Africa’s Reggae maestro Dr Dread an unsung icon

Dr Dread real name Terrence Mpakula is a Cape Town based Zimbabwean Record Producer, with an extensive client list of musicians and performance artists covering a number of genres and sound styles. Dr Dread has lots of experience in the music industry, complemented with a deep understanding of cutting edge technology and the latest production processes.

Dr Dread first burst onto the scene in Harare as in the late 90s as a keyboard player in Kenny Mwanza’s band which covered different genres and grooves for dinners and drinkers in the restaurants and pubs of Harare. 

As a rising Rasta youth, Dr Dread was privileged to join (on Ras Jabulani’s invitation) Crucial Showcase band, not as a keyboard player this time but as a bass player in May 1999. By 2000. Dr Dread found himself in studio directing music for artists like Daddy Slaggy (formerly Slaggy Yout), Drums of Nyahbingi etc though he never took it so serious.

In 2001 at a Bob Marley commemoration festival in Harare Gardens, Dr Dread’s exceptional keyboard skills were noticed by the MC (LoveJones) who went on to invite Dr Dread to his Bizzie Doin Nuthin Records to play a major role in making music. Under the directing of Lovejones and guidance of Jah Seed, Dr Dread worked on the album “With Love ~ Patience Musa”, also Singles for the Shape Zimbabwe compilation album and various other artists while doubling as a stage musician with Crucial mix and other artists such as Taso, Hohodza, Dumi Ngulube & Amagents. 

By then projects at Bizzie Doin Nothin records were so spaced Dr Dread got himself another job at MOVIP studios which was busier and that is were he worked on countless productions during the urban grooves era. Dr Dread’s style and pattern attracted the producers of a Reggae Tv show who invited him for an audition and passed it and went on to become a presenter on ZBC’s Rockers Vibes. It was during this season when Dr Dread invested in his own studio equipment and setting his own Highgrade Productions which operated in Harare till 2005 when he decided to close everything and concentrate on the live side of the career.  

In 2007 Dr Dread had his first international encounter as Luciano’s keyboard player at the Jacaranda festival in Harare.From the year 2008 Dr Dread teamed with his friends to form a Reggae outfit called Just Friends. This became the first band that ever backed Winky D performing with live instruments and together they did several shows including HIFA 2011 and the Winter Jazz Festival 2011. 

Dr Dread was part of a Mic Inity’s first band (Inity Band) between 2011 and 2014. Dr Dread worked for Grazz Hauz Records and Six Oclock music in Harare and also played as a session artist with several Reggae bands untill 2017. Some of the outfits include Transit crew, House of stone, Robert Zhuwao’s Red Radics. 

After leaving Transit Crew Dr Dread formed a new outfit called Zim Reggaestra which he left over a power struggle with then management and singer only to relocate to Capetown and join an international Reggae syndicate called All Nations Circuit where he works as a keyboard player/ music director and sound engineer. 

Dr Dread has since formed his own outfit called One Drop  band which backs his studio artists, particularly Slottah De Chanter and G Hyper. With the support of Reggae Afrika Sound System, One Drop band has been the band of choice to back international reggae artists that perform at In SA including Jah Mason, Yasha Mani and Syd Perry to name a few

With the All Nations Band Dr Dread has worked with Judy Boucher, King sounds, Kenyatta Hill, Lutan Fyah, Crosby Bolani, Reggae sister and many more. Dr Dread is currently in the studio working with Reggae sisters on a project co- produced by 2 Jamaican legends Johnny B and John Screw.  

Dr Dread’s keyboard skills have been embraced well by the South African Reggae fraternity as seen by his sessions with (apart from All Nations Band) Conquerors Reggae band and also Azania Band  which has managed to place Dr Dread on stage with South Africa’s top bands like Reign Afrika, Bongo Riot, Black Dillinger and many others. 


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