One love! And other such musical legacies?
Listening to Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of The 70’s on BBC Radio 2 yesterday, I got to thinking about the power of music but how often and unfortunately, that ‘power’ is usually a short-lived trend or fashion, despite original ‘cult status’ at the time…
Jonnie Walker was joined in conversation by the Oscar-winning film producer Simon Chinn, to talk about his 2012 film Searching for Sugarman). The film covered the popular revival of the previously little-known American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez and his unlikely rise to fame in South Africa, the one place where he enjoys an almost ‘cult’ status by his fans.
Another little-known fact from Jonnie Walker’s show was that today, 22nd April, is the anniversary of the One Love Peace Concert held back in 1978 in Kingston, Jamaica. The concert, dubbed by the media of the day as the “Third World Woodstock” brought together 16 of Reggae’s biggest acts, and was designed to break the conflict of, and hopefully reduce the deaths arising from, Jamaica’s political civil war at the time.
“One Love/People Get Ready” is a reggae song by Bob Marley & The Wailers and has become synonymous with championing the cause of world poverty, along with many other associated social struggles. It sends out a message of universal love and respect expressed by all people for all people, regardless of race, creed, or social status.
Jamaica’s ‘political civil war’ may now be all but over however; the mostly drug related turf-wars and rivalry between Jamaican Posses and Yardie gangs still continues. Jamaica, in particular cities such as Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town, experience high levels of crime and violence. Jamaica has endured one of the highest murder rates in the world for many years, according to UN estimates. So were the efforts of Bob Marley wasted? Probably not.
Together we can unite a global community to educate and nurture our youth, protect our planet and join together the hands of warring nations in the name of peace…(1Loveproject.com)
Although a worthwhile sentiment, the cynic in me has to wonder; as the project launch more-or-less coincided with the release of Cedella’s “One Love” book – was there also an element of self-promotion involved here?
The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively – Bob Marley
Any self-interest aside, the 1Love project actually joined the ranks of several other musically inspired charitable supergroups and organisations. Following on from George Harrison’s seminal Concert for Bangladesh back in 1971, the likes of Band-Aid, USA for Africa, Band-Aid II and Band-Aid20 have all joined a long line of those artistes seeking to raise awareness about (and much-needed funding for) some of the worrying issues in our world.
Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? – Bob Marley
More than a decade ago now, a small group of documentary filmmakers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Their dream was realized and has since blossomed into a global sensation called Playing For Change. The project which includes famous (and not so famous) musicians, “has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.” One of their first efforts was the One Love piece (see below) and their legacy from the original idea is the Playing For Change Foundation.
Even when you look back to 1969 and Woodstock, a monumental music festival which (supposedly) changed our world views for ever, many of the issues raised then are still prominent now. More than half a million people came together – united in a message of peace, openness and cultural expression – to demonstrated and make the views of their generation heard.
Woodstock is more than a moment in time. It is about a way of being in the world…(woodstock.com)
The major political and humanitarian issue of the day was the opposition to US involvement in the Vietnam War but sadly, wars are still taking place. Despite much political rhetoric to suggest they are freedom fights and actions to control drugs and/or curb terrorism, many suggest they’re little more than methods in furtherance of American commercial interests and world supremacy.
In short, contemporary artists have used their music in a worthy attempt to change the ills of society, the politics of the day, as with the Punk Rock era of the 1970-80’s, or just simply to raise funds for natural disasters in the world. These efforts have been taking place for more than half a century now, some with a modicum of success but unfortunately, a good deal of them have merely scratched the surface of many of the issues at play, and mostly only whilst fashionable. The efforts of all those musicians in the past, although highly laudable, tends to descend into little more than a sad indictment of our mostly self-interested society; especially when the issue(s) still remain.
What have you done today to make you feel proud? – Heather Small
I don’t know that anything will change substantially and certainly not any time soon; whilst the predominant lifestyle ethics in our society is governed by the cry – “me, me, me” – who actually gives a stuff about anyone else anyway?