Wed | Oct 28, 2020

No country road for Toots Hibbert, to be laid to rest Thursday

Published:Wednesday | October 14, 2020 | 12:06 PM
Toots Hibberts - File photo

Yasmine Peru, Senior Gleaner Writer

A private thanksgiving service for reggae and ska pioneer, Frederick Nathaniel 'Toots' Hibbert, will be held tomorrow, Thursday, October 15, at the chapel at Perry's Funeral Home, outside of Spanish Town, St Catherine.

It is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m.

His body will then be interred at the Dovecot Memorial Park in the parish, instead of his birthplace in Treadlight district, May Pen, Clarendon.

Perry's Funeral Home confirmed that it is handling the arrangements, but did not give any further details.

However, close family sources say that there is no plan for Toots to take the country road back home.

“My uncle would have wanted to come back home. He sings about the country road in one of his biggest songs, and he is always visiting us down here. Him never leaves us out. But from Miss Doreen dem [Toots’ widow and some of the children] come down here and choose the land couple weeks now, we don’t hear not a word. No grave digging not going on down here and everybody in Treadlight – my mother, sisters, my aunt – ah ask me what is happening,” Wilbert Hibbert, Toots’ nephew, told The Gleaner in an interview last night.

A distraught Wilbert, who was planning to fast and pray, as he does on Wednesdays, said he was again going “on my knees” for his uncle, hoping that he will get what he calls a good send-off. 

He emphasised that Treadlight district is the foundation for all Hibberts. 

"We did the candlelight and that was successful, and from dem lef' and go back a town that’s it. But my uncle sing about these things,” Wilbert said.

He chanted a line from Toots’ song, “In the dark, there is no light, in the dark dem fuss and fight.”

Toots, 77, died at the University Hospital of the West Indies on September 11, nearly two weeks after he tested for COVID-19. 

His death caused an outpouring within the music industry locally and internationally and made headlines around the world. 

Major newspapers and websites paid tribute to the Jamaican music icon who is credited with naming the genre reggae. 

According to Wilbert, he has been receiving calls from as far away as Africa from members of the press wanting updates on Toots’ funeral arrangements.

Reggae historian and archivist, Roger Steffens, told The Gleaner in a recent interview that he was adding his voice to the chorus of calls for Toots to be inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside the only two reggae singers who have been so honoured, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff.

An online petition has since been started. Click here

Toots won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2005 with True Love.

In 2012, he was awarded the Order of Jamaica, the country’s fourth highest award, for his contribution to Jamaican music.

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