Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
Peter Tosh may have been dead for 25 years now, but it is clear that the legendary reggae icon will never be consigned to oblivion.
The immortality of Tosh's legacy was reinforced last week and culminated at the reggae legend's celebration concert, held on Thursday, the night before his birthday.
With the intoxicating smell of marijuana in the air and the sweet vibrations of live reggae music rousing the otherwise calm night, the patrons at the Peter Tosh Celebration Concert were transported to a better time in Jamaica's musical history.
Studio 38 was packed with scores of people who turned out to celebrate, not only the reggae legend, but real roots reggae music as well.
The crowd was very receptive, even though the venue was slightly on the warm side, due to the large number of people gathered in the small space. The patrons were clearly reggae lovers as they sang along to many of the songs performed and grooved to others, sometimes even executing a spirited combination of the two.
It was a more mature crowd but there were instances of youth scattered here and there, which spoke to the transcendental appeal of Tosh's music.
The artistes were definitely in their element and knew exactly how to work the crowd. With each performance they wooed the audience and at times ignited uproars, signalling the crowd's delight and desire for more.
The artistes reminded patrons who the night was all about by performing some of Tosh's songs, which sent the crowd into a euphoric frenzy and incited many sing-a-long sessions.
The following day at the Peter Tosh Symposium hosted at the University of the West Indies, the tone was a bit more formal. The symposium, titled 'Reggae Revolutionary and Equal Rights Advocate', celebrated the controversial reggae legend in a very different way.
Throughout the week there had been various events held to pay tribute to the reggae rebel. The week started with the bestowing of the OM award, which was accepted by Tosh's daughter, Niambe, reached the zenith of musical laudation with the Peter Tosh Celebration Concert and then came to a reluctant end with the symposium on Tosh's birthday.
Those who attended the symposium, including Tosh's children, were engrossed in engaging lectures on Tosh's life, music, ideals and also the decision to honour the icon with the Order of Merit, 25 years after his death.
Tosh's former manager, Herbie Miller, was one of the speakers at the event and gave an in-depth and revealing look at the man and the music, which Miller said still ignites controversy today.
"It is no secret that Tosh was as outspoken and rebellious as he was undeniably talented. Tosh's defiant nature was merely an innate reflection of his objection to the injustices and immoralities which existed in his time and, for some, today," said Miller.
According to Miller, who is also the curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, Tosh's music argued for an objective understanding of human freedom that challenged ideologies.
Tosh's daughter, Niambe, and son, Dave, also took to the platform to address the attentive audience.
Niambe highlighted the many obstacles the family faced in acquiring control and 'cleaning up' the Peter Tosh Estate, which she says has now launched a full-scale operation to continue her father's legacy and further bolster the Peter Tosh brand.
Niambe also admitted that the week of celebration was actually the first week that the family had been behind everything.
Now that the Peter Tosh Estate is in first gear, Niambe revealed that fans of the visionary artiste should look out for a possible movie and an official, tell-all documentary.