Stephen Marley Show

Stephen Marley: A Celebration of Peace, Love and Unity

It was a splendid evening on July 24, 2011. The Revelation tour bus had finally made its way to South Florida and the Culture Room fans were lined up! With the recent release of Stephen Marleys mind blowing, Grammy-worthy album The Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life, his followers were eager to catch him live and direct.

Stepping into Fort Lauderdales Culture Room, Reggae Report headed upstairs for the perfect vantage point. Sponsor Marleys Mellow Mood brought in DJ Geefus from Stone Love, a popular international Reggae sound system, to keep the vibes flowing. He was not joking around with his music selections. Hit tunes from such greats as Dennis Brown and the Marley family, amongst others, kept the happy crowd rocking. As the new single My Girl, from Jo Mersa (Stephens son), blared from the speakers, Geefus started a round of follow-the-leader that had the entire house grooving along to Jamaican dance crazes, including Signal, Lift the Weights, and Thunderclap. It actually felt as though you were invited to an exclusive party a night you would not soon forget.

Stephen Marley & Ghetto Youths Crew

The lights dimmed as flagman Donovan entered the stage waving an oversized Lion of Judah flag. Squidly Coles skillful drumming and Chris Merediths booming bass were joined by the excellent vocal harmonies of Erica Newell and Rochelle Bradshaw. Bringing in the roots Reggae sound was Ranoy Gordon on guitar, Carol McLaughlin and Llamar Brown on keyboards, and Nicholas Laraque on sax and flute – rounding out the Ghetto Youths Crew. Punky Reggae Party had everyone skanking as Stephen strolled on stage in a mellow mood. Greetings! My name is Stephen Marley and I come to bring you Reggae music! Joyful screaming erupted from the jam-packed crowd.

The vibe for the night was set as Stephens youngest sons danced alongside their father to a collection of hits from Mind Control and the new album, including the current single No Cigarette Smoke (In My Room), which featured a fantastic solo by Erica Newell. The Bob Marley hits Jammingand Buffalo Soldier brought crowd participation as they happily joined in with wo yo yo yo, making it crystal clear that this was going to be a sing-along night.

Being that this was the last U.S. stop of his Revelation Tour, we were pleasantly surprised when Julian Marley and Spragga Benz magically appeared on stage to sing Iron Bars, thus bringing the audiences energy to a whole new level. Spragga and Stephen then called Damian Jr. Gong Marley to grace the stage. Fueled by the high energy, the three lions jumped in unison with their fists in the air as they performed Traffic Jam.

Steve informed the screaming fans: This is the first single off the new album which features my brother Jr. Gong. The band played the chords from Jah Army as Jr. Gong jumped up to the Reggae rhythm, his long dreadlocks swaying behind him. Spragga and Stephen were obviously enjoying themselves as Damian cleverly delivered his verse. At this point Stephen proclaimed: Fort Lauderdale, if you love Buju Banton, let us see your hands in the air! I know if Gargamel was on the stage tonight he would say it like this [impressionof Bujus gravelly voice] Raggamuffin, Jr. Gong and Spragga Benz watch it yuh know! A few lines of Bujus verse were sung whilst the entire venue exclaimed Free Buju! This brought laughter and smiles from the performers and band.

The rest of the multi-talented Marleys, complete with Bobsgrandchildren, stormed the stage dancing and singing. This brought a chuckle and a wide smile from a proud Stephen. Sharon and Cedella (Bobs daughters) did a melodic rendition of Could You Be Loved. Midway through the set, Cedella showcased her vocal ability by belting out high notes and gyrating dancehall style, which had Stephen in shock as he playfully covered his eyes.

There was a lesson to be learned from Made In Africa. The songs introduction was played over the loud speakers: Scholars and scientists now conceive that Africa is the first place of mankind. Africans were the first builders of civilization. They discovered mathematics, invented writing, developed sciences, engineering, medicine, religion, fine arts, and built the Great Pyramids – an architectural achievement which still baffles modern scientists. The 225themperor, direct descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, He is the King of Kings, The Lion of JudahThe name Haile Selassie means Power of the Trinity. Stephen demonstrated his musicality and true Rastaman vibration when playing his ites, green and gold Keite drum and chanting his cry to Mother Africa. Spragga Benz reconfirmed by vocalizing a verse about history, slavery and love. Jr. Gong, aka Gongzilla, joined his brother centerstage and the lesson continued with Slave Ship.

Next step was The Mission. This song, in particular, seemed to be a favorite amongst the brothers as it gained two Pull Ups! During the second pull up, Damian, in pure elation, burst out with his trademark Peppa! Peppa! Communication within this family circle seems to be beyond words – just a clear understanding as Gongzilla broke into a quick medley of Shootout and Liquor Store Blues. There was a sea of waving hands and pumping fists as he saluted the crowd, embraced his brother and exited the stage.

Stephen – in a mellow mood

A sense of how great a mastermind Stephen is when it comes to composing music was realized while – accompanied beautifully by Nicholas Laraque on flute – he delivered the emotional Now I Know. This ballad tugged at the heartstrings as you listened to the words: Grandma said I could have my dreams, at least if nothing else – and mama never raised no fool, I can feel things for myself. The fans got a glimpse of the real Stephen Marley with this sincere, warm tune.

With this in mind, Stephen informed us his mother Rita Marley was in the house. He explained July was a very important month because of all the birthdays to celebrate – Jr. Gong, HIM Haile Selassie, and his grandmother Cedella Marley Booker (Mother B). However, that night was the most important as it was past midnight and the actual earthstrong of his mother. He looked up at a beaming Rita and proclaimed We love you! Loud cheers of celebration filled the air.

One Love was an appropriate final song for the night. Before leaving the stage, Stephen delivered this profound statement: The most important thing tonight was unity. That is what we represent – peace, love and unity.

After an extraordinary two-hour performance, it was evident that we all witnessed Reggae royalty at its best; it was Marley magic. There is no question as to why Stephen Marley has won seven Grammy awards. Thank you for treating us to a night of pure, authentic Reggae music! Jah Bless

Julian Marley – In His Own Words

Julian Marley – In His Own Words

Miami, FL – Julian Ricardo Marley, a seasoned roots Reggae performer, is a multi-talented musician, writer, and singer. Born on June 4, 1975, in London, Julian is the only British-born Marley son. He spent summers with his extended family in Kingston, tuned in to Rastafari, and became immersed in the Marleys musical environment. A self-taught musician, Julian is skilled at guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards. Since the 1996 release of his debut CD entitled Lion in the Morning, Julian JuJu Marley has traveled the world extensively to perform alongside his talented brothers. The 2003 CD Time and Place, and 2009’s Awake, have resulted in a large legion of loyal fans that attend his solo performances. At the invitation of the Jamaican government, Julian Marley and the Uprising band represented his adopted country and performed at the historic 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Julian at Recife Fest 2010

Julian spends time between London, Kingston, and Miami; much time is devoted to working and recording in the family-owned Lions Den studio. On a recent mini-Florida tour, I caught up with Julian following his casual and intimate performance at Pineapple Groove in Delray Beach. Continue reading

Julian Marley Show Review

Julian Marley: An Intimate Performance at Pineapple Groove

A ready & relaxed Julian – photo M. Peggy Quattro

If you were not in Delray Beach, FL on July 14, 2011, you missed a rare opportunity. The bar was fully stocked, the music was pumping, and the entire venue was filled with excited chatter, singing, and laughter from all corners!

Picture this: Cultural diversity at its best filled the two levels of this modern-day nightclub. Rastafari, surfer dreadies, and retro-punks took over the dance floor, groovin’ together to the sounds of Lance O’s Kulcha Shok while patiently waiting for the show to begin. Continue reading

Tiger – Ready Fi Dem

Tiger – Ready Fi Dem

by M. Peggy Quattro

Tiger & MPeggyQ – July 2, 2011

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Tiger, the award-winning DJ sensation who pounced on the music scene in the late 80s and early 90s, was recently in South Florida for a one-off performance with the groundbreaking Shabba Ranks. The 5th Annual Flash Back Nights was held at Ft. Lauderdale’s Revolution Live on July 2, 2011, and the sold out crowd welcomed the two icons with open arms.Prior to that evenings performance, I caught up with the two legends at their hotel. Shabba, a Reggae Report regular and featured on four covers, was looking fit and healthy. In between endless cell phones calls we chatted and reminisced about those early days of Dancehall when Shabba was king and paved the way for todays performers. The Grammy-winner was looking forward to that evenings performance and mentioned that he visits South Florida frequently. Sounds like a future interview, fi real.

Tiger – Prince of the Dancehall

I made my way to Tiger’s room, looking forward to seeing my pal from back in the day. Tiger, a regular Reggae Report item, was one of a handful of artists who stepped up to perform at the magazines fundraising Sampler Show in 1991. His talent, humor, spirit, and generosity were inspiring and not forgotten. I had not seen Tiger since the horrible motorcycle accident in December 1993 that forced the cat into seclusion and a long period of recuperation. Excited at hearing he was back on the prowl, it became my goal to catch up with the tenacious Tiger. Continue reading

Fas’ Chat – Ky-mani Marley

FasChat –  with Ky-mani Marley

By M. Peggy Quattro

Ky-mani Marley – Arriving back from a tour of Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Senegal,New Zealand, & Vanuatu in the Pacific Islands, MPeggyQ caught up with actor, author, humanitarian & Grammy-nominated  artist Ky-mani Marley backstage at Miami’s Nine Mile Reggae Fest, March 12, 2011

At the time of the interview, Ky-mani spoke proudly of his collaboration with upcoming singer Proteje.  Proteje’s single, Rasta Love, featuring Ky-mani was currently #1 in Jamaica and the two artists were excited to perform the hit for fans gathered at Bayfront Park that night. Ky-mani said that while on break at home in Miami, he was going to spend the time recording, mixing, and mastering his new album and get it ready for promotion before starting his summer tour. Continue reading