Shamakah Ali’s music career began in his hometown of Memphis Tennessee, when he started playing drums with various local Blues artists on the world famous Beale Street, at W.C Handy Park, he says “back before the Blues Foundation was formed.”
Shamakah’s first recording band The SKWARES debuted on Atlantic Records Cotillion label in 1983, The Skwares 2nd album was released in 1987 on Poly Grams Mercury label. CHARLIE WILSON of the GAP BAND produced. Shamakah continued to perform across the U.S. until 1980.
For the next few years Shamakah consistently toured in the Far East; including dates in Japan, Guam and Korea. Upon returning to the U.S.A, Shamakah began touring with the legendary Soul & Gospel singer, AL GREEN. Shamakah also toured with Blues legend ALBERT KING, until he was offered a full time position with THE BARKAYS, the late OTIS REDDINGS backing group led by surviving member JAMES ALEXANDER. Shamakah played drum on two albums with The BARKAYS: ’48 Hours’ on the BASIC label and “The Best Of” on K-Tel Records. The commercial success of the recordings resulted in a major tour across the U.S. and Japan. In 1994, Shamakah joined the 80’s soul/crossover group THE S.O.S. BAND. spending three dedicated years as an essential part of the revitalization of the trademark S.O.S. SOUND.
Shamakah’s ability to play many styles had him drumming on the National tour Just the 4 of Us backing Jazz vocalist PHIL PERRY, HOWARD HEWETT of SHALAMAR, GLEN JONES and TONY TERRY. Shamakah also backed LIONEL RITCHIE when he performed on Toronto’s morning show CANADA A.M. and CANADIAN IDOL.
Shamakah, both on stage and record, could best be described this way: “Like a powerful Mac Truck cruisin’ down the road!”