The great Joseph Hill of the group 'Culture'

I have been following and studying about musicians for a very long time. One musician whose music, particularly the lyrics, caught my attention in the late seventies, is Joseph Hill, of the Jamaican musical group called " CULTURE. " I can't name all his numerous great hits but the one which influenced my life religiously and put me on the right track is " Rally round Jehovah's throne " from the album international herb.

He wasn't a politician but a normal musician whose music against injustice, corruption, discrimination and other evil things affecting our society today, had a greater impact worldwide, for him to be internationally recognised. Many musicians in the diaspora, show their love of Africa in the music. The question is how many of them has set foot on that continent?

Joseph Hill's constant love and the visits to Africa countries, including the Republic of Sierra Leone, do not only gave him recognition as a brave and peaceful singer, doing what exactly he is singing about but also a peaceful ambassador. He toured many war torn countries in Africa calling for peace. On one of his visit to Sierra Leone, the rebels told the head of state that "He should be glad that Joe Hills is in the country, else they would destroy the country within twenty-four hours"

You can read the full interview I had with Joseph Hill in the year 2004, after playing live at Pole-pole festival in Gent-Belgium, in the book 'The Passion Of Reggae and African Music. I was amazed when he told me that "Greed is the stumbling block that has denied peace between the Palestinians and the Israelites " Joseph Hill is known to be there first reggae artist who played a peace concert trying to unify the Palestinians and the Israelites to avoid bloodsheds.

Spiritually it's good to see him in concert, very marvelous. Many believe that he was another prophet besides the great Bob Marley. On August 18, 2006, he arrived at the venue "Petrol" in Antwerp to play. At the venue, I combed the whole backstage, but couldn't find Mr. Hill. I was still standing at the backstage, when I heard Joseph Hill singing, without knowing where he had passed to the front stage.

I quickly went there and saw him in action with one of those powerful tunes that have made " Culture " what it is today. However, getting closer to him I realised that his physical appearance has changed. 

His condition shut my happiness. Joseph Hill is sick. He used to dance and kick around in concert but this time, he stood at one place giving his fans what they like best. He played every song his fans requested but he left earlier, even though it wasn't yet time for him to leave.

I went to the backstage and saw him passing with Mr. Albert Walker, one of the original members of " Culture " but something stopped me. I couldn't talk to him. I left the venue and arrived home very depressed and worried over Mr. Hill's condition. 

My wife realised that I'm sad. She asked me of the reason and I told her that Mr. Hill is very sick and I'm afraid to say that the man has finished the task God gave him to do on this earth.
I started playing the tunes of " Culture " that early morning. My wife told me that I'm disturbing. 

I refused to listen to her. I sang and danced around for about two hours. It was noon when I heard of Mr. Hill's death in Berlin, Germany. The death of Joseph Hill is not only a shock to his fans and the reggae world but also a big blow to everyone who loves peace, justice, and happiness.

The vacuum his death has created can never be filled. He played " Psalms of Bob Marley " as a tribute to his friend Bob when he passed away. He came out with " World Peace " denouncing war and brutal activities against mankind. 

Joseph Hill was born on January 22, 1949; and died August 19, 2006. He left behind his wife, Pauline, and Kenyatta. Truly Mr. Joseph Hill, a " Slice of Mount Zion " belongs to you. May your soul rest in perfect peace. Everything shall pass away but your music will stay always.