Where will Toots be buried?

Entertainment

Where will Toots be buried?

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserer.com

Sunday, September 27, 2020

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There is still no word on where the remains of renowned reggae pioneer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert will be buried.

There have been murmurings that the man known for songs such as Monkey Man, 54-46, Pressure Drop and Country Road will be interred at the National Heroes'' Circle in the section of that park reserved for cultural icons. Personalities such as folklorists Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) and Ranny Williams (Maas Ran) as well as the Crown Prince of Reggae Dennis Brown are interred in this section of the park located in Kingston.

However, Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange told the Jamaica Observer that she is not aware of any decision as to the final resting place of the man credited with naming the musical genre reggae with the release of his 1969 track Do the Reggay.

“There is really no doubt as to the contribution he made to the growth and development of Jamaican music over the years. However, a decision had been taken that no other persons would be buried in the area for cultural icons and the only other burials that will take place there are those for future prime ministers.”

I have been in discussions with his family and they still to come back to me as to what is their decision regarding interment. So I am really awaiting their word before any further consideration and discussion can take place,” Grange told the Observer.

She further explained that the initial discussions have been centering around Hibbert being interred at his birthplace in May Pen, Clarendon.

“One of the considerations on the table is for Toots to return to his birthplace. When you look at the fact that Bob Marley is buried at his birthplace in Nine Miles, St Ann, and thousands of visitors journey to this shrine from all over the world on a yearly basis, something similar was being discussed for Toots. So I am waiting on the family to come back to me before we can say anything definitively,” Grange added.

Hibbert died at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew, on the evening of Friday, September 11. He was 77. The details regarding the singer's illness are still unknown to the public, however he was admitted to the hospital where he was placed in a medically induced coma.

He was active up to August of this year as he was one of the 10 finalists in this year's Festival Song Competition — a contest he won on three previous occasions with the songs Bam Bam (1966) Sweet And Dandy (1969), and Pomps And Pride (1972). He also released his latest album, Got To Be Tough, on August 28.

Formed in the 1960s, his band Toots and the Maytals helped popularise reggae music. The group's 1968 single Do The Reggay was the first song to use the word “reggae” naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience.

In 2005, the group won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with True Love. Seven years later, he was awarded an Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaica's music industry.

In December 2019, he received a Jamaica Observer Entertainment Award for his efforts in taking reggae to a global audience.


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