b. Art Timmermans, 1960, Netherlands. Timmermans was born with the Duchenne strain of muscular dystrophy, but has baffled surgeons by defying death, as it is a common symptom of Duchenne to attack the respiratory heart muscle by the time the sufferer reaches 20. Inspired by his experiences and his love of roots reggae the singer began writing songs in the early 80s. He embraced all aspects of the Rastafarian doctrine particularly smoking the herb. Having surpassed his life expectancy he associated his salvation with smoking cannabis and championed the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Although he could only move his eyes and mouth he implausibly performed with the Dutch-based Righteous Rockers who supported him live and in the studio. His initial success came with ‘Too Long In Slavery’ and the mournful, ‘Livication Song’ that documented the ever-increasing fatalities that plagued the reggae industry. His courage and determination resulted in curiosity from the media and the release of his debut, Forward. The album featured the poignant title track alongside the favoured, ‘King Tafari’, ‘Got To Unite’, ‘Rock And Groove’ and ‘I & I Servant’ as well as his earlier hits. Timmermans’ album was released through the Runnetherlands group who sent the master tape to Barry O’Hare for a final mix at Grove Music studios in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The involvement of O’Hare and Timmermans’ disability resulted in widespread admiration and rave reviews throughout the European continent.
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