Junior & Bamm Holt revisit “Tribal War”

by Aug 13, 2020News

With political warfare the order of the day, Kingston, Jamaica was not for the faint of heart in 1978. Reggae artistes including John Holt called for calm in the country’s capital with songs like “Tribal War”.

That song, originally done by Little Roy three years earlier, has also been covered by George Nooks. With the current state of racial strife in the United States, Holt’s son Junior Holt and grandson Bamm Holt, have revisited one of reggae’s most revered peace anthems.


Their version, which features Junior on lead vocals and Bamm rapping, is being released August 14. It is produced by the Earl With Love label out of New York with Flabba Holt on bass and Lloyd “Obeah” Denton on keyboards.

Bamm & Junior Holt

Bamm & Junior Holt

“I was 12 years-old and just started my first year in Maud McCleod High School in Westmoreland (rural parish in Jamaica). I was old enough to know that John Holt is I man father and during that time Tribal War was playing a lot on the radio and I man fell in like with it as a yute. I draw for this song now ’cause it’s what I see going on around us right now relating to the protestings and innocent lives being wasted cause of racial profiling and police brutality against blacks and brown skinned people,” said Junior Holt.

Since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota groups like Black Lives Matter have rallied protests against police brutality and harassment against minorities in the United States.

Floyd, a black man, was killed by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes. That officer has been charged with second degree murder.

Junior Holt, who lives in Hartford, Connecticut, has been recording since the late 1980s. He thought it would be fitting to cut “Tribal War” with Bamm, his son, whose recording career launched two years ago.

“Recording with my son is a marvelous feeling cause I never get the chance to record anything with Father Holt so I man manifest this way around then and make it so with my son,” he said.

Ironically, Holt and Nooks’ versions were released in 1978 when the Jamaican opposition party was pushing prime minister Michael Manley to call elections. That did not come until October, 1980, a year when over 800 murders were recorded in Jamaica.

On August 11, prime minister Andrew Holness announced that general elections will be held in Jamaica on September 3.