Professor Gus John delivers his feature address
On September 8th, Gus John attended the Bob Marley & The Wailers Heritage Blue Plaque Commemorative Unveiling Ceremony at 15, The Circle, Neasden and paid his tribute to the reggae legends with the following feature address:
It gives me great pleasure to be able to make a contribution to this historic event today and I want to congratulate Delroy Washburn and his team at Reggae Focus – ”Sounds of Jamaica’‘ for their hard work in getting this plaque created and making it possible for us to be present here for the unveiling of the plaque.
Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to Mr and Mrs Atkinson, whose home this is, for allowing us to acknowledge for all time through this plaque fixed to the house they now own, the historical record of the fact that Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and other members of their band lived in this house in 1972 and off and on in the years following.
I am old enough to remember the influence of Ska, Rock Steady and Blue Beat, musical genres originating in Jamaica and bursting onto the British scene in the middle 1960s onwards. I was a theological student at Oxford and a Dominican Friar, but I managed to frequent parties organised by Jamaican nurses at the Radcliffe and Churchill teaching hospitals in Oxford at which we danced to Jamaican music, Ska especially, as if we were in Kingston. That was interspersed with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and other musical giants from the USA, West African ‘high life’ and calypso from Sparrow and Kitchener… In other words, music with its roots in Africa and the Global African Diaspora. Read the rest of this entry →