“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. So hit me with music. Hit me with music,” says the great Bob Marley.
We love palm-wine music. We love the blues. We love Highlife. We love soukous. We love hip hop. We love jazz. We love Afrobeat. We love neo-soul. We love salsa. We love R&B. We love funk. We love gospel. We love bomba. We love soul music. We love merengue. We love roots reggae. We love calypso. We love whispering. We love dancing. Indeed, we love ourselves the more when we love music the more, not just any music but good music!
In fact, the spectrum of man’s musical taste knows no boundary. Musical taste is as limitless as humanity is as seamless. Musicality is invariably human soul and human soul is invariably musicality. Truly, the human soul co-exists with topological musicality in endless ripples of emotional circularities. Indeed, our psycho-musical taste buds are the “tree of life of true inner knowledge and beauty.” Positive musical romance and soulful melodiousness constitute an agreeable couple, Siamese love birds, sort of, so say the creative gods of musicality. Who says the musical marriage counselor is lying? Ask pundic musical romance? Then ask phallic soulful melodiousness?
“You’re not alone,” says Michael Jackson on the track “You Are Not Alone.” Into the pundic cup of Lisa Marie Presley’s ear, Michael pours a lyrical glass of romantic red wine: “Just the other night I thought I heard you cry. Asking me to come and hold you in my arms. I can hear your prayers, your burden I will bear. But first I need your hand then forever can begin...Whisper three words and I’ll come running…”
What are these three words? Is it about the Trinity: God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost? Jesus Christ, Mary, and Joseph? No. No. No. Three no’s, we mean? No. Michael tells Lisa to just whisper “I Love You!” Three words: “I Love You!” What a nice way to put emotional flesh on the anorexic skeleton of romance? Can our corrupt politicians look in the faces of the people, the ruled, and say to them: “I love you!” Well, we don’t know!
Indeed, musicality is love. And love is musicality. The two inhabit the space of psycho-spirituality within the thirsty well of the human soul. Yet wherever there is love, there is also hate. What can we do about that? Nothing, for the most part. The two are part and parcel of the spiritual genetics and psychological dynamics of humanity. Namely, dualities or dichotomies are integral to the nature, that is, to the phenomenological inevitabilities of human existence. Quite captivatingly, musicality, in and of itself, is nature. Everything, material and immaterial, is right there. Like nature itself!
A question: What do Lucky Dube’s “Political Games” and Daddy Lumba’s “Children of the future” have in common? Daddy Lumba sings:
“Children of the future. Children of the future. There’ll be a time to be too late to regret (2x). What you’re doing to this earth (2x). If you can give the chance to see how this world is gonna be after you’re gone. Children dying, lord, everywhere. Sign of the time. Destroying the nature everywhere. Sign of the time. Polio disease everywhere. Sign of the time. Sahara expanding every year. Sign of the time. Take a minute and think about the world. Love save this world. Mr. Business, save this world. Save this world. Children of the future. Let’s do it. I do it for my brother. Let’s do it. I do it for my teenage. Let’s do it. Me do it for the children. Me do it for our children. Just do it. Love save this world….”
This is the fun part. He sings: “You can fly to the moon. Fly away. You can fly to the sky. Fly away. And when you come back down things are still the same. The same people. Same faces. Same eyes. Same planet. So, why can’t you make this place the only place for mankind, leaders of the world?”
These prophetic and melancholy phrases make us shed warm tears whenever our ears put up with them. Listen up: There’ll be a time to be too late to regret! Children dying everywhere! Take a minute and think about the world! Children of the future! Love save the world. Same planet! I do it for the children! Let’s do it! Leaders of the world! Leaders of the world, the Orwellian politicians?
The soldier of Ghana’s roots reggae Rocky Dawnuni says a space shuttle doesn’t stay in the skies of otherworldliness forever. It is as if he knows more about the romantic politics of Newtonian gravity than the falling Newtonian apple itself. Actually, the space shuttle eventually returns to the uterine warmth of humanity, the earth, where the Orwellian politicians and Daddy Lumba’s “Children of the Future” live side by side in social and political mutual exclusivity. Interestingly, Daddy Lumba’s and Dawuni’s politic statements share rhythmic and near-lyrical factualness with Michael Jackson’s “disturbed” environmentalism, a beautiful piece of Wangari Maathai captured in his “hard rock”-flavored R&B masterpiece, “Earth Song.”
Truth be told, the shrieking strings in “Earth Song” are truly angelic, recalling the guitar virtuosos of George Benson, of Earl Klugh, of Eric Clapton, of Keith Richards, and of Robbie Shakespeare. Also, the song’s violin’s helter-skelter shredding screams are even more romantically godly. Finally, we may assume Michael’s “environmentalism” to be a statement of hyperbole, in other words, the misplaced and wayward decisions made by today’s politicians. What does Michael Jackson’s “disturbed” environmentalism, “Earth Song,” have to say about our today’s corrupt politics? Let’s listen to him:
“What’ve we done to the world? Look what’ve done. What about all the peace, that you pledged your son? What about the flowering fields? Is there a time? What about all the dreams, that you said was yours and mine? Did you ever stop to notice all the children dead from war? Did you ever stop to notice Earth, these weeping shores? What about yesterday? What about the seas? What about nature’s worth?”
Yes, what are the grand promises the politicians made to us, the flowering fields, the peace, the dreams, the yesterdays, the seas, etc? Namely, Jackson’s “Earth Song” is asking the same questions as Dawuni and Daddy Lumba ask: What does the politics of tergiversation and deceit do for “children of the Future,” the people, the electorate, or Michael Jackson’s, Lionel Richie’s, and Quincy Jone’s “We Are The World”?
In fact, Dawuni’s “skies of otherworldliness” and Daddy Lumba’s “fly to the moon” or “fly to the sky” are none other than “tall political lies.” Indeed, lies and hypocrisies of any kind are painful. For instance, the churchly politics of lies and hypocrisies caused Bob Marley to say (“Talkin’ Blues”): “Because I feel like bombing a church, now that you know the preacher is lying.” Political lies and shameless abuse of the electorate drove Mutabaruka to musically sentence corrupt politicians to terms of 1000 years in his provocative track: “The People’s Court—Part l.”
Now in the courtroom: Lucky Dube, the judge, asked the corrupt politician, the defense, after having carefully listened to Dawuni, Daddy Lumba, and Michael Jackson, the plaintiffs, unveil their combined indictment against him: “How do you feel when you lie, straight face while people cry? How do you feel when you promise that which you know you’ll never do or fulfill, giving false hope to the people, giving false hope to the underprivileged? Do you really sleep at night when you know you’re living a lie?”
The corrupt politician refused to say a word, not even betray a wink or smile. “To you it’s just a job. To the people it hurts to the bone,” continued Judge Lucky Dube. “Allow me to continue,” said he: “What do you say to the orphans? Of the men and women you sent to war? What do you say to the widows? Of the men you sent to war, telling them it’s good for the country, when you know it’s good for your ego? What a shame!”
The corrupt politician remained nonchalant, as the cemetery does in the quiet of ghostly darkness. Judge Lucky Dube looked into his dangling corrupt eyes and asked him: “Do you really sleep at night?”
Again the corrupt politician refused to respond. “When you know you’re living a lie,” said the Judge, adding: “You talking tough, you talking sincerely. Giving false hope to the infected. Giving false to the affected. To you it’s a job. To the people it hurts to the bone.”
The corrupt politician danced, James Brown-like, as the Judge rebuked him. “What is the name of your castigatory song, Your Honor?” asked the corrupt politician, wiggling as a praying mantis enjoying a vestige of romantic ejaculation.
Actually, the castigatory lyricism came from a track on one of Judge Lucky Dube’s many roots reggae albums. Unbeknown to all and sundry he moonlighted as a musician. He called his song: “Political Games.” But who was the corrupt politician on trial? The people, the electorate! It’s because the people or the electorate make and unmake politicians, corrupt and disciplined. What does that mean? Does it mean that the electorate or the people constitute the “politician”? Yes, that is exactly what it means.
“Then,” said the corrupt politician, “How can the people or the electorate lie to themselves, the politician? There was no answer. Though not explicitly voiced out in the open, again, the people or the electorate meant Daddy Lumba’s “Children of the Future,” the same collectivity of people Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” talked about so passionately and whose future he so unapologetically defended.
But everyone knew the corrupt politician’s name, Sherriff John Brown, or Judge Lucky Dube’s “Political Games,” or better still, “enemy of the people.” “Sherriff John Brown always hated me. For what, I don’t know. Every time I plant a seed, he said kill it before it grows. He said kill them before they grow,” Bob Marley reads from his “I Shot the Sherriff.” What is “seed,” anyway? It means many things. Foresight. Progressivism. Pan-African democracy. African unification. One love. African humanity. Electoral reforms. Eradication of corruption, poverty, and hunger. Endless! And who is “I” in the song? The “I” represented the conscientious reformer; social and political activist.
“So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe. Ready to cut you down,” reads Bob Marley from “Small Axe.” Who is the “big tree”? The corrupt politician. And who’s the “small axe”? The people, the electorate, Daddy Lumba’s “Children of the Future,” or “I.” Then Peter Tosh appeared out of the blue. “You can’t blame the youth. You can’t fool the youth. You can’t blame the youths of today. You can’t fool the youth. You’re teaching youths to learn in school that cow jumps over the moon. You’re teaching youths to learn in school that the dish runs away with spoon,” he reads from his “You Can’t Blame the Youth.” In other words, corrupt politicians can’t lie to “the youth,” otherwise referred to, again, as Daddy Lumba’s “Children of the Future,” Tosh meant to say.
But what must be done to the corrupt politician? “Freedom came my way one day. And I started out of town, yeah! All of a sudden I saw Sheriff John Brown aiming to shoot me down, so I shot him, I shot him, I shot him down and I say: If I am guilty I will pay,” Bob Marley reads from “I Shot the Sherriff” the last time. The question for us is this: Does “I” have any “guilty” to pay by extirpating Sherriff John Brown, the corrupt politician? Does it sound like “Children of the Future” finally desire to have “give me free,” as Cinqué said in the 19th century?
Finally, the sudden death of Sherriff John Brown spread through the romantic forest of gossips like the emotional fire gutting the “environmentalism” of Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song.” Daddy Lumba heard the news of Sherriff John Brown’s passing, so did Judge Lucky Dube. In the end the grief-stricken latter said what “I” did was justified. However, the former disagreed. Who is right then: Daddy Lumba or Lucky Dube?
“Hit us with the great music of moral truth, Mr. Bob Marley!”
Source: Francis Kwarteng
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