Born on this day, March 3, in 1948, Jackie Mittoo can be rightly called the godfather of reggae music in Canada. When he emigrated to Toronto in 1969, Jackie was already a major star in Jamaica, having been a founding member of the ground-breaking Skatalites and a composer-arranger whose inspired keyboard work on countless Studio One recordings helped Jamaican music evolve from ska to rocksteady. Some say the gifted performer was the inventor of reggae itself.
After landing in Toronto, Jackie quickly began introducing audiences to a bubbling, keyboard-driven sound that came to be called reggae—earning himself widespread media attention and national airplay. Meanwhile, he recorded and toured widely, tirelessly mentored other artists and ran the Record Nook, selling Jamaican imports from his store at 1400 Bathurst Street. Before he died in 1990, the influential artist had spread reggae across Canada and around the world.
The Friar’s Music Museum is proud to present the legendary Jackie Mittoo in its new Rhythms and Resistance exhibit. Stop in and see displays of his extraordinary legacy, from rare photos and recordings to concert posters and the original Record Nook storefront sign. You can even pose for a selfie next to a life-size cut out of the Keyboard King and share it on social media with the hashtag #FriarsMusicMuseum.