of Zions Curtis Bobb sings from his heart at
Naparima Bowl, San Fernando
Sammy-Guilarte shows style as he sings at Naparima
Bowl, San Fernando.
Their sound is upbeat, fresh and filled with conviction;
but what Curtis Bobb and Andraé Sammy-Guilarte, aka
Sons of Zion, have managed to accomplish within two short
years fraught with mishaps, is nothing short of miraculous.
Since their emergence in 2006, their slick old-school reggae
and R&B infused harmonies have been heard at venues
across the country. In March they were among the opening
acts for international gospel superstars Mary Mary, alongside
local artistes like Sean Daniel, Love Circle and Pastor
Angela Williams. They also appeared at the Papa San concert
held last November; and participated in Live 2, a live entertainment
showcase produced by a popular local television station
back in May.
So who exactly are these sons of Zion?
Sammy, 33, is a programmer at Acts 25; the television station
developed by his father, Pastor Nelson Sammy, and started
his music career performing at church functions with members
of his youth group.
Bobb, 27, an HR assistant at the SWRHA, also had his beginnings
at church but extended his pursuits by performing with the
group Celestial Harmony from 1999 to 2004. He also ventured
out on his own; performing at private functions and providing
background vocals for artistes such as Jadee and Christ
It was on one such occasion, while recording vocals for
Mission Epistle that he encountered Sammy and the rest,
as they say, is history.
Taking the good news to the masses
Listing Beres Hammond, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff among
their many influences, the two claimed that they wanted
to set the standard for others pursuing their special brand
of music (reggae) in the local industry. They also emphasised
that their music was not of the fire and brimstone variety
usually associated with gospel music but inspired by real-life
situations taking place within the country, the society
and their personal lives, particularly the influence of
the Most High.
we try to do is get out of the Christian box
we want to deal with issues, social issues, said Bobb,
who alluded to the governments stance that the church
is not doing enough to quell the misbehaviour taking place
within the society today.
are part of the church so we trying to put ourselves out
there through our music, to let people know, hear what,
we understand you going through something but there is a
solution. We go through the same things but we know there
is a solution, we willing to share.
The group has appeared at what may be considered secular
events and their music, which even has some soca influences,
has received tremendous support outside of the gospel arena.
thats what we look for, said Sammy.
try not to just focus in on the Christians because there
are more people out there.
We have a message for everybody in the world whether youre
Christian or not and we believe we could help everybody
with our music.
dont want to limit ourselves just to gospel; we want
to know that at the end of the day we are just considered
as artistes bringing the good news music. Bobb added.
Sons of Zion will next be performing at the gospel-oriented,
Youth Arts International Festival scheduled for the opening
of the Kadooment celebrations in Barbados on July 29. They
also expect to release their debut album this September
which features original songs like The Gift, inspired by
the strong women in their lives; and Knock Knock, which,
according to Bobb, sends the message that God is presenting
himself to people; knocking at the door and waiting for
them to open up their lives.
It also features collaborations with St Mathew, another
artiste coming out of Jamaica and Maximus Dan.