Clement Ashley Banks
Anguilla, November 13 1953.
Banks’s musical career dates back to 1963, when he built his first guitar. He formed his first band in 1967, taking inspiration from the UK top 40 hits that a local radio station transmitted from a frigate moored off the coast of the island.
Bankie’s first number one hit in 1977 was “Prince of Darkeness” and followed that with several chart topping songs over the next few years. With the release of his first album Roots and Herbs in 1978, recorded with his band, The Roots and Herbs, Banks pioneered reggae music in the Eastern Caribbean.
Following the releases of the album, Where I and I Abide, Bankie became the first performer from Anguilla to appear at Reggae Sunsplash, in 1983 and he appeared again in 1992. He was featured during a live Moonsplash performance in the ground-breaking reggae documentary Cool Runnings.Following his success has Reggae Sunsplash 1983, Bankie and his band The Roots & Herbs toured extensively in the Caribbean before heading to Europe. Discord prior to the Europe trip caused the band to change form, and several founding members left the band including Ras B, Iwandai I and Irino. The band spent three years in Europe and garnered a strong fan-base while there. Bankie returned to be with his family after the death of his younger sister.