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Peter Anthony Morgan, Grammy-winning reggae singer, dies at 46

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                                Reggae singer Peter Anthony Morgan of Morgan Heritage performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, in May 2002, in New Orleans. Peter Morgan, lead singer of the popular reggae band Morgan Heritage that he founded with five siblings, died Sunday, at age 46, his family announced.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Reggae singer Peter Anthony Morgan of Morgan Heritage performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, in May 2002, in New Orleans. Peter Morgan, lead singer of the popular reggae band Morgan Heritage that he founded with five siblings, died Sunday, at age 46, his family announced.

Peter Anthony Morgan, the lead singer of the reggae band Morgan Heritage, a Grammy-winning group that was formed by the children of singer Denroy Morgan and came to be known for its varied influences and tight vocal harmonies, died Sunday.

He was 46, The Associated Press reported.

Morgan’s family confirmed his death in a statement on the band’s social media platforms. The statement did not mention his age or provide a cause of death.

Morgan, known as “Peetah,” started Morgan Heritage with seven of his siblings in 1994. The band later became a quintet.

For some early albums, including “Protect Us Jah” (1997) and “Don’t Haffi Dread” (1999), Morgan Heritage worked with Bobby Digital, one of Jamaica’s most influential producers. Before a show at New York City’s Irving Plaza in 1999, a New York Times music critic wrote that the band “holds on to the 1970s reggae traditions of harmony singing and thoughtful messages.”

But Morgan Heritage was more than a throwback to an older era of reggae. AllMusic.com described its sound as a blend of “elements of roots reggae, lovers rock, soul, R&B, calypso, gospel, dub, and on occasion, funk and dancehall.”

Several Morgan Heritage albums had deep runs on the Billboard reggae charts. One of them, “Strictly Roots” won for best reggae album of the year at the 2015 Grammy Awards. The band’s album “Avrakedabra” was up for the same award two years later, but lost out to “Stony Hill” by Damian Marley, a son of Bob Marley.

Information about Morgan’s survivors was not immediately available. His family’s statement described him as a husband, father, son and brother.

Peter Anthony Morgan was one of more than two dozen children of Denroy Morgan, a reggae star who was born in Jamaica and died in 2022. Peter Morgan and some of his siblings were educated in Springfield, Massachusetts, where their grandmother lived, the Hartford Courant newspaper reported in 1999. Their father was living in New York at the time.

“We’d go to school during the week, then on Friday night come to New York and rehearse with my father all weekend, come back up on Monday in time for school,” Peter Morgan’s brother Mojo told the Courant.

Morgan Heritage began touring in the early 1990s and released its first album, “Miracle,” on MCA Records in 1994, according to VP Records, a reggae label that released several of the band’s other albums.

Their latest album, “The Homeland,” released in 2023, highlighted reggae’s African roots and featured collaborations with musicians from Jamaica and Africa. The project happened after the band did a show in Kenya in 2015 and began spending time there and in Ghana, and realized how connected Jamaica remained to Africa, Peter Morgan told Kaboom Magazine. He said he hoped the album, delayed by the pandemic, would burnish the band’s legacy.

“The body of work, the catalog — you want to be remembered as some of the best music that ever was created throughout the years,” he said, adding he hoped the music would “inspire generations to come.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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