The Wailing Souls: From Trench Town to Honokaa Town

  • courtesy photo Lloyd "Bread" McDonald and Winston "Pipe" Matthews, original members of the legendary reggae band The Wailing Souls, will anchor the seven-piece band at 7 p.m. Saturday at Honokaa People's Theatre.

Reggae legends the Wailing Souls wrap up a three-island jaunt with the “Skankin’ on da Rock Reggae Dance Party 2018” at 7 p.m. Saturday at Honokaa People’s Theatre. DJ Rudeboy Defender will be the special guest.

The quintessential reggae harmony group, the Wailing Souls was formed on the tough streets of Trench Town in Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1960s by the late Joe Higgs, vocal trainer for Bob Marley and the Wailers. While Marley found international fame, the Wailing Souls made their legend in Jamaica’s dance halls until their breakout success in the 1990s, including three songs on the soundtrack to the Disney film “Cool Runnings,” a comedy about the formation of a Jamaican bobsled team.

Through four decades, the Wailing Souls have fused the R&B harmonies and funky rhythms of Motown with the roots and dance hall sounds of reggae, amassing three Grammy nominations in a recording career that includes 26 albums.

Lloyd “Bread” McDonald and Winston “Pipe” Matthews, the two living members of the original band, will anchor a seven-piece outfit that will take the stage in Honokaa. The venerable duo is part of a small surviving group of reggae and roots originators still musically active today. They’ve recorded with numerous Grammy winners, including Toots Hibbert of Toots & the Maytals, Ziggy Marley, Cedella Marley and Burning Spear, plus Sly & Robbie, reggae’s premier rhythm section, British reggae icons UB40 and Hasidic rapper Matisyahu.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $45 general, $65 gold circle. Advance tickets are available at: Irie Hawaii Smoke Shops in Kona, Hilo and Pahoa; Hilo Ukulele & Guitar, CD Wizard and Hilo Music Exchange in Hilo; Keaau Natural Foods; Top Stitch in Honokaa; Waimea General Store in Parker Square; Kona Music Exchange, Sound Wave Music and Kiernan Music in Kona; by calling 895-4846; and online at bluesbearhawaii.com.