"Stories, songs of Tosh by the sea"

10 Jun "Stories, songs of Tosh by the sea"

The Weekly Gleaner
June 10, 2004

WAYNE ARMOND sat on a chair on the stage, guitar cradled in his lap, the flickering lights of candles lit around the edge of the stage dancing on him and his instrument.

With the lights under the tent at Jakes in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, turned off, the large audience sat quietly, the nearby waves rushing to shore the louder for the darkness, as Peter Tosh spoke.

A flash or two from cameras was the lightning to the thunder of his voice, as Tosh spoke to the present, live from the One Love Peace Concert at the National Stadium in 1976, saying “see de yute dem a fia up dem gun like Henry Morgan”.

From Creation to Burial, there was story, song and even a stanza or two on the man known as the “Stepping Razor” on recently, as the Calabash International Literary Festival 2004 celebrated “Tosh… Still Firm at 60”.

In presenting Wayne Armond, Ibo Cooper, Steve Golding and Nadine Sutherland and Colin Channer put Tosh in wider context.

The Calabash founder said the purpose was to; “celebrate the birthday of one of the most important singers to come out of any country in the world and we are especially proud that he came out of ours.”

After a piece of the poem Blackheart Man by Kwame Dawes and Tosh’s personal introduction, Creation filled the air, the lights came up on Armond and he picked up on the guitar chords of the classic, which was faded out, and he came in with Coming In Hot, ending with an emphatic “shot, shot, shot”.

Armond gave the most Tosh story of the night, a tale which he interspersed with Rastafari Is and That’s What Friends Will Do.

“You know what Peter Tosh had that Bob did not have? A classic sense of humour,” Armond said.

From guitar to keyboard, the people stood for Ibo Cooper’s rendition of Get Up, Stand Up. “Anyone of my age who go to a Peter Tosh concert know seh music wicked, but Peter haffi talk. An when Peter talk…,” he said.

“I am glad that Wayne mentioned the sense of humour. You see, revolutionaries sometimes develop a system of survival that includes humour,” he said. “Him a jester, but him naa jester.”

Noting that on the Peace Concert recording Tosh said it was anti-apartheid year, Cooper pointed out that it was 10 years since the end of apartheid and the 200th year of the success of the Haitian Revolution, saying of the latter that “it was a victory, is a victory and shall ever be a victory, no matter what.”