RE/MX: High Fidelity

Sister Nancy - “Bam Bam”

By David Jenison

Women’s History Month, which started out as a history week, is an annual celebration each March established by Congress in 1981. When it comes to music history, Sister Nancy is one woman who clearly stands out. Sister Nancy—her birth certificate reads Ophlin Russell-Myers—is considered the first female dancehall singer and DJ to break big. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, the dancehall icon released her first album in 1982 and became the first female DJ to perform at Reggae Sunsplash. Her musical highlight is the classic “Bam Bam” recorded for producer Winston Riley (whose 1970 track “Double Barrell” was one of the first mainstream reggae hits) during the Reagan years. Decades later, “Bam Bam” continues to resonate with placement in a Reebok television commercial and in films like The Interview and Belly, and rappers like Guerilla Black have sampled it in songs.

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