Bob Marley’s Jamaica

Before you head to Jamaica’s Caribbean beaches, immerse yourself in Kingston – the home of Bob Marley’s reggae, rhythm and blues. Written by Ishay Govender-Ypma for Marie Claire, September 2017 issue.

Thirty-six. Both Robert Nesta Marley’s age at death and the number of years that have passed since that fateful day in 1981. For his loyal supporters, and the generations thereafter who have learned about his music from their parents’ dusty vinyl stashes, the radio stations playing retro hits and clubs that ply the evergreen tracks, notably Buffalo Soldier and No Woman, No Cry in the early hours, Marley remains a legend. A 2001 star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame keeps his image alive to fans old and new. His brand of reggae slices through generations, with social and political messaging that remains relevant. So Much Trouble in the World, Burnin’ and Lootin’, War and Redemption Song carry the burden of themes plaguing current times. If we examine at the world through Marley’s lyrics, though far from forthright as former The Wailers band member Peter Tosh’s are, one can’t but confront the reality that in spite of thirty-six long years, we’ve hardly moved an inch. The undisputed king of reggae, a man whose flailing dreadlocks became a powerful symbol of the growing Rastafarian movement at the time, sang of inequality, racism, unrequited love, legalising marijuana (or kaya), revolution and the recognition of blackness. Ultimately, and as is in line with Rastafarian philosophy, the messaging is positive – think Rastaman Vibration (“…gonna cover the earth like the water cover the sea,” Marley said) and Lively Up Yourself, a track played to stir crowds during live concerts. Earlier this year, a set of water-damaged analogue master tapes of Marley concerts held at various London venues including the Lyceum in 1975, and in Paris, including I Shot The Sherriff were found in the building of a former modest hotel that Marley and The Wailers stayed at. Though badly…

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Marley mural Kingston


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