Brent-raised singer Brinsley Forde collects his MBE and ‘signs-up’ the Duke of Cambridge for Aswad
- Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES
A musician, actor and broadcaster who grew up in Brent has recruited a new bass player for his band – the Duke of Cambridge.
Brinsley Forde, founding member of reggae band Aswad, jokily announced Prince William as his new musician as he collected his MBE at Windsor Castle yesterday.
The 61-year old, a former student of John Kelly Boys’ School in Crest Road, Neasden, was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, for services to the arts.
The Duke presented him with his award at the investiture ceremony which was his first public engagement in the UK since the birth of his daughter Princess Charlotte earlier this month on May 2.
The Duke confessed to being a bass player, and immediately attracted Mr Forde’s attention.
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After the event Mr Forde, who has cut off his trademark dreadlocks, said: “I’ve just got a new bass player - you might know him as the Duke of Cambridge.
“He said ‘I’m a bit good on the bass guitar’ so I’m thinking of signing him up, but he’s got such a lot of other duties I don’t know whether he’ll have time to do it.
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William’s father the Prince of Wales used to play the cello but it is the first time the Duke has spoken of his musical talents, although he is known to be a fan of rap and R&B music.
Mr Forde’s group Aswad, which formed in the mid 1970s and by 1977, had been the backing band for Jamaican star Burning Spear.
After their formation Mr Forde played a key part in the film Babylon, about the disillusionment of black communities in south London in 1980, with his band featuring on the soundtrack.
The band become one of the UK’s leading reggae acts and after a number of albums which appealed mainly to the music’s fan base, they found commercial appeal with a more polished mainstream sound that landed them a number one hit with Don’t Turn Around in 1988.
The following year they recorded two versions of ‘On and On’ one for their mainstream fans and the second which featured singer Sweetie Irie was more popular on the reggae scene.
In recent years Mr Forde has gone on to carve out a successful career as a broadcaster after becoming one of the first DJs on BBC digital station 6 Music with his Lively Up Yourself programme.
He has also presented radio documentaries and the VH1 programme Soul Vibrations and collaborated with acts such as Dizzee Rascal.