Hundreds pay homage

Richard Johnson

Thursday, February 07, 2013

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A festival-like atmosphere filled the Bob Marley Museum and its vicinity as hundreds of supporters visited to pay homage to the late Reggae King on what would have been his 68th birthday yesterday.

From vendors peddling craft, food and other items to the infectious beat of the Nyabingi drummers and singers, to that ever-present scent of burning sacrament, the entire event conveyed a celebration of the life and work of the reggae great.

"It has just been wonderful ... a happy vibe. The theme this year is survial. What we are trying to say is that, despite the hardships, we have to come together and survive," said Marley's daughter, Stephanie.

According to Stephanie, Marley's widow and family matriarch Rita — who now lives in Ghana, Africa — could not be at the celebration. However, other family members were on hand to greet guests.

Veteran musician Bob Andy, a contemporary of Marley, was among those paying respect. He noted that he feels honoured to be alive to be a part of celebrating a music movement which Marley championed.

Bob Andy said he remembered a conversation he had with Marley in an upstairs room at the location.

"Right up there," he said, pointing to a window on the upper floor of the building. "Bob reminded me that when you are coming from, where we are coming from and find yourself progressing, you should take time to remember your past, just in case you wronged someone along the way, and ask for their forgiveness. That is something I have always lived by."

American R&B artiste Jimmy Cozier was also among those at the museum on the hot Wednesday afternoon.

"It is my birthday too," he sounded, brimming with pride that he shares the same birthday as Marley.

"My mother had always told me that Bob Marley and I share the same birthday, and she always stressed that I should do something great with my life musically."

Cozier, who has Jamaican heritage, said that Marley's music has always been a strong influence on his own style of music.




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