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When Lasana Bandele performed at his first Reggae Sunsplash in 1990, he already had one hit single behind his name. The audience quickly came alive to the sounds of
"Living In Shacks." The Storitela, who had already been making waves locally, was now reaching a larger audience.
Bandele, who hails from the Parish of St. James in Jamaica, started writing poems and songs in 1972. A student of Catadupa All-Age School, he went on to spend three years at the Jamaica School of Music and one year at the Jamaica School of Drama.
Writing in Jamaica's "Daily Gleaner," journalist Balford Henry says, "Lasana sees only the purpose in music...his songs are favorites of those who love what we call 'message music.' " And there are many messages in the songs which Bandele has penned over the years.
He recorded and released his first single "Hanging Locks," in 1974, followed by "Send Us Home" in 1976. During the next three-year period he studied at the Jamaica
School of Music and his poems were heard frequently on JBC-Radio's "Groundings."
The man from Catadupa became caught up in the world of music and fashioned his roles as songwriter, singer, poet, and musician - playing guitar, piano, flute, and congas. Following his sojourn at the Jamaica School of Music, he began working as a composer, arranger and producer.
In 1978 he released his third single, "Changes," and spent a year writing "Music News" for JBC-Radio.
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission awarded Bandele a bronze medal in 1980 for his poem "Mad Dogs," and a Certificate of Merit in 1981 for his poem "Prison."
In 1981 he began arranging music for other artists, including Merlin Jones. A year later he was appointed Managing Director of Truth and Rights Production Limited,
a production company that produced music for budding artists.
In 1984, Bandele formed Storitela Music Limited and Storitela Publishing, and began producing his own songs. After the success of his first single on his own label, "Living in Shacks" in 1989, Bandele produced his debut album, "Storitela," which included the hit single, along with "Big City," "Subway Blues," "Break Free," "Bird Land," "Waiting Inside," and the title track, "Storitela."
Says Dermott Hussey, Music Journalist, "Lasana Bandele is an original whose words and music succeeds beautifully because it is what exciting music does best, it surprises us with the delightful discovery of places where we have never been â€¦ "
"...his mellow voice rhymes for every spoken work. A brother like him will come to join nations, as his lyrics and teaching are evident in his debut album," says Aleece Meikle of Reggae Report Magazine.
In 1992 the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation filmed and aired a one-hour television special on Bandele, highlighting his music and poetry. Also, in June he performed at City Stages, a major festival in Birmingham, Alabama, and was voted
Best Reggae Act. He also performed at The Chucker and the Birmingham Arts Association where he held a Poetry & Songwriter Workshop.
1993 saw several guest appearances at both Ciboney Resort and Swept Away Resort on the North Coast of Jamaica, along with a sparkling performance at Sumfest in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Bandele's music and poetry is warmly received in San Francisco. He was a featured poet at several poetry clubs, and worked in association with the San Francisco Public Library to provide a series of concerts, poetry readings for the public. Back in Jamaica in 1994, he released the single "All The Brothers And Sisters Are One" and delighted the audience in his third Sunsplash performance. 1996 highlights his first entry into the Billboard Chart with "Cassidy" on the "Fire On The Mountain" various Artist CD 'Reggae Celebrates Grateful Dead.â€™ "Storitela" is now on CD and features additional new songs.
In person, this quiet, centered artist radiates warmth and the rhythm of his poetry. His persona easily translates when he performs live, whether at major festivals or in smaller, more intimate gatherings such as clubs and theaters.
The Storitela is a man whose time - and music - has come.
Lasana Bandeleâ€™s Second CD is ready and will be released soon!!! With surprises and more intrigues.