Ewart Beckford Biography Ewart Beckford Wiki
Pioneering Jamaican reggae artist Ewart Beckford U-Roy has died at the age of 78, his partner has confirmed. The musician, whose real name is Ewart Beckford, was operated on in a hospital in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.
— Simply Red (@SimplyRedHQ) February 18, 2021
U-Roy, credited with popularizing the style of singing known as “toasting”, died Wednesday night.
Among those who paid tribute were Grammy-winning artist Shaggy and British singer-songwriter Ghostpoet.
U-Roy’s partner Marcia Smikle told local news website The Gleaner that the artist had been treated for diabetes, high blood pressure and also suffered from kidney problems.
She said he was in and out of the hospital and last had surgery to treat a problem with internal bleeding.
“It was successful and the bleeding stopped,” Ms Smikle said, but doctors had to take him back to the operating room at West India University Hospital on Wednesday and he later died.
Honors poured in after the news of U-Roy’s death. Jamaican reggae artist Shaggy described him in an Instagram post as a “hero” and a “true legend” who was “a master of his craft”.
BBC Radio 1Xtra reggae music presenter David Rodigan described U-Roy as “the legendary toaster who changed the paradigm of Jamaican music”.
U-Roy was born in Jones Town, Kingston, in September 1942. His professional musical career began in 1961 as a DJ.
It was at this point that he adopted “toasting,” a rhythmic singing style performed on reggae and dance tracks that became popular in Jamaica in the late 1960s and 1970s.
U-Roy has recorded a number of singles and albums, some of which were Dread in a Babylon in 1975 and Natty Rebel in 1976.
Years later, in 2004, he was featured on Jamaican band Toots and the Maytals’ Grammy-winning album True Love.
In 2007, the Jamaican government awarded him the Order of Distinction for his contribution to music.