John Kpiaye

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Kpiaye
Birth nameJohn Ogetti Kpiaye
OriginEast End of London
Years active1966 (1966)-present
Associated actsThe Cats, Matumbi, Dennis Bovell's Dub Band, Linton Kwesi Johnson

John Ogetti Kpiaye (born 1948) is a reggae session and live guitarist.[1][2][3] He was a member of The Cats,[3] who had a No.48 UK hit with "Swan Lake"[4] and Matumbi,[3][dubious ] who had a No.35 hit with "Point of View (Squeeze a Little Lovin')".[5]


Born in the East End of London to an English mother and a Nigerian father, Kpiaye began a career as a welder on leaving school at the age of fifteen.[1][2] In 1966 he took up guitar after being given one by his mother and formed The Hustlin' Kind in 1967, who later changed their name to The Cats.[1] The band's 1968 single "Swan Lake" reached No.48 in the UK Singles Chart and led to the band touring Europe.[1]

After The Cats split up in 1971, Kpiaye joined the In Brackets, a backing band that worked with artists such as Dandy Livingstone, Owen Gray and Winston Groovy, and from 1973 worked as a producer in the emerging London lovers rock scene.[1]

During the late 1970s and early 1980s he recorded with Ijahman Levi, Aswad, Dennis Brown, Steve Gregory and Linton Kwesi Johnson among others, often working with Dennis Bovell. In 1982 he joined The Dennis Bovell Dub Band, touring as backing band for Linton Kwesi Johnson.[1][6]

In 1997 he released the solo album Red, Gold and Blues.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Larkin, Colin (1998) "John Kpiaye" in The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9, pp. 160-161
  2. ^ a b "John Kpiaye" at
  3. ^ a b c "John Kpiaye Discography". Discogs. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 22. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "MATUMBI". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  6. ^ Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 389