It's about a revolution, mon.
"The United States and the Jamaican governments, they put a stigma on us," says Duckie Simpson, founder of the rock-reggae band, Black Uhuru. "They think we are all dope dealers, reggae musicians. That we are wicked. More wicked than the Mafia. Nobody talks about the Mafia anymore, you know, mon. And the immigration works us over as soon as they see we are from Jamaica. 'Oh, they are drug pushers,' they say. I've never pushed drugs in my life. It used to be the Cubans. Now, it is Jamaica."
It is because of the immigration that the reggae trio -- Simpson, Don Carlos and Garth Dennis -- got back together. They first made the scene in Waterhouse, Jamaica, in the early '70s.
"Garth moved to my town," says Simpson, "and he had some singing experience. So we got together. Then we found Don, you know. He lived on the next block and he had done a single. We got together and made four singles. And that's when the work started."
It was a time when reggae was a pure Jamaican sound -- when making music in Jamaica was about protesting the political structure, when it was about a revolution. The trio had the message, but, unfortunately, they didn't have a name.
"There was this guitarist who I know," says Simpson, "and he said, you should be called Black Uhuru. We thought that it was weird, a strange sounding name, but then we looked it up and found it means 'black freedom' in Swahili."
After a few years, the band split up. Dennis joined the Wailing Souls, Carlos pursued a solo career and Simpson continued to work under the Black Uhuru name, with several new members.
This is where the immigration part comes in.
In 1987, the three artists were invited to the Reggae Times Awards in Los Angeles. But immigration detained Simpson's lead singer. The program's promoter suggested that Simpson, Carlos and Dennis perform together.
"The direction of my trio wasn't going right," says Simpson. "The lyrics were wrong. The idea was wrong. So I told them to take off. And Don and Garth and I got together."
The group has recorded a new album, "Now" (Mesa), a hip collection of reggae-rock tunes, such as the cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe." And Simpson is still writing about political unrest, primarily about South Africa.
"I see Africa different. I don't see it as a vacation. My definition is different: to go and fight to free South Africa. The revolution, mon. I'm upset about all the mumbo-jumbo going on there. The end of apartheid and the freeing of Mandela. It's all talk. The CIA has it all wrapped up."
Black Uhuru is performing with Yellowman and Sophia George tonight at 8:30 at Carter Barron Amphitheatre. Tickets are $11 and available at Ticketron. For information, call 426-6943.