Dear reader, allow me for once to begin this entry with a bit of an apology. This is so because in earnest, the subject matter that anchors the space today was supposed to come to you a week earlier.
But in a world where priorities are always competing, by the time of press last week, I found myself in a space where civilisation would not permit me to submit my entry to the editor. I shared the pain and frustration with you as it meant no fresh entry was brought to you.
As the days spanned from last Friday, I kept a steady watch of the developments around the art world to see what will inform the column this week. I was doing so with a heavy heart for missing out to share my thoughts on one subject matter: the one I had missed the previous week.
When the day of submission came, I sat before my computer and racked my brain trying to find out what my opinion for the week can feast on. Maybe out of bias or just a strong leaning on what happened the previous week, I was convinced there was still no news bigger than the death of reggae icon Bunny Wailer. A relief!
As a little boy, I was unfortunate (in some days it may read I was fortunate), to have two elder brothers. As the youngest it meant I had little say on a number of things such as the music we had to listen to in the house when space permitted so.
Whatever genre they brought, I just needed to tag along. Whether it was boring to my ears, I had no choice. I was the youngest, my only sin. So, these brothers had a huge weakness for reggae and that meant a lot of reggae in the house.
As time passed by I started enjoying the music too. Whether it was out of pure appreciation of the music or just for lack of alternatives, I am not sure. But at some point I know I was a complete reggae music fan. Something may have changed along the way.
Out of the reggae music collection that bombarded my years then was that of The Wailers and then The Never Ending Wailers which the fallen giant Bunny Wailer was part of at some stage of his life.
It was some good music I must admit. I still remember with fondness The Never Ending Wailers album which had hits such as Hammer, Hurts To Be Alone, Together Again, Rescue Me, among others.
The melodies in the album were so beautiful. And it may delight my brothers to learn that I still have this album in my music collection. Every now and then I still listen to it both in their honour and for the passion in reggae music they influenced.
Bunny Wailer was introduced to me as part of the triumvirate which also had Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. It required one to take particular interest in his singing, voice and composition to appreciate that he was also a complete artist in his own right.
Many quickly dismissed him as a third that made Bob and Peter complete. But the man had his own strengths as he outlined through his music. His influence on reggae music as a genre can’t be undermined. He was a force and he will remain in the reverence and memory of many music lovers for long.
So, when I learnt of his passing last week, I was saddened. And memories of my youth listening to reggae music with my two brothers run through. Like most people, reggae music is what initiated our passion for the art. Whatever our preferences have come to be in the later years, there are few who can avoid the influence of reggae in their music stories.
Reggae man Bunny Wailer, rest in power and thank you for the memories. My brothers Kambani and Malingaliro, thanks for initiating this journey!