Rasta Irish boy

Rasta Irish boy

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I was at a cocktail party on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1981.  The little get-together was to welcome a family coming in for a vacation from Ireland. As is common in those kind of events, there was a lot of polite conversation, joking about the rainy Irish weather, about the pubs in Dublin and so on.  The family was comprised of the father, a country doctor, his sweet wife and their eleven-year-old son. They asked me what I did in America, and I told them that I had just completed, along with Mr. Earl Chin, a mini-documentary for Italian TV about Robert Nesta Marley, who had passed away just a few months before.  To my complete surprise, all three of these obscure, very “straight” Irish folks, responded excitedly to even the mention of our film.

“Bob Marley, Bob MARLEY – Oh my goodness, what a great man, great man!” said Sean, the doctor.

“Oh Bob, Bob Marley, Mr. Marley. Such a shame, just such a big shame!  Isn’t it, David?  Can’t get over, I can’t…” said Mary, the wife.

“Marley and The Wailers!   Bob Marley – he’s my favorite.  No-one even comes near him.  I have every one of his records.  All of them.   Did you actually KNOW him?  Did you meet him?” said the boy, Patrick.

Bob had been big in Ireland. As he had in Italy.  In Sweden, Holland, England, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, South Africa, China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Japan, Cuba, Bolivia, Columbia, Lebanon, Mali, Israel, Ukraine, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Egypt, Iran, Australia, New Zealand – simply put, everywhere.  In ridiculously remote as well as glamorous, well-known places around the world.  The little Irish boy begged me to send him special, ungettable cassette tapes I had.  His eyes were big as he talked to me, relishing the fact that I had worked with The Gong.

I left the party shortly afterwards and realized that this had been the most spectacular epiphany for me, as regards Bob and reggae music in general.  The pure, unstoppable penetration of the music stunned me intensely as I drove away.  The everlasting charisma of its sound and multiple messages suddenly resided full blown in my sense of global awareness and absorption.   Bob huge in County Meath.  Bob an absolute idol in Zimbabwe.  Bob brilliant in Bogota.  The man, he cannot be stopped, dead or alive.

The music, well…it will play out in our whole lives, way into the twenty-first century and beyond.  And maybe, if we are lucky, the unknown conscious galactic antennae of beings across the universe light years away, to quote John Lennon, will receive this music as the incorrigible, entirely lovable, holy anthem of a better future for humankind.

David Silver
David’s revised article from the book “Reggae International” (Stephen Davis, Peter Simon)

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