Rita graces Marley's 75th celebrations

Rita graces Marley's 75th celebrations

Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment

Friday, February 07, 2020

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RITA Marley, matriarch of the Marley clan, watched intently as children from several Corporate Area schools paid tribute to her late husband — Bob Marley — in songs, spoken word, and drumming.

The occasion was the reggae king's 75th birthday celebrations held at his former Hope Road residence --- now a museum in his honour --- in Kingston on Thursday morning.

Mrs Marley, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a series of strokes, appeared quite attentive throughout the morning session of performances.

However, it was 17-year-old Jordon Evans and his colleagues from the Papine High School that appeared to have shone the brightest based on cheers.

Their rendition of Concrete Jungle found favour among the hundreds of guests in attendance.

“We've been practising for a couple of weeks. There's a very large music programme at school and one of school's legacy is music,” Evans told the Jamaica Observer's Splash yesterday.

He said it was important for him and his colleagues to be there.

“Bob Marley is a great musician and the world's greatest reggae artiste... He would be 75 years old today,” said Evans.

One Love Youth Camp also elicited cheers from the audience.

Mona High, Charlie Smith High, Alpha Institute, and Manifesto Jamaica also graced the stage.

The tiny tots were not to be outdone. They came from preparatory schools, including Kingsgate, St Andrew, Liguanea, and Holy Childhood.

Dressed in traditional garb, South African dub poet Jessica Mbangeni also performed.

Among the hundreds who made the annual pilgrimage were several overseas-based first-timers.

Anika Gerfer hails from Germany. She is on the island doing work for her Phd research.

“I'm doing research on language, reggae, and dancehall, specifically focusing on the use of patois by non-Jamaican artistes,” she told Splash. “I'll be here for six weeks conducting interviews at The University of the West Indies.”

She confessed to not knowing much on Marley.

“I've heard of him,” she said.

Gerfer's friend, Claudia Gardner, is from Austria and has been living in Jamaica for the past 12 years. She too initially came for research purposes.

“I'm a sociologist who came to do my masters' research on the impact of foreign women on the Jamaican structure. My university was the University of Salzburg. Salzbury is the city where Mozart was born,” she said, proudly clutching her baby Luca Onfroy (a cousin of late American rapper Xxxtentacion).

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period. He is among the greatest and most enduringly popular of classical composers, and his influence is profound on subsequent Western art music.

Mozart, 35, died in his home on December 5, 1791.

Canadian couple Ethan and Bess Van Den Berg were disappointed that the museum area of the complex was closed.

“I came here today to learn about Bob Marley and the museum was closed, so we haven't learned anything,” said Bess.

“We just looked him up on Wikipedia — his birthday and when he died, but we don't know much,” said Ethan.

Marley would have turned 75 yesterday. He died of cancer on May 11, 1981 at age 36.

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