Legendary Jamaican reggae singer/songwriter/dancehall DJ Cocoa Tea will rock the Hilo Town Tavern Friday night.
The 59-year-old reggae icon born Calvin George Scott in Rocky Point, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, is known for his easygoing vocal presentation and songs such as “Lost My Sonia,” “Tune In” and “Rocking Dolly.” Admired and respected for his social consciousness, Cocoa Tea is regarded as a messenger, teacher and humanitarian.
Recording his first song, “Searching In The Hills,” at age 14 in 1974, it would be another decade before Cocoa Tea became a full-time musician. Working first as a jockey, then as a fisherman, he began to structure his music career, honing his craft in Jamaica’s ubiquitous dancehalls.
His success in the dancehalls strengthened his purpose and encouraged him to go further, so he began writing songs and training his voice.
In December 1983, he moved to Kingston and recorded “Who’s The Champion.” and his first hit, “Rocking Dolly,” His next hit, “I Lost My Sonia” spawned an album of the same name.
In 1985, Cocoa Tea accepted the Rastafarian faith. His conversion was reflected in his music, with songs like “Settle Down,” “Don’t Be Shy,” Too Much Fussing And Fighting” and “I’ve Gotta Love You.” His single, “Rikers Island,” topped the U.S. and United Kingdom reggae charts. His most controversial recording, “Oil Ting,” was banned in England while topping the reggae charts in America. He followed that up by “No Blood For Oil,” ”What’s Gonna Happen After The War” and ”Ruling Cowboy.”
Doors open at 8:30 p.m. with the show at 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 general admission, $55 VIP section, available at Hilo Town Tavern, Hilo Ukulele and Guitar, CD Wizard and Hilo Music Exchange in Hilo; Keaau Natural Foods; Top Stitch in Honokaa; Waimea General Store in Parker Square; Kona Music Exchange and Kiernan Music in Kona; by calling 896-4845; and online at bluesbearhawaii.com.