WAR AND CRIME BY LUCKY DUBE 6
ThesisStatement on War and Crime
In1989, Lucky Dube released an album, Prisoner, which included the Warand Crime song. The album Prisoner observed that in the world ofdistrust and violence, everyone is a prisoner. Lucky spoke from theperspective of schoolchild familiarized that the education is thekey, but found more prison were built than hospitals or schools(Nettl & Bohlman, 1991). Lucky Dube’s song War and Crime shouldbe included into the songs discussed in the class since it expressesabout the suffering of the innocent people. Dube attempted toreconcile the races with observations about the issue of placingblame. The blame was between the white men and the black men. Theblack men blamed the white men and the white men blamed the blackmen.
LuckyPhilip Dube was born from a poor family in Ermelo in South Africa’sEastern Transvaal region on 3rdAugust 1964. Dube’s parents divorced before he was born and gotraised by his mother, Sarah, and named him Lucky because of herearlier failed pregnancies. Along with his two siblings, Patrick andThandi, Lucky used to live with her grandmother, while his mothertransferred to work (Murrell, 1998). Lucky used to work as agardener, as he matured, he started to attending school. While inschool, he joined a choir together with his friends and formed hisfirst musical ensemble called The Skyway Band. Lucky later discoveredthe Rastafari movement and joined his cousin’s band, The LovingBrothers, at the age of 18. Lucky Dube began singing native songs,the mbaqanga the style of Zulu singing. In 1984, Lucky starred inGetting Lucky movie and released the soundtrack as an album.
Thetransition from Zulu mbaqanga to reggae in 1984 was in aim ofexpressing his anger against oppression of apartheid. The Villageobserved Luck Dube’s dance and music epitomizing the spirit ofBlack liberation. Dube’s lyrics brought an original voice to reggaeby chronicling the spiritual and political struggles of his SouthAfrican brethren musical talents. Lucky looked outside the border forinspiration and searched for Jamaican reggae artists Bob Marley,Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh. Lucky conversations to Rastafarianbeliefs annoyed his South African record company. The executiveswanted him to produce another profitable Zulu album. The politics ofLucky got him into trouble with the authorities. The sales becamepoor when his album Rasta Never Die was banned in 1985. Secretly hewent into the studio and recorded Think About the Children under TheSlaves band contrary to what he had promised the record executives hewould record a mbaqanga album. The album became the best hit andachieved a gold medal for it (Nettl & Bohlman, 1991).
In1987, he produced another album the Slave where he addressed socialinjustice in South Africa. The Liquor Slave addressed the pop lovecomplaints about a gentleman and his difficulty lover. Lucky tried toplease her against the advice of his friends. Literary the songportrayed the difficulty of social and personal liberation. Lucky wasa legal slave in South Africa, but he was unable to hate due to hisfeelings for his country and its citizens.
Luckywas backed by a twelve-piece together with three female singers,known as “mothers of Soweto that never slept.” The backup singersprovided a soprano chorus behind Lucky as he leaped around the stage.He was a whirling dervish at his live performances where he executedZulu dances which involved kicks in time to the music (Murrell,1998). All the while, he conveyed his social commentaries on culture,politics and love in calm. Lucky reminded some of Peter Tosh in hismid-range and evoked Smokey Robinson in his upper register. Theinstrumentation included African drums, guitars, bass and electricorgan. Later, the band added trombone, trumpet and saxophone. SeveralAfrican styles, West African Soca sand Dube’s traditional Zulucombined with the elements of blues, jazz, and roots and reggae.
Luckyreleased two albums House of Exile and Captured Live in 1991 aftertouring Australia and Japan. In 1992, Lucky became the first SouthAfrican to play at Jamaica’s Sun Splash Festival and hit on thefestival. Dube’s optimism about children and women’s issuescontrasted with more negative views of the race question. In 1993,Lucky released the album Victims together with his first concert homevideo, Lucky Dube Live. New themes in his work were the dream of aculturally and freedom after liberation which unified South Africa.In the house of exile, Lucky espoused the persona of a freedomfighter in the mountain where he worried about the destruction ofhuman beings by alcohol, drugs and oppression (Blumenthal, 1997).Victim’s album promoted the struggle to the struggle of integratingdifferent colors into one people. Lucky appealed to the mothers ofthe world to save their children regarded as the little heroes of thefight. Trinity album released in 1993, Lucky seen a white man as anoppressor and the white man observed him as a criminal. After a lotof destruction, he realized that every black man was not his brotherand not his enemy was his enemy. Lucky needed a new world that willbe a kingdom of the children with genuine spiritual liberation andnot a swap of the commercial mistreatment for political oppression.
Ina life of struggle, Lucky had somehow discovered a forgiving heartand communicated the message to the natives of South Africa and toall worldwide audience (Blumenthal, 1997). Lucky concerned aboutchildren and women, hoping for a better communication between theraces. Lucky became the first South African black man to achieve thereggae genre. The apartheid in his native country banned his album in1985 but did not stop his popularity. Lucky survived the governmentchanges to win numerous awards and recorded four multi-platinumalbums. After the end of apartheid, Lucky addressed other socialconcerns, such commercialization and the drug abuse that threatensnative culture all over the world. Dube’s music combined socialcriticism with joyous and ecstatic dance beat.
TheWar and Crime song is under the genre of reggae. The various musicalinstruments used when the song was being performed were unique. Someof the instruments used were different from the instrument used inother songs discussed in class. Three female singers, whom he used tosing with, developed the rhythm and tone of the song. Lucky was apoor man, but that did not stop his popularity in music. In thewhole, world there was racial and tribal discrimination, whichresulted to war and crime. Tribal wars and crimes occurrednationally, but racial discrimination occurred internationally. Luckyaddressed that innocent people, women and children, lost their livesduring the war. The theme of the song was to liberation from theapartheid and unification of South Africa and the whole world.
Blumenthal,H. J. (1997). Theworld music CD listener`s guide.New York: Billboard Books.
Murrell,N. S. (1998). Chantingdown Babylon: The Rastafari reader.Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.
Nettl,B., & Bohlman, P. V. (1991). Comparativemusicology and anthropology of music: Essays on the history ofethnomusicology.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.