Burning Spear


Burning Spear (APS Books, 2023).

Winston Rodney, aka Burning Spear, released his latest album, No Destroyer, in August 2023, and has been working as a recording artiste since 1969, the year when the epochal “Door Peep” was released. He is considered as a reggae icon and as the “voice” of roots reggae by many reggae fans all over the world.

This book looks at various aspects of Spear’s long career, and starts with an annotated discography and biographical chapter which serves an an introduction to the next three chapters. The second chapter examines Burning Spear’s work at the legendary Studio One, and was written by David Bousquet, a senior lecturer at the University of Burgundy in France.

The third chapter was penned by the reggae activist and sound system operator James Danino and focuses on Spear’s own labels and efforts at self-productions, putting into practice Marcus Garvey’s teachings about self-help and independence.

The fourth chapter was written by Moqapi Selassie, a Birmingham-based dub poet and a member of the Rastafarian community who opened for Burning Spear at the Hummingbird, Birmingham, in 2022. Selassie’s article provides an insider’s perspective on Spear and asks some relevant questions about the relevance and impact of the Rastafarian movement today.

The book closes with a chapter about Spear’s legacy and influence.