Augustus Pablo’s music has assured him an everlasting place in reggae history, but with his son Addis stepping forward in similar fashion, the spotlight has recently returned to the melodica master. It’s timely then for Giullame Méténier’s Soul Sugar outfit to release a re-cut of the 1977 classic ‘East of the River Nile’ that captures the psychedelic essence of Pablo’s tune and turns it up to eleven.
Intro note: This interview was originally published in Irie Up issue twelve.
How do you describe reggae artist Martin Campbell? His music is authentically rootsy, his lyrics are properly prophetic, and with his Jamaican accent and rootical timbre, his fans assume that he’s a Rastafarian. Some know him, after one of his songs, as ‘The Rootsman’. Yet he’s not comfortable being labelled and in his own words, he’s not an easy man to pigeon hole. He simply trods his own path. read more »
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Shoc – Wave: A Bristol Story
Bristol Archive Records
Long before Massive Attack, Portishead and others of that ilk, Dominican expatriate Gene Walsh had a dream of establishing a record label in his adopted hometown of Bristol to promote the music of the local African-Caribbean population – and beyond. He eventually ran Shoc Wave from 1979 until 1991. read more »
Many people will fight you down When you see Jah light
There’s a whole world of reggae fans who see Bob Marley as a musician who sold out his career to make pop songs. Others observe that after an attempted assassination attempt, it was natural for Marley to row back on his more militant politics. Peter Tosh also suffered for his crusading views, and took physical and emotional beatings for his works, but it only made him more determined. Even Tosh’s friends were inclined to describe him as bigheaded, arrogant and eccentric – but was Tosh only trying to protect his integrity in a world awash with pretenders? John Masouri has just produced the first biography of the reggae star in The Life of Peter Tosh: Steppin’ Razor.
Tosh was much loved as a musician and singer but UK writer John Masouri’s biography sometimes makes for uncomfortable reading, though it’s a welcome addition to the library of serious music fans. Even those who loved Tosh found him to be difficult but Tosh had little time for ceremony in a world that he considered fundamentally unjust. Its subject proves to be a complex and unforgiving character with little of the ‘Redemption Song’ vibe that warms the hearts of Marley fans. “[Bob] was singing commercial songs acceptable in a commercial world” says Tosh, “but I sing songs of protest.” The book is generously leavened with anecdotes and juicy incidents, and readers will approach Tosh’s music with an extra layer of appreciation. read more »
Every so often, the ‘Occupy’ movement comes to life again, and lately it’s connected with the effort to reclaim Pinnacle, the near 500 acres of land outside Kingston that was once the preserve of Leonard Howell and his followers. Anyone wishing to support the reclamation of Pinnacle can write a letter to the Jamaica Gleaner or Jamaican Observer. Like many newspapers, they’ll take equal or greater notice of letters from overseas and even from non-Jamaicans. Although much commentary about Pinnacle and Leonard Howell stresses the ‘self-sufficient’ aspect of Pinnacle, it was far more than self-sufficient. The influence of Pinnacle was enormous; suffice to say that the worldwide reggae movement is indebted to the far-reaching influence of Pinnacle. So we owe a debt of gratitude to supporting those now fighting to preserve and re-establish the Pinnacle settlement.
Do a little reading and research and then get in touch with the JA papers, and let them know the influence of Pinnacle worldwide. Here’s a good place to start, with Helene Lee’s documentary ‘The First Rasta’:
Write to the Observer using email@example.com or to the Gleaner using this online form: