Two Authors Who Have Never Met Write Crucial Book on Jamaican Music
Jamaican music researchers and enthusiasts Heather Augustyn and Adam Reeves have penned the comprehensive Alpha Boys’ School: Cradle of Jamaican Music, though the two authors have never actually met.
The book is the result of three years of research and writing and is the first comprehensive chronicle of the lives of over 40 influential musicians who attended Alpha Boys’ School in Kingston, Jamaica.
Augustyn and Reeves worked collaboratively, despite the distance. Augustyn resides just outside of Chicago and Reeves resides in Brighton, U.K., though both have traveled to Kingston and Alpha Boys School for research and interviews.
Alpha Boys School was founded in 1880 in Kingston, Jamaica and was a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns. Under a strict disciplinarian regime, “wayward boys,” many orphaned or from deeply troubled backgrounds and hailing from some of the toughest streets in the world, went on to become the backbone of Jamaican jazz, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dancehall, and dub.
Alpha Boys’ School: Cradle of Jamaican Music, with a foreword by British DJ David Rodigan, is written in a narrative style with a wealth of interviews, exclusive photos, and archival material.
Author Heather Augustyn has written and lectured extensively on ska music history. She has previously published four critically-acclaimed books on Jamaican music, including Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist. She is a continuing lecturer of composition in the English Department at Purdue University Northwest and has presented at the Global Reggae Conference at UWI Mona and at the Institute of Jamaica.
Author Adam Reeves is a journalist and co-producer of a forthcoming documentary on Alpha Boys School, directed by 2012 Oscar winner Daniel Junge. Reeves has been a lifelong devotee of the music of Jamaica who DJs in England and India.