- The Saga Of The Loss
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>Richard Williams was at Bob Marley’s funeral 30 years ago in Jamaica. He recalls an extraordinary carnival of music, prayer and full Rasta pageantry
They buried Bob Marley on 21 May 1981 at Nine Mile, the village where, 36 years earlier, he had been born. His heavy bronze coffin was carried to the top of the highest hill in the village and placed in a temporary mausoleum painted in the colours of red, green and gold. Alongside Marley’s embalmed corpse,
mausoleum painted in the colours of red, green and gold. Alongside Marley’s embalmed corpse, the casket contained his ‘red Gibson Les Paul guitar’, a ‘Bible opened at Psalm 23,’ and a ‘stalk of ganja placed there by his widow, Rita,’ at the end of the funeral ceremony earlier in the day.
flight from Miami a few days later. There was no reason to grieve, the Rastas told anyone who expressed sorrow. Death meant nothing. Bob hadn’t gone anywhere. He was still among us.ceremony would be held. And the prime minister, Edward Seaga, had to prepare his eulogy.
On the day before the funeral, the coffin was placed in the arena, a large, gymnasium-like building. The lid was open and the public – an ****estimated 100,000 of them ****– were allowed to file past to take a final look. Marley’s head was once more covered with dreadlocks; but this was a wig which covered his bald skull, his own hair having been lost during his treatment for cancer in New York, Miami, Mexico, and finally the Bavarian clinic of Dr Josef Issels, following the diagnosis of a malignant melanoma four years earlier.
*****Jah giveth and Jah taketh *******
Toward the End a Most Beautiful’Rashtaman Chant- performed by, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, and Marcia Griffiths-sang–to a mournful rhythm, before the Wailers, on the other end you could see Ziggy and Steve Marley dancing away- in Rastafarians belief-Life After Death.
The most extraordinary moment of the ceremony, the most beautiful and un-European, came after the members of Marley’s old band mounted the stage. The I-Threes – Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths – sang “Rastaman Chant” to a ponderous and mournful rhythm before the Wailers, directed by the guitarist Junior Murvin, struck up “Natural Mystic”.
It was during this song, while the crowd was getting to its feet and moving towards the stage to join what had suddenly been transformed from an obsequy to a celebration, that Ziggy and Stevie Marley could be seen dancing among the musicians. Identically dressed in maroon suits and white shoes, they performed joyous
Source, Guardian News
Author, Richard Williams was at Bob Marley’s funeral 30 years ago in Jamaica. He recalls an extraordinary carnival of music, prayer and full Rasta pageantry
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Here is the ‘Rashtaman Vibrations’ not many have heard this Music;