The I-THREES – three beautiful black sisters blessed with voices like well-tuned instruments,. Individually, they are Jamaica’s three most respected female vocalists: Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, and Marcia Griffiths. These three artists were close friends long before they came together as a group in 1973 to sing backup vocals for the King of Reggae, Bob Marley.
Bob Marley first heard the three songbirds harmonize early in 1973 at the House of Chen Club in New Kingston. He immediately decided that together, their melodious voices made the sound for which he was listening. As backup vocalists, the I-Threes sounded so perfect that Bob decided to keep them on for the rest of the Natty Dread album, their first album with the King himself. By the time Bob Marley showcased them in his line-up at the Jackson Five concert in Kingston, Jamaica was ready for a female sounding Wailers. The audience was enthralled by the performance of the entire group – a performance considerably enhanced by the colorful sight of the I-Threes in red, gold, and green headdresses and gowns, chucking in unison and singing harmony at stage right. The I-Threes toured with Bob Marley all over the world, opening doors for reggae and raising the consciousness of millions to its hypnotic beat.
The I-Threes’ series of concerts singing to record-breaking audiences have taken them to Japan. They were headliners at the Bob Marley 50th and 58th birthday anniversary concerts in Jamaica. Their appearance on the Summit of the Americas concert (where 34 Presidents and their spouses as well as other high profile personalities convened in Miami, Florida) was a milestone for reggae internationally. The fabulous I-Threes gave a fantastic performance at the Divas in Concert, with top-billed divas Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, to rave reviews.
The I-Threes has become a household name worldwide through their musical offerings as a group and their successes as solo performers. For their individual performances, both Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt are Grammy nominees. They were both bestowed the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s highest honor for artistic achievement. The I-Threes are also a recipient of the 2001 International Achievement presented by The American Friends of Jamaica and lauded for their “excellence in carrying out the traditional of the Bob Marley era in international reggae.”
Individually, their hits include “One Draw,” “Harambe,” “Good Girl Culture,” and “Who Feels It Knows It” by Rita; “Young, Gifted and Black,” “Steppin’ Out of Babylon,” “Electric Boogie,” and “Rock My Soul” from Marcia; and Judy’s “Working Wonders,” “Hush Baby Mother,” “Many are Called (Few are Chosen),” and “Black Woman.” Together these three irie daughters took the world by storm with their versatile first album Beginning, which featured the chart-toppers “He’s a Legend,” “Neighbour,” “That’s How Strong,” and “Jealousy.”
Again, sweet harmony flows with their much-anticipated follow-up album, Songs of Bob Marley. The recording pays tribute to Bob Marley in honor of his 50th birthday anniversary, and is produced by ace producer, Clive Hunt, with vocal arrangements by Grub Cooper. The album features the queens at their best yet and is distributed by Rita Marley Music and Tachyon/Phonogram Record Company.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of democracy in South Africa in August 2004, the I-Threes performed in Johannesburg, South Africa as a guest of the Urban Voices – International Arts Festival. The South African Exchange, a non-profit organization looking at cultural exchange within the continent and beyond, hosted this Festival, the fourth of a series in partnership with the City of Johannesburg Women’s Festival.
The I-Threes also performed at the Bat Centre Community Cultural Centre in Durban, Cape Town in association with the Urban Voices. This legendary Women in Reggae line up featured one of the most spectacular concerts to celebrate National Women’s Day and South Africa’s ten years of democracy.
In February 2005, together with the Marley Family, the I-Threes gave a rousing tribute at the first Africa Unite Concert (now an annual event) in Meskel Square, Addis Abba, Ethiopia before some 300,000 people as part of the celebrations held in honor of Bob Marley’s 60th birthday. In celebration of the annual Africa Unite in February 2006, the I-Threes paid tribute to Bob Marley at the Ghanaian concerts held on February 3 at the Kimasi Cultural Centre and on February 5, at the Trade Centre in Accra, Ghana.
As special guest of the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Centre/Africa Diaspora Institute, the I-Threes were featured in honor of their “Tribute to Women of Color” concert at the legendary Apollo Theatre, Harlem, NY.
The International Cricket Council World Cup hosted by the Government of Jamaica was held in March 2007, and the I-Threes performed at this historical and very colorful opening ceremony at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, in Trelawny, Jamaica.
Individually these veteran sisters participated in the 2008 filming of the historical documentary Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae. The group were a part of the welcome home celebrations held at the National Stadium for the Jamaican athletes who achieved amazing success at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
On May 26, 2009 the I-Threes performed with Sly and Robbie plus the Compass Point All Stars at Island Records’ 50th anniversary celebrations in London at Shepherd Bush Empire.
The I-Threes’ message is one of love, hope, peace, and unity to all mankind.