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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

Africa, Africa....."

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.


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