Smile after the storm - Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of Gilbert hitting Jamaica

September 11, 2017
Lloyd Lovindeer
The Happy Grove High School in Hector's River, Portland, after being damaged severely by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.
A defiant welcome sign for Hurricane Irma in Mimi, ahead of the weather system's impact yesterday.


With the current surge of storms in the Caribbean, Jamaicans have been on their toes, waiting to see the directions Irma, Jose, Katia and now Lee take,

The island has been lucky to escape the path of many high category level hurricanes since the Category 5 Gilbert and many might have just heard about the devastation of that 1988 hurricane through word of mouth. Tomorrow is the 29th anniversary of that impact.

Jamaicans' tendency to   ‘tek serious tings mek joke' is part of how many singles by Lloyd Lovindeer were generated, including Wild Gilbert about that hurricane which hit Jamaica on September 12, 1988. . The singer and songwriter says “I was only taking a mental record of what was happening. When it stopped everyone walked around the neighbourhood to observe the damages.”

Most popular song

Wild Gilbert, the most popular of the tracks that catapulted the 1980s reggae/dancehall artiste’s career, is reported to have sold over 200,000 copies. Plus there were sales of the albums it was featured on.“There were other songs that influenced my popularity within that generation, including Don’t Bend Down, Babylon Boops, and Man Shortage,” explained Lovindeer.

Lovindeer admits that while the roof of his Half-Way Tree residence did not ‘migrate without visa’ as the song says and he was not a victim looting.But persons he knew were affected in these ways

Wild Gilbert literally lightened the post-hurricane atmosphere, although it was released about one month after the hurricane hit Jamaica. It was delayed by the lack of electricity and the damage done to most record pressing plants.

While people do not tend to laugh in the face of a storm, they slso found comfort in  Hurricane Love, One Pot and Hurricane Oil. The four rib-tickling tracks, written and performed by Lovindeer, apply puns that are not only catchy but  also relevant to different types of disasters.

“The songs, especially Wild Gilbert, were all tracks that people could relate to, as many lost sentimental values,” said Lovindeer

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