Monthly Archives: January 2014

Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

Mi Irieites, the message is the music. The man whose banjo “surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” The world misses you already, Pete Seeger.

Just for further information, Pete Seeger became a very strange and interesting part of my life at an early age without me even realising it.

Songs like “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” were imprinted in my memory – back in the UK we treated them as nursery rhymes!  These songs were played on radio 2 and 4 while getting dressed to go to school.  We never realised that they were actually protest songs.  My acknowledgement came full circle when I was asked to do a seminar about protest songs onboard a “Jam Cruise” exactly a year ago.  As a result I decided to do some research on that subject only to stumble across these types of songs that were recognised as protest music.  In doing so I understood and respected the meaning of Pete Seeger and the many other contemporaries of his, including Woodie Guthrie, Lead Belly, Phil Ochs and Joan Baez.  Bob Dylan was already on my list.

But the most painful thing for me right now is that we have been trying, ever since my re-discovery, to meet this great man – but to no avail.  The chances became slimmer when we learned that he lost his wife a few months ago.

Pete, I wanted to tell you how much of an influence your music had on me at an early age and has now become even more potent knowing the tribulations you had to go through back in the  day when songs like yours were viewed as anti-establishment.

“When will they ever learn, when will they ever…… learn!

Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – Jan 27, 2014).

Haiti: 4 Years After

Yes Mi Irieites,

Today, 12th January 2014, marks the 4th anniversary since the earthquake struck Haiti, killing more that 250,000 people and leaving over a million still homeless.

So far, out of the $9 billion US, that was promised by the “International Community,” only a small portion has been bestowed to the country, of which a good percentage of that went towards  emergency aid as oppose to reconstruction.   If it was not for the tremendous effort of the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Australia and the many small business’ coming from out of America, that have volunteered their services, Haiti would still be in the quagmire just as the day the catastrophe to place.  So President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Lamothe, still have a lot on their plates serving the almost 500 tent camps scattered all over the stricken vicinity.  Please excuse me for any countries that have made major contributions that I have not listed or we are not aware about.  It would be good if you the fans can give me an update on that.

4haiti

As you already know, that we have been supportive of the situation ever since by donating a song we wrote immediately after the incident while recording in Jamaica called, “Hold On [4 Haiti].“  This we’ve awarded as a digital download to raise funds for Partners In Health (PIH) to erect solar panels by S.E.L.F (Solar Electric Light Fund).  We were fortunate enough to perform in Haiti 2 years ago and visit one of the hospitals being supplied, 2 hours north of the capital, Port au Prince.

We thank you for being part of this…

R.I.P. Amiri Baraka: The Optimistic Revolutionary

“I believe you have to be true to people. You have to be writing something that people understand but, at the same time, something that’s profound enough to have meaning past, say, the six o’clock news.” - Amiri Baraka

Here, Mi Irieites, is a short list of his works; check Blues People if you have not already.

Born in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey, Amiri Baraka (Le Roi Jones) gained international stature as a poet, dramatist, essayist, and political activist. He became a leader in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s. Much of his work considers the political situation of people of color in capitalist America.

R.I.P., brave soul, for speaking when most held their tongues. Our condolences to your loved ones and all who knew you as a friend.  In controversy you still made us think. Most of all, you were an optimistic revolutionary.

At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean there’s a
railroad made of human bones.

Black ivory
Black ivory

from Wise, Why’s, Y’z (Africa Section)