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Reggae got soul

MUSIC MAN: Michael Arkk

JAMAICANS MAY not have packed them in their suitcases when they left the Caribbean but Jamaican melodies and rhythms certainly found their way to the UK. Whether it’s Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliff, Beres Hammond or Sanchez, Vybz Kartel or Mavado, the British love affair with Jamaican music was never just a passing fad.

Over the years the UK has long-been a launching pad for reggae artists. British-Reggae artists may not have received the financial recognition they deserve but they still stay true to their craft.

Michael Arkk

Jamaican-born British-Reggae singer Michael Arkk is one such example of a musician who has perfected his craft in the UK but so far the ‘big time’ has eluded him. Arkk has been performing for over 25 years and describes his brand of Reggae as Soul-Roots-Reggae. However, with the recent release of his current single ‘Come Over Tonight’, crossover success maybe just around the corner for the veteran singer (more on that later).

One of the first things one notices about Arkk are his snow-white dreadlocks. The softly spoken Rastafarian, born in Clarendon, Jamaica is wise and considered, to the extent that he gives the impression that each word from his lips has been well-measured before being uttered.

Arkk’s musical journey started when he formed the gospel band Channel of Praise with his brother. The band gained popular support with their own songs including ‘The Seed of the Woman’, ‘Midnight Cry’ and ‘Cast All Your Cares On Him’, as well as gospel standards.

The success of Channel of Praise brought Michael from Jamaica to London where he has been settled since 1989. Artists such as Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley and soul artists Otis Redding and the O’Jays, together with gospel legend Mahalia Jackson were instrumental in influencing Arkk’s style which helped him make the move from Gospel to a fusion of Soul-Roots-Reggae. It is this brand of Reggae which has paved the way for the veteran musician to travel to Paris and Frankfurt and other European destinations.

LOVE DOCTOR: Michael Arkk

‘Come Over Tonight’, the current single taken from the soon to be released ‘Sweet Fire’ album and produced by Mozez, Newmen Records and White Light Production, has been described by Arkk as, “a natural experience, where you accept a relationship is broken but you didn’t break it and then you get a call from her that you should come over tonight.”

Asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t a musician Arkk said, “If I wasn’t a musician I think I would like to be a physician. As a physician I think I would be repairing broken bodies and possibly broken minds. However, as a musician I have the responsibility to repair broken spirits and broken souls.”

‘Come Over Tonight’ is available now on iTunes!

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