Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, a pioneer in the reggae music scene and an influential educator, has passed away at the age of 71, leaving a void in the hearts of fans all around the world. His journey through life was marked by a profound love for reggae, a passion for education, and an indomitable spirit to share his message through music.
Ibo Cooper’s Early Beginnings
Born on January 14, 1952, in Clarendon, Jamaica, Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper embarked on his musical journey with the influential reggae band, Inner Circle. His early experiences in the world of music were marked by the rhythms of Inner Circle, a popular pop band of its time.
However, in 1973, Ibo Cooper took a bold step forward, co-founding the legendary reggae band Third World. It was a step born out of a desire to go against the popular currents of the time and craft music that carried a profound message.
The Message in His Music
Ibo Cooper was more than just a musician; he was a keyboardist, songwriter, and vocalist for Third World. The band became a voice for change and a messenger of hope through its soul-stirring melodies.
With Cooper’s musical genius, they created tunes that resonated with audiences worldwide. His departure from the band in 1997 marked a significant transition in his life, one that would lead to an equally impactful role as an educator.
A Life Committed to Education
After an impressive 25-year-long journey of touring and performances, Ibo Cooper turned his attention to nurturing the next generation of musicians. He transitioned into the role of a full-time teacher, taking the helm as the head of the Caribbean, Latin American, and jazz department at the prestigious Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston. His dedication to imparting his knowledge and passion for music was a testament to his enduring legacy.
Ibo Cooper Obituary
As we remember the life and legacy of Ibo Cooper, we can’t ignore the personal tragedies that have struck his family. Just this year, he mourned the loss of his beloved son, Arif Cooper, a prominent disc jockey and music producer, who tragically passed away on March 5. The Cooper family was yet to recover from this devastating blow when, on September 29, Ibo’s wife, Althea Joy Atkinson Cooper, also bid a sorrowful farewell.
As we come to terms with the loss of a reggae icon, a teacher, and a family man, we remember Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper as a true luminary in the world of reggae music. His melodies will continue to reverberate in our hearts, and his teachings will echo through the corridors of musical education. Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper may have left this world, but his music, his message, and his legacy will forever be etched in the annals of reggae history.
Ibo Cooper’s journey was one of purpose, and his passing leaves a void in the reggae world that can never truly be filled. He taught us that music can be a powerful force for change, and his life is a testament to that truth. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones as we collectively mourn the passing of a reggae legend, teacher, and father.