Jamaica Celebrates Bob Marley's Birthday

Bob Marley


In a festive atmosphere, Rastafariansn and reggae musicians joined by hundreds of tourists and other well-wishers at Bob Marley's old house in Kingston on Wednesday, February 6th to mark the 68th anniversary of his birth.

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.

The grounds of the legendary Jamaican’s former home, now a museum, was filled with music as Marley's relatives, friends and admirers danced, sang and chanted to the pulsating beat of drums to celebrate the life and legacy of the man who remains the most famous and revered Jamaican more than 30 years after his death from cancer in 1981.

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.

Marley is remembered for his powerful message of unity and respect which continues to resonate in the country of his birth and around the world.

The musician’s enduring influence is showcased by such perennial favourites as One Love, Redemption Song, No Woman, No Cry, Could You Be Loved, Stir It Up, Get Up Stand Up, and Jamming.

Since its release in 1984, three years after his death, Marley's Legend compilation has annually sold over 250,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and it is only the 17th album to exceed sales of 10 million copies since SoundScan began its tabulations in 1991.

In 1994, Bob Marley was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in December of 1999 his 1977 album Exodus was named Album of the Century by Time Magazine.

Veteran musician Bob Andy, a contemporary of Marley, was among those paying respect. He noted that he feels honored 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."

Source: Caribbean360, The Jamaica Observer