by Howard Campbell
Greenwich Farm music stalwart, Alphanso ‘King Shark’ Henclewood, is putting the finishing touches on Rasta Life, a documentary on the Kingston community where he grew up. Rasta Life, which looks mainly at the area’s rich musical legacy, is produced by King Shark and edited by Eduardo Griego. King Shark is based in Pecos, New Mexico where he has lived since 1999.
He said the humility of persons he grew up with in Greenwich Farm also inspired him to make the film. “The main thing I wanted to show is that Greenwich Farm used to be one of the nicest places in town, before all the violence,” King Shark explained. Greenwich Farm is located in one of the Jamaican capitol’s toughest areas. It has been scarred by years of violence between gangs affiliated to the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party, the country’s two major political organisations. Rasta Life, however, focuses largely on music. King Shark interviewed artistes who were born or raised in the area including singers Phillip Fraser, Earl Zero and Prince Alla. “Outsider” artistes such as singers Sugar Minott and Tony Tuff are also featured. They comment on what drew them to Greenwich Farm in the 1970s.
King Shark was born at Sixth Street in Greenwich Farm in May, 1958. Most of the residents were working-class who earned a living as fishermen at the nearby fishing village, but in the early 1970′s music and Rastafari attracted many youth. Throughout the 1970′s, producer Bunny Lee and the Soul Syndicate Band were the mainstays of the Greenwich Farm music scene. Lee’s Striker label churned out numerous hit songs by Greenwich Farm-based singers like Johnny Clarke, Cornel Campbell and Max Romeo.
King Shark’s music career started in the 1980′s with his Green Farm label which yielded self-produced songs like “Thanks Be Unto Him” and “Magnetic Woman” He also produced songs by Charlie Chaplin, Johnny Osbourne and Captain Barkey.