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….

October 3, 1935: Italy Invades Ethiopia

Hail Mi Irieites,


October 3, 1935:  Ethiopia, one of the only two independent African nations at the time, is invaded on by facist Italy under Benito Mussolini. The Italians, seeking revenge for their prior humiliating loss to Ethiopia over 40 years earlier, commit countless atrocities on the independent African state. Poison gas, aerial bombardment, flame-throwers and concentration camps are all employed against the ill-equipped Ethiopian people.

Black outrage at these war crimes was universal and equanimous.

The League of Nations, forerunner to the UN, was criticized sharply for supplying weapons to Italy and not to Ethiopia. Such actions confirmed the suspicion that the war was had a racial motivation and sought to extinguish the last light of African power in the world. What became the “Black Peril” was the largest ever mobilization of Africans the world had ever seen over 500,000,000 strong. From Kingston to Johannesburg, from Detroit to Ghana, form Port-of-Spain to Paris, Black men and women offered to go fight in defense of Ethiopia.

And, as battles raged between Ethiopians and Italians in Africa, battles raged between Blacks and Italians in the streets of New York. In South Africa, Black workers began a lengthy march up the continent to assist their African brothers in Ethiopia. Elsewhere, ex-service men discarded their European and American citizenships to bring their military expertise to the defense of Ethiopia. The exiled Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I became a legendary figure to many. Not before or ever since was such a strong sense of Pan-Africanism seen throughout the world. And though Italy initially succeeded in occupying the African nation, Blacks everywhere would continue the struggle until Ethiopia was free.

Jah bless. I and I never forget.

Kenya, Stand Strong

Hail Mi Irieites,

The Ghanian poet Kofi Awoonor lost his life in the terrorist attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall, along with a growing number of victims still being counted. Here is a prophetic excerpt from one of his last poems:

We are the celebrants
whose fields were
overrun by rogues
and other bad men who
interrupted our dance
with obscene songs and bad gestures

KenyaflagAs the smoke clears, and the stories start coming out, like this one about the courage of a four-year old child, let us pause and consider the idea that the taking of an innocent human life is ever justified. It is not, and can never be.  No god or God would ever condone it.

And it is when we think about the ideologues who masterminded this heinous act that we should remind ourselves to always remember our humanity.  We are all born of One Love. Without this Love, we are no better than animals. Let us condemn all people who plot and scheme to kill their brothers and sisters in the name of religion. There is no glory or grace for these haters.

Let us pray, Mi Irieites, that the lives of these innocent were not lost in vain. There were people of all nationalities in Westgate mall. Let us honor them all.

Kenya, stand strong. The good people of this world stand with you. Let us unite and work together to defeat the purveyors of hate.  Steel Pulse has always believed in the triumph of LOVE over HATE. Always and in all ways.

Jah Bless Kenya, and the innocents who lost their lives.

Hail Ken Norton

Yes Mi Irieites,

Sadly to say that we just lost another legend in boxing history; Ken Norton (Aug 9, 1943- Sept 18, 2013).

A few months ago while the Pulse were in Las Vegas, we were scheduled to meet Leon Spinks,  which did actually materialise.  However, there was also a schedule to meet Ken Norton.  Unfortunately he had other commitments out of town that day, so what was gonna be a tremendous photo shoot never took place.  That would have been with us standing in between the second and third guy to have beaten my hero, Muhammad Ali.  Now this moment can be created in my dreams.

There had been so much rumours floating around at the time on how Ken managed to make that fight happen with Muhammad, back in 1973.  That was the year of upsets too, ’cause it was also that year Joe Frazier got annihilated by George Foreman, down on “The Rock,” a place better known as Jamaica.

Come to think of it, Norton and Frazier had a similar, awkward, yet unique fighting style.  Both boxers had a fighting stance that had their arms slightly crossed and were always pushing forward towards the opponent throwing power punches from the most bizarre of angles; a style that must obviously have had Ali wearing his “padded thinking cap.”  After all, he did lose to both these guys.

Ken Norton, who had just turned 70 before he died, I would say, had the best physique in his era.  It was the kind of physique one sees when viewing a Michelangelo sculpture.  No doubt, it would have been a contributing factor for him getting the leading role in the film “Mandingo.”

Ken, if you wrote a book out there, I want to read it.  I am sure there are quite a few more events and issues where you must have broken the mold.

Maximum raspect to all friends, fans and family… R.I.P!!

Melkam Addis Amet

Hail Mi Irieites,

Happy New Year to all Ethiopians at home and abroad.  In these perilous times, it may be wise for us to think upon these words from His Imperial Majesty:

“The problems which confront us today are, equally, unprecedented. They have no counterparts in human experience. Men search the pages of history for solutions, for precedents, but there are none. This, then, is the ultimate challenge. Where are we to look for our survival, for the answers to the questions which have never before been posed? We must look, first, to Almighty God, Who has raised man above the animals and endowed him with intelligence and reason. We must put our faith in Him, that He will not desert us or permit us to destroy humanity which He created in His image. And we must look into ourselves, into the depth of our souls. We must become something we have never been and for which our education and experience and environment have ill-prepared us. We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.”

Bless! May the light of Jah guide you all into the positivity, continually… Melkam Addis Amet.

R.I.P. New Mexico’s Greatest Fan: J.R. Tenorio

UPDATE: It is with great sadness that we have to pass on the news of the loss our good friend J.R. Tenorio today September 4, 2013.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of his friends and family. We were honored take time out to pay a special tribute to one of, if not our most devoted fans this past weekend after our show in New Mexico.

Here are some thoughts from some of the Steel Pulse Family on his passing:

“For 17 years, it’s been my great fortune to be a part of an incredible musical legacy: Steel Pulse. From my earliest days with the band, back in 1996, I have had the honor of meeting some of their truly devoted fans and many of them have become dear friends, regardless of how often we kept in touch. None of them touched me, and my family, more than JR Tenorio. He was the most loving, caring and giving soul one could ever hope to meet.” Rich N.

“Our hearts and prayers to the entire family. LIFE… The journey continues.” Sidney Mills

Please share your thoughts and prayers with the family of J.R. and the whole Steel Pulse Family.

Please take the time to watch the video of our visit last weekend and feel free to share the link and comment! Bless!

NOTE: We also would like to thank our fans for all your support at such short notice.  We know we can always count on you!


Hail Mi Irieites,

As we complete all the tour dates issued in the USA, we take time out to pay a special tribute to one of our most devoted fans; J.R., who lies gravely ill at home on a reservation in Santa Ana, New Mexico.

Performing at the “Roots Reggae Festival’s” debut event located in the Albuquerque region, without the presence of J.R., left a void that we desperately had to fill by going to his house immediately after the show.

jr1jr2jr3To J.R. and family, we have posted this as a sense of encouragement for you to recover soon, and let you know that our fans give you all their moral support.

Our entire performance was livicated to JR. We love you Bro! We love you…

50 Year Later: The March on Washington

Hail Mi Irieites,


50 Years ago, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. uttered these words on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial >> Join I tomorrow in DCNow is the Time!

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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