Tag Archives: bob marley

happy birthday bob marley!

bob marley

today is bob marley’s birthday. listen to him and chances are you won’t need therapy. listen to his sweetness and be comforted; to his rebel music and be roused; to his odes to jah and be lifted to a place that belongs to everyone.

for valentine’s day that’s coming up soon, one of his love songs:

i wanna love you and treat you right;
i wanna love you every day and every night:
we’ll be together with a roof right over our heads;
we’ll share the shelter of my single bed;
we’ll share the same room, yeah! – for jah provide the bread.
is this love – is this love – is this love –
is this love that i’m feelin’?
is this love – is this love – is this love –
is this love that i’m feelin’?
i wanna know – wanna know – wanna know now!
i got to know – got to know – got to know now!

i’m willing and able,
so i throw my cards on your table!
i wanna love you – i wanna love and treat – love and treat you right;
i wanna love you every day and every night:
we’ll be together, yeah! – with a roof right over our heads;
we’ll share the shelter, yeah, oh now! – of my single bed;
we’ll share the same room, yeah! – for jah provide the bread.

freedom, redemption and inspiration

bob marley, black and whiteone of the people to whom i passed on my “brilliant blog” award, sojourner, has a meme, sunday inspirations. similar to wordless wednesday, it’s a day of the week dedicated to a theme. it was created in honor of sojourner’s mother

and is just one way to help get us through the week ahead, the trials we may face, and yes, to say thank ya … your weekly contribution may very well be the inspiration that someone else may need and has been looking for

sojourner’s place itself is a blog that inspires me, with a great mix of southern graciousness, politics, spirituality and an emphasis on the lives of professional african-american women.

so i’d like to participate today, with an excerpt from the novel i’m working on. it’s about a slave, joe (or kosi, his african name) on one of the first sugar plantations in louisiana. one day he runs away, and dies on his escpape. since i’m writing this novel in the shape of magical realism, it doesn’t end there. after he dies, he meets a cranky entity who offers to show him heaven. heaven turns out to be a bit boring, so they fly on over to africa, where joe/kosi meets animals and people he’s never met before, and is also confronted with becoming a new person. yes, yes, i know he’s dead – but as i said, it’s magical realism. here he sits, among a bunch of people gathered on a sunday evening somewhere in present-day louisiana and talks about his experience of starting to realize that he could become someone else, someone new, someone awakening. the song he refers to is a melody that weaves itself throughout the book.

people, this is hard for me to talk about, even after all this time, 200 years almost, the way you-all count it. so many feelings have left me, and i tell you, that’s a good thing, but sorrow, that’s one i still have. sorrow and joy. it’s not joyful for me to talk about that time but i know i must, i must tell my story, the way we all must. telling our true story, that’s what sets us free. and that’s what it’s all about. freedom.

i have sorrow for that man back there in africa, in dahomey, i know it’s called benin now. he was so sightless. both looking inside himself and looking outside, there was so little he saw. this was the time of his awakening, in his death he awoke, and that’s not an easy thing.

today i sit here, speaking through an old man, dick of all people, i know, that’s funny but who knows what’s going on in a mind? maybe when he wakes up tomorrow from his hangover he’ll remember a tiny bit of this, and maybe it’ll move him along to more freedom?

the song? you want to hear the song? i can’t sing it here, not with dick’s old voice; not because he can’t sing, that doesn’t matter and it’s a crazy notion anyway, that there are people who can’t sing. but his heart isn’t ready yet, it’s not in his heart yet, and that’s the only way it can be sung. where the voice and the heart come together. it’s gotta be not just there in his heart, lying there, it has to take root, that song.

but tell you what. you listen to this other guy, what’s his name, a brother, and i tell you, not just because he’s got dark skin, what’s his name, long hair, from down that other country, jamaica – that’s his song, anyway.

and dick, or joe, or whoever it was, started singing, in a quiet voice …

won’t you help to sing
these songs of freedom? –
cause all i ever have:
redemption songs;
redemption songs.

emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
none but ourselves can free our minds.
have no fear … have no fear … have no fear …

… these songs of freedom …

image by unlockok

remembrance day songs for 2007

a few days from now is remembrance day – november 11 here in canada, when we remember our soldiers in the war. and when we imagine a future without war. i know, it sounds crazy. just this morning i was reading about paul tibbets, the man who threw the atomic bomb on hiroshima and who died a few days ago. war, in his eyes, and in the eyes of many who discussed his story, is inevitable.

perhaps. but not in my eyes. i’m happy to be a simple minded pacificist. it always amuses me to remember almost 40 years ago, when a well-intentioned person predicted that i would soon lose my idealism. i still haven’t changed my mind. a pacifist is someone passionate about peace. that suits me just fine.

like last year, i’d like to offer you some remembrance day songs again that echo the need for peace.

lately, i’ve been researching for my NaNoWriMo project, which is about the story of a slave in 19th century louisiana. as you probably know, there were quite a few african-american soldiers in the wars at that time. an unknown buffalo soldier and his familythey were called buffalo soldiers. which brings us to a song by bob marley, buffalo soldier.

buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta:
there was a buffalo soldier in the heart of america,
stolen from africa, brought to america,
fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.

yesterday morning on CBC radio i also heard another ugly war story. during the depression, many american citizens of mexican origin were deported to mexico. they even charged them for the transportation cost! but when it came time to draft people for WWII, these very citizens received draft notices. according to the CBC, all of them answered the call.

let’s also have a spanish song for peace, then. this is by one of my favourites, argentinean mercedes sosa, solo le pido a dios.

this only i ask of god
not to be indifferent to pain
that death doesn’t find me
empty and lonely, without having done what i can

this only i ask of god
not to be indifferent to injustice

this only i ask of god
not to be indifferent to war

finally, music of peace takes us to the international festival of sacred music coming out of fes, morocco.

in its 13th year now, it brings together people like pakistan-born khalid mahmood, a UK house of commons member and member of the third world solidarity group, a group of parliamentarians from all parties concerned with solidarity, peace angelique kidjo singing a rainbow songand justice in developing countries; chief rabbi rené-samuel sirat, one-time chief rabbi of france, one of the UNESCO chairs of interreligious dialogue for intercultural understanding; and sheikh khaled bentounès, spiritual leader of the sufi order alâwiya, “man of peace and indefatigable worker towards harmony between peoples”

one of the artists present at that festival was angelique kidjo, always an ambassador for justice and peace. watch and listen to her here at the newport folk festival. not somber like we usually think remembrance day songs should be. but maybe if there was more joy it would be easier to imagine peace?

(this post was included in the carnival of inspiration and motivation)