|Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood|
9" x 12", oil on canvas board, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Marguerita is the stage name of the Jamaican exotic rhumba dancer and singer Anita Mahfood. She was the long time girlfriend of the famous trombonist and Skatalites member Don Drummond. On new year's day of 1965, in a fit of rage inspired by his mental illness, Drummond stabbed her to death. Anita Mahfood was only twenty-one years old. The author Klive Walker in his Dubwise: Reasoning from the Reggae Underground, sketches a portrait of Mahfood and argues that she was a lot more than just a footnote in the annals of reggae music. At her young age Mahfood had already established herself as a dancer, was instrumental in the launching of the career of Count Ossie, and had shown a talent for writing poetic lyrics. She wrote the lyrics for Woman a Come, recorded with the Skatalites in 1963 or 1964. It's a love song but it reflects Rastafaria consciousness, and is deeply rooted in African cosmology. I recently acquired a copy of the recording as it is featured on the LP Intensified: Original Ska, 1963-67, in a big thrift store reggae haul. Listen to Woman a Come and read about the haul on my blog Musical Thrift Store Treasures. Don Drummond died under mysterious circumstances locked up in a mental hospital in 1969. As a footnote perhaps, I should mention that his tune Green Island was the number one in my Top 100 of 1991, and therefore part of The 100 Greatest Recordings Ever that I compiled last Summer. This link will lead you to that page. The painting of Anita Mahfood above was superimposed on a seascape painting done as a demo for a class on landscapes that I'm currently teaching. If the painting were a song I would call it a ditty. I waddle along as I remain undecided about the scope and future of the Top 100 project. If I decide to make the full scale series of 100 paintings as I have been doing, Mahfood certainly will receive a do-over. Woman a Come is much more than that ditty.