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Ruddy Perry Succumbs in Cousins Cove

Rudy in a doorway

Ruddy Perry was a man of many talents.  Most recently he and his family re-established their roadside restaurant on the newly re-built highway from Montego Bay to Negril.  It was a well known stopping place on the old highway because the food was good, the music was reggae and Ruddy and Vern were genial hosts.

The Perrys also rent small cottages on their land.  This is on a rather wild stretch of coastline called Cousins Cove.  Here the Caribbean Sea washes up on a fascinating combination of coral reef, volcanic rock and marine fossils.  It is a blessed place.

Ruddy was a well-known musician in both Jamaica and the US.  He grew up with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Joe Higgs, making music inna dhe yards of Kingston.  In this photo taken at the closing of Haile High the Cottontree, he easily joins the drummers making the sacred heartbeat of the Nyabinghi..

Ruddy is the husband of Vern Perry and father of Tasheika Perry; respectively Administrator and teacher of Haile High at Cousins Cove, Hanover Parish. Ruddy will be missed and we share his family’s sorrow.  If you would like to help them in this adjustment to a new life without dad, we’ll see that your kindness is passes directly to them.  Give thanks and praises.

Donations are gratefully accepted to help his family through this difficult time. Click the button below to donate through PayPal, or send a check to:

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Lynn Abbott
153 Summer Street
Acton, MA 10720

Rudy Perry drumming at Haile High
Ruddy Perry (in the white cap) plays the drums at Haile High while the mural is painted.
Rudy and his family
Ruddy and his family.


The shore at Cousins Cove


Young Ruddy

Ruddy Perry’s Funeral
(as reported by Cleo Reid)

Tracy Allen
Tracy Allen
granddaughter

It started at one, begining like a typical Christian ceremony with a hymn. It proceeded through all the notions of a regular funeral with the presentations and tributes of family and well-wishers. Aneika & I were front row and center since we arrived early to be part of the proceedings as representatives of Haile High. When Ruddy’s casket was opened for viewing there was a lot of crying. Out of respect, I didn’t take any pictures. I just held Tasheca’s hand and told her to be strong. Aneika was really touched by all the crying and it took all she had not to break-down; I just kept looking outside so as to prevent the same from happening to me. In a sentence: It was a very sad funeral. It was a very nice funeral mind you, but it was nothing short of sad. I took the few pictures I could take without crying and stayed with Vern and Tasheca who spent most of the time outside, unable to bear the ceremony and facing the fact that Ruddy was truly gone. Vern cried a lot but I have to say Tasheca tried her best to keep it together for her momma. She’s a very strong girl.

Carmen Perry
Carmen Perry
sister
Carmen read Ruddy’s eulogy giving a soulful account of the man’s life which we all enjoyed. She broke down in the end crying on her brother’s casket but had accomplished what she had set out to do.

At the graveside there was even more crying as his casket was lowered into the tomb. Many cried out for the loss of such a great man. I never knew him well but I can safely say he was an extremely good person based on the affect that his death had on not only his family but his friends. Funny how the good people die and the scum of this earth continue to live on.

Funeral procession leaving the church
Sister Carmen touches the head of the casket as Ruddy's procession leaves the church.

Tasheca was also supposed to give a tribute to her late father but was too overwhelmed to do so. I could feel her pain when I noted what I went through when I had to speak at my mother’s funeral.

Evelyn Perry and friendEvelyn Perry (black dress)
daughter
Evelyn is Ruddy’s middle daughter who gave an even more soulful version of Ruddy’s life as she remembers it. She cried all the way through. She finished and had Ruddy’s favourite song play: Frank Sinatra – I did it my way

Lucky Dube Joins Joe Higgs in Zion

Photo of Lucky, Kali and Joe

A Crime Against Humanity

Haile High mourns the loss of a truly conscious man.  Lucky Dube died in Johannesburg, South Africa, at 8:30 pm, October 18, 2007.  He was 43 years old. Lucky is survived by his mother, Sarah, his wife, Zanele and his seven children:  Bongi, Nonkululeko, Thokozani, Laura, Siyanda, Philani and Melokuhle.

Currently ranked as one of the top musicians in the world, Lucky began his career in his cousin’s band, “Love Brother”.  They played traditional Zulu rhythms in the Mbaqanga style.  After hearing Peter Tosh sing in 1984, he changed his own style to the conscious lyrics and heartbeat of reggae.

In 1991, Haile High founders, Kaliflowa and Queen Sam met Lucky at the beginning of his first reggae world tour that began in Boston, Massachusetts and ended in the SunSplash Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  A lasting brotherhood began that night, born of a shared awareness of the sad state of the world, and in the profound faith that individuals, according to their circumstances, could make a difference.  When Kali and Lucky last met at the Opening Ceremony of the World Cricket Match in Jamaica, March 2007, Lucky was still tirelessly raising the consciousness of the world with his music.  Though no longer with us in body; his works will live on forever.  The students and staff of Haile High join the world in mourning the loss, not only of a great and compassionate man, but of their beloved brother, Lucky Dube.  His song lives on...y’cyan kill Rastafari!

For more on Lucky, including details of Kali’s first meeting with him at the Channel night club in Boston, and last meeting with him in Jamaica at the Opening Ceremony for the Cricket World Cup 2007, read on below…

Kaliflowa at the awards ceremony

The Night when the Stars Shined their Brightest

It was warm that night in June of 1991 at the Channel night club in Boston, Massachusetts.  As we pulled our truck into the back lot, Kali parked behind an enormous tour bus.  “That must be Lucky’s,” he commented.  “I wonder if Joe brought the guys.” He was talking about Joe Higgs, whose band was there from LA to open for Lucky Dube on this, the premiere show of Lucky’s first world tour.

It took a few minutes to put our truck in order.  Then we went to send a message to let Joe know we were there and would see him after the concert.  But when we reached backstage, there were mumblings about a problem with Lucky.

We returned to the parking lot and the lovely night.  The door of the bus opened and a tall black man emerged.  He ambled over toward us.  Smiling, we greeted each other.  He asked if that was our camper.  We invited him in for a cup of coffee.

As he peered around at the equipment, a full recording and editing suite, he exclaimed, “Lucky’s gotta see this!”  Then he caught sight of a picture of Kali and Joe Higgs.  “You know Joe Higgs?”  There was a touch of awe in his voice.

“Yah mon, him me brudda,” replied Kali.

There was a moment rippling with tension, gathering his courage, this tall, gentle man quietly asked, “Would you introduce Lucky to him?”

Sensing the importance of the moment, Kali quietly replied, “It would be an honor.”

The man left. It was over an hour before we learned the meaning of that warm but strange encounter.  The concert at the Channel was the first of Lucky’s 1991 tour that began in the US and would eventually arrive at the last Sunsplash Festival held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

At the time, Lucky was ranked as the foremost reggae star in the world.  He began his successful international career in 1982 with the release of “Kudela Ngikuncenga”, Zulu music in the Mbaqanga genre.  Hearing Peter Tosh, he restyled his music to reggae in 1985.  As Roger Steffens recently commented on Lucky’s style, “His skilful fusion of high kicking Zulu dancing, alongside a colorful female chorus (like Bob Marley’s ‘I Three’), and super conscious lyrics, made him South Africa’s own Peter Tosh.”

When we reached the back stage, we again heard rumors of trouble with the concert.  Finally we learned the truth.  When Dube learned that Joe Higgs was on the bill, Lucky emphatically told the promoters, “When Joe Higgs is on the bill, Lucky Dube doesn’t play last!”  All promoters save the biggest act for last. Being the current best known reggae performer in the world, Lucky was scheduled for that position.  But Lucky knew respect.  In his book, the Godfather of reggae music, Joe Higgs, would always hold the position of top billing.  Under Lucky’s implacable determination, the promoters finally relented and the concert proceeded with Lucky opening for Joe.

It was a remarkable concert.  The rumors of a cancellation were quickly quelled by the energy of the opening acts.  The audience was soon rockin’ to the reggae beat thundering from the speakers, lights playing over their eager faces.

Lucky took the stage by storm.  His enthusiasm and intensity drew the audience to breathless excitement.  Song after song rolled over them and everyone knew they were seeing a master at work.  When he left the stage there were calls for an encore.  Many forgetting there was more to come.

Joe entered softly.  Mike in hand, he gazed out at the people looking up expectantly.  His stillness drew every eye to him.  And then he began to sing.  After the sound and fury of Lucky’s performance,  Joe’s music showed the elegance of simplicity.; the pure essence of his Jamaican reggae beat punctuating the conscious lyrics.  It was an evening that few will ever forget.

The concert and the mesmerized audience drifted out into the night, and Kali looked to fulfilling his promise to Lucky.  Under a lone street light in the back parking lot., there came a moment of silent reverence.   Lucky beheld the roots of his new music and Joe caught a glimpse of the future of the reggae music he had helped to found.  Then their hands joined in brotherhood.  Lucky did not have the honor of meeting his idol, Peter Tosh, but he did meet the man Joe Higgs…one of the original Wailers,  that night in Boston.  Kali wanted to take their picture but they insisted he be photographed with them since he had introduced them.

Lucky then had his tour of Kali Creation’s mobile  studio and the all too soon to end night was over.  Kali and I drove home in silence with the conscious words of two great musicians in our thoughts, and their rythms flowing in our hearts.

Over the years we have attended many reggae concerts in many places with many talented musicians including more performances by both Joe and Lucky but that concert will remain in my mind until I join with them again in Zion.  I’ll never forget the glamour of  the performances of the Stars, and of the warmth, consciousness of purpose, faith, love and true respect they share.

It is 16 years since Joe and Lucky met behind the Channel, both Joe and Lucky are in Zion now and my heart is sad that we will not see their glory of their presence again.  The message of their lyrics decries the violence and lack of respect that caused men to fire guns to end the life of any man, especially such a one as Lucky Dube.


On December 8th, 2007, the 2nd Annual Joe Higgs Music Awards will be held in Boston, the site of that historic meeting.  It can be just another event or it can be a call to people of all races, all nations, all faiths to end violence, war and hate.  Reggae is the heartbeat not only of mankind but of the whole earth.  We are a world filled with crime and corruption when with a little respect we have the potential to live in truth and justice.  On this blessed evening in December, let us chant the lyrics of Rastafari , that we may trod-on to bring peace, love and tranquility to this tempestuous world.

One Love
Queen Sam


When Last Wi Touch

by kaliflowa

Transportation was a non-entity.  Cricket Fever had swept the nation and it seemed that everyone in Jamdung was heading for Falmouth.  We finally hailed a cab:  The Cab From Hell.  Of all of the cars in Jamaica, this one was THE absolute wreck. Its windshield was cracked and streaked to an extent that made oncoming headlights a flashing blur.  Not one component of the suspension was sound, and the brakes…the brakes were something not to be thought of.  When employed, they seemed to have a mind of their own, which made for a thrilling addition to the event.  Aside from belching carbon monoxide into the cab, the motor seemed to work well…at least enough to pass every other car on the road with break-neck speed.  Every time we were in the open, someone in the cab would call a stop;  usually to buy a cigarette or a Stripe.  When they’d return to the cab, they always seemed to have another pickney to squeeze in with us.  Then we’d fire-up again and proceed to overtake and pass all the cars and trucks we’d passed before. >As Kim and I sat squished together in the back seat, I wondered whether she was recalling the fateful ride she took that day when her life was changed by a similar situation that ended in a fatal crash.  Apparently she wasn’t.  Hell!  We were on our way to boogie, and nothing was going to  stop us.  The driver had it floored and we were making time.  Death and destruction were not on the platter.  And besides; the night was pitch black and the man was wearing sunglasses!!  How much better could it be?  Ah! Jamaica!

I was beginning to think we were about to enter the “Twilight Zone,’ when Keble’s car was spotted by the side of the road up ahead.  Keble is Kim's Man…and a good one indeed!  We managed to stop and alight from one of the most exciting rides on earth…even eclipsing my flight to Afrika after the jet lost one of its engines. 

Keble, was carrying some water up from a nearby bar to cool the steaming engine of his borrowed car.  After a while we got it started and went merrily on our way to Falmouth. We were still a good distance from the center of town when we began encountering  tons of automobiles occupying every possible spot.  It was not going to be easy to get near town.  However, Keble is a cab driver and is very skilled at maneuvering through Jamaican traffic.  Before long he had got us within striking distance of the venue…and behold!  We found a yard that had been made into a pay-for-parking enterprise.  The fare was $200 Jamaica, which was reasonable considering the alternatives.  The yard, which was spacious, had less than 5 cars in it…a testimony to the inflexible aversion Jamaican drivers have for paying for anything as nebulous as parking one's auto.  We locked it and left, certain that there would be no wheels on it when we returned.  But on to the party!

I have never been in a crowd as large…even in the huge sports stadiums where I once worked as a cameraman.  I figured there were a hundred thousand.  There was no way of telling because there was no way of finding g a vantage point to get an overview.  People were back to back, shoulder to shoulder and nose to nose.  There seemed to be not one square inch to maneuver, but everyone did.  It’s a Jamaican way of life to fit; even if the shoe is ten sizes too small.  The excitement was electric.  Masses of people, crammed together, happy, ecstatic, and getting along as if at family picnic.

“Kaliflowa!”  someone shouted.  It was a Dread who had played on Haile High’s Futbol team when we beat the Cops two in a row in 2005.  He was astonished!  He said that he was compelled to bring his family to the event that night.  It wasn’t a thing he desired to attend, but he said that he was drawn there by some unknown feeling…and that he had been thinking about me all week, wondering how to find me.  We had a great reasoning while his folks and Kim & Keble stood by waiting.  Actually I wasn’t hard to spot.  The only other fair skinned soul among these thousands was on the stage with Bryon Lee and The Dragonaires.  The time was drawing near for Lucky Dube’s band to take the stage at 11pm.

Having cased the scene earlier in the day, we decided to work our way down to the shore, skirting the masses in order to come up on the backside of the courthouse.   It was the center of officialdom, and also provided a backdrop to the massive stage that had been erected for the performers.  Everything was state-of-the-art.  The town of Falmouth had gone all-out for this grand event. 

My mission was simple.  I had been totally focused on succeeding since early morning.  I had a photo of Lucky & Kali & Joe Higgs that had been taken by Queen Sam on the first night of Lucky’s first tour of the United States.  It was many years ago.  At that venue, Lucky had asked me to introduce him to Joe Higgs, one of his idols, and Sam snapped the photo.  My game plan was to find one African who was associated with the band, and  to whom I might give the photo to be passed to Lucky.  Dube is one of the most focused and guarded entertainers on earth.  I knew I’d not penetrate his keepers, nor get to speak with him, but taped to the back of the photo was information that would help us get together later via other means.  I just needed to give it to whomever might pass it to Lucky.

There is no way of describing the confusion that reigned near the back of the stage.  The security was air-tight and no one knew, or cared to share, any information that might help link Kali with anyone in the band.  We three, Kali, Kim & Keble stood for a long moment looking out over the bay at the moon.  It was half full and bowl-like.  It had a bright star suspended in its hollow. The Indians would see that as a good omen of fulfillment.  Keble said it is called a “calabash moon’ by his people.  It made me confident that we were on the right track and that the night held a magical charm.

I assumed that Lucky hadn’t arrived yet and that by standing near the well guarded entry road, we’d be able to watch his arrival and attempt to pull off the mission.  We found a spot between a couple of parked cars and a gully that was bridged by the intersection of two roads.  Putting some rocks together, we established our camp, sat down and waited. 

I noticed a man walking by who looked familiar; a musician whom I’d met in the States long ago, but whose name I had never learned.  He was about my age, and as Iree as any Dread could be.  He would be a good Man to ask about Lucky’s whereabouts.  He said he was looking too.  Not for Lucky but for his manager.  They had some business together and he was trying to run him down while in town. 

Kim had decided I needed refreshment, so she and Keble left me in charge of the rock pile and my video equipment, while they went  searching for a jelly..  I thought that it would be a good time to crouch-down, fire the chalice and sight-up the Father.  Pulling out my stash, I took a long hard draw and gave thanks to Jah for getting me this far.   I  heard some confusion coming from the other side of the car.  Like a damned fool I stood up to see what a gwan…and guess what?  There stood Portia Simpson, the Prime Minister of Jamaica…less than eight feet away!  She was escorted by what seemed to.be every top-ranking officer in the JCF…along with some well-rifled military types  She had stopped, while coming from the stage to her limo, to shake hands and rub the heads of some rough, young raggamuflins who were leaning against the car.  I was well recognized, so ducking back down would have been a diplomatically incorrect move, as well as a suspicious one.  Our eyes met and I nodded, acknowledging her being, all the while wondering if I’d pass out in front of the Prime Minister before being able to take a breath.  I thought that I must have appeared like a squirrel with nuts in his jowls, and that there surely must be smoke coming out of my ears.  Luckily she and her entourage were not into soliciting my vote, and they hurried on.  The Dread mumbled something that sounded like, “Whore of Babylon.”   I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that if I had exhaled, they might have shot me, thinking I was a roadside bomb.

The Dread and I were reasoning where best to find Lucky’s whereabouts when we heard him singing.  He was on Stage starting his act.  Now, the Dread was sure he could find Lucky’s manager and do business while Lucky was on.  I thought that would be a good way to get the photo to Lucky, so I asked what the manager looked like.  The Dread started,”well…he wears glasses…and he’s…well, he’s, he's...  White, I replied?  True Rasta don't see color as a difference, but in this case when there are only two crackers in the park, it's the best description to give.  I thanked him profusely.  We shook hands as he was about to leave.  I said, “I’m Kaliflowa.”  He replied, “I’m Jesus.”   I said, ‘You got that right!”

The containment of the stage was impenetrable.  However, we were able to find a lapse in the rear backdrop large enough to see the dancers, and to get an occasional glimpse of Lucky whenever he’d bound into the air.  As usual, his performance was electric, and well appreciated by the massive audience.

Kim and Keble moved to a spot on the lawn nearer to the courthouse.  It was a good location to sit and watch my attempt to connect with someone in the band.  The noise from the crowd now rose to a thundering roar as the music peaked to the finish of the last song.  At that point a Dread rushed down the steps of the stage, and I thought, “aha…there’s an African, I’ll nail him and we can all go home to bed.”  I hurried after the man who seemed to be in the tow of a fat white American carrying a clip-board.  “My God!” I thought, “That’s the bum that gave me crap the last time I saw Lucky in America.” 

It was years ago in Vermont. The man was skinnier then, but just as obnoxious.  I was videotaping a reggae concert, and had he kicked me off the stage when Lucky’s band came on.  Lucky and I were only able to communicate then by nodding to each other as he was whisked by on his way to the stage.  I remembered Joe Higg’s lament after Lucky had signed with his record company.  Joe thought that it would spell the end of his creativity…that he’d be chained by the merchants of dough, and that his time would be spent in keeping nearly impossible schedules.  My retort was that Lucky’s words and music would be cast to a much larger audience through his alliance with the music pimps.

I caught up with the pair just as the press was starting to move in.  It was then that I noticed that the Dread was soaking wet. The fat guy was blocking my way, but I managed to slide the photo by him and into the hands of the man.  He turned to look at me, the picture in his hand.  Damned if it wasn’t Brother Lucky!  He looked down at the photo and the world stopped spinning.  Here was a Star who had just exploded the Jamaican sky with his brilliance …and who had just put thousands of people on their backsides with his unbounded energy and Love.  Here he stood, looking back upon a moment in history.  The stillness of the moment reigned as he slowly looked up from the picture. Our eyes met; two lions midst a jungle of human sap suckers.  His voice showed no signs of the excitement he’d just left.  He held my hand and said softly, “that was a long time ago, Kali.”  I replied, “More time, Rasta,” and turned to go back to Kim and Keble, just as the hoard of press and handlers swarmed-in to feed on the moment.

We Three somehow managed to get through the masses to our car.  None of the wheels were missing, though the attendants were no longer on site.  The lot still had only five cars in it.  Sanchez and Shaggy and a host of other stars were yet to perform.  It would have been nice to have stayed to watch them, but that was not our task.  We were there to deliver a small picture that was taken by Queen Sam in the parking lot of The Channel in Boston in 1991…16 years ago.

Thank you Kim for engineering that meeting.  Mission Accomplished! 

Jah provide.


The Joe Higgs Music Awards in Boston

December 8, 2007

The Haile High booth at the Joe Higgs Music Awards

The Haile High Booth at the Joe Higgs Music Awards.

Kaliflowa at the Joe Higgs Music Awards

Kali at the Joe Higgs Music Awards


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