KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
PERHAPS for the first time, reggae fans are being treated to something special this month with two concerts following each other.
A week after the Summer Reggae Festival at Mika Convention Centre, reggae fans will have another opportunity of skunking again on September 15 when the 31st memorial anniversary concert of Peter Tosh is held at Mount Zion in Lusaka West by Conscious Sounds.
The local musicians expected to perform at the show include Burning Youth, Blacka Dido, Bongo Far-I, Temple Psalmist, True Africans, Cry Blood and Mama Africa, according to the list availed to the Weekend Mail by Conscious Sounds.
Charges for the concert, expected to start at 15:00 hours until late, have been pegged at K50 per-person.
Although the Tosh memorial show in Lusaka has lived in the shadows of the Bob Marley Memorial Show, which was popularly known as the Jah Night before it rebranded to the Reggae Festival, Peter Tosh has his own assured place among reggae fans.
In any case, he is a founding member of the Wailers, the reggae group that helped popularise the vibrant Jamaican music style internationally.
That is why when he died at the age of 42 years in 1987, after being shot by a gunman at his home, then Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga led in mourning Tosh.
Michael Manley, a former Prime Minister also extolled Tosh, a man he said had given to “Jamaica and the world an unforgettable library of musical works which will be played and sung by many generations of people”.
He was right.
Tosh had founded the Wailers in 1953 together with Bob who died earlier in 1991 of a brain tumour. The other star of the Wailers was Bunny Wailer (Neville Livingstone). Tosh, who was born Winston Hubert McIntosh on October 9, 1944, in Westmoreland, Jamaica, left the Wailers in 1973 after Bob took over the main starring role.
A baritone, Tosh often condemned injustice and poverty in his lyrics while praising Rastafarians. As you would expect of a Rasta, he advocated the smoking of marijuana. In fact, his 1996 album and single “Legalise It”, was just about that – legalisising marijuana which Tosh often smoked on stage.
In fact, in 1978, before a crowd of 30,000 people in Kingston, Jamaica, Tosh smoked a spliff and berated then Prime Minister Manley, who was in attendance, for refusing to legalise marijuana or ganga, as it is called in those parts.
While Tosh was with the Wailers, they had a string of hits such as “I Shot the Sheriff”, “Get Up, Stand Up”, and “Stir It Up”. After he left the Wailers, Tosh, who was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1985, released albums like “Equal Rights”, “Mystic Man”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “Bush Doctor” and “Mama Africa”.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the Peter Tosh memorial show are also planning a peace concert on October 24 at Woodlands Stadium in Lusaka where they expect to invite President Edgar Lungu and other opposition figures.
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka