Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica 50: Yeah Now 8! for Macko, Leto
Yeah Now! is the party signal among the group of friends to which Hope McNish's late husband, Eric 'Macko' McNish, and his best fried Paul 'Leto' Minott belonged. Although they are deceased it is still the rallying call for an annual event in their memory, and "other friends who have passed on".
"We kind of celebrate that they were here and made their mark," McNish said.
Tomorrow night's event is free and there will be live entertainment by Ibo Cooper and Friends, along with recorded music by Mutabaruka of Blakk Muzik and Senor Daley of Klassique. McNish said food and drink will be on sale, funds generated going towards a fund at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts which assists students in meeting expenses. Some money also goes to the Waltham Basic School.
This is the eighth time McNish is putting on the party and, coupled with the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's Independence, it is Jamaica 50 - Yeah Now 8! The party at the Joint Trade Unions Research and Development Centre, 1A Hope Boulevard, St Andrew, starts at 8 tomorrow night. However, in the morning there will be another way to work up a sweat which is also in honour of Macko. Shortly after sunrise, at 6 a.m. tomorrow, there will be an exercise session, followed by fruit, at Emancipation Park. McNish said while they always exercised, the park was where Macko worked out in the two years after he found about his heart condition, before his death.
"It developed into a culture. People would stay and talk and we solved the world's problems. Out of that came the Music is Medicine concerts," she said.
Macko (and by extension Leto), Ben Brodie and the Golding brothers were involved in Swing Magazine, active in the 1970s. There was also the contribution to the Abeng publication, Orvil Tyson and Julian 'Jingles' Reynolds part of the publication aspect of life.
McNish pointed out that Macko read widely and was heavily involved in student activities at Howard University in the USA, at a time when many Caribbean leaders used to visit the campus.
And there is another US connection in the name of the group of friends which Macko and Pablo were part of and from which the 'yeah now!' party call comes - the Idaho Gang.