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THERE was a downpour of music at the Redbones Blues Café last Tuesday evening, where a hidden talent was unveiled with the launch of singer Ashaka's debut album, Call Me.

The artiste, born Linval Thomas, hails from Fletcher's Land in West Kingston. He thrilled the audience with every selection, beginning with the Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Loving Feeling.

Clad in a military-type jacket, Ashaka delivered I-Shence and Mother with exuberance, and the audience never failed to show their appreciation.

Several of the musicians who worked on Call Me were on the bandstand. They include veteran guitarist Winston 'Bo Pee' Bowen, bassist Michael Fletcher, percussionist Congo Billy, and harmony singer Karlene 'Nina' Levy.

"A thing of quality has no fear of time, so it has no age. We need to hear the talent of our artistes. We have over 20 radio stations and the artistes are struggling to be heard," KOOL FM disc jockey Michael Thompson told the audience.

His namesake and counterpart from Roots FM, Dudley Thompson, echoed sentiments. "There are a lot of songs with quality but they don't get airplay," he said.

The 65-year-old Ashaka is no 'Johnny Come Lately'. He started as a singer 45 years ago with the song Bachelor Boy, for producer Prince Buster.

His latest single, I-Shence, which is from the album, was inspired by Bunny Wailer.

"All I ever wanted to do was to sing. This is the start of my tour," said Ashaka, who served 22 years in the United States Air Force.

-- Basil Walters