30 Minutes With Andrew Tosh : Son Of The Great Peter Tosh

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Andrew Tosh on stage. Photo credit- Joel Savage
                                 There is magic in music, it heals, consoles, inspires, and even has the voice to speak to us if you listen carefully. On the road of agony, growing in dangerous and hard environments, reggae music was the only tool many Africans lived on to pass through the turmoils of life successfully.
                                   Music like ‘Stand Firm’ by Peter Tosh, ‘Born To Win’ by Jimmy Cliff, ‘Give Thanks and Praises’ by Bob Marley, ‘Black Heart Man’ by Bunny Wailer’ etc, are some of the songs we depended on to prevent us getting into trouble with the determination to succeed in life.
                                  There were many great musicians that started early in Jamaica. Desmond Decker, John Holt, Toots and the Maytals, Culture, Burning Spear, etc, but I can’t explain how Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Bunny Wailer did it as if they were the only musicians in Jamaica that time.

                                  Once you like the father, you will like the son, the reason I was very glad when I met both Andrew Tosh and Julian Marley in Antwerp.  It all started during the summer holiday festivals in Antwerp, Belgium. I have missed many festivals and interviews because the festivals take place while on holidays in Africa. This time, luck was on my side, among other artists to perform was Andrew Tosh.

                                    I have heard many times, people saying that Jamaican musicians are  snobbish and have no interest in Africans, but that’s not true. I have enjoyed every minute of meeting famous Jamaican musicians. They are respectable, friendly and story-tellers.
One of Andrew Tosh’s fans takes a photograph with him. Photo credit: Joel Savage
                         Andrew told me much about how he was influenced by his father. His father thought him how to play the piano while very young. Like every child, Andrew enjoyed his father, but quite sad over the pain and brutalities his father went through at the hands of the so-called law, while they ignored the crimes tearing the society apart.
                         “If you’re great, all eyes are on you. You’ll have both lovers and enemies. The goal of the enemies is to break you down physically and spiritually but Peter wasn’t an easy person to submit to that breakdown. He was one of the living great musicians in his time. The reason as a tribute I wrote ‘He Never Died.’
                          Yes! Andrew played ‘He Never Died’ for his father. For the rest of the conversation, I had with Andrew Tosh and other artists such as Luciano, you can read it in the book ‘The Passion Of Reggae and African music available at Amazon.

Jimmy Cliff: Crossing Many Rivers To Peace Ambassador

The influence of Jimmy Cliff’s music in Africa was experienced in the early sixties, even though the seed of reggae was taken from Africa to the Caribbean. On the radio daily, was the music of Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Decker, Toots and The Maytals, John Holt etc, giving the chance for music lovers to know a group which changed the reggae dimension in Jamaica, as ‘The Wailers, then became ‘Bob Marley and the Wailers.’

Jimmy Cliff

Born as James Chambers on April 1, 1948, in Somerton District, St James, Jamaica, Jimmy Cliff began his career as an actor and musician, writing songs when still in primary school. During his education, Jimmy Cliff entered local talent contests and pursued potential producers. Jimmy excelled to be one of the greatest international musicians while in his native country Jamaica.

He recorded classic songs such as ‘Many Rivers To Cross, Born To Win, Struggling Man, House Of Exile, Sitting In Limbo, Wonderful World, Beautiful People, Music Maker, You Can Get It, If You Really Want, etc, making him king of reggae, long before Bob Marley’s name was heard. He has been a figure of major influence on the international music scene for over three decades.

Big Passion

When Paul Simon heard his hit ‘Vietnam’ he travelled down to Kingston, Jamaica to use the tune to record his hit ‘Mother And Child Reunion.’ Jimmy Cliff has recorded over twenty classic albums. A peaceful, respectful gentleman, he was appointed ‘Peace Ambassador’ by the United Nations, to foster good relations between the ECOWAS region in West Africa.

On his way to Freetown, Sierra Leone, the reggae superstar and music legend, stopped over in Accra, Ghana. He called on African governments across the continent to resist all forms of foreign influences saying “we do not want foreigners to rule us anymore.” He advised Africans to be wary of the influence of foreign culture to the detriment of development on the continent.

Jimmy Cliff went on to say that China and Japan have forged ahead with progress because they have maintained their cultural identity and way of life. “My mother and father separated when I was a baby and my mother wasn’t really around. My most important relationships were with my father and grandmother. You can get it if you really want,” says the music legend.