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‘Teach them Tosh’

ONE of Peter Tosh’s pet peeves was the lack of Afrocentric themes in Jamaican schools. It irked him so much he wrote a defiant song bemoaning the dominance of European topics in independent Jamaica’s education system.

You teach the youth about Christopher Colombus

And you said he was a very great man

You teach the youth about Marco Polo

And you said he was a very great man

You teach the youth about the Pirate Hawkins

And you said he was a very great man

You teach the youth about the Pirate Morgan

And you said he was a very great man

Can’t Blame The Youth — Peter Tosh

His former manager, Copeland Forbes, believes the Stepping Razor is also in danger of being lost to Jamaica’s youth. Fearing this, he and promoters of the Peter Tosh Music Festival have approached younger artistes to perform on next month’s show.

“We need to bridge the gap because a lot of our young ones don’t know enough about the pioneers. The addition of the younger artistes is important,” Forbes said in an interview with the Observer.

Jesse Royal, Agent Sasco and Jahbar I are some of the contemporary acts confirmed for the event which takes place October 20 at the Peter Tosh Museum in Kingston.

Forbes said he was struck by Jesse Royal’s performance at last year’s show. He said the roots singjay did songs from the Tosh vaults not usually heard by fans.

“He did No Nuclear War and Lessons In My Life and got a standing ovation. When he sent me the songs before the show, I said ‘Jesse, why yuh want to do these songs’. And him sey, ‘father, a long time mi a penetrate dem’,” Forbes recalled.

This is the third straight year that the show will be held on the complex that houses the Peter Tosh Museum. The previous years featured Tosh’s Word, Sound and Power Band backing a number of top reggae artistes who admired the fiery singer/songwriter who was murdered in September 1987 at his St Andrew home.

Tosh, who was 42 when he died, was born in October.

Next month, the 809 Band will back artistes for the Peter Tosh Music Festival. Some of its members including saxophonist Dean Fraser, keyboardist Robbie Lyn, bassist Michael Fletcher and guitarist Leebert “Gibby” Morrison recorded or toured with Tosh.

— Howard Campbell