Tribute to Joseph Hill a.k.a. Culture

A tribute to reggae icon – Joseph Hill (2.1.49 – 19.8.06)

DJ Israel & Friends play music by the fantastic group who now operate with the son and hier of Joseph Hill, Kenyatta Hill.

19. august 2010 – kl. 20-01 – gratis inngang / free entrance

Formed in the rich tradition of harmony trios in 1976, Culture quickly became a part of the vibrant, politically charged Jamaican reggae scene of the day.  Originally known as the African Disciples, the line-up consisted of Joseph Hill (lead vocals), Albert Walker (backing vocals) and Kenneth Dayes (backing vocals).  Hill was the only member of the trio who had prior studio experience – having worked at Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio One as a percussionist with the Soul Defenders group in the early 1970’s.  It was also at Studio One that Hill first recorded as a vocalist.

Shortly after Culture came together, they began working with the ‘Mighty Two’ – producer Joe Gibbs and engineer Errol Thompson.  While at Gibbs’ studio, the singers recorded a series of powerful singles, many of which ended up on their successful debut album ‘Two Sevens Clash’.  This initial release was hugely popular in both Jamaica and England.  The lyrics demonstrated Hill’s keen awareness of the connection between Jamaica’s history and its current social climate.  While the songs may have been dealing with serious issues, at the same time the group always recognized the value of a catchy beat – a sensibility shared by U.K. punks at the time.  At once Culture became part of a wave of vocal groups (including the Mighty Diamonds, Black Uhuru, the Meditations and countless others) that ruled the reggae scene for a brief while in the late 70’s.

After their success with Gibbs, the group went on to make a string of albums for producer Sonia Pottinger.  Culture began working with some of the premier musicians of the day including Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Ansel Collins, Cedric Brooks and the ever-present percussionist Sticky.  Virgin Records picked up the albums, and that added distribution enabled Culture to gain an even larger following outside of Jamaica.  In recent months Virgin has begun re-issuing most of its reggae catalog from the late 70’s, so once again these early Culture albums are readily available.

In 1982 the three singers went their own ways.  Joseph Hill carried on using the Culture name, and recorded the ‘Lion Rock’ album, which was released in the United States by Heartbeat Records.  For their part, Walker and Dayes recorded a handful of songs on their own – a few of which turned up on an album titled ‘Roots & Culture’.

In 1986 the original line-up reformed to record two highly regarded albums – ‘Culture in Culture’ and ‘Culture at Work’.  These releases marked the beginning of a very busy period for the group, including annual albums and countless tours.  The U.S. label Shanachie released a steady stream of new and old Culture albums up to ’Wings Of A Dove’ in 1992.

In 1993 Kenneth Dayes left the group and was temporarily replaced by the singer from Dub Mystic – who was their backing band at the time.  With Dub Mystic, Culture reached new heights that included the release of two popular studio albums (‘One Stone’ and ‘Trust Me’) and a live album (‘Cultural Livity’).

Today, Culture consists of Hill, Walker and Telford Nelson.  After a lengthy career on his own, Nelson joined on harmony vocals in 1999.  In concert the group is currently backed by the DC based band ‘Forces of Justice’.  These accomplished musicians have been behind Culture for many years, playing several well-received tours in Europe, Africa and North America.

Culture continues to be in demand in the studio as well.  In 2000 the group recorded the album ‘Payday’, which was followed by a much-praised dub album mixed by the renowned engineer, Scientist.  In the same year a very contemporary sounding album called ‘Humble African’ appeared on VP Records.  Since then RAS Records have issued a CD and DVD set titled ‘Live in Africa’ – taken from a historic show the group performed in South Africa in December of 2000. The DVD, the group’s first, offers proof of just how lively and intense a Culture performance can be. More recently, the US label Roots & Culture have released a live album recorded in Jamaica – ‘Live in Negril’. In addition, the group have already recorded material for a new studio album – so fans can look forward to some fresh material later in 2003 (The ‘World Peace’ CD will be out on Heartbeat Records on June 17, 2003).

While Culture has now been around for 27 years, Joseph Hill and friends are showing no signs of slowing down.  Hill has lost none of his striking stage presence and fiery energy over the years.  The group has sustained their lengthy career by being both true to their cultural roots, and at the same time able to incorporate new sounds and ideas into their mix.  To their credit the group has never been content to be a mere oldies act.  Culture has proved to be one of the few acts in reggae that can always be relied on – both on record, and on stage.  As reggae music goes, a Culture concert is both a tribute to the past and a glimpse of the future …. Not to mention a whole lot of fun!

2003, Jim Dooley


Following the release of World Peace in 2003 Culture continued to actively tour around the world. In 2004 they played at the first edition of the highly successful Montreal Reggae Festival. Joseph Hill was inducted into the Reggae Walk of Fame, and was presented an Independence Award by the Jamaican Prime Minister in 2005. In 2006 the group performed a number of concerts including the ‘Bob Marley 61st Birthday Celebration’ in Ghana and Reggae Sunspash.

Joseph Hill suddenly became ill while the group were on tour in Europe and passed away in Berlin Germany on August 19 2006. The group decided to finish the European tour with Kenyatta Hill (Joseph’s son and Culture’s audio engineer) singing lead vocals as a tribute to his father. On September 8th a tribute concert took place in Kingston Jamaica and featured an all-star line-up of artists that ranged from Luciano to Bunny Wailer. A memorial service for Hill took place in Kingston the following day. Tentative plans are for Kenyatta Hill to continue to tour and record in his father’s place with Culture.

London Times: Kenyatta Hill with CULTURE:,,14936-2329577.html

Niceup NZ: Kenyatta Hill:

Jamaica Observer: September 10, 2006:

August 25, 2006: Kenyatta Hill & Culture performing a tribute to Joseph Hill … pictures from reggaephotos website:

September 18 2006, Jim Dooley

ALBUMS (in order of recording/release)

Two Sevens Clash (1977, Joe Gibbs, Shanachie)

Baldhead Bridge (1978, Joe Gibbs, Heartbeat)

More Culture (1981, Joe Gibbs)

Africa Stand Alone (1978, April Records)

Harder Than The Rest (1978, High Note, Virgin, Shanachie)

Culture In Dub (1978, LP – High Note, CD – Heartbeat)

Cumbolo – (1979, High Note, Virgin, Shanachie)

International Herb (1979, High Note, Virgin, Shanachie)

Trod On (1993, Heartbeat)

Lion Rock (1982, Cultural Foundation, Sonic Sounds, Heartbeat)

Culture At Work (1986, Blue Mountain, Shanachie)

Culture In Culture (1986, Music Track, Heartbeat)

Nuff Crisis (1988, Blue Mountain, Shanachie)

Good Things (1989, RAS)

Three Sides To My Story (1991, Shanachie)

Wings Of A Dove (1992, Shanachie)

One Stone (1996, RAS)

Stoned – One Stone Dub (1997, RAS)

Trust Me (1997, RAS)

Cultural Livity – Live Culture (1998, RAS)

Payday (2000, RAS)

Humble African (2000, VP Records)

Scientist Dubs Culture Into A Parallel Universe (2000, RAS)

Live in Africa (2002, RAS)

Live in Negril (2003, Roots & Culture)

World Peace (2003, Heartbeat)


Culture At Their Best – Stronger Than Ever (1990, Rocky One) Gibbs productions

Vital Selection (1981, Virgin Frontline) LP of Pottinger productions

Too Long In Slavery (1990, Virgin Frontline) CD of Pottinger Productions

Strictly Culture – The Best Of Culture 77-79 (1994, Music Club) Gibbs & Pottinger

17 Chapters Of Culture (1992, Sonic Sounds) Lion Rock & Good Things combination

RAS Portraits (1997, RAS) tracks from Good Things, One Stone and Stoned

Production Something (1998, Heartbeat)  rare Pottinger singles and mixes

Natty Never Get Weary (2003, Revolver) a mix of rare 7″ and 12″ singles

Rare and Unreleased Dub (2003, Revolver) Culture in Dub lp plus 3 bonus tracks

This is Crucial Reggae (2004, RAS/Sanctuary) songs from various RAS albums

Material Copyright ©2006

2006, Jim Dooley

taken from: