One of the most successful reggae-influenced bands in the UK!


Introducing Aswad

Performing since the 70’s, Aswad have released 21 albums in total.

Some of their well known hits include, Don’t Turn Around, Shine, Rise and Shine, You’re No Good, Warrior Change, 54-46, Smokey Blues, Roots Rocking, Back To Africa, Give A Little Love, Your Recipe, Dub Fire

Originating in West London, Aswad was born in 1975. The reggae band originally comprised Brinsley ‘Dan’ Forde (Guyana; vocals/guitar), George ‘Ras Levi’ Oban (bass), Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye (drums), Donald ‘Benjamin’ Griffiths – (born in Jamaica, West Indies; vocals), and Courtney Hemmings (keyboards).

Taking their name from the Arabic word for black, their sound is a fusion of Rastafarianism with social issues more pertinent to their London climate. The departure of Oban, who was replaced by Tony ‘Gad’ Robinson (keyboards) was a great addition.



Aswad recorded two albums for CBS Records before they returned to Island Records for Live And Direct, recorded at London’s Notting Hill Carnival in 1982.

By early 1984 they hit the UK charts with ‘Chasing For The Breeze’, and a cover version of Maytals’ ‘54-46 That’s My Number’. By 1988 they made a shift to funk and soul, although their music maintained a strong reggae feel, they became national chart stars. The album became UK a number 1 hit – ‘Don’t Turn Around’. Aswad draw huge crowds in concert.

Their single, ‘Shine’, climbed to UK number 5 in 1994, while the attendant ‘Rise And Shine’ reached the Billboard Reggae Top 10.

Recent Developments

Brinsley Forde left the band in the late 90s, leaving Zeb and Gad to continue as a duo. Forde, also acted in the movie Babylon, which featured Aswad’s ‘Warrior Charge’ on its soundtrack

Despite Forde’s departure, Aswad are still one of the most successful reggae-influenced bands in the UK!


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