They are known as the ‘bad boys of reggae’ and on 28 August, Inner Circle will be live in North Cyprus. The Grammy-winning dub legends are currently on the European leg of their 50th anniversary world tour, playing to tens of thousands of people across Europe this summer.
On Tuesday night, Cypriots will get the chance to dance to Inner Circle’s beat when they step out on stage at the ancient Salamis Amphitheatre as the opening act in this year’s two-week long International Famagusta Arts and Culture Festival.
Formed in 1968 by two brothers, Ian and Roger Lewis, the multi-million album selling band originate from Kingston, Jamaica, but have been based in Miami since the 80s. Inner Circle hit peak form n the 1970s when Jacob Miller was their lead vocalist, enjoying international chart success with their 1978 album Everything is Great and further entering into popular culture when they appeared as the hotel house band in the acclaimed Jamaican film Rockers.
After a tragic road accident claimed the life of Miller in 1980, the Lewis brothers relocated to Miami and after a break, reformed the band in 1986. Inner Circle have gone to enjoy a second golden era, releasing Bad Boys from their 1987 album One Way which went on to be a huge hit, and the theme tune to US TV series Cops.
Inner Circle’s 1992 album Bad to the Bone was released by Atlantic Records, which included their single Bad Boys being reissued in 1993 to capitalise on the band’s growing success and popularity. The album also spawned the international hit single Sweat (A La La La La Long), which was a number 3 hit in the UK Singles Chart and topped the chart in 10 countries. The album went on to sell over five million worldwide and led to the band receiving a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Reggae Album by Duo or Group.
Recent album releases have seen Inner Circle collaborate with the glitterati of reggae, including Luciano, Damian Marley, Stephen Marley, Junior Reid, Steel Pulse, Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths, and Ali Campbell of UB40, as well as recording with upcoming reggae stars such as Chronixx and I-Octane. The band’s Circle House Studios in Miami is also where Pharrell Williams recorded his 2013 international smash hit Happy.
Roger Lewis, Inner Circle’s co-founder and guitar player, says working with contemporary reggae acts is their way of reaching out to a new generation.
“In a way (it is) to reach a new ‘demo’ but we collaborate with the artists we feel have the right vibe and who touch us musically,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
He added, “We are all one, regardless of our different ideas, and music is the best way to communicate that. Music is the highest language; it transcends politics, geography, and skin colour, and it transcends all the things that separate people.”
Tickets for Inner Circle’s Mağusa Tuesday’s concert are on sale from the Box Office at Salamis amphitheatre on the night of the event. The concert starts at 9pm.
See here for the full programme for this year’s International Famagusta Arts and Culture Festival. For more information about tickets or any of the events for this year, please call (0392)630 0500.