Toots to be buried in Clarendon

Music

Toots to be buried in Clarendon

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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IT'LL be a country road that takes reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert home to his final resting place in May Pen, Clarendon.

His daughter, gospel singer Jenieve Bailey, confirmed that the reggae pioneer will be interred in the parish of his birth.

“We, as a family, have decided that our father will be buried in his hometown in May Pen,” said Bailey in a statement sent to Jamaica Observer yesterday afternoon.

“We crave your continued patience, prayer, and support as we work to lay him to rest in a dignified manner befitting his station in life as Jamaica's premier cultural icon,” the statement continued.

Due to restrictions implemented to stem the spread of COVID-19 there will be no nine night.

A nine night is when friends and family come together to the home of the deceased to express condolence and share memories while singing hymns and eating food.

No date was given for the send-off, however Bailey said all efforts will be put into the late reggae singer's “farewell”.

“It's a lot to ensure that everything is done in the right manner because of the huge international interest in our father's legacy and music. We are working assiduously to ensure everything is properly organised before we announce the eventual funeral date, and we plan to ensure that all COVID-19 protocols are observed and implemented for the funeral,” Bailey concluded the statement.

There had been calls from several quarters that Hibbert should be interred at the National Heroes' Park in Kingston in the section reserved for cultural icons. Folklorist Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett-Coverley and reggae singer Dennis Brown are buried in that area. Bennett-Coverley and Brown died in July 2006 and July 1999, respectively.

However, Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange advised that a decision was made that no one else would be interred in that section, except future prime ministers.

“There is really no doubt as to the contribution he made to the growth and development of Jamaican music over the years, however a decision had been taken that no other persons would be buried in the area for cultural icons, and the only other burials that will take place there are those for future prime ministers,” she told the Observer in a previous interview.

Hibbert, lead singer for Toots and the Maytals, died at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew on the evening of Friday, September 11, due to complications caused by COVID-19. He was 77.

He was active up to August of this year as he was one of the 10 finalists in this year's Jamaica Festival Song Competition — a contest he won on three previous occasions with the songs Bam Bam (1966), Sweet And Dandy (1969), and Pomps And Pride (1972). He also released his latest album, Got To Be Tough, on August 28.

His other popular songs include Monkey Man, 54-46, Pressure Drop, and Country Road.

Formed in the 1960s, Toots and the Maytals helped popularise reggae music. The group's 1968 single Do The Reggay was the first song to use the word “reggae” – naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience.

In 2005 the group won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with True Love. Seven years later, Hibbert was awarded an Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaica's music industry.

In December 2019 he received a Jamaica Observer Entertainment Award for his efforts in taking reggae to a global audience.


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