Skanking for BunnyTuesday, April 13, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
The spirit of Bunny Wailer hovered in pleasure last Saturday at his Weymouth Drive home, where Rootsman Skanking, a pre-recorded show celebrating his 74th birthday, took place.
Stalwart musicians including Ibo Cooper and Earl “Chinna” Smith, veteran artistes Tony Rebel and Spragga Benz as well as new-wave acts Nature Ellis, Chronixx and Popcaan saluted the legendary singer/songwriter who died on March 2.
The event was promoted by the singer/songwriter's family, including several of his 13 children. His son Asadenaki, who also performed, spoke to the Jamaica Observer about the importance of preserving his father's legacy.
“As I got older and more involved in the business, I saw the impact that his music had on the lives of people. His determination to own and preserve his image and works made me pledge to do the same with my own works and his legacy,” he said.
Some of the tributes, including those by his longtime neighbours Cooper, Spragga Benz and his nephew Dre Tosh (grandson of fellow Wailer Peter Tosh), were pre-recorded.
Tony Rebel performed Wailer's 1980 hit song Crucial. He saluted the three-time Grammy winner, saying he “used di music in a perceptive way”.
Chronixx did Ram Dancehall, another Wailer standard, and The Wailers' Keep on Moving. He declared 'Jah B' as “Godfather an' God of dancehall. No one sing dancehall like di great”.
He, Asadenaki and Popcaan closed the event with a rousing version of Cool Runnings, one of Bunny Wailer's signature songs.
Born Neville O'Riley Livingston, Wailer along with Tosh and Bob Marley, were the most famous of The Wailers harmony group that formed in Trench Town during the early 1960s. That decade, they had a number of ska, rock steady and reggae hit songs including Simmer Down, Lonesome Feeling, Lick Samba, Small Axe and Duppy Conqueror.
Wailer and Tosh left the group in 1974. Like Marley, they recorded outstanding albums during the 1970s; Wailer's effort was 1975's Blackheart Man.
His health gradually deteriorated after suffering the first of two strokes in late 2018.
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