Bob Marley’s spirit returns to life in his grandsons
This is the only way to explain Robert Nesta Marley’s triumphant story.
Even today, nearly 40 years after his physical passing, the impeccable life of musical superstardom that Bob Marley lived refuses to be over and done with.
While he himself was still physically living, Marley’s oldest children, David and Sharon were smart enough to follow in their famous father’s artistic footsteps by forming their own music band called Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, scoring with fantastic hits in their own rights.
Apart from the well-known early period exploits of the Melody Makers, two other grown up children of Marley, Stephen and Damian would later stimulate full blown but pleasant surprises on the global showbiz circuit by skillfully infusing hip-hop and dancehall embellishments into the standard groove of their father’s crucial and ageless reggae form ups.
These smart and enterprising young lions were spelling the inevitable stylistic shape of future music by professing that simply because a good song does not sound like something recorded and packaged at Clement Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One does not mean it isn’t authentic reggae.
Dutifully, they dished out reggae but with new and exciting infusions.
The spirit of Marley has been at it again. In the present dispensation, Bob Marley’s spirit is inspiring today’s generation of music lovers and astonishing the new crop of show business gurus with the super talented artistic creations of the most current generation of Marleys.
These ones are younger than the legend’s children.
They are Nesta Marley’s grandsons and, there is no doubt about the unrelenting music spirit that is so active and awake in so far as songs of peace, love and joy are concerned. It is incontestable that the posthumous fame of Bob Marley will never wane or mellow down in the land of the living.
The oldest among Ziggy Marley’s six children is Daniel “Bambaata” Marley. Bambaata is the lyrically inspired grandson of Bob Marley, who dazzled the music world in 2014 with the release of two hit singles Treat You Right and Live It in a Fear.
They were tracks by which Bambaata, then aged 24 years old, sang over selections of super melodic reggae rhythms even though his digital profile on Soundcloud declares an affinity for classic hip-hop.
In his reaction to newsmen, Bambaata quickly stated that “It’s not like I just grew up with the reggae culture,” a loaded statement underscoring how wrong it is to assume – like some observers erroneously do – that success in music can happen automatically just by the performer being born into a musical family.
Instead, according Bambaata, “When I came to Miami for school, I was in the cipher with all my friends rapping, but the root of my music, regardless of if it might sound a different way, is always reggae.”
The truth is that the rhythm of reggae may truly be caught up inside his bloodline. Yet, as a genuine artist, Bambaata had to personally detect not only his own pattern of creative energy, but also an individualized spring of inventive fire. It’s a test of authenticity that he needed to pass in order to scale through.
Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, Stephen Marley’s eldest son, is Bambaata’s cousin. He too is a tremendously gifted grandson of the legendary Bob Nesta Marley.
He is a year younger than Bambaata but Jo Mersa also released his debut recording, an EP titled Comfortable, in 2014. He is not in the habit of mincing words but would rather declare that even though he is one of the new generations of Marleys, he is still experimenting and feeling his way forward in terms of his creative style. It is no big deal because his grand plan is to “do something new with my roots.”
Accordingly, the dancehall flavor has a greater impact than traditional reggae on the 6 tracks packaged into Jo Mersa Marley’s Comfortable.
In the truest sense of the concept of showmanship from the cradle, Mersa and Bambaata have been performing since infancy. As toddlers, their dads used to put them onstage at Melody Makers gigs, allowing their tender spirits to contribute a sizeable quota by instinct.
For this reason, Jo Mersa is now able to say with satisfaction that “I would step up on stage with my brothers and sisters and Daniel’s sister Justice, and there was a certain point when they would just give us the microphone and we’d do our certain favorite part of the song.”
Matthew Prendergast, also known as Biggz General is Sharon Marley’s son. He is another musically fully charged grandson of Bob Marley. The fourth young and enterprising star among the new generation of Marleys is Kymani Marley Jnr, known on stage as KJ Marley.
By releasing well received mix-tapes in 2013, Biggz General and KJ Marley have helped in feeding the enigmatic story of Bob Marley as an indelible icon in the narrative of popular music.
No matter how glorious the life time success of an artist in music and entertainment, much more important is the legacy that an authentic hero bequeaths to humanity. The virtue that Bob Marley pumped into his forebears is speaking well for him and his venerated memory today.
Most probably, this virtue will speak for him for all of time. With the emergence of a third musically articulate generation of Marleys on the global music and entertainment orbit, the fact is now clearly established that when Bob Marley passed on 37 years ago on May 11, 1981, he started living again, first through his exceptionally brilliant music, and now through his enterprising and similarly gifted children and grandchildren.
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