Buju Banton, with his deep Jamaican vocals, performs tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Downtown Brewing Company, located at 1119 Garden St. in San Luis Obispo.
Buju Banton (aka Gargamel) grew up as Mark Myrie near Kingston, Jamaica and broke into the music scene when he was only 13 years old. In 1992, Buju Banton made it onto the charts with his songs “Bogle” and “Love mi browning.”
Buju Banton’s early sound was more dancehall-rap music. It wasn’t until his album, “Til Shiloh,” where Myrie took on more traditional reggae beats due to his adoption of Rastafarianism.
The band’s name arose from a nickname his mother gave him as a child. “Buju,” which is Breadfruit, is given to chubby children. The second part, “Banton” comes from Myrie’s musical influence, Barro Banton, from whom Myrie took what critics call his “gravel toned” voice.
Myrie succeeded in making Banton’s voice his own and at 19 years old broke Bob Marley’s record for most No. 1 singles in a year.
Myrie’s lyrics cover a wide range of topics, from explaining a dance craze with “Bogle,” (named in honor of its creator, the late Gerald “Bogle” Levy) to tackling more controversial issues. From the “Til Shiloh” album, there’s a track titled “Murderer” in which Myrie criticizes violence found in lyrics and between dancehall artists. His song “Willy, don’t be silly” promotes condom use.
Eight studio albums and many compilation CDs later, Buju Banton produced “Too Bad,” an album released this year that’s back to a dancehall style.
To catch Buju Banton live, buy tickets for $27 at Boo Boo Records, located at 978 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo, or get them online at numbskullshows.com for $25.