Sydney Salmon’s pivotal moment

by Jan 16, 2024News

Sydney Salmon's pivotal moment

A pivotal moment in Sydney Salmon’s life took place on October 4, 1975 at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. His mother took the 11 year-old boy to the Dream Concert which featured Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley.

Seeing Wonder joined on stage by Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, his former colleagues in The Wailers, made a lasting impact on Salmon.

“It was a moment in time that left an impression on me which is still carrying me to this day,” he said.

Salmon has lived in Ethiopia for 24 years. He resides in the Shashamane region which has been home to hundreds of Jamaicans since the 1960s when Emperor Haile Selassie I granted black people from the Western Hemisphere land in the East African country.

The 59 year-old singer is currently promoting ‘Trees’, a song produced and written by Michael Eaton, a Jamaican based in Staten Island, New York. Recently released, its laid-back feel sums up Salmon’s life in Ethiopia.

“It’s peaceful, no shot nah buss, no one naah fuss nor fight,” he joked. “All you hear most of the time are church and Mosque orations at various intervals throughout the day. It’s almost unbelievable. I pray one day our people of the African Diaspora will come and visit us and claim their divine inheritance.”

Two years after attending the Dream Concert, Salmon recorded his first song. That was a reggae cover of The Beatles’ ‘I Love You’, produced by Garth Henriques, the father of future Grammy winner and dancehall kingpin Sean Paul.

He has done a number of songs since moving to Ethiopia, including ‘I Wonder’, produced by George Golding, whose older brother Johnny lived in Shashamane for many years. Salmon has also released two albums and collaborated with artistes from East and West Africa.

‘Trees’ is his second production with Eaton who he met through a mutual friend two years ago. Their first song, ‘Oh Lord’, came out in 2022.

Eaton, who is from St. Ann parish in Jamaica, works mainly with roots artistes in New York City including Emil Troy and Patrick Junior. He assembled a number of session musicians based in the Big Apple to work with Salmon on the horn-hooked ‘Trees’.

“It’s not necessarily the sound I prefer, but a sound which challenges me to adjust my vocal style in order to capture the feel and meaning of the writer. I love the challenge, (because) it improves my singing skills,” said Salmon.

(Photo contributed)

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