Bunny Wailer fills the vacuum
Local Vibes
November 18, 2005

Bunny Wailer fills the vacuum

Vincentians, especially those sympathetic towards the Rastafarian lifestyle and culture, lived through their years hearing about the legendary group the Wailers. That group emerged in the early 60s. The trio: Bunny Livingstone, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley served as the core of the Wailers’ vocal section.

They represented the oppressed and down-trodden, and their music formed the platform for the promotion of a message which has influenced the pattern of life in Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the world as a whole. {{more}}

The Wailers have been pioneers in the reggae industry and have established themselves as an institution.

The combination, Bunny, Peter and Bob held their own on the international arena with a repertoire of songs.

Intrinsic, explicit, and implicit in the message driven home by the Wailers was the urgent need for equal rights and justice for all, pride and dignity for disadvantaged and underprivileged citizens, respect and decency for everyone.

Bunny Wailer has always been the enigmatic character.

Vincentians missed out on live performances from Peter and Bob. Peter Tosh was gunned down in 1987, and Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981.

Bunny Wailer brought with him the soul and spirit which defined the Wailers, and he seemed happy to represent his fallen colleagues. Vincentians were treated to a full sampling of the Wailers’ classic creations.

His presence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines coincided with a gathering of Rastas who were on hand to welcome a delegation including four members of the Rastafari community returning from a journey to Ethiopia.

It must have been an exciting weekend for Bunny Wailer. His arrival at the E.T Joshua airport on mainland St. Vincent was not until after 1 am October 22.

Inclement weather conditions associated with the passage of tropical Storm Wilma had an effect on the Southern Caribbean.

Bunny was expecting to welcome Vincentian Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and the delegation on Saturday afternoon. However, the vagaries of connecting flights from the international airports delayed the return of the Vincentian delegation, and Bunny had to be content with an address to the Nyahbinghi gathering which had pitched a temporary Tabernacle outside the airport.

Bunny had to retire to his hotel to prepare for his first appearance at Victoria Park.

That was not to take place until 1:30 Sunday morning. With constant light to heavy showers, it was a damp night with nearly frigid conditions by Vincentian standards. A fair crowd endured the discomfort of the weather and perhaps some disrespect from the promoters.

For long periods, fidgeting and running up and down the stage projected the impression that all was not well. Bunny Wailer and his Solomonic Reggaestra provided a soothing atmosphere that kept fans hynotised by authentic African music. Bunny warmed up with the Bob Marley classic ‘Rasta man chant.’ He came decked out in an immaculate outfit: a white robe with adornments elegantly draped around the shoulders and down the front to the ankle. A white hat with matching regalia enhanced the attire.

He bounced into ‘Old time religion,’ and by then, the three-man brass line of trumpet, trombone and saxophone was fitting into chords, in harmony with two keyboardists, including one woman, bassman, guitarist, drummer, and three backup vocalists.

Bunny continued with numbers like ‘Cyah kill the Rasta man,’ ‘Black heart man,’ ‘Armageddon,’ ‘Battering down St. Anns,’ and ‘Dream land.” By then, Bunny and the band were in full groove, and the impact was profound.

Bunny exploded with ‘Ball room floor,’ ‘Dance Rock,’ ‘Cool running,’ ‘Roots man skanking,’ ‘Heathen,’ ‘No woman no cry,’ Mellow mood,’ and ‘Easy skanking.’ By the time he got around to Peter Tosh’s ‘Legalise it,’ it was time for me to go. I had been away from home since early Saturday.

I would not have missed Bunny Wailer live, having been one of those who grew up in the Wailers’ era.