Independence Special: Jamaica @ 60 & Beyond

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2022 70 INDEPENDENCE SPECIAL: JAMAICA @ 60 AND B YOND F ATURE | THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2022 jamaica at UNIQUELY JAMAICAN LIKKLE BUT TALLAWAH! MUSIC ICONS Published August 5, 2018 THE YEAR 1962 not only signalled the birth of Jamaica as an independent nation, but also marked the birth of the career of several outstanding Jamaican entertainers. It was also the birth year of Jamaica’s foundationmusic: ska. For some odd reason, Jamaica’s popular music literally took off, right on the heels of Independence, without any real attempt beingmade by the Government or any Jamaicanmusic entity to mobilise artistes or to create music to complement the inaugural Independence celebrations. It all seemed to occur spontaneously. One may argue that the then minister in charge of culture, Edward Seaga, had commissioned band leader Byron Lee to go into west Kingston, where ska was prevalent, familiarise himself with it, and, thereafter, take it uptown, and eventually to NewYork via the NewYork World’s Fair in 1964. But such contenders need to be cognisant of the fact that ska was already established by then. In offering an explanation for the sudden explosion of Jamaican music during the Independence celebrations of 1962, some music connoisseurs and aficionados declare that the national exhilaration, triggered by the spirited celebrations at the time, had given singers and musicians that extra impetus to create a sound that was uniquely and distinctly Jamaican. Heading the list of artistes whose careers were born in 1962 were Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Delroy Wilson, Stranger Cole, and Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert. BOB MARLEY Marley began his career with the Chinese-Jamaican record producer Leslie Kong, doing the recording Judge Not on Kong’s Beverley’s label. The singer’s debut portrayed the true Marley image as he sang: “Who are you to judge me and the life that I live? I know that I’mnot perfect and that I don’t claim to be So before you point your fingers, Be sure your hands are clean Judge not.” Marley formed a group with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso, and they did their first set of recordings for producer Clement Dodd’s Studio 1 label as The Wailing Wailers. Jimmy Cliff had somewhat of a rocky start after his initial submission, Dearest Beverley, was turned Independence and the birth of Jamaican music Bob Marley VOICE PHOTO Jimmy Cliff THE GLEANER ARCHIVES