Misty In Roots are an institution in reggae circles, and their music sounds just as mesmerising as it did back in the seventies. As a live act they’re unmatched, which is why they’re still hypnotising audiences with their insistent, roots reggae rhythms at concerts and festivals the world over.
Misty’s unique style evolved from the spiritual vibrations of Africa, coupled with influences from the Caribbean and life in Britain’s inner cities. It’s music that celebrates and confronts, and there’s a sense of togetherness at their gigs that you rarely find elsewhere. It’s been like that since they first got together in Southall, West London, but then it was never just about the music. By 1979 they’d formed a collective and started a record label called People Unite. They released their legendary Live At The Counter Eurovision ’79 that same year – a debut that Radio One DJ John Peel described as “possibly the greatest reggae album of all time.” He was very influential in spreading the word about them, and broadcast some unforgettable sessions with Misty at a time when they regularly played on the same bill as punk bands – most notably at Rock Against Racism events.
More trailblazing exploits followed when they travelled to Russia and Eastern Europe, then visited Zambia and a newly independent Zimbabwe. Misty recorded four more albums throughout the eighties, as well as an assortment of singles including Rich Man, See Them A Come and Own Them Control Them. These were shared among three singers – Ngoni McKay and the Tyson brothers Poco and Delvin aka “Duxie,” who died in a swimming accident whilst the band was in Ghana during late 1987.
There have been fewer recordings since then but Misty In Roots have continued to build upon their loyal following with one spellbinding performance after another. In the nineties they headlined tours of Africa, playing to crowds of up to 35,000 people who thrilled at hearing righteous music they could dance and meditate to at the same time. Two decades later and Misty In Roots are still “Roots Controllers,” and their potency as a live attraction is strong and as compelling as ever.
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