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.

the gladiators 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
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 ArcticBeach in Havatzelet Hasharon features Griffiths’ two sons, Anthony ondrums, and on lead vocals – Al Griffiths – a dead ringer for his fabledfather. They join band members like guitarist Clinton Rufus and bassistGallimore Sutherland, who have been Gladiators for almost threedecades, providing a mighty multi-generational groove.
The elder Griffiths began integrating the younger generation into theband around five years ago, recording an emotionally-charged albumcalled Father and Sons, and bringing his boys out ontour for the first time. Griffiths taught his children well, becausetoday, the ‘new’ Gladiators are as potent as they’ve ever been. Thenine-piece band last appeared in Israel in 2006, selling out two showsat the Barby Club and receiving rave reviews.
Concentrating on roots reggae, as opposed to the synthesized pop formthat much of reggae has descended to in the post-Bob Marley world, TheGladiators decided long ago to stick to their musical purity instead ofadapting to more commercial tastes. That’s probably why their two mostpopular albums were efforts from their salad days in the 1970s –Trenchtown Mix Up (1976) and ProverbialReggae (1978). Still one of the most rugged practitioners ofhard-core roots reggae, they’ve retained a loyal audience and aflawless reputation, while releasing 24 albums and touring constantly.
According to the producers of this week’s show, Rasta Productions, TheGladiators’ performance is the first in a line of international reggaeartists they plan to bring to Israel this year. A timely decision,because there’s nothing that signifies summer‘s arrival more thanreggae on the beach. Following the concert on the beach, the party willcontinue 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 noreason not to take an evening holiday in Jamaica next week, in its newlocation on the Mediterranean.
Tickets are available at www.MisterTicket.co.il.