Hailed as “reggae’s sweetest voice”, Bim Sherman was gifted with a haunting, ethereal vocal ability that reached into the very heart of his listeners.
Rooted in reggae, his music developed in later years in many directions, combining influences from all around the world, notably India.
In the mid 1970s he recorded a small body of classic roots tunes as a young struggling singer in Jamaica. He later moved to London after being persuaded to join 1979’s Roots Encounter tour alongside renowned toaster Prince Far I, Creation Rebel and Prince Hammer, where he met longtime admirer Adrian Sherwood and began his long relationship with On-U Sound.
Adrian comments: “All great singers and vocalists have one thing in common – their voice stands out like a uniquely tuned instrument that only one person can play. Bim Sherman [was] a singer/songwriter with a truly golden tone. I have been throughout his whole career a huge fan. I first heard one of Bim’s songs while working in PAMA records Soundville Shop in Harlesden, London, in the mid 1970s … His was like a voice from the wilderness, the lyrics and fragile power ensured that in every subsequent batch of imports I was looking out for a new Sherman record. I wasn’t disappointed.”
Sherman became part of various musical collectives associated with On-U Sound, such as New Age Steppers (alongside Ari Up, formerly of The Slits), Singers And Players (with Congo Ashanti Roy and the late Prince Far-I), Dub Syndicate and Justice League of Zion.
In 1994 Bim Sherman took a whole new musical direction. He re-recorded six of his old tunes in an acoustic session at Richard Branson’s Manor Studios, accompanied by Skip McDonald on guitar and Talvin Singh on tablas. He went to India and re-recorded his classic 70s roots tunes alongside a full Indian classical orchestra in Bombay, creating his masterpiece LP, the highly acclaimed Miracle – a fitting testament to reggae’s sweetest voice.
Bim died in London 17th November 2000 at the age of 50. He received an obituary in the London Times, a rare and unlikely accolade for an underground reggae singer.