Reggae Legend Robbie Shakespeare Funeral Set For February 7

Sly and Robbie
Sly and Robbie

The public will be able to bid farewell to Reggae legend Robbie Shakespeare of the rhythm section and production duo Sly and Robbie on Sunday, February 6, 2022.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange announced in a statement that the public would be able to view the body of the late bassist from midday to 3 pm at the National Indoor Sports Centre. The Minister said condolence books will also be opened at the Centre for fans, friends, and family to record their sympathies.

“We know that members of the public have been waiting for a chance to say goodbye to Robbie, who — along with Sly — has contributed so much to our music. As we are still operating under covid conditions, we cannot host a big event. But we think this is an appropriate way to allow our people to express their appreciation for this talented musician while observing the necessary health and safety protocols,” Minister Grange said.

The Culture Minister, along with Robbie’s family, is handling the arrangements for the farewell service for the late reggae icon. While the public will get their chance to mourn his passing, Minister Grange stressed that the funeral service and interment, which will be held a day later on February 7, will only be open to the physical attendance of close family and friends.

While the event will be private, the Minister said arrangements will be made for persons to join virtually via social media and the Public Broadcasting Corporation Of Jamaica (PBCJ) live stream.

Robbie Shakespeare died on December 8, 2021, at his home in Florida following kidney surgery. Reports are that the reggae bassist had been ailing from kidney-related issues and was on dialysis for some time. He was 68 years old at the time of his passing.

Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the most influential bassists in the reggae scene and was known for making magic with his fingers. At the same time, the other half of the unforgettable dynamic duo, Sly Dunbar, dominated the drums.

Sly And Robbie left their imprints in some of roots reggae’s finest moments, working with aristes such as The Wailers (on Concrete Jungle), Burning Spear (on his Marcus Garvey album), Gregory Isaacs, U-Roy, Dennis Brown, Black Uhuru, and much more. Shakespeare and Dunbar dominated during the 1980s, and by the end of the 90s, the duo copped a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album “Friends.’

In 2020, Robbie Shakespeare was named number 17 on Rolling Stones magazine’s 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time.

His talent will be missed but will undoubtedly be remembered.