Tuesday, December 18, 2018
It is almost impossible to mention the name Yellowman without thinking of his ingenious dancehall classic Zungguzungguguzungguzeng. The track is delivered in a freestyle fashion, with the deejay jumping through topics ranging from a goat and rooster, to having 110 girlfriends who bear his yellow babies. The song has since been sampled by several entertainers, including Tupac, Queen Latifah, Junior Mafia, Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel, but what does it mean? The Gleaner caught up with the deejay to discuss the song's success and album of the same name, released 35 years ago. "It can mean anything, you know. Mi can look pon somebody and say, 'if you don't leave me alone I will Zungguzunggugu-zungguzeng you'," Yellowman explained. "It's just a slang that came to me when me go inna the studio and hear the riddim. I didn't sit down and write it, me just rhyme up the words and mek the verse." Produced by long-time collaborator Henry 'Junjo' Lawes, Yellowman presents his arguments as the single unfolds on the 'Diseases' rhythm. Even though the entertainer gained popularity after placing second in the Tastee's Talent Contest in 1979, he noted that he was often dismissed by producers for being an albino. Zungguzungguguzungguzeng would ultimately change that.
VETERAN singer Ernie Smith is one of several acts slated to perform on Christmas Joy in the Bass at the Old Ambassador Theatre in Trench Town this evening. Showtime is 7:00 pm. “The main objective of Christmas Joy in the Bass is to bring attention to the reason for the season — the fact that Christ was born to save the world from sin. So while the performers are entertaining the hundreds of residents who turn up at the open-air auditorium, we want to bring a message of hope for the future,” said Major Richard Cooke, president of the Joy Town Community Development Foundation.
Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, and Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert were mentioned in last week's article as being largely responsible for placing reggae music in the international spotlight. Consequently, a few weeks ago, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) included the genre in its list of cultural treasure that must be safeguarded. Two of these gentlemen Hibbert and Marley - also had seminal links with the rock steady genre from which reggae evolved, while Cliff had virtually transitioned from ska to reggae, without any rock steady song of note. Marley, for his part, enjoyed the most lucrative period of his pre-Island Records days with a series of extraordinarily popular rock steady hits at the end of 1966. This, on the heels of his return from Delaware in the United States, after frustrated by meagre remuneration from Studio One, he was driven to make the move to 'greener pastures' shortly after marrying Alpharita Anderson (Rita Marley) in February of that year. While working at odd jobs in Delawre, Marley had dreams of regrouping the Wailers there and suggested that his two friends join him. The suggestion, however, fell on deaf ears, and The Gong, as Bob is sometimes called, was back in Jamaica by year end with new ideas on the way forward for the group.
Bunny Wailer has launched an initiative to build a statue in tribute to The Wailers, the legendary group he co-founded 55 years ago in Trench Town. A maquette depicting him, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh was displayed last week in Kingston. The maquette is done by sculptor Paul Napier whose work includes a bust of National Hero Marcus Garvey that sits at Liberty Hall in Kingston. Maxine Stowe, Wailer's manager, told Jamaica Observer's weekly Splash that the singer/songwriter approached Napier about a possible project in February, when Napier unveiled a bust of Wailer. “It's really to support the identity of The Wailers. What we are doing is moving forward to get funding, which is what the launch was about,” said Stowe. She did not give details about possible sponsors but said the Government has been approached for support. Once completed, Wailer plans to mount the monument at Bournemouth Beach Park Complex in east Kingston.
MANY Jamaicans associate Toots and The Maytals with the annual Festival Song Contest rather than Christmas, but the legendary singer and his group have been giving Yuletide cheer for over 50 years. Last year Toots went into the recording studio with guitarist Lamont Savory to cut It's Christmas, a bluesy number that calls for benevolence during the season. “Christmas is nice, for those who can afford it,” Toots joked during an interview with the Jamaica Observer. “But seriously, it's a nice time of the year an', even if yuh don't believe inna it, it's a great time an' people mus' help one another.” Though it was done in 2017, It's Christmas was recently released. Toots played most of the instruments on the song.