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Marley's music lives on

by Chris Alcantara, staff writer

 

Almost 24 years after his passing, the spirit of Robert Nesta Marley was alive and well on Feb. 5 at Kapono’s and Don Ho’s in the Aloha Tower Marketplace. Fifteen bands performed on two stages to celebrate what would have been the musical icon’s 60th birthday.

 
 

The concert’s lineup was the usual suspects of the local roots reggae scene: Ooklah the Moc, Humble Soul, and THC to name a few. The highlight was a high-energy performance by Natural Vibrations, which included a five to six song medley of their Marley favorites.

Marley was born in Rhoden Hall in north Jamaica in 1945, to an 18-year-old black mother and a 50-year-old white sailor attached to the British West Indian Regiment. In his early teens he moved to the impoverished shanty towns of Kingston, Jamaica. It was there that he met Neville O’Riley Livingston (a.k.a. Bunny Wailer) and Peter McIntosh (Peter Tosh). The three shared a musical vision and formed the Wailing Wailers to perform songs for local record producers.

Success was not instant. Marley and the band reformed with a new purpose. Marley was driven to spread the word of Haile Sellassie (formerly known as Ras Tafari Makonnen), the crowned Emperor of Ethiopia, who fiercely believed in peace and racial equality.

In the late 60s and early 70s Marley’s musical destiny began to take shape and The Wailers, as they were now known, performed in America and Europe. Marley became a spokesperson for his poor Jamaican brethren, and for those who suffered from political injustice.

§ 1976—On the eve of a free concert to emphasize peace between political gangs in Jamaica, Marley is shot and wounded, yet defiantly performs less than 24 hours later.

§ 1978—While performing at One Love Peace Concert in Jamaica he got Prime Minister Michael Manly and Opposition Leader Edward Seaga to shake hands on stage.

§ 1980—The Wailers play for a newly liberated Zimbabwe at the country’s official Independence Ceremony.

Marley’s insight to the plight of people made his songs stand the testament of time, as many of his lyrics can and should be applied in the troubles of today’s world. Through his work Bob Marley cemented his place in this world far into the future.

 

2004, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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