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All Ah We a powerful song


EZRA ALLEYNE

All Ah We a powerful song

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In offering an opinion on the Peter Ram monster hit All Ah We, I am inhibited by the reality that a member of the growing ranks of those who shout and spout with self arrogated but empty authority, may find my views “guilty” and punish them without due process and a proper “trial”.

All Ah We is a classical masterpiece of cultural creativity and it deserves every accolade which has been accorded. It combines so many aspects of our cultural heritage that a proper analysis by one of our accredited cultural experts awaits this most powerful piece of relevant social commentary masquerading as a party song.

Now, cultural historians have long remarked on the “call and response” technique which survived the slave crossings and which is so pervasive an aspect of the black culture.

It is in origin a Sub- Saharan African technique and it is used most effectively in this song. Note how he starts the song. He talks (and not sings) to the imaginary young lady who is being encouraged to join the multitude, but, significantly in the light of current social malaise, she is encouraged not to do evil.

Note that when Ram starts to sing and deliver his potent social commentary, he calls for her to make social contact and jam up “with the stranger on your left” and “the stranger on your right”. A persuasion to embrace tolerance for one’s fellow man, and an invitation to have nothing to do with violence is the only rational reading of the following words:

“We don’t want no drama….come to upset the karma…”

Whatever you get take it…I wine on your bumper…take it

Those of us who understand the core of the music business would score major points to Peter and his songwriter and arranger.

This song is potent and persuasive social commentary wrapped in the most culturally authentic clothing.

On this related point even Pavlov’s dog would agree that there is nothing which evokes a deeper atavistic response among those of us lucky enough to have had our cultural navel strings hermetically sealed in the genes inherited from our forefathers; than the hypnotic appeal of the sound of the African drum.

And what do we have here? The repetitive beat of the drum is used as the foundation floor boards on which is built a powerful message in which Peter Ram interacts with a chorus of responsive voices which suggest the emphatic and deliberately seductive use of the call and response. Listen to the first minute of this powerful composition and feel your psyche being massaged and captured.

The use of music is one of those signals by which we reclaim our heritage across the centuries of dispossession and not entirely successful attempts at cultural cleansing.

Ezra Alleyne is an attorney-at-law.

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