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EXCLUSIVE! Never-before released Lucky Dube interview and photos

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by Glen Lockley and Peter van Arnhem

On October 18th 2007,Lucky Dube was gunned down in an attempted carjacking in the Rosettenville suburb of Johannesburg. He was 43 years-old.

Back in 1992, I twice travelled down to London to see him in concert. Both shows were at the Town & Country Club in Kentish Town (now known as The Forum), on May 8th and November 21st. On each occasion the audience was treated to a captivating performance by Dube and his large band who, invariably clad in khaki army fatigues, resembled a battalion of musical freedom fighters. I still remember Dube’s expressive, passionate vocals, embellished by the elegant harmonies of the female backing trio, which perfectly embodied the varied moods of the songs, from hope and joy to despair and anguish. The visual performance was every bit as impressive as the musical one, from the choreographed dance routines of the backing vocalists and horn section to the dramatic Zulu dancing led by Dube and keyboard player Thuthukani Cele.

As the band arrived for the soundcheck for the November concert, I presented Lucky with a couple of framed photos that I had taken at the previous show. He was genuinely surprised and touched by the gesture, and invited me to join the band inside the venue. There we chatted for a while, his humour, warmth and humility plain to see.

I would like to share with you a small selection of photos that I took at these two shows, all of which are previously unpublished, plus the tickets and my treasured tour jacket.

Please note: these photographs are the copyright of Glen Lockley, and are not to be used or reproduced without permission.

 

I now pass you over to my long-time friend Peter van Arnhem, who continues this story….

Fast forward four years to August 1996. My brothers and I were hosting our own radio programme, called ‘the Reggae Beat’, as well as contributing to the Bob Marley & The Wailers roots-zine ‘Distant Drums’. Lucky Dube was in Europe to promote his new album ‘Trinity’, and we were very excited that we were given the go-ahead to do an interview for the show and publication.

Our first meeting with Lucky took place in his basement dressing room following his concert at the Paradiso, a former church in the heart of Amsterdam. We spoke about the new album, his shows in Jamaica and even his love for Dracula movies. We came prepared for this, and handed Lucky some plastic vampire teeth. This prompted a hilarious Dracula performance, during which he joked around with his band-mates and posed with a back issue of ‘Distant Drums’.

Please note: these interviews and photographs are the copyright of Peter van Arnhem, and are not to be used or reproduced without permission.

__________ Right from that first meeting, Lucky Dube always made us feel welcome and at ease. He spoke seriously and intensely about his music and the lessons of life, but also possessed a great sense of humour. We would like to share this interview with you, together with a later one, recorded at the Oosterpoort in Groningen, during the 2001 ‘Soul Taker’ tour. Here he speaks about doing a ‘Soul Taker’ radio promo for 30 million Africans, about using bag-pipes on the album, about his own website – Lucky was one of the first reggae artists to do this – before finishing off talking about his bull on his farm back home. Lucky Dube, Groningen ____________________

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      Now back to Glen….. Following Junior Marvin’s recent concert at the Jazz Café in London, I met a group of supporters from the Free West Papua campaign. I was fascinated to learn that Lucky Dube plays an integral role in its people’s struggle for independence from Indonesia. Indeed, independence leader Benny Wenda has recorded a freedom anthem, entitled Free West Papua, with Thuthukani Cele and Sista Phumi Maduna, from Lucky Dube’s band. Please take the time to read the following press release, which includes contact details, and listen to the track – feel free to share it far and wide, and help bring freedom to the people of West Papua.

 

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