Legendary percussionist to share history of Jamaican music
A legendary reggae percussionist who recorded with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Taj Mahal is offering a free public lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Larry McDonald, a New York-based percussionist and native of Jamaica, will speak Tuesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in the Encore Room of the Dreyfus University Center, 1015 Reserve St.  His presentation, “The History of Reggae Music: An Evening with Larry McDonald,” is part of the Latin American/Caribbean Speaker Series sponsored by the College of Letters and Science. While on campus, McDonald will guest teach an upper-level course, “History of the Modern Caribbean.”
Using photographs, video and audio clips, and live performance on the congas, McDonald will guide the audience through the history of Jamaican music and the trajectory of his own career. He will emphasize the kumina, jonkonnu, ska, mento and reggae movements; the impact of Jamaican music in the United States; and its relevance around the globe.
McDonald’s philosophy has been to trust his artistic instincts and discover his own path between tradition and innovation. He was born in 1937 in Little Bay Port Maria, Jamaica, where he was exposed to traditional African drumming. His early experience came through playing for a number of jazz and mento bands in Jamaica and the Bahamas.
By the mid-1960s he was working with famed producer Lee “Scratch” Perry in Kingston and recording backing tracks for a number of Jamaican artists, including Bob Marley and Toots Hibbert. In 1970, he won a gold medal for “Best Percussionist” at the National Arena Festival in Kingston and “Musician of the Year” at the Musicman Awards. He later moved to the United States, where he formed partnerships with a number of top artists, as well as in Great Britain, Jamaica and elsewhere.
The interdisciplinary Latin American/Caribbean Speaker Series at UW-Stevens Point was founded in 2011 to promote awareness of political, social, economic, environmental and cultural issues in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
For more information on this or other series events, contact Anju Reejhsinghani, assistant professor of history at UW-Stevens Point, at 715-346-4122 or areejhsi@uwsp.edu.

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