February 8, 2023
IN true Marley fashion, brothers Julian, Stephen, and Damian took the stage, much to the surprise of guests attending their father’s ‘earthstrong’ concert at Emancipation Park on Monday.
Bob Marley — who died on May 11, 1980 of cancer — would have celebrated his 78th birthday.
Julian Marley, who was headliner, lived up to the lofty billing. He delivered renditions of several of his father’s songs including Nice Time, So Much Things to Say, Natty Dread, Zimbabwe, and Exodus which were well-received by the audience.
Julian’s encore saw him returning to the stage with his two siblings. He led on One Love while Damian encouraged the audience to sing along.
Stephen Marley, who was also onstage, rocked approvingly to his brother’s rendition.
Damian Marley did a few lines from his hit song, The Mission, which was icing on the cake. His final words were the repetition of “love” — a fitting reminder of what their beloved father stood for.
Earlier, Marcia Griffiths — who was part of Bob Marley’s backing vocals, the I-Three — performed Dreamland, and All My Life.
Capleton and Gyptian were also crowd favourites. The latter received loud cheers for Beautiful Lady, and Hold Yuh.
Other performers included Etana, Droop Lion, G Whizz, Lutan Fyah, Admiral Tibet, George Nooks, Max Romeo, and Dennis Walks.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange was pleased with the concert’s execution.
“We start preparing for Reggae Month at the end of each Reggae Month. We do have a template and we do have a series of activities that we repeat every year, and then we add new innovations. This year is the first that we would’ve hosted Bob Marley’s birthday celebrations. It’s usually hosted by Tuff Gong at the Bob Marley Foundation — and they do have other activities which we are apart of — but we wanted to do this show here in Emancipation Park so that we could attract a large number of persons, and it has worked,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
She disclosed that talks about making Marley a national hero are ongoing.
“There’s a committee that is reviewing the national honours, and that’s a part of the review, but in time you will know,” she assured.
The minister added that all acts, who had a set of approximately 15 to 20 minutes, exceeded expectations.
“I’m happy about tonight. It’s going great; the celebrations are going great. We’re celebrating Bob — the musical icon. We’ve given to the world, but Bob is not the only icon we’ve given to the world. We’ve given many others but Bob has led the way [with the] song of the century. He has really been an outstanding songwriter, musician and performer,” Grange said.
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