Reggae superstar Lucky Dube (pronounced Doo-Bay) is one of reggae music’s best-selling artists and most outspoken performers. Motivated by first-hand experiences of apartheid’s oppression in South Africa, and inspired by the controversial lyrics of Peter Tosh, a youthful Lucky Dube made the switch from traditional Zulu Mbaquanga music to reggae music. His first reggae album, Rasta Never Die (1986), was banned from the radio by the then all-white South African government. But Lucky Dube was destined for success, and was to become one of South Africa’s biggest artists, and a freedom fighter in his own right.
Slave, released in 1989, was Dube’s first international breakthrough. Since then, he has gone on to record extensively, to amazing success. Some of his international accomplishments include touring with Peter Gabriel on the first American WOMAD (World Of Music Arts And Dance) festival in 1994, performing with Sting at Johannesburg's Ellis Park Stadium, receiving the World Music Award for Best Selling African Artist in 1996, winning over discerning Jamaican audiences at Reggae Sunplash (so successfully in fact, that he was invited to tour with the traveling version of this festival), and playing in front of audiences of up to 80,000 people.
His new album, The Other Side, is his debut for the Heartbeat label and features his unique blend of impassioned vocals, potent lyrics and roots reggae rhythms. In his lower registers, Lucky Dube’s voice is reminiscent of his reggae inspiration, Peter Tosh, but he can also unleash a powerful falsetto to rival any of the Motown singers. His passionate melodies, along with the band’s tight grooves and trademark fluty keyboards, have set the standard for reggae bands throughout Africa. As always with Lucky Dube’s music, the highest production values are utilized. The album was recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the prestigious, state-of-the-art Downtown Studios (where prominent acts including Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo—even Simply Red and Duran Duran have recorded). The ten new songs touch on a variety of subjects. “Number in the Book” encourages sexual responsibility in a time when AIDS statistics on the African continent are dreadfully high. The title track addresses the “grass is greener on the other side” phenomenon, and compares the lives of two men—one Jamaican, the other African—both longing to be in the other’s shoes. “Soldier” tracks the guilt associated with killing, even if the killing is in the name of war, ordered by a general. Interpersonal issues of a married couple—each suspecting the other of cheating—are dealt with on “Cool Down.” These issues come to a conclusion on “Divorce Party.”
Lucky Dube is a modern day hero with a message that has touched millions of music fans around the world. He’s been hailed as “the shining star of African reggae” (Afropop Worldwide), and “South Africa’s biggest selling contemporary artist” (Mail & Guardian). Find out why The Village Voice says, "The spirit of Lucky Dube's music and dance epitomizes the spirit of Black liberation."