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Biddy biddy beng

Cassie Pence

VAIL – Don’t let the name fool you, Eek-A-Mouse is neither small or quiet like a mouse.He’s one of Jamaica’s most unique reggae stars and at the grand height of 6 foot 6, he’s also one of the country’s biggest.”It’s roots reggae with a splash of dancehall,” said DJ Jahstone, who hosts two reggae shows in town, one on Sunday nights at the Sandbar in West Vail and one at Art’s Bar in Vail Village Thursday nights.

Starting his career in the mid-’70s under his real name Ripton Joseph Hylton, Eek-A-Mouse is one of the original reggae artists. But he’s adapted his roots style through the years, blending newer sounds and even inventing his own way of singing called “sing-jaying,” an early form of toasting, which incorporates boastful catch phrases, singing and DJ work. Eek-A-Mouse takes it a step further using his smooth deep voice as a funky musical instrument, singing words like “bam-ding-ding,” or his infamous “biddy biddy beng.””In the mid -’70s, some reggae artists, like Uroy or Iroy, would take a roots track and chant over it turning it into their own version,” said Jahstone. “Eek-A-Mouse sings and then at the same time deejays over his own stuff. It’s how he became popular.”A typical Eek-A-Mouse show is much like a theatrical spectacle. He performs in outrageous outfits from white fur to fishnet. Dances with his large arms raised and really speaks to the audience. He’s a true showman.”He’s totally ripped and shows up in a fishnet shirt and a cowboy hat. He’s like a beachcomber cowboy,” said Jahstone, who also hosts “Eggs Over Irie,” a reggae radio show on Summit County’s 102.3 FM Sunday mornings. “It’s an energetic show. He plays to the crowd and gets them involved. And the more the crowd returns his energy, the better the show.”

The subject of Eek’s material ranges from half-baked comedy to social commentary, but you have to listen carefully, his ways of speech can be challenging for the uninitiated ear.But if you like reggae music, Eek-A-Mouse is a sure bet – unlike the origin of his moniker. Eek-A-Mouse was a racehorse which he frequently gambled on and lost money. When the horse finally did win, he had refused to bet on it.Eek-A-Mouse performs at 10 p.m. at 8150 on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Hip-hop group Hieruspecs opens for him.



Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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