Drums/Vocals: Barbara Naps
Bass: Diane White
Guitar/Vocals: Valerie Skeete
Keyboards: Caroline Williams
Guest Vocalists and Musicians
Vocals: Harmonie Deja
Vocals: Alison Campbell
Keyboards: Vanessa Miguel
Saxophone: Sarah Tobias
"The history of AKABU spans over four decades. Their journey began in 1981 when Diane White and sisters Shelomi and Paulette Coke formed a drum, bass and rhythm section. They were later joined by Valerie Skeete (guitar), Natalie Xavier (vocals), Barbara Naps (Guitar/Vocals) and Vyris Edghill (vocals), performing under the name African Woman.
Their debut album, African Woman Abroad, was released in 1982. Two other tracks recorded in Germany, titled ‘Warrior Queen’ and ‘Awake’, were included on a compilation album called In Progress, released on Misty in Roots’ People Unite label. They made history by being the first all-female band to take the stage at Reggae Sunsplash, Jamaica to a mesmerised audience.
By 1986 the band had gone through several in their line-up including the addition of Caroline Williams (keyboards). Around this time, Valerie and Vyris had taken another avenue and recorded a soul track, produced by Adrian Sherwood on the Tommy Boy label. It was decided to amalgamate the two projects and AKABU was born. A short while later Sisters, Samantha and Madeleine Edghill (DJ and Vocals) joined the band, adding their unique styles to the ‘Warrior Queen’ album, which was release on the ON-U Sound Label.
Inspired by The Wailers, these ladies experienced tremendous success touring the world, and playing at prominent events, festivals and iconic venues such as Rebel Salute, Western Consciousness, JapanSplash, Live at the Apollo, Harlem, and Madison Square Gardens. They have supported A-listers of the international reggae fraternity such as Mighty Diamonds, Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs, Lee Scratch Perry, Toots and the Maytals, Aswad and Dennis Brown, to name but a few.
Fast forward to the year 2000, and AKABU join forces with female musicians from South London based Abbakush to form SISTA Women In Reggae. The 13-strong group collaborated with Trilla Jenna, Sista Aisha, poet Jayzik and other invited guests. They joined forces with Italian artists, Ky Kah, Miss Mykela, Francisca Nesti, Mama Marjas of We Ladies Crew, to perform dates in Italy and the UK.
AKABU, however, remained its own entity. These ladies play their instruments as though they were born with them, this is a nod to how tight they are. They hold crowds enraptured as they perform. Heavy on the drop and with a feminine touch, AKABU is a sizzling, spellbindingly intense band, a tonic of love and reality.
Individually, the women have developed their crafts, to become integral members of the international reggae fraternity. They are session musicians, artistes, music educators, producers, and more, with a common goal to nurture the next generation of reggae excellence.
AKABU are currently in the studio working on their forthcoming single, and new EP and continue to perform at live events. Look out for them at a venue near you very soon."