By M. Peggy Quattro Reggae Report Magazine, Founder/Publisher
There’s no doubt today’s world is a tumultuous place. We are faced with far too many “isms and schisms”: racism, capitalism, socialism, fascism, communism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism. For the past 50+ years, there’s been one constant that has helped humankind deal with the noise and commotion — the peaceful inner protest encapsulated in Reggae’s one-drop rhythm. Being well established in the Reggae movement for more than 35 years, I am sharing with you three ways I believe Reggae music delivers its message to a world of like-minded souls.
1) Reggae is often associated with ganja (aka marijuana/grass/weed/herb) and the ensuing euphoria this combination creates. However, by using the music’s heartbeat “riddim” wisely, Reggae captures our inner core. We instinctively dance and sing, even when we don’t understand all the Jamaican words, but ultimately it’s the music’s message that brings humanity together in harmony. We must thank the much-maligned and persistent Rastafari for educating the outside world on ganja’s health and spiritual benefits. Their peaceful and simple way of life is also rooted in political and socio-economic issues; their influence on Reggae’s growth, evolution, and contribution to Reggae history is undeniable. Continue reading →
As Bob Marley and the Wailers took their positions on stage for a 1980 Boston concert [at Hynes Auditorium,] they resembled a tribe of Biblical prophets carrying electric guitars. Red, gold, and green spotlights shined on the different members of the band, from the patriarchal percussionist Seeco Patterson to guitarist Al Anderson dressed in military fatigues.
The leader of the tribe walked to the center microphone in complete darkness and slowly began the song “Natural Mystic.” A spotlight finally landed on Bob Marley, whose long dreadlocks suggested a lion’s mane, and the mood for the show was fixed. Whether they knew it or not and whether they liked it or not, the Boston audience was being drawn into a spiritual experience.
I had the opportunity to interview Marley several hours after that September 1980 concert. It was to be one of his last. The Wailers [then] traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, for a show at Brown University and went from there to New York. *Following two extraordinary shows at Madison Square Gardens, where the Wailers finally performed before a predominantly African-American audience while outshining the Commodores, Marley collapsed while jogging in Central Park. The extent of his illness became apparent. The Wailers made their final appearance in Pittsburgh a few days later. Continue reading →
Skip Marley, the 23-year-old grandson of Bob Marley, burst onto the Reggae scene in a blaze of glory in 2015. Born June 4, 1996, and rightfully blessed from birth, the multi-talented Skip (so named to honor his grandfather’s nickname) plays numerous instruments, writes, and has the best of music industry connections, beginning with his mother, Cedella Marley, Bob’s firstborn child, original Melody Maker, CEO, & entrepreneur. But, without the gifts of a haunting Bob Marley-esque voice, extreme good looks, and a pleasing personality and great smile, Skip Marley, a relative newcomer on the Reggae scene, may not have so quickly reached the higher heights he now so readily enjoys. Continue reading →
Before we proceed, let’s get one thing straight, Garnet Silk was no Bob Marley. He didn’t profess to be Bob Marley, nor did he want to be. Despite the obvious similarities in religion and profession, the two possessed entirely different personalities.
The inevitable comparisons that have been made since Garnet burst onto the scene three years ago have been further fueled since his death a few months ago. Such a flattering likeness is evidence of the social impact the 28-year-old singer made in such a short period. In fact, he created a spark more famous names, like Ziggy Marley, failed to ignite among the masses.
Judy Mowatt – Leading the Charge of Sisterhood 1996
By Howard Campbell. V14#5
A visitor to Judy Mowatt’s home is in for a fairly long walk before he or she reaches the spacious front porch which houses a piano. Mowatt’s not pounding the keys today; she’s enjoying some peace and quiet at the back of the home near the hills of St. Andrew, Jamaica, not too far away from where she was born in the small village of Gordon Town.
An admitted lover of the soil, Mowatt’s cozy back room hideaway is surrounded by a small farm of sugarcane and bananas. Gospel music wafts through the air as she appears, barefoot and bareheaded, her locks complimenting her African-style blouse. A photo of Emperor Haile Selassie greets you upon entering, with another postcard-sized photo of the Wailers, circa the Uprising album, occupying one of the shelves of a nearby cabinet.
“Reggae Month was officially proclaimed and first staged in 2008, spearheaded by the Ministry of Culture and powered by the Jamaican Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA). The focus of Reggae Month is “edutainment”, highlighting Jamaica’s musical history and heritage. The annual celebration has been a huge success, attracting on average 40,000 attendees each year. This success is made possible by the overwhelming support of media partners and music industry practitioners, in addition to dedicated government and corporate sponsors who share the Reggae Month vision. The goal of Reggae Month is to attract international acclaim for Jamaica as the reggae mecca of the world, enhance travel and tourism for the month of February, and provide an educational platform of entertainment for all ages.” From Reggae Month Jamaica.com
When asked to recall the first time he heard Third World’s music, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, who has known many of the legendary band’s members since he was a baby, briefly paused before responding. “It’s hard to say the exact moment because I was so young,” Damian said, “but it must have been at Cat’s house (Third World guitarist/cellist/vocalist Stephen “Cat” Coore, the father of Shiah Coore, Damian’s lifelong friend and bassist in his band). I remember Cat would come home from the studio where he was working on an album and play the music, I remember seeing album covers, the plaques the band had received. Really, Third World’s music has had a presence throughout my whole life.”
For several years, Damian had wanted to produce an album for the band with the intent of introducing their music to a younger demographic. However, with their respective hectic schedules, finding a mutually convenient time frame to write and record proved somewhat challenging. But the outstanding result, More Work to Be Done (out on the Marley family’s Ghetto Youths International imprint), was well worth the wait. “Third World had many songs they were working on; because they are top-notch musicians, they were all good songs, but those songs wouldn’t have accomplished my goal of moving them into this new generation of music,” Damian, a four-time Grammy winner, told Billboard on the phone from his Miami studio. “We had discussions about re-approaching some of the songs, even the songwriting, so we almost started the album from scratch halfway through working on it. We had songwriting sessions together, came up with ideas and developed what was most attractive to us. That’s what you are hearing on the album.”