America’s relationship with reggae music is complex and contradictory: equal parts tropical hedonism, revolutionary inspiration and license to party. In the narrative of reggae, Yellowman occupies a unique position and a role of great importance. He stands as one of the first significant void-filling recording artists and live performers of the post-Marley age – a pivotal figure as the genre made its turn from the classic forms of Marley and Tosh into its own new electronic and raplike forms. The fact that King Yellowman made any impact at all – as an orphaned albino in Jamaica, a nation in which his condition is considered taboo – is just another remarkable layer of the story.
Born Winston Foster, the artist originally known as Yellowman began releasing an avalanche of singles in 1982, pioneering the “toasting” style of lyric delivery. By 1988, the prolific deejay had released no fewer than 21 records. In that same period, around 1986, he was diagnosed with jaw cancer and told that he had one year to live. On Saturday, August 20, King Yellowman and the Sagittarius Band perform at the Bearsville Theater.
New York fusion/reggae outfit Royal Khaoz and DJ Starcade will be on hand to welcome the legend upon his return to the Bearsville. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the show. Reserved balcony seating will set you back $50, but comes with a complimentary poster. For tickets and more information, visit www.bearsvilletheater.com. The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock.
King Yellowman & the Sagittarius Band/Royal Khaoz/DJ Starcade, Sunday, August 20, 8 p.m., $25/$30/$50, Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street, Woodstock; www.bearsvilletheater.com.