'Rhaatid' rock, reggae fusion in Germany
Published: Sunday | December 21, 2008
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
He was not popular in Jamaica, but singer Rough House is making a name for himself in Germany as part of a rock reggae group called Rhaatid.
Manchester-born Rough House, whose real name is Keith Powell Jr, played guitar on the hotel circuit for years until 1997, when he went to Germany for a three-week vacation.
"I got a job there and they arranged to fly me back to get a work permit and I went back to Germany within a week," said the singer, who has been playing the bass guitar since he was nine years old.
He has been in Germany ever since, coming back to Jamaica occasionally.
While in the European country he has worked on tour and in studio with artistes such as Gentleman, Tarrus Riley, Patrice and Prezident Brown.
In addition, Rough House had experience in rock music, as he played bass guitar for a rock group called Sub Seven, as well as Die Fantastischen Vier, Samy Deluxe and Max Herre.
With his interest in rock and reggae, Rough House decided to form a rock reggae group named Rhaatid. It comprises Rough House, who is the bass guitarist and vocalist, keyboard player Ajani (from Portmore, Jamaica), guitarist and drummer Pomez (from Germany) and drummer Paul (from Russia).
He said the band is similar to the Jamaican group Rootz Underground, but plays much harder.
"Working in Germany, I get involved in different genres and rock was one of them. My guitarist is a rock musician as well, but he plays a lot of reggae," Rough House told The Sunday Gleaner.
With rock reggae, he said, the group is able to capture different audiences.
"A lot of people in Germany that didn't usually listen to reggae listen to it now because of the fusion of rock and reggae. I get the message across to a much wider audience, that's why I do rock reggae. So, now (as a group) we can do reggae and rock shows," said Rough House.
Rhaatid will officially release its self-titled debut album in January.
In addition to being part of Rhaatid, Rough House is occupied with his solo-music career. He recorded a solo album called My Intention, which was released in Jamaica.
"It is my contribution to my people. It is my way of saying thank you Jamaica for this wonderful legacy," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
However, he said it did not get the 'justice' that it deserved, as it received little airplay. He said the lack of airplay might have been due to the fact that he was not in Jamaica promoting the album.
Recently, Rough House was in Jamaica to promote a new single, Give My Love Away, that will be part of his next solo roots reggae album.
"I have all the songs for the album, but I just want to release singles to let the people know who Rough House really is," he said.
But, he is doing the album for another reason.
"The songs are inspired by what people experience in Jamaica. I am not here to sit and hold a conversation with some of the youths, so I express myself through music. Music does inspire people to do good and bad things," Rough House told The Sunday Gleaner.