Delightful sets at musical tribute to Bob concert
Bongo Herman remembers Bob Marley as an individual who looked out for the people. He said the reggae legend had a spirituality that connected with him when they first met.
“His spirituality, his kindness, his love and care for people… those are the best memories I have of Bob. When I was around him at 56 Hope Road, people would come to him every weekend with their hands stretched out asking for something and Bob would help them. I am glad that I met him,” Bongo Herman disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday night at the Musical Tribute to Bob Marley concert which took place at the Emancipation Park in New Kingston.
The concert, which formed part of the Reggae Month celebrations for February and title sponsored by J Wray & Nephew, was presented by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
The audience was treated to the musical tributes to Marley by several well-known and rising acts.
Bongo Herman — who performed covers of Dennis Brown’s Silhouette, Sugar Minott’s Mr DC, and Alton Ellis’s It Hurts Me So — said he cherishes his memories of Marley.
“I met him in Trench Town after he came to Kingston from St Ann. I also played with him on several of his shows. I am glad to be a part of that history and that I’m still alive to share the memories and to be able to perform on this concert in tribute to him,” said the famed hand drummer, percussionist, and singer.
Singjay History Man, who performed his chart-topping hit Bob Marley Story, was happy for the opportunity to represent at the concert.
“I always feel elated to perform for ‘the king’. I always performed when the concert was held in Trench Town. We have to record all of this history, so that our children and grandchildren can have these stories,” said History Man.
JCDC Festival Song winner for 2023 Slashe gave an outstanding performance. His rendition of Beres Hammond’s Rockaway was well-received.
“It’s an honourable thing and a great joy for me to be a part of this auspicious occasion. Bob, to say the least, was and will always be a living legend, an icon to Jamaicans home and abroad. It’s a joy just to add my few cents to the event,” Slashe shared.
He cites Marley’s Rastaman Chant as his favourite from the legend’s catalogue.
Mexican reggae artiste Jah Fabio, who says he has been championing the reggae vibes in his country since he discovered Marley’s Bad Card as a child, said performing at the event was like a dream come true.
“Really and truly this was more than a dream performing here tonight. My work in my country is to spread Jamaican culture, which I defend a lot. I feel really glad to be here and I give thanks for the reception that I got tonight,” said Jah Fabio.
His set included Marley’s Bad Card which got a strong reception from the audience as well as
I’m a Rebel.
“Reggae music changed my life, so I had to be here tonight,” he added.
Nadine Sutherland, JUNO winner and current nominee Exco Levi, Warrior King, Munga Honorable, Christopher Ellis, Jahmiel, Shuga, David Cairoll from France, Mystic Revelations of Rastafari, and Luciano were among the other acts who graced the stage in tribute to Marley.
Warrior King was a hit with Virtuous Woman, Never Go Where Pagans Go, and Caan Get Me Down, while Jahmiel excited with his stirring interpretation of
Sutherland, armed with Action, Anything For You, and Babyface, told the Observer: “I like the ska version of One Love because it’s happy and just the fun fact of it, understanding that era of the music.”
“It meant everything performing here tonight and to know that I am a product of his [Bob’s] vision,” she reasoned.
Exco Levi, who performed Marley’s Concrete Jungle, said he chose to put his spin on the song because it suited his voice.
“I like all his songs, but this one just fits well with my voice. It’s a good feeling to perform here because I always talk about Bob and I remember when I was a youth growing up in Manchester listening to his songs, his message and unity resonated in my heart,” said Exco Levi.