African Christmas - Yellowman
We will spend more time remembering Terry Hall in the new year but if we are to squeeze some Christmas tracks in before Boxing Day, then we have to move on.
It seems appropriate to follow on from the Specials ska influenced music with some reggae and there are few better reggae artists recording today than the peerless Yellowman. Born Winton Foster, Yellowman adopted his stage name because he was born an albino. This may have contributed to his abandonment by his parents, and certainly caused him much bullying and ostracisation in his early years as an orphan in Kingston, Jamaica, and, like Hall, he found social approval on stage with a microphone and has been turning out excellent reggae music now for over forty years.
In "African Christmas" he deftly covers the main issues of the world and Christmas in the twinkling of a star - from imperial plunder of Africa's riches -
"When Christmas come, you don't get no gift
I wonder if the whole wide world notice
I wan you fi know 'cause dis them a dis
whether English, or Spanish ,whether Irish, or Polish
mi only chat culture, mi no chat slackness
the African land, we have to cherish
the whole a di silver the thief dem rob it
take it to the foreign land and dem sell it
and the African people nah benefit....."
to the internal bloodshed of war lords and despots -
".....Africa, Africa, we are calling
Africa, Africa, I am pleading
Africa, Africa, uniting
Africa, Africa, stop the fighting.....
We no want no hypocrite an' parasite
No tribal war, stop all the fight
Throw down the gun and the bomb and the knife
Let's get together and all unite
Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ
Come people an' sell him bread life
Look at the Christmas tree how it pretty and bright
Wrap it up, wrap it up, with Christmas light
This is as good a Christmas song as you'll get, as political as John and Yoko, as moving as the Pogues, as catchy as Wham.
And when he wishes each country merry Christmas by name, the feeling of seasonal goodwill is so infectious we have to join in.
".....This is a African Christmas!
an' is a must!
this is for all African children
and all African parents."
You can't put it better than that.