A diamond celebration for Peter Tosh
On the occasion of Peter Tosh’s diamond birthday celebration, broadcaster and music historian Mutabaruka made the observation that although the members of the Wailers – Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley – went their separate ways, “we memba the Wailers as one of them trinity deh dat become singular”. Muta was given the honour of creating the pre-showtime mood as family, fans and friends joined in the celebration at the Pulse Centre on Trafalgar Road. Wearing his selector cape, Muta easily segued from Tosh’s catalogue to recorded interviews which brought Tosh to life.
It was a night on which musical tributes were paid specifically to the revered Bush Doctor and unapologetic ganja advocate, Peter Tosh, but it was inescapable that the Wailers trio would also get their shine. And the spotlight was both musical and personal.
Andrew, son of Peter, whose performance was so nice that he had to appear thrice, dug deep into his father’s catalogue and reproduced as only the chip that doesn’t fall far from the block can. But, as great as that was, that singular Wailer moment came when the son of Bob, Ky-Mani, joined on stage the son of Peter, who also happens to be the nephew of Bunny Wailer, and together they performed a classic from the Wailers’ 1973 album Burnin’, significantly the last album recorded by the original Wailers line-up.
Purposefully, they had chosen Get Up Stand Up, and the equal rights anthem reverberated in the venue, as swirls of ganja smoke danced to the beat. “This is a Wailers rebirth,” the sons of the deceased reggae icons stated, and Marley sibling, Cedella, who was backstage vibing with her son, Skip, and a number of other family members and friends, spoke for the entire crowd when she told The Gleaner, “I’m loving every minute of it.” Cedella was one of this year’s recipients of the Peter Tosh Award.
For Ky-Mani, it was “absolutely amazing”. In a quick interview with The Gleaner, he pointed out that this wasn’t the first time he and Andrew were performing together, as they had shared many stages over the years, even touring together in South America. He noted however, that, “This is a special vibe because of the shared legacy,” he said. “To be able to share the stage with Andrew is always a beautiful moment.”
Making their contribution to the tribute concert in a huge way were a mix of veteran and newly established acts. Exuding a distinct Peter Tosh aura, reggae singer Samory-I made an impression with songs such as Jah Is In Control, African Daughter and Rasta A Nuh Gangsta. He paused to pay tribute to Tosh, noting that the reggae singer has been his inspiration. The “shubba shubba” singer, Warrior King, who is not seen much on the local stage these days, gave an energetic performance, which the audience loved. Warrior King promised that in 2020, his fans in Jamaica will be seeing more of him.
Declaring that “me, Peter, Bob and Bunny go a long way back”, veteran reggae singer, Ken Boothe, showed exactly why he was chosen for this line-up. His classics Train Is Coming, Freedom Street and Journey were on point. The man from August Town, Duane Stephenson, gave fans selections from his own catalogue, after which he chose his favourite Peter Tosh song, Glass House, to thrill fans.
Prior to Richie Spice’s performance, acclaimed tour manager, Copeland Forbes, briefly claimed the stage, welcoming “the royal family of reggae, the Marleys, and inviting Peter Tosh’s family on stage to introduce them to the audience. Richie Spice took fans down memory lane with his hits Earth A Run Red, Grooving My Girl and Ghetto Girl. He was called on for an encore.
Andrew Tosh took the stage for a third time and paid tribute to his father with African, Walk and Don’t Look Back (with Charmaine Limonius), Johnny B Goode, Rastafari Is and Dem Want I.
Bushman, whose performance was highly anticipated, was a no-show.