' Ijahman has put out a solid and distinctive album.


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