Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The way of Kenyatta Hill

Joseph Hill, the fallen reggae hero whose son Kenyatta and wife Pauline were in town a few weeks ago should be smiling from above.
There are several Jamaican reggae artists that have died. One that quickly comes to mind is Gregory Anthony Isaacs, a reggae legend who had released over 500 albums in his career. He lived from July 15, 1951 to October 25, 2010.
Of course before Isaacs, four years earlier Joseph ‘Culture’ Hill died after collapsing following a performance in Berlin on August 19, 2006.

Unlike Gregory Isaacs, Joseph Hill is one lucky fellow as his son is continuing doing the work he died doing on that fateful August day.
What is even more reassuring is that Kenyatta is performing with the original Culture members that include his Uncle Albert Walker and Telford Nelson.
Early June, the group performed at Mibawa Multipurpose Hall in Blantyre and Civo Stadium in Lilongwe a day later.
I attended the Blantyre show where in the process people who had entered the show venue with ulterior motives robbed me of my smart phone and a cash filled wallet right at the time when Kenyatta ascended unto the stage to perform.

If his performance was going to be a display of mediocrity then this would have been the longest night.

In any case the theft I suffered would have given me the perfect cue to exit the venue and drive back home. It was never to be and later after the show I felt more than compensated for my loss.

Kenyatta respected his fallen iconic reggae legendary father with dynamite packed performance. It dawned on those of us who exult good music that the legend of Joseph Hill lives on as he will continue bubbling on the top 100 forever and ever not only through his body of work but also through his son’s awe-inspiring musical performance.

Kenyatta has his father’s voice only that his has more clout and dynamism that he packages with youthful energy and electrifying stage presence.

For years, he has been his father’s sound engineer and this is also well demonstrated in the way he controls, not only the band, but the two elderly backing duo that has traversed the world with his father.

To imagine that he had only practiced with the band which had South African based members for a few hours, what followed spoke volumes of the kind of future that is in store for the young Hill.

He also displayed discipline that is only present in professional artists. If you must know, Kenyatta has three albums to his name, released after the death of his father. Never in a moment did he play any of the songs that he has done as a solo project.

When the sound was not coming out the way he liked he would stop the performance in the way that looked like it was part of the act. He was holding a short carved black stick that he was systematically using to tell one on bass what he wanted. He was in fact using the stick to communicate to the whole band.

Listening to his performance one would have thought it was Joseph Hill with improved rendition of his tracks. Under the prevailing circumstances he performed like the spirit of his fallen father had entered him, more so with his mother sitting right on stage watching her son.

Those artists that curtain raised the show like members of the Black Missionaries and Mr. Cool; I should believe learnt a lesson or two.

We have had children of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh’s son Andrew and even Garnet Silk Junior performing after the fall of their fathers. None has come so near to the perfection of the works of their fathers as has Kenyatta, he has his unique way.

  




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