Twenty-five years after his murder, Jamaica’s government on Monday honored the contributions of firebrand reggae musician and songwriter Peter Tosh, one of the Caribbean island’s musical giants. Tosh’s daughter Niambe, an educator from Boston, Massachusetts, received the posthumous “order of merit” - the country’s third highest honor - on behalf of her late father during an annual national awards ceremony on the lawns of King’s House, the residence of Jamaica’s governor general. Tosh was a founding member of the Wailers, forming the three-man core of the group with Bob Marley and Bunny “Wailer” Livingston. Hard-hitting solo albums like “Equal Rights” and his work with the Wailers helped make homegrown reggae music known internationally. He was cut down at age 42 in 1987, murdered by robbers in his Jamaican home.
I love reggae music, especially songs by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Lucky Dube and count myself as a reggae fan. It was in the morning of Friday October 19, 2007. I was going to work on board our staff bus when I heard the news over the radio that Lucky Dube, the South African-born reggae musician, had died the previous day Thursday October 18, 2007! I peremptorily dismissed the news as untrue, hoping that it was either a reverie or I did not hear well. But it turned out to be true, for the sad news was repeatedly aired and soon became the topic of general conversation.
On Wednesday, October 10th at approximately 5:00 p.m. EST, International Reggae Artist Anthony B, was released from the hospital and is currently resting. “Thanks to all my fans who said a prayer for the I and send a word of blessings to rest up” said Anthony B, after being released from the hospital yesterday. Doctors diagnosed Anthony B with exhaustion and dehydration, which can be attributed to his jampact schedule he has had throughout the year. Promoting his ’Freedom Fighter’ album, which was released digitally in May 2012 and will be in stores on October 22, 2012, Anthony B’s schedule has been quite hectic.
Early in 2009, legendary reggae performer Buju Banton stood behind a microphone at his Gargamel Studio in Kingston, Jamaica, and belted out what now seems to be a frighteningly prophetic tune: "Innocent." "Jah knows I'm innocent. Jah knows I'm innocent," the track opens, the 39-year-old artist's gravelly sing-song style stretching the last syllable for emphasis. After the brass section kicks in, he wails, "The forces have gathered, for what I don't know, I really don't know." A few months after recording the song, Buju was 600 miles away from his homeland, loafing around his Tamarac duplex in pajamas. Then there was a knock at the door.
Pop Quiz: What is the most successful reggae song in 2012? Who won the 2012 Grammy for best reggae album?Too many Jamaicans are not able to answer those questions correctly. Reggae music has come a long way since its inception in the 1960s but the evolution seems to be greeted with waning interest.
It is unfortunate that the birthplace of one of the most unique and transcending music genres seems to have forgotten about it. Local radio stations would sooner play dancehall or bubblegum pop songs than they would reggae music. This is not to say that they're to blame - they are only catering to the needs of the vast majority of their listeners. So who is the culprit here?
What: Boss Sounds Festival 2012
When: October 12 and 13, 2012, 11pm-3am
Where: World Headquarters Newcastle .
Anthony B, Brother Culture, Pangea Sound System
Direct from Jamaica Anthony B is one of the world's biggest reggae stars, regularly headlining major European Festivals. Draped in the rich colours of African cloth, his trademark staff in hand, and his dreadlocks wrapped regally on his head, Anthony B embodies all that it is spiritual and proactive about Reggae music.
IN response to my commentary headlined Reggae at 50 and published in this newspaper on Sunday, August 26, 2012, Sam Clayton Jr stated: "Based on my personal involvement in the music business in Europe and North America, I have no doubt that Jamaica is still the headquarters of reggae music, because in spite of the fact that we don't have the biggest festivals, I don't know of any reggae festival that does not have Jamaican bands performing. I also don't know of any major reggae release in Europe that does not have a significant Jamaican connection; Jamaican studio, producer, musician(s) or feature artistes. Every major new innovation and advancement in reggae and its sub-genres comes out of Jamaica. Add to this the undisputed fact, the best reggae musicians and producers are Jamaicans."
A friend was recently lamenting to me that her three-year-old son is really drawn to reggae music, and how she wished that she had the time to go through her substantial reggae CD collection and burn discs of child-appropriate songs, as she'd rather he not listen to songs with drug-related lyrics. ("Mostly," she admits, "because I'll never hear the end of it from my Mother-in-Law if Benny sings some of those lyrics at family dinner!") The truth is, the majority of recorded reggae songs aren't particularly offensive, but many roots reggae songs do reference ganja, and lots of modern dancehall is peppered with slack lyrics, so Jamaican music can be a little bit of a minefield with a certain age of child. Luckily, some kind souls have either recorded or compiled various reggae CDs specifically for little ears. The best ones are those that grown-ups can listen to and love also, and that's why I've put together this list of Great Reggae Music for Kids.
For the first time in its almost 40-year history, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) is hosting an exhibition of poster art. It opens this morning at 11 o'clock and showcases the top 100 entries from the First International Reggae Poster Contest. Six hundred and seventy-eight designers from 80 countries submitted 1,142 posters! The lyrics of the Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze, are the inspiration for the title of the exhibition: 'World-a-reggae'. The contest is the brainchild of Michael 'Freestylee' Thompson, a digital poster artist, who defines himself as an 'artist without borders'. This is not just because he was born in Jamaica, lives in the US and traverses the globe on the digital highway.
By special request and popular demand, the Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), by Martin's International, returns to South Florida for its 32nd Anniversary, for the fifth time in 26years. On Saturday, May 4th, 2013, the prestigious Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive, in Coral Springs/Fort Lauderdale, Florida will be the site for the staging of the star-studded 32nd Annual IRAWMA. The red carpet arrival with the glitz, glamour and interviews, kicks off at 6:00pm. Special early-bird tickets go on sale Friday, October 5th, 2012 at www.coralspringscenterforthearts.com or www.irawma.com. For information call 877-9-REGGAE (734-423) or 312-427-0266.