KENTE, aka Fred Dred, aka Rasta, aka Dred, or Fred van Dyck, grew up in an area in Accra called Korle Gonno, near the beach.
The sound of the ocean always called to him as a youth, and he often spent hours under the coconut trees on some abandoned canoe, pondering the greatness of the almighty.
At the tender age of nine years, he was a member of the local Methodist church choir under its late choirmaster, Mr. Armah. Young Fred was nicknamed The Gypsy Boy, after the choir performed a song by that name.
Throughout his childhood, Fred lived next door to an open air theatre called Sunny Side, where all the popular bands in Accra performed at one time or the other.
So, watching from the rooftop of his home, young Dred was treated to all forms of popular music by bands like Boombaya, Bisa Goma, Avengers, Psychedelic Aliens, Black Beats, Sweet Beans, B Soyaya, King Bruce, Ramblers, E.T. Mensah and the Tempos Band, Wulomei, Dzadzeloi, etc.
Fred's first recording at Brother John's at Mamprobi, was with the local Good News Club choir, and the song was titled 'I know the Lord'. This was at the age of ten.
At Mfantsipim School, where he studied piano as a music student in his early years, he was a member of the school choir and also a member of the jazz club, but it was in sixth form in Achimota College that Fred bought a guitar and started strumming reggae tunes on it.
There were a lot of young people interested in playing music at that time, because in those days live music was very popular, and almost every school had a few pop bands. Pop chains were the rave then.
Soon after finishing Achimota, Fred along with school mates David and Sabo, formed KENTE, the famous hard hitting afro reggae band that ruled the stage from the late eighties well into the nineties.
KENTE's early singles included 'Pick I Up', 'Reasons', 'Juvenile Delinquent', 'Pretty Lady' and 'Thinking about You'.
These songs, and especially 'Juvenile Delinquent', made the group very popular as they received a lot of airplay from Djs like Wendy Mammattah, Kofi Arjorlolo, Naa Ayele Ardeifio, Harold Seneyah, Sampson Quaine, Kofi Tsakpornu and others. The band also started playing at small venues in Accra, Tema, Winneba and Cape Coast.
By 1993, when their first album 'Development Plan' hit the airwaves, they were a seven piece hardcore band that had already played at almost all the major festivals and events such as Multifest 89, Pafam 90, Panafest 92, as well as in all the three Universities in Ghana at the time.
'Development Plan' resulted in a tour of the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta, Eastern, Central and Western regions of Ghana. Earlier on, the group had undertaken a tour of Benin and Nigeria.
In 1995, the band released their second album 'Keep Moving' in Germany, and toured all parts of that country that summer. They played at 23 venues and received wide media acclaim.
On return to Ghana, the band was reduced to four members, and established themselves as the regular band at the Ambergate Court, a club on Orgle Road in Accra. They soon had a large army of fans that followed them to every show.
In 1997, KENTE released 'Jah Way' and followed it with a tour of the United Kingdom alongside the famous 'Jah Shaka Sound System'. Five years earlier, Jah Shaka and Norman Grant of the Twinkle Brothers had visited Ghana during Panafest '92, and had performed with KENTE on their tour.
The UK tour exposed KENTE to a more 'roots' and sophisticated sound, and the band had some changes in personnel during this period.
In 1999, the band was officially dissolved by the remaining members.
Fred's other interests include reading, and his topics of interest range from ecclesiastical works, to science and technology, law, archaeology, fiction, non fiction, science fiction, fantasy, Wikipedia, etc.
As a professional film maker, he has directed and edited a number of short films, documentaries, music videos, television commercials, television shows and events. Aside from writing scripts, Fred has acted in feature films, written film score, been a production assistant, and even co-directed a movie.
In 2004, Fred Dred assumed the stage name KENTE, and toured the United Kingdom again with a new set of musicians under the name KENTEBAND. Having relaunched his music career after a five year break, KENTE started putting together material for a new sound, a new direction in performance, and started experimenting with all sorts of rhythms and music styles as well as different musicians.
The outcome of this painstaking search for his musical identity is reflected in the recording of several new tracks as well as remakes of some old ones, and in a final recreation of the original KENTE concept, the fruit of the loom is finally out, and KENTE presents for you to taste and savour, the brand new album titled 'NEW WINE'
KENTE is conscious, stylish and reggae biased, and above all KENTE has evolved to weave our aspirations into a pattern that music lovers, social commentators and indeed the general public will find most fulfilling, pleasurable and uplifting.
Fred Dred, founder and lead vocalist of the original KENTE band, describes KENTE’s new outlook as the “natural progression from what we started out doing all these couple of decades ago.We’re simply pushing our perspective forward, you know, till we get centre stage attention, period.
“We’ve got something to say, and we’re saying it loud and clear. We’re promoting a whole new lifestyle and we shall consider ourselves successful when people hear what we have to say. Our philosophy is one we will be weaving continually”.
“There is no limit to our audience”
Development Plan, 1993
Keep Moving, , 1995
|< Prev||Next >|