Marley's music still relevant
Sons Ziggy, Julian say superstar’s legacy driven by his childrenTuesday, May 11, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Today, the Jamaica Observer 's Entertainment Desk concludes its series of stories titled Bob Marley — The Last 40 Days to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his passing.
FOUR decades after the passing of reggae king Bob Marley his music continues to have resonance and relevance for audiences, some of whom were born after his death.
What is it about this man, and particularly the potency of his music, some of which were written half-a-century ago, that continues to stir audiences?
Marley's sons, Ziggy and Julian, weigh in on the power of their father's musical legacy.
Ziggy, born David Nesta Marley on October 17, 1968, the eldest son for Marley and his wife Rita, sees the work carried on by himself and his siblings as being critical to the continuation of the foundations laid by his late father.
“A lot of the relevance is due to the work of his children and that drives his legacy. We have helped to keep his music alive with our works and the way we treat his legacy. It is tied to how we put his name out there and what we stand for,” he told the Jamaica Observer from his home in California yesterday.
For Julian, who was born in London on June 4, 1975, it is clear to him that his father was ordained to carry out the work he did while on Earth, and therefore the legacy is part of the fulfilment of that.
“My father was chosen by the Almighty to carry out what we are all experiencing. When you look at the works, the mission and the man it is clear. I can't explain it for myself. This is clearly on a much deeper realm and the Almighty is at the forefront of this vibration. He was a vehicle for the Almighty, and this music... it is heavier that I,” Julian Marley philosophised.
“It is humbling to see my father's works still teaching and feeding the people,” he continued.
Ziggy also shared that part and parcel of the legacy and relevance is how relateable Bob continues to be.
“One of the things I have also noticed is that people continue to see Bob as a human being. This is based on who they think he was, based on what they have read, heard and seen in the various interviews and taken from the music. They hold him in high regard... but at the same time they see him as someone who they could drink a beer with, smoke some weed... he could have been their friend. Not a lot of people see Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley in that way, but Bob's relatability as a person draws them to him. Nobody else in the history of music draws people to them in that way,” said Ziggy.
The brothers were both clear on the way forward for the music and the Marley name.
“It must continue,” noted Julian. “We must speak of injustice and give the people upliftment. The mission never ends. We must continue to bring children to the Almighty.”
“The next generation may lead by example, just like my father and his children. That same philosophy of love must be taken into the next generation. They must put purpose first before commercial success. That was the way my father did it and we continued. So, for the legacy to continue and remain relevant, that has to be the plan,” Ziggy said.
By virtue of age, Ziggy has more vivid memories of the day his father passed in 1981.
“We had gone to see him before, but on that day we were at our grandmother's house in Florida. A phone call came and I remember Cedella coming down the stairs and nobody had to tell me what had happened... just to look on her face and the silence, I just knew.”
Julian, who was only five years old at the time, cannot recall the actual day, but noted that over time he became aware that his father had died. He, however, holds on to a single memory of meeting up with his superstar dad.
“It was at Crystal Palace in London in 1980. I just remember being backstage in his dressing room which was a tent. As a youngster, I was running around with the other kids and did not pay much attention to the adults,” said Julian.
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