Message in the music


Message in the music

Observer senior write

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!

Today is Emancipation Day, a time for reflection on historical legislation in the British Parliament in 1833 that abolished slavery in West Indies. Emancipation Day actually took effect on August 1, 1834 with full Emancipation in place as of July 1838.

THE scar of slavery, for most black people, can never be removed. The reggae artiste has related stories of African bondage and resilience through many a song. Here are some of them.

Slave Driver (The Wailers) — From the ground-breaking 1973 album, Catch A Fire. Songwriter Bob Marley at his militant best.

Slavery Days (Burning Spear) —The man from St Ann tugged at the heartstrings with his emotive chanting that recalled the horrors his ancestors faced.

Declaration of Rights (The Abyssinians) — Classic round of harmonising by the Trench Town trio. The lyric, 'Look how long they brought us down here. Have us in bondage right through the years' says it all.

Sweet Africa (Earth and Stone) — A powerful 1979 song by this underrated duo from east Kingston.

Slave Master (Gregory Isaacs) — The Cool Ruler is usually associated with lovers rock, but he takes on the establishment on this 1978 classic.

Place Called Africa (Junior Byles)— Byles yearns for the Motherland on this Lee “Scratch” Perry gem.

Africa (The Mighty Diamonds) — A Channel One standard, the roots trio are at their harmonic best as they long for a place where there is “no more crying, no victimisation, no more starvation”.

Rally Round The Flag (Steel Pulse) — From the True Democracy album, an anthem in every sense of the word.

Great Kings of Africa (Mutabaruka) — Muta, with help from friends like Dennis Brown and Ini Kamoze, educate the masses of African champions like “Shaka the Zulu”.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon