Peter Tosh memorial set for Bongwe


THE Burning Youth, who won the battle of Bands competition at Radisson Blu Hotel last Saturday, Jasper Mix, Stil Jah, Cry Blood, Jah Assegai, Dally Dally, Lazzig, Ghetto Youths, Feruz, Lalibela and Miss Williams, are among the acts expected at the Peter Tosh 30th anniversary Peace and Love concert at Bongwe Big Bush next month.

True Africans, Blacka Dido, Zayellow Man, Black Chant and Mama Diana have also been penciled in for the September 9 concert that has been organised by Conscious Sounds Entertainment in conjunction with Genius Riddimz Promotion.
Geo Spencer, son of legendary reggae artiste Don Carlos (Euvin Spencer), who was in the country recently, is also expected to grace the concert.
That the concert has been moved from its traditional home of Munda Wanga Botanic Gardens in Chilanga to Bongwe in Lusaka’s Roma, will prove more appealing to a cross section of reggae fans.
The Bob Marley memorial concert, re-christened the One Love Reggae Concert, has been held at Bongwe for the past two editions, and they have proved quite a success. Most people find venues such as Munda Wanga and Holy Mount Zion a little prohibitive for various reasons including distance and the lack of centrality.
The concert at Bongwe will come two days before the exact day when Tosh was murdered at his home in 1987 at the age of 42.
Reggae fans know what they lost on that day; an unapologetic yet skilled musician and arguably one of the fieriest commentators.
He may not be as celebrated as Bob Marley, but that is understandable among reggae fans.
The Jamaican Observer, in its 53rd edition of its daily entertainment series highlighting 55 Jamaicans who broke down barriers and helped put the country on the world stage, put it well in its write up over a fortnight ago. The write-up was titled “Peter Tosh: The Uncompromised.”
It is worth putting down here.
“Tosh’s unwillingness to compromise his culture and standards won him little fans among the conventional. Two of his landmark albums, ‘Legalise It’ and ‘Equal Rights’ were scathing statements against the establishment,” The Jamaican Observer observed.
“Interestingly, they were marketed and distributed by Columbia Records, the biggest record label in the 1970s. Tosh refused to tone down his rhetoric even if the company was tied to America’s corporate elite.
“Released in 1976, Legalise It was his passionate appeal for government to make ganja legal. Given the decriminalisation process that has swept Jamaica since 2015, he was way ahead of his time.
“Musically, he was ahead of the pack on hot-button issues such as institutionalised racism. Tosh’s brilliance had many high-profile admirers including rock superstars. Significantly, in 2012, the Jamaican Government awarded Peter Tosh the Order of Merit, Jamaica’s third highest civil honour. The system had finally seen the light.”

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