The Sattalites, the Canadian reggae band as we know them today, came together in Toronto in 1980, first as a teaching vehicle. In 1981, JoJo Bennett and Fergus Hambleton shared an interest in promoting access to music instruction for all. With an emphasis on performing live, they started the Sattalite Music School and allowed anyone with a desire to play music to receive instruction on a 'pay what you can' basis. The school quickly became a centre for reggae enthusiasts, of all ages, who would come and use the instruments and record themselves playing with others.
JoJo arranged local appearances, where various groups of students (of varying skill levels) could get a taste of live performing and called the band the Sattalites. Many alumni of the school are prominent musicians in Toronto’s busy roots music scene. By late 1982, a combination of talented beginners and seasoned pros had gelled into the band that exists to this day. As the word spread of the impressive live shows, the band began to tour extensively.
They soon began a recording career that would produce 5 award winning albums: Sattalites (AXE Records 1985); Live via Sattalites (AXE Records 1987); Miracles (1990 Risqué Disque/WEA); All Over the World (Intrepid/Capitol 1993), and Now and Forever (Supermono/Page 1995). The band's most famous song, "Gimme Little Sign", a cover version of a Brenton Wood 1967 R&B hit, was a Top 40 hit in 1987.
The Sattalites went on to pave the way for many Canadian world music artists. They are notably the first Canadian band to be invited to perform at Jamaica’s "Sunsplash", playing to an audience of over 25,000 reggae connoisseurs. They brought the house down at the 1993 and 1994 World Skiing Championship festivities in Whistler, British Columbia, and have played amongst the redwoods as part of the 1993 "Reggae on the River" fest in Redway, California. The Sattalites have performed thousands of shows, at universities and clubs both in Canada and in the US. They have appeared at many special events at Ontario Place, Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital, and Toronto City Hall. They continue to contribute time and music to a diverse group of charitable organizations. Sattalites videos have enjoyed high rotation on MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic, and the band has made many television appearances. The Sattalites remain in high demand across Canada, the United States and at festivals around the world.
During their illustrious career the Sattalites have garnered many industry awards – including two Juno Awards for Best Reggae Recording (1995 & 1990); a CASBY Award for Best R&B/Reggae Recording; a Toronto Music Award for Best Reggae Group; and two Black Music Awards, Best Group and Best Single of the Year. They have received countless Canadian Reggae Music Awards including 1992 Group of the Year. The Sattalites have also received a Juno nomination for Best World Beat Recording Artist and Hambleton was named Buffalo, New York’s Favourite Male Vocalist for 4 consecutive years.
Five years in the making, the Sattalites marked their twentieth year together with a long-awaited follow-up recording. The Sattalites’ Reggaefication hit stores across the Canada on September 30, 2003.
from: Solid Gold Records, Casablanca Media Acquisitions Inc., Province of Ontario, Canada (http://www.solidgoldrecords.com/sg_cat_sattalites.html ), and http://www.canadianreggaeworld.com/sattalites.htm .