The documentary film “True Born African: The Story of Winston ʻFlamesʼ Jarrett” will have its world premiere at the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival this August. The film tells the story of legendary reggae pioneer Winston “Flames” Jarrett, known for his work with Alton Ellis & The Flames, Winston Jarrett & The Righteous Flames, and innumerable solo efforts under his own name and various pseudonyms. This is the first film to be made about Jarrett and is also the first film from director Nicholas John Nakis. The world premiere screening will be held at Island Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, as part of the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival 2013 starting at 11:00pm on Sunday, August 4th.
Born in 1940 in Lime Tree Gardens, Saint Ann Parish, Jarrett grew up in the Jones Town area of Kingston after moving there with his mother at the age of five.There, he was taught to play guitar by Jimmy Cliff and Alton Ellis.Jarrett’s introduction to the music industry was as a member of Alton Ellis’s backing band The Flames in the early 1960s, formed when Ellis’s original singing partner Eddie Perkins emigrated to the US, singing on hits such as “Dancecrasher”, “Cry Tough”, “Rocksteady” and “Girl I’ve Got a Date”.While with Ellis he wrote songs such as “Sunday Coming” and “True Born African”. In 1967, Jarrett parted ways with the UK-bound Ellis and with fellow Flame Edgar “Egga” Gardner formed The Righteous Flames with Junior Green, and the trio recorded for Arthur “Duke” Reid’s Treasure Isle label and then for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One label. In 1969 they also recorded for Lee “Scratch” Perry (“Zion I Love You”). In the 1970s, they were generally billed as ‘Winston Jarrett and the Righteous Flames’.Among the members of The Righteous Flames was Danny Clarke, who left to form The Meditations in 1974.
In the 1970s, tired of recording for others without receiving adequate payment, Jarrett self-produced much of his output, releasing it on his own Attra, Human Rights and Humble labels.Jarrett recorded as a solo artist in the late 1970s and 1980s, releasing the Wise Manalbum in 1979 and Rocking Vibration in 1984. He re-formed the Flames, releasing the albumJonestown in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s recorded a tribute album to Bob Marley, also featuring Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.
“True Born African” follows Jarrett from his current home in Seattle, WA, to his old neighborhoods in Jamaica, with a stop at the Reggae On The River music festival in California. Along the way, Jarrett shares stories about the music and philosophy that have kept him strong through six decades in the music business. This is the story of a man who rose from the poverty of Kingston ghettos to achieve international musical success. Starting in the 1960s, his voice graced numerous number-one hits in Jamaica as a Ska and Rocksteady musician, and he is one of the first to ever play the style of music known to the world as Reggae. Jarrett is a devoted Ras Tafari who met His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I on His visit to Jamaica in 1966. A singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and writer, now in his 70s, this pioneer and mentor to several generations of reggae musicians has recorded 20 albums in his career and continues to tour the world.
The film was produced in Seattle, WA, with filming in the USA and Jamaica. Run time is 48:40.