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Lord Tanamo

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Lord Tanamo (born Joseph Abraham Gordon, 2 October 1934, Kingston, Jamaica) is best known as a mento and ska performer and songwriter. He helped create the sound we now know as ska, by combining elements of calypso gleaned from Lord Kitchener, with the lilting mento rhythms of his childhood. He has been based in Canada for over thirty-five years.

Tanamo played the rumba box (also known as a bass lamellophone), an essential element of mento. He enjoyed hits as the lead vocalist for The Skatalites, such as “I’m In The Mood For Ska”, in 1965. He continued to record at least through the late 1970s, with singles and albums for record producers, Coxsone Dodd, The Pottingers and Bunny Lee.
In 1970, he recorded a cover of Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night In Georgia”, which was a number one hit in Jamaica for seven weeks. During another trip home he recorded the album Calypso Reggae, for Bunny Lee.
By 1999 a compilation album, entitled Skamento Movement, was released on the Imaj record label.
In July 2002 in Toronto, Canada, a two night ‘Legends of Ska’ concert was held. Reuniting were Skatalites Lloyd Knibbs, Rico Rodriguez, Lloyd Brevett, Lester Sterling, Johnny Moore and Lynn Taitt; along with Prince Buster, Alton Ellis, Owen Gray, Lord Creator, Justin Hinds, Derrick Harriott, Winston Samuels, Roy Wilson, Derrick Morgan, Patsy Todd, Doreen Shaffer, Stranger Cole and Tanamo himself.

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