Music pioneer Desmond Dekker’s legacy has been recognised with the announcement that Reggae has been added to the list of international cultural treasures which the United Nations has deemed must be safeguarded.
He dominated Jamaica’s pop charts in the sixties, and became one of his country’s first recording stars to achieve international acclaim for reggae with the hit Israelites popularising reggae and ska in the UK.
Dekker died in 2006 at the age of 64, at his Thornton Heath home. He played a role in launching the career of Bob Marley after while both working as welders in Jamaica Dekker brought the younger singer’s potential to the attention of a record label.
The singer songwriter who penned the song the Israelites as an ode to the plight of the poor, sold millions of copies and was signed to the British reggae label Trojan, which celebrated its 50th birthday this year.
Jamaica applied for recognition of its musical tradition at a meeting of the UN in Mauritius this year.
Dekker, a father of two had moved from Jamaica to the UK in the 1970s and settled in Addiscombe before moving to Thornton Heath circa 2002.
The Thornton Heath Community Action Team is proposing to set up a memorial plaque scheme to remember famous or eminent local residents like Desmond Dekker.