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Sicilian reggae artist Alborosie refers to himself as the Italian Reggae Ambassador, building on a lifelong love of roots reggae and slowly becoming one of the more unlikely dancehall and reggae stars in Jamaica. Growing up playing in reggae bands in Italy, he eventually relocated to Kingston when it was time to start a solo career in the early 2000s. After the release of his 2008 debut, Soul Pirate, Alborosie took the fast track with his music, releasing albums prolifically over the next decade and even working with members of Bob Marley's legendary backing band the Wailers on his 2018 LP Unbreakable: Alborosie Meets the Wailers United. After a dub set, he returned with 2021's For the Culture. Singer, songwriter, DJ, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Alborosie was born Alberto D'Ascola in Marsala, Sicily on July 4, 1977. The son of a retired police officer, Alborosie taught himself to play guitar, bass, drums, and piano. By 1993, when he was just 15, he was playing in the Italian reggae band Reggae National Tickets, billing himself as Stena. In 2001, he decided to leave the group for a solo career, and moved to Jamaica to be closer to the musical culture that had so inspired him. It wasn't an easy move, and the singer even got his moniker by affixing the "Al" from his name to the derogatory Jamaican term "Borosie," a sharper reading of "jerk" that got thrown at him a lot early on in his new home of Kingston. He began work as a sound engineer and producer, participating in projects by artists like Ky-Mani Marley, while still continuing to work and develop his own material. Alborosie released his first solo album, Soul Pirate, in 2008, which generated a lot of positive critical attention internationally. He followed it a year later in 2009 with Escape from Babylon, which continued to build his fan base. 2 Times Revolution appeared in 2011, while Sound the System landed in 2013. (A dub version of the latter album, Dub the System, was issued later that year.) The year 2014 saw a pair of compilations: Specialist Presents Alborosie & Friends rounded up the singer's early singles, while Sound the System Showcase collected a set of remixes. The 2015 dub album Dub of Thrones found Alborosie getting the royal dub treatment from King Jammy. His 2016 effort Freedom & Fyah added more electronics, dub, and dubstep to the mix, along with guest appearances from Protoje and Ky-Mani Marley. 2018's Unbreakable: Alborosie Meets the Wailers United was one of the singer's best-received albums to date, featuring collaborations with J Boog, Jah Cure, and of course members of the Wailers. The set rose to the Top Ten of Billboard's reggae charts. Alborosie's next move also involved veterans of Jamaican music; he teamed up with long-running reggae session crew Roots Radics for a 2019 dub album entitled Alborosie Meets Roots Radics - Dub for the Radicals. Released two years later, 2021's For the Culture featured guest spots from the Wailing Souls, Big Mountain, and Jo Mersa Marley.
© Steve Leggett /TiVo
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