I read in the Jamaican The Sunday Gleaner of April 2, 2017 that it has been over 40 years since Peter Tosh released his classic hit song Legalize It from the album of the same name.
“This year, to celebrate International Peter Tosh Day on April 20, the Peter Tosh Estate is releasing a 2017 remix of this powerful and prophetic canticle, which was from the first album Tosh released after leaving the Wailers.” This is according to The Sunday Gleaner.
The publication further explains that the song was written by Tosh as a response to his ongoing victimisation by the Jamaican police, but it was also a political statement pushing for the legalisation of marijuana.
In Ganja’s pre-emancipation era, the oldest Jamaican publication highlights that Legalize It became a unifying anthem that brought like-minded exponents of the herb together from diverse countries and cultures and that in recent years, the perception of marijuana has changed radically, with many jurisdictions now making allowances for research as well as for recreational and medicinal use of the herb.
Two things quickly came to mind; one is that Malawi is exactly doing this by researching on industrial hemp while the other sent me searching for any legendary music icon or an enormously huge musical hit that can deserve such mention or better still that, can enjoy a modern re-edition.
When asked to mention Malawi’s legendary musicians, we are fond of lining up names like that of Daniel Kachamba and his Kwela Band, Stonard Lungu, Snowden Ibu, Allan Namoko and the Chimvu River Jazz Band. There are also tracks from Kalimba and Makasu as well as by the Old Police Ochestra, New Scene, led by Morson Phuka, The Roots, Wambali Mkandawire to mention but a few that are considered to have rich value for our hall of fame.
If I ask readers which track could be an outstanding one befitting special mention will it be Kalimba’s Sometimes I wonder, or Anachita Chobaya or Uthenga waimfa by Stonard Lungu.
There are also tracks by Jivarcort Kathumba’s ‘Abale Wanga’; Joseph Nangalembe’s ‘Mwananga Che Ben’; Daniel Kachamba’s Anthuwa Bodza; MBC Band’s Tikulonjereni; Robert Fumulani’s Chemwali; Namoko’s Lameck; Lucky Stars’ Chinafuna M’bale; and of course Super Zunde’s Kongolo Wene.
Back to my earlier enquiry, do you think we have a musical artist of a song that requires the national attention, recognition and to be held in the highest regard by setting aside, say a Joseph Nangalembe Day for example?
I know that Martse has done a re-edition of Billy Kaunda’s Mwapindulanji and in the recent past San B and Nepman have done a copy from fallen Reggae King Evison Matafale’s Kuimba 1 album called Chauta Wamphamvu.
While for Martse it is said he got Kaunda’s blessings, for Matafale’s song there was a dispute on the question of copyright issues as some family members felt short changed and demanded answers.
Well this is perhaps a kind of scenario that one might advance as a mitigating factor why there is no such recognition of the same. However, the question still remains if any past songs and musicians produced a kind of musical art that turned the nation on its head due to its influential effect requiring it to be honoured today.
Do we need to move or establish a body that should look at such songs or as the saying goes, good wine needs no bush?