He has performed it at numerous events in Jamaica, including the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona’s, annual Bob Marley Lecture in 2008 and last year’s tribute to Dennis Brown and Bob Marley in the Garden of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel. He also did extensive promotional trips outside Jamaica in 2007 to spread the words of, and word about, Bob Marley Story.
Last August, Historyman was able to deliver Bob Marley Story in French to an audience in Toulouse, France, where he performed along with the Twinkle Brothers.
“Them love it, because it was like me talking patois in French, because me no talk French,” he told The Gleaner.
The initial translation in Jamaica was done in February 2010 by Terri-Ann Campbell, Kathy Giordano doing the final work on the poem in France. He said the first translation was “97 per cent accurate”, as there was musical terminology that had to be worked out. “I know in France I would get the right translation. I would be among musicians,” he said.
Historyman also recorded Bob Marley Story in Toulouse at Big Tree Production, using the same rhythm that he did for the original.
“I spent four hours in the studio doing this song,” he said.
Last year’s trip was the third consecutive year that Historyman had been to France, and he says that the English version of Bob Marley Story is doing well there. He says he will be going back to France in May or June this year, and plans are also being made for him to do a show in Africa in May.
The French recording is the latest incarnation for Bob Marley Story, as there is also a ska version produced by someone in Canada. And Historyman says “we still hoping to put it in other languages. We would like to know we can put it in Spanish next time. We would like to know we learn African languages too, and put it in an African language next time”.
The poem chronicles the life of Bob Marley, complete with references to his family, music, education and notable performances. In a previous interview with The Gleaner, Historyman said that he had interviewed some of Marley’s contemporaries, including Bunny Wailer and Allan ‘Skill’ Cole. He also read Timothy White’s Bob Marley biography, Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley.
Informative Historyman says he has already written 10 tracks for Chronology Vol II, including tributes to Mutabaruka and Tony Rebel, as well as the history of Barack Obama, and of the 22 prime ministers of Canada, Jamaica’s history, the history of Jamaican music and a tribute to Sugar Minott.
“With Sugar Minott, every time me go roun’ him studio him say ‘history, no mystery, we fe do something together’. Him pass off, but I do it roun’ him studio same way on the DC rhythm”.
And Historyman gets into the poem, eyes closed and swaying to the rhythm of the words. “It hot man!” he remarks as he ends the excerpt.
Historyman is scheduled to perform at a Black History Month Celebration in East Brampton, Canada, on February 26, and he tells The Gleaner that he wishes to do a tour of Canadian schools. It does not hurt that he has done the poem on Canada’s prime ministers at a time when many Canadian children do not know about them.
“We break it down from this book into about three minutes,” says Historyman.
Writer: Mel Cooke