Chilling with Ky-Mani Marley. I haven’t communicated with him for quite a few years now… well, since we all did that show in Ghana along with Joseph Hill. Joseph passed on later that year (2006). Too bad Ghana’s 50th anniversary was right around the corner.
Nevertheless, we will, both Ky-Mani and the Pulse, continue our divine duties to “Chant Down Babylon”.
As Big Daddy would say “ONE LOVE” and One heart at the One Love Festival….
As we embark on the first date of the European summer tour, I had the pleasure to chill out briefly with one of reggae’s original veterans, Mr. ‘Ruff and Tuff” himself: Stranger Cole.
There I was, rushing to get out of what was a slightly cold night (well for me it was), after an extremely hot day, and now fighting off a sore throat because of this drastically mixed weather, I stumbled across Stranger, sitting in our van waiting for the rest of his band members. We both are at one of France’s biggest reggae festival, Garance.
It beats me why every time Stranger re-introduces himself he makes it a point that he is the father of Squiddly Cole, one of Jamaica’s best drummers. But with no disrespect to Stranger, I believe he has carved a very chunky-size niche, within the industry. Stranger was one of the acts that we use to shuffle dance to when my eyes were at my knees.
I am still reeling in disbelief that there is only an eleven-year difference between us. He started his career in 1962.
As you know by now, Richie Havens passed away yesterday on Earth Day.
I had the good fortune to see him live for the first time at a club in Birmingham called Barbarellas. I must have been about 19 years old at the time.
Years later, Steel Pulse went on to be on an opening billing with him in D.C., in the early 80s. To this day I have yet to see anyone strum the acoustic guitar with the energy he had. Richie, you will never be forgotten!!
Here’s a video of the proceedings at the United Nations on March 22nd. Steel Pulse joined the various guests as part of the Commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. On the video, we come on at the 1:16:31 mark, for about 18 minutes, and then for the finale - at 2:07:44 – where we join Marcus Miller and the rest of the celebrants to perform Bob Marley‘s Get Up, Stand Up.
Steel Pulse was truly honored to be a part of this special occasion. Here’s an interview I did with UN Radio.
This week the United Nations is honoring the victims of the transatlantic slave trade. On the 22nd, Steel Pulse will be performing as part of this tribute in the General Assembly Hall, United Nations, New York. UN Foundation Girl Up Champion Monique Coleman will host the event featuring performers from Africa, the Caribbean and the United States:
Cameroon National Ballet
UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller
Speakers at the concert include:
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ms. Shorna-Kay Richards, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations and Chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee
Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
This year is particularly important, with many key anniversaries in the fight against slavery – including 220 years since France’s General Emancipation decree liberated all slaves in present-day Haiti; 180 years since the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 ended slavery in Canada, the British West Indies and the Cape of Good Hope; and 170 years ago, the Indian Slavery Act of 1843 was signed. Slavery was also abolished 165 years ago in France; 160 years ago in Argentina; 150 years ago in the Dutch colonies; and 125 years ago in Brazil.
2013 is also the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States, which declared that, on 1 January 1863, all persons held as slaves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.
The Door of No Return (lyrics) from African Holocaust was perhaps our best tribute to the tragic legacy of slavery:
For those who are unaware, slavery continues in this time.
Here are some links to overstand what’s happening, and how you can get involved: