"Tosh's work remembered"

13 Oct "Tosh's work remembered"

The Weekly Gleaner
October 13, 2005
by Anonymous

THERE WERE Tosh selections from Tony Rebel, information from Dr. Isaac Kalambu, poetry from Steppa and songs from Tarrus Riley, with Queen Ifrica and Gingah doing brief appearances, on the lawns of Irvine Hall, UWI, Mona, on Saturday evening, October 8.

It was far from a bumper crowd for the fifth annual Peter Tosh Symposium, but there was enthusiasm for the ‘stepping Razor’.

Tony Rebel presented his Tosh favourites from the stage, coordinating with the person playing the music. He started out with Creation as an introduction, following with Jah Guide, which he said was one of my favourite songs that kept me through the hills. On Coming In Hot Rebel clarified that it was “lyrical shot,” saying that Tosh was as “perennial as the grass, relevant as the sun.”

He encouraged the audience to listen to the instruments on Buckingham Palace and pointed out that: “From you inna de African dispora and you have a certain colour you are,” and there were cheers for African.

Rebel turned to the “afromantic” side of Tosh with Soon Come and Ketchie Shubbie, the latter getting a particularly enthusiastic response. He ended with Mystic Man, a song which he said “This is who I think Peter Tosh is.”

There was laughter when the evening’s host, Dr. Kingsley ‘Ragashanti’ Stewart, said “I notice the song whe ketch yu is Ketchi Shubbie.”

Dr. Kalambu spoke on the role of Peter Tosh’s’music in the liberation struggle of southern Africa, noting that as the whites preferred the southern part of the continent to live, the repression there was stronger than in other parts of the continent where they were content to extract the wealth.

“Liberation, like oppression, manifests itself in two ways,” he said, defining the physical and mental states and adding that mental liberation is harder to achieve.

“Peter Tosh contributed to both forms of liberation in southern Africa, especially Zimbabwe,” he said.

Kalambu went on to give examples of the mental oppression and its results, such as the use of skin lightening products.

“Peter Tosh is one whose music spoke directly to the condition in Southern Africa,” Kalambu said. “Peter was very well informed. He painted an accurate and succinct picture of what happened in southern Africa,” he said, singing a part of Fight Against Apartheid to illustrate his point.

Steppa stepped up with forcefully delivered poetry, burning “fire on a preacher, who a young gal breeder,” to the delight of the audience. Using a recorded track, he demanded “Tell me yu name an’ numba”, advising you are a chile, acting wil’/We have yu file. Steppa addressed the current situation with “a crime time man fi die time” working through microphone problems before ending with the notion If I had a gun/I woulden go Waterhouse/I would go Gordon House, to cheers from the audience.

The Sounds Against Negative Expression (SANE) Band supported Kalambu, who returned in singing mode as King Isaac, who honoured Tosh with African, as well as doing his own Assailants In The Night. Tarrus Riley sang the true status of the man who thinks he’s larger than life/doesn’t even know how he came in existence, starting it over and asking the band to take it down so he could get the audience into the words. Stay With You was highly appreciated and at his request Ifrica stepped up from the audience to deliver Randy, howls of delight rising as she moved from a smooth delivery to an emphatic rasp.

There was a combination between the two on Riley’s Barber Chair, Ginjah and poet Adelajah performing briefly before Riley ended with Tosh’s Walk and Don’t Look Back.