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Wednesday 19 April 2023

This One's On-U Too

After featuring Dub Syndicate's 1993 "Echomania" album on Monday we are sticking with mid-90s period On-U Sound for today's post. You never know, this may turn out to be the start of a new series called "Mid-90s Period On-U Sounds Weekdays" or something equally catchy.

Akabu were an all-female band whose two vocalists, Valerie Skeete and Vyris Edghill, provided harmonies on many On-U albums between the mid-80s and the mid-90s (including a couple of tracks on Echomania).

The only album they released on the label in their own right was 1995's "Warrior Queen", available from the On-U Bandcamp site for a bargain £5 (as are many other excellent albums). The songs and production are relatively mainstream compared to On-U's usual output, but none the worse for that.

Vyris Edghill sadly passed away in 2002 but Valerie Skeete is still going strong and fronting the latest line-up of the band, now going by the name Akabu Queens. A brand new track called "Murderation" came out last month and an EP is in the works. Something to look forward to.

"True Born" - Akabu

"No Crack" - Akabu

The sax player in the current line-up is Sarah Tobias who is a very well-known figure on the London live reggae scene having played with pretty much everyone, including my good friends True Identity.  That's her in the red top in the first video, I'm somewhere in the audience. 

Sarah has recently contributed to a Mandatory Reggae Version of Dolly Parton's "Two Doors Down" which takes Dolly's vocals and puts them up against a new backing track - which explains the second video. I wasn't in the audience for that one but would have loved to have been there.


  1. You really can't go wrong with On-U, but those Akabu selections are a treat. Fab clips too, the True Identity gig must have been a great night out on the strength of this.

    1. It was. As well as doing their own set they also backed John McLean, Peter Hunnigale and Peter Spence. Quite a line-up.