Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has hailed the late reggae and dub giant, Bunny “Striker” Lee, as one of the great “generals” of Jamaican music.
“Striker”, whose given name is Edward O’Sullivan Lee died yesterday. He had been ailing for some time. He was 79 years old.
“Striker had been in and out of the hospital over a period of time but he was fiercely battling his illness. He was such an affable person, that if you had just met him, you would never have known that he was unwell,” said Grange.
Continuing Grange said, “He would strike up some very interesting conversations about music. And one of his most impressive assets was the vast knowledge he had of the music. He was right there in the thick of things in the early days of the evolution of Jamaican music and was always eager to tell his versions of the many duels between producers like Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid, and how the music emerged from those testy days to where it is now.”
“Striker” spent a lot of time between Jamaica and England and often held his birthday celebration at the famous Jazz Café in one of London’s most famous music zones. He had a massive influence on the UK Reggae scene.
In 2008 he was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in recognition of his contribution to Jamaican music.
Minister Grange said: “Striker Lee” lived life to the fullest. Always well attired, adorned by his sailor’s captain’s cap, he would cut a striking figure wherever he went. He was a very supportive person who would sometimes pull me aside to whisper little nuggets in my ear about the direction in which the music was going and the things we could do to keep reggae on the forefront of the musical stage. There are very few, if any, pioneer vintage artistes who could say that they never worked with “Striker Lee” or that he didn’t have an influence on their career in some way.”
Bunny was always kind to me whenever I saw him. He had a special relationship with the UK, you know. Spent a lot of time here over the years. Will talk about it soon.— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) October 7, 2020
“These past weeks have been very tough for the music industry. We have lost some great champions and I want to use this opportunity to appeal to this generation to not let their work go in vain. Listen to their music, learn their styles, learn their attitudes and work ethics towards music and merge them with the modern formats. We know the veterans won’t be around forever but reggae music must live on and so the charge is given to you, this generation, to keep our music shining internationally.”
I wish to express my heartfelt sorrow and deepest condolences to “Striker’s” immediate family, extended family and friends and to let them know that I am praying for their comfort at this time. “Striker will always be remembered because he was just that type of guy; he was well loved. May his soul rest in peace.