Lucky Dube, 1964-2007

Very sad news in the music world today. South African reggae musician Lucky Dube was shot dead in an attempted carjacking.

Lucky Dube’s music was just a joy to listen to. His beautiful tenor voice singing along with those reggae rhythms was something special. True to reggae traditions, his songs often had a strong social message, singing against things like apartheid, social injustice, violence and crime, and the epidemic of AIDS. The folks who run Lucky Dube’s website wrote “the death of Lucky Dube leaves a great void in the music industry, as 25 years of music suddenly ends in tragedy.”

I was fortunate to have seen Lucky Dube and his band perform three times, and each was an outstanding show. My favorite occurred in 1993 when he was touring to support his CD, Victims. It took place outside in a small amphitheater (at Rainbow Summer, a free concert series in downtown Milwaukee). The excellent music, the outdoor setting, the intimate venue, and a personal touch made this a great show for me. After the last song, Lucky walked across the stage to get close to some of his fans and shake their hands — including mine.

If asked to name a favorite Lucky Dube album, it would be hard for me to choose between the previously mentioned Victims and House of Exile. If you don’t have any of his music, either of those would be great ones to start with.

Perhaps the best tribute to Lucky Dube would be to quote from his own lyrics, an excerpt from “Touch Your Dream,” the last song off his most recent release.

You are the one to make it happen.
You’re the only one that knows what is.
You are holding the key to your dreams.
Don’t hesitate, grab the chance,
Before it’s too late.

Reach out and touch you dreams.

Don’t let them tell you it is impossible,
That is what they told all heroes before.
In a hero’s mind the word does not exist.
When you’re 80 years old,
Thinking about your past,
Regretting every minute of your life,
That you’ve lost,
You will wonder where the time went.
If you do the right thing,
It could be talking to you.
Don’t hesitate, grab the chance,
Before it’s too late.

Reach out and touch your dreams.

Thank you for making the world a better place Lucky. I hope you’re still touching your dreams, even in the afterlife.