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Oisin Davis stirs it with the stars
T HIRTY SECONDS into my interview with Toots Hibbert, we both realise that we’re having a major communication breakdown. I’m having serious problems getting my head round his Jamaican accent and my Irish brogue isn’t helping things on his end.
But once we resolve to chat at an exceptionally slow speed, the lead singer of Toots & The Maytals and I are finally off to talk food and music. Actually, the decelerated conversation makes it all the more enjoyable. Hearing him list off all the exotic Jamaican fruits and veg that he was raised on is comfortably hypnotic and makes one yearn for a holiday.
“Coconuts, guava, pineapples, callaloo, yams, breadfruit, ackee, June plums. All them wonderful tastes of the Caribbean.” He had me at guava.
When we get round to discussing his
massive body of work that goes back as far as the early 1960s, he tells me it’s his 2004 album that he’s most proud of.
“Everybody from Keith Richards and Manu Chao to Bunny Wailer, working with all them greats. Such a beautiful blessing.” Add to that list other luminaries such as Bootsy Collins, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton and Ryan Adams, and you can see why he likes that album so much. If any of them were really lucky, then he would have made for them one of his favourite Jamaican dishes. Grilled goat fish and plantains, a somewhat more tropical version of the humble cod and chips. Give it a go. It’s probably as close as you’ll get to any sunshine this summer.
Toots & The Maytals play Liss Ard Festival on Sunday, August 5th. For more recipes, see rockcookbook.com