WILBURN THEODORE COLE
A.k.a. STRANGER COLE / STRANGEJAH COLE
StrangeJah Cole (formerly Stranger Cole), an expressive singer/performer and prolific songwriter, is one of the chief architects of Reggae Music.
A progeny of a musical family (his father Philip and Uncle Gilbert were guitarists), Cole had been singing and performing long before the advent of the Ska beat in Jamaica. It is not surprising, therefore, that he is credited with writing and singing the first Reggae Song "Bangarang". That was shortly after Jamaica had gained political independence from Britain in 1962.
He then went on to compose and record other memorable hits including twelve number one songs, beginning with Ruff and Tuff which was number 1 when Jamaica became independent in 1962.
He also penned hits such as "When You Call My Name", "Just Like A River", "Down By The Train Line", "Give Me The Right", "Come Back", "World’s Fair", "Artibella", "Uno Dust Tres", "Pretty Cottage", "In And Out The Window" sung by Monty Morris, and "Sugar Plum" sung by Milli Small and Owen Gray.
His current albums and CD’s include:
"The Mailman", "Over Come", "Hice Gold", "Front Page", "Ska 59 – 69 Vols. 1, 2, 3", and single "Lucky Dog". CD’s in the works include "Best of Strangejah Cole" and "My Place".
The Front Page project is a collaboration with his son Squidly Cole, an award-winning musician who plays drums for Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, Lauren Hill, Jimmy Cliff, and Mutabaruka.
Another son, Philip Cole, a.k.a. "Phil Cold" is a producer/arranger and operator of a recording studio in Mississauga, Canada. The youngest member of the Cole clan, Chris Cole, is making his musical mark as a singer in Canada.
StrangeJah Cole was nominated for the 1995 Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award, given at the 14th Martins Awards Presentation at the State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana. Other nominees included Rita Marley, Burning Spear, Judy Mowatt and Olivia Grange. He is the recipient of a certificate of merit from the Jamaican Government for his pioneering contribution to the development of the country’s music industry. He received the key to the City of Compton, California, for his contribution to Black History in that community.
In addition to being inducted into the Canadian Black Music Hall of Fame, StrangeJah Cole received the 1994 Canadian Reggae Music Award for 25 years achievement. A photograph of the record store he owned and operated in Kensington Market, Toronto in the early 1980’s, is included in the Canadian Heritage collection. He received an award for being an active participant with AIDS research and education, and for his fund-raising contributions for the eradication of AIDS in Los Angeles, California.
In 1996, Strangejah Cole received the Heineken Star Time Award. He also received the Carnival Award from Byron Lee, on the "Tribute to the Greats" show.
On July 1st, 2001, StrangeJah Cole received the "Canada Salutes Cultural Icon" award along with "Calypso King of the World" – Slinger Francisco better known as The Mighty Sparrow, and Clement "Coxone" Dodd - one of the island’s pioneering music producers.
StrangeJah Cole was one of the driving forces behind a concerned Jamaican group in California, which raised funds for the victims of Hurricane Gilbert. As a pioneer, Cole has helped artists such as Ken Boothe, and the Mighty Diamonds with their first recordings and was responsible for introducing the Techniques and I Jahman Levi to the Duke Reid stable.
Cole is still one of the hottest and most sought after artists who can blend oldies with the modern songs to satisfy the young and the young at heart. His fame and popularity are highly rated in places such as the United States, Europe, Canada, Africa, Japan and the Caribbean.
With his belief strongly rooted in the love of live, peace and unity, StrangeJah Cole salutes his fellowmen with respect and honor through music.