Joseph Hill the lead singer and founder of the important roots reggae group Culture died unexpectedly on August 19 while on tour in Europe. He was 57. The cause is reportedly liver failure.
The charismatic Hill led the seminal band Culture for 27 years, which also originally included backup vocalists Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes. The group’s vocal trio style of Rastafarian roots reggae was focused by injecting its music with spirituality, social issues and political messages. This kind of conscious raising music put the group in the same class as Burning Spear and Black Uhuru. Yet the band stood on its own thanks to such classic recordings as Two Sevens Clash and Good Things. The group’s recent World Peace, which was released in 2003, was considered a return to form for Hill and Co. The band released 26 albums overall.
Hill is generally remembered as one of the founders of black consciousness in reggae music. While the band has currently stopped all touring, the group’s website says that Culture “May perform future concerts with Joseph’s son Kenyatta standing in on lead vocals as a tribute to his father.”