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Colin Grant

Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies

University of Warwick - 8th March 2011

 

I & I: The Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh and Wailer

By Colin Grant

 

Over one dramatic decade, a trio of Trenchtown R&B crooners, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley, swapped their 1960s Brylcreem hairdos and two-tone suits for 1970s battle fatigues and dreadlocks to become the Wailers—one of the most influential groups in popular music

I & I: The Natural Mystics examines for the first time the story of the Wailers, arguing that these musicians offered a model for black men in the second half of the twentieth century: accommodate and succeed (Marley), fight and die (Tosh) or retreat and live (Wailer). It charts their complex relationship, their fluctuating fortunes, musical peak, and the politics and ideologies that provoked their split.

Following their trail from Jamaica through Europe, America, and back to the vibrant and volatile world of Trench Town, Grant travels in search of the last surviving Wailer. He unravels the roots of their charisma, their adoption of Rastafari, their suspicion of race pimps and Obeah men (witch doctors), and their quest to become not just extraordinary musicians but also natural mystics.

Colin Grant is an independent historian and BBC radio producer. He is also the author of is the author of Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and His Dream of Mother Africa (Jonathan Cape, 2008; Oxford University Press, USA, 2008).
I & I is a remarkable story of creativity, squandered talent and fierce ambitious rivalry – a mix of reportage and revelatory history by one of our best and brightest non-fiction writers.

Click here to listen to Colin Grant's presentation!

Colin Grant

I & I: The Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh and Wailer