Carlton "Santa" Davis

Carlton "Santa" Davis (born 21 November 1953) is a musician from Jamaica, primarily known for his drumming with bands such as Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Aggrovators, Soul Syndicate and Roots Radics. He has worked with reggae artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, Big Youth, The Wailers, Peter Tosh, Andrew Tosh, Wailing Souls, Ini Kamoze, Big Mountain, Michael Rose, and Ziggy Marley.

Carlton Davis
Birth nameCarlton Davis
Also known asSanta, Santa Davis
Born (1953-11-21) 21 November 1953 (age 66)
Kingston, Jamaica
GenresReggae, ska, rocksteady
Occupation(s)Drummer, songwriter
InstrumentsDrums, vocals
Associated actsBob Marley & The Wailers
Soul Syndicate
The Aggrovators
Roots Radics
Peter Tosh
Big Mountain
Ziggy Marley


Davis was born in the Greenwich Farm area of Kingston.[1] He got his "Santa" nickname as a result of a skating accident which left his face swollen and red.[1] At the age of ten he began playing in his local Catholic church marching band, staying with them for the next five years.[1] During his time there he was tutored in the rocksteady beat by Bobby Aitken.[1] At the age of fourteen he joined The Graduates, a nightclub band which also featured Earl "Wire" Lindo (later of The Wailers), Richard Daley (later of Third World, and Earl "Bagga" Walker.[1]

Davis joined his friend George "Fully" Fullwood in the Rhythm Raiders in 1969, the band soon changing name to Soul Syndicate, and was the drummer in Bunny Lee's studio band The Aggrovators in the 1970s, originating the "flying cymbal" sound.[2][3] Davis also played in the Roots Radics.[3]

In the 1980s he played on Bob Marley & The Wailers' Uprising and Confrontation albums on "Coming in From The Cold", "Chantdown Babylon" and "Africa Unite" and also in Peter Tosh's band, and was injured during the shooting in which Tosh was murdered.[4]

He later joined Big Mountain.[5]

He has also recorded with many non-reggae major artists such as Isaac Hayes, Carlos Santana, Chaka Khan, Pink, Eddie Griffin, Champa on their debut album and Willie Nelson on his album Countryman in 2005.

At present, Santa is the official drummer for Ziggy Marley.[6]

Solo discographyEdit

  • Adrenalina (1997), Sarzo
  • Da Zone (2008), Iya Vybz
  • Watch You Livity (2015), Carlton "Santa" Davis Label

Partial musical career (1970 to 1985)Edit


Backing vocalsEdit


  • Oku Onuora & AK7 – Pressure Drop [1984]


  • Errol Dunkley – Profile of Errol Dunkley [1980]


  1. ^ a b c d e Katz, David (2000), People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee "Scratch" Perry, Payback Press, ISBN 0-86241-854-2, p. 115.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9, p. 7
  3. ^ a b Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, 3rd edn., Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 152, 249
  4. ^ Lee, Sylvia (1987) "Clues in Tosh Slaying – Drug Link Suspected", Newsday, 13 September 1987, p.6
  5. ^ Bush, John "Big Mountain Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 19 February 2011
  6. ^ "Ziggy Marley and Don Was at Ocean Way: Reggae Legends Join In For New Album",, 16 February 2011, retrieved 19 February 2011

External linksEdit