Minister Kukudoo: From the ‘dead yard’ to Jerusalem

September 11, 2020
Kukudoo in performance.
Kukudoo in performance.

Minister Kukudoo has long ditched the 'dead yard' where he first found his calling, and is now on his way to Jerusalem, musically that is, as he preps the release of his latest album, named after that ancient city. And, for the record, he doesn't find favour with the title 'dead yard artiste'.

A Christian for close to 30 years, Kukudoo is a Zionist, who has stayed true to his roots, and energetically defends the practices of his church, but he admits that it was not always so.

"I grew up in a yard where there was a Zion church and, to be honest, as a troublesome youth, I used to mock and jeer those people. I would go to the church window and use pin and jook dem to see if they would feel it, or if they were really in the spirit and neva know what a gwan. One day, I decide to get some big pin, the ones that mothers use to pin baby nappy, and use that to jook dem. Well, I was on my way to do the deed and the next thing I know, I was inside the church lying on the floor, just like the people I always laughing at," he recalled with a loud laugh.

Turning Point

That experience was the start of a slow turning point in Kukudoo's life, and, currently a minister at the Apostle Sinai Spiritual Church of God in Spanish Town, he is glad that he followed the right path.

Known for his signature Mento-style gospel songs and his trademark Hai! Hai!, Kukudoo has just completed work on his third gospel album, which will be released on October 2 by Tads Records.

The 54-year-old singer recalled that when he was just being embraced by mainstream gospel, after making his name at set-ups, other seasoned artistes advised him that it was better for him to just say that he was a Church of God minister, rather than a Revivalist.

"They were looking out for me and felt that there might be some sort of stigma if I said I was a Revivalist. But, the thing is that there is a big difference between Revivalist and Pocomania, but a lot of people see them as one. Zionists are Christians. We wear turban and we deal with spiritual things. Pocomania deals with rituals and those things," Kukudoo told THE WEEKEND STAR.

His songs, which are backed by rhythmic drumming, are also seasoned with chanting and hymn tracking, which he says is revivalist. For the album, Jerusalem, however, Kukudoo has stepped out of his comfort zone a bit, and predicts that fans will appreciate this other aspect of his music.

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