Reggae stalwarts pass on during month celebrating the music

Wayne Smith changed the course of reggae with his digital tune.

Wayne Smith changed the course of reggae with his digital tune.

By Carmen Glover

When the catchy rhythm “Under Mi Sleng Teng” was released in the 1980’s reggae lovers became immediately enthralled, sampling the smooth tune so often that the musical strains stayed in our psyches on our minds like a longstanding part of life. The death announcement that Wayne Smith, 48, the creative genius who introduced the blend of computerized range and reggae flavor for the memorable “Under Mi Sleng Teng” track, has plunged the reggae community into mourning, two weeks after the death of William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke, 65, the late lead singer for the iconic reggae band, Third World.

The vinyl track for the famous tune.

The vinyl track for the famous tune.

Both deaths have come during February’s Reggae Month, when the music is examined, reminisced about and celebrated in various venues and methods. Clarke died on February 3 and Smith died on February 17. Joe Gibbs also died in February, years ago. When the impact of reggae music is examined, Dennis Brown, who was born February 1 and died in July 1999, Robert Nesta Marley, born February 6 and died May 11 are among the top names mentioned, along with Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller, Sugar Minott and Garnet Silk.

William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke of reggae group Third World.

William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke of reggae group Third World.

With the untimely deaths of Clarke and Smith, the conversation will become broader and more textured to reflect the diversity in reggae music and the expansive span of the creative forces who shaped it over the years.  Smith, who launched a new, digital, era in reggae with his exciting “Under Mi Sleng Teng” tune, will generate conversation as his legacy takes a lead in the hearts, minds and conversations of reggae lovers across the world, as the news of his untimely death continues to reverberate across the globe.  –OnPointPress.net

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