SOUNDS AND SONGS OF FREEDOM
I dreamt, last night, that I was on the road to Tortola. This thought resembles the first line in the wonderful novel “Rebecca” where the destination was the fictional Manderley (Daphne du Maurier, 1938, Victor Gollancz, England). I am very serious about loving my visit to Tortola, a most beautiful island of approximately 24,000 people. This Caribbean paradise has sandy, white beaches and delicious local food, all to be savored. The people and the nightlife are upbeat. The voice of Bob Marley echoes in the air. Ah! This is what I want to talk about…
Marley’s tone is passionate, distinctive and sincere. And, he is one of our visionaries (along side of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Curtis Mayfield). “Redemption Song” was originally an acoustical offering with no accompaniment. (Don’t miss this version!) It rates #66 in the top 500 great songs (Wikipedia, 2014). Here is one chorus:
“…Won’t you help to sing’
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have;
(“Redemption Song,” Bob Marley, 1980,
“Uprising Album” Island/Tuff Gong, Musix
Match ©2000-2014, AZLyrics.com;
2014; Wikipedia, 2014
Writers: Bob Marley, Chris Blackwell)
Since birth in abject poverty in Jamaica, Marley knew, intimately, the injustice of racism and classism. Gifted musically, he persisted toward success and global acclaim, bringing reggae music to international attention. Marley and the Wailers urge us to join together with ‘one love,’ ‘one song,’ and ‘one heart;’ this is a powerful, spiritual message that we are all connected:
“One Love. One Heart!
Let’s get together and feel all right.
Hear the children cryin’ (One Love!)
Hear the children cryin’ (One Heart!)
Sayin’: give thanks and praise to the Lord
and I will feel all right;
Sayin’: let’s get together and feel all right.
Oh, Lord! (One Heart) Wo-ooh!”
(“One Love/People Get Ready” 1977,
“Exodus Album”) Note that Curtis
Mayfield co-wrote this song!
Writers: Martin Terefe, Richard Lynn Carpenter, Ron Sexsmith, John Bettis, Bob Marley, Kimmie Rhodes, Curtis Mayfield, Barrington Somers Pheloung; © Mijac Music, Polygram Music, Ronboy Rhymes, Gracey Rhodes, Odnil Music, Key Red, Irving Music, Warner-tamerlane, Fifty Six Hope Road. MusixMatch © 2000-2014 AZLyrics.com
Let’s get back to Tortola. There are three characteristics, which are so special on this isle: honesty, abundant live style and the graciousness between the races.
Honesty: We tourists walked along a shady path to find the hut-like abode of an elderly woman who sold gourds in her front garden. She was nowhere to be found, but displayed her goods on a table: a sign, asked customers to leave their money in a bowl when they made their purchase. In my New York state of mind, this was extraordinary!
Abundance: Through an international business act, financial services are the main source of income, and tourism flourishes. There is no poverty and the island is not overdeveloped. People participate in their government; there is no building above the height of local trees: this means that two storey units are the maximum height allowed.
Love shared: I was socially comfortable in Tortola. In my interactions with native men and women, I felt no tension between us. I think this is due to the abundant and respectful life-style. (Medical care is provided for everyone.) Tortola is one of my very favorite places to be, along with Brooklyn, New York; Sedona, Arizona; and Paris, France.
Returning to the original idea for this discussion, let me ask about freedom. I heard both sounds and songs of freedom in Tortola: in the calm water, from the joy and trust of the native people, in the delightful laughter of the children playing, with the chickens grazing in the hotel courtyard, with the peacefulness in the air; through the sound of Bob Marley…Tortola exudes the essence of connectedness. I haven’t found it elsewhere!
Our individual interpretation of this resonance will likely be different, yet, once identified, it is unmistakable…when we tune in to this frequency, we feel unrestrained…liberated…peaceful. This is where the children and the water run free…….Can you sense, feel or imagine this vibration?
Speak to you on June 23rd.