Father to sons

A major force on the reggae scene for over three decades, The Gladiators are back in Israel with a new generation of talent.

July 2, 2010 16:09
2 minute read.
The Gladiators.

the gladiators 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

What happens when a performer reaches that stage of life when touring and getting up on stage every night are a much less attractive option than curling up with a cup of tea and a good book? If you’re Mick Jagger, you laugh in the face of nature and soldier on. But if you’re Albert Griffiths, the venerable founder and singer of one of reggae’s longest-standing bands, The Gladiators, you do what craftsmen have done for ages – you pass the tools of the trade down to your children.

The Gladiators’ lineup, which will be performing on July 7 at Arctic Beach in Havatzelet Hasharon features Griffiths’ two sons, Anthony on drums, and on lead vocals – Al Griffiths – a dead ringer for his fabled father. They join band members like guitarist Clinton Rufus and bassist Gallimore Sutherland, who have been Gladiators for almost three decades, providing a mighty multi-generational groove.

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The elder Griffiths began integrating the younger generation into the band around five years ago, recording an emotionally-charged album called Father and Sons, and bringing his boys out on tour for the first time. Griffiths taught his children well, because today, the ‘new’ Gladiators are as potent as they’ve ever been. The nine-piece band last appeared in Israel in 2006, selling out two shows at the Barby Club and receiving rave reviews.

Concentrating on roots reggae, as opposed to the synthesized pop form that much of reggae has descended to in the post-Bob Marley world, The Gladiators decided long ago to stick to their musical purity instead of adapting to more commercial tastes. That’s probably why their two most popular albums were efforts from their salad days in the 1970s – Trenchtown Mix Up (1976) and Proverbial Reggae (1978). Still one of the most rugged practitioners of hard-core roots reggae, they’ve retained a loyal audience and a flawless reputation, while releasing 24 albums and touring constantly.

According to the producers of this week’s show, Rasta Productions, The Gladiators’ performance is the first in a line of international reggae artists they plan to bring to Israel this year. A timely decision, because there’s nothing that signifies summer‘s arrival more than reggae on the beach. Following the concert on the beach, the party will continue all night with reggae music piped in through the sound system.

With free parking, access to the beach via Egged lines 703, 808, 852, 872 and 922, and special discounts for Isracard holders, there’s no reason not to take an evening holiday in Jamaica next week, in its new location on the Mediterranean.

Tickets are available at www.MisterTicket.co.il.

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