Category Archives: Music

In Remembrance of Hugh Mundell

Yes Mi Irieites,

It’s a truly welcomed and deserved “day off”  for the entire Steel Pulse entourage on this European tour.  However, we take time out to remember Hugh Mundell who was murdered this day 14th October, back in 1983.   The 30th anniversary of this reggae legend should not be forgotten.

In the earlier years of Steel Pulse’s presence in the Bay Area of San Francisco, we bumped into Hugh quite a few times.   We were shocked when we learned of his death soon afterwards.  For quite sometime in the early 80′s Hugh Mundell’s career became quite dormant.  After a long hiatus friends advised him to return to Jamaica and produce the classic songs he was capable of composing.  It was on taking such advice he met his death in JA.  It was said to have derived from some kind of family dispute.

Hugh’s hit album “Africa must be free by 1983,” contained a lot irony, if you get my meaning.  I’m sure his own spirit of freedom was what he was referring to.

Jah Bless another legend….

Remembering Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Hail Mi Irieites,

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born this day in 1887. Here’s a short clip from our upcoming documentary that’s relevant today:

Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, including the Nation of Islam. In fact, some Rastas even view Garvey as a prophet. The intent of the movement was for those of African ancestry to “redeem” Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World entitled “African Fundamentalism”, where he wrote: “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… to let us hold together under all climes and in every country.”

Although Garvey promoted Pan Africanism and the Back to Africa movement, one point does need clarification.  It was Reverend James Morris Web, a clergyman from Chicago and an associate of Garvey who said “look to Africa where a Black king shall be crowned he shall be the redeemer.” This prediction of H.I.M. Haile Selassie’s ascent to the throne of Ethiopia is often wrongfully attributed to Marcus Garvey.

In 1965, during a trip to Jamaica, Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King laid a wreath at Garvey’s shrine. It was MLK who said that Garvey “was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody.”

Two other interesting historical points:

Malcolm X‘s parents, Earl and Louise Little, met at a UNIA convention in Montreal. Earl was the president of the UNIA division in Omaha, Nebraska and sold the Negro World newspaper, for which Louise covered UNIA activities.FlagGhana

Kwame Nkrumah named the national shipping line of Ghana the Black Star Line in honor of Garvey and the UNIA. Nkrumah also named the national soccer team the Black Stars as well. The black star at the center of Ghana’s flag is also inspired by the Black Star.

The UNIA red, black, and green flag has also been adopted as the universal Black Liberation Flag.

Garvey’s message of unity lives on:

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

“Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.”

“There shall be no solution to this race problem until you, yourselves, strike the blow for liberty.”

“I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free.”

“The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.”

“Intelligence rules the world, ignorance carries the burden.”

“If you haven’t confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.”

“The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”

As Marcus Say: “Rally Round the Flag!” Check the opening song at 2:09 >>

Postcard from Port De Saint Nazaire, France

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Hail Mi Irieites,

….Still on our European festival tour and loving it!!

Here’s an image from Port De Saint Nazaire, Les Escales, at the of the “Festival des Musiques du Monde” (The Music of the World Festival).

It beats me why after 22 years of being active, this has been the first time that Steel Pulse has ever performed here.  It was a wonderful and honourable experience.  Behind me is a monument that was made in memory of the slaves that were transported from Africa.  The ships had  docked here and the slaves were generally transported to Nante, a nearby major city.  We give maximum respect to the efforts of advocates such as Victor Schoelcher, who went to drastic measures to put an end to the slave trade.

Saint Nazaire, was also a important entity during World War II, for the making of ships and any other types of water vessels.

And to the children of Saint Nazaire: keep strong and continue to grab education.  It would be good to start a communication network between you that can interlink with the UK and other nearby countries to spread more harmony and positivity around the world.  Thank you for your presence.

Oh, and a Happy Birthday to Ed, our tour manger, President Obama and my good good brethren, Jah B….

Stranger Cole at Garance 2013

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Yes Mi Irieites,

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.

So Stranger, don’t be a stranger.

Juror B29: "George Zimmerman got away with murder"

One of the first comments I made in regards to the Trayvon Martin shooting, was within days of the incident.  I stated that American justice will be in the balance, whatever the decision.  I was also hoping that what ever decision made was based on “truth and rights,” as oppose to the cunningness of lawyers.

As the story unravels itself, another juror has come forward now saying that “Zimmerman got away with murder.”  She went on to say that she held on to her decision as long as she could for a second degree murder conviction.

Amazing…

Happy 95th, Nelson Mandela!


Yes Mi Irieites,

I did promise that I would get back to you on this.  Time has ticked away, but no second has passed without us having thoughts for Nelson Mandela in our hearts.

At the beginning of the month, I received a few phone calls pertaining to Mandela being in hospital and his condition on “being hopeless.”  At that time I was asked by a few close friends to put something together for him before he goes.  I made reference of getting back to them on the issue but never did.  My reason? I had this deep belief that if Nelson survived all the turmoil the way he did for all those years, there was no reason why he would not be unable to gather that well known inner energy he has to be around for his 95th birthday.

My instincts paid off and I feel good about that.  So here is one more tribute to Madiba himself; Nelson, you served us well.  We are honoured to be witnesses and beneficiaries of your achievements in life.

Neither will we forget Winnie.

As the struggle continues, we wish you all the best on this special day, 18th July 2013.

Bless!

Prince Buster: Happy 75th!

This is a tribute to one of Jamaica’s greatest musical icons, Muhammad Yusef Ali (yes he is a knock out), better known as Cecil Bustamante Campbell (yes, he should have been Jamaica’s first Prime Minister), even better known as “Prince Buster.”

Prince_Buster

Prince Buster, Jamaica’s first super star, turns 75 years old, today (May 24th 2013).

Many happy return, rude bwoy. May you continue to wash all our troubles away.

Bless, D