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Remembering a musical legend

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Bob Marley
Bob Marley

Special Correspondent

A meeting is being held at Fort Kochi to commemorate Bob Marley

KOCHI: “Open your eyes, look within: are you satisfied with the life you are living?”

Bob Marley, singer, songwriter, prophet and rebel, threw this question at the African-American community decades ago. Music for this Jamaican musician, who popularised reggae worldwide, was a weapon in the hands of the dispossessed for changing their world.

At the same time, music was a healer too. “One good thing about music: when it hits, you feel no pain,” he said. His music and his band, Bob Marley & The Wailers, drew large crowds in the Caribbean, America, Europe and Africa.

And millions more listened to his albums. Time magazine rated ‘Exodus’ brought out by Bob Marley &The Wailers as the greatest music album of the twentieth century.

Robert Nesta Marley (later Bob Marley) was born on February 6, 1945, in Jamaica. He grew up in a shantytown in Jamaica’s capital Kingston amid the poverty, squalor and music of the African community. He left school at the age of 14 to pursue a career in music. He sang, wrote songs and played the guitar to become one of the most popular musicians of the 20th century.

Though he “came from black and white” (his own words), he identified himself with the African and struggled, through music, for their emancipation. Worldwide, Bob Marley is now considered the musical prophet of the marginalised communities such as African-American, Aborigines, Adivasis and Dalits. Songs such as ‘No woman, no cry,’ ‘Black progress,’ ‘African herbsman,’ ‘Could you be loved’ ‘Stir it up,’ ‘Redemption song’ and ‘One love’ highlighted the voice of the marginalised and also spoke of love and peace. The United Nations honoured him with its peace medal.

He was also a campaigner for the Rastafari spiritual movement.

He died of cancer on May 11, 1981 at a hospital in Miami, U.S., at the age of 36. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Marley’s song ‘Buffalo Soldier,’ which attained cult status globally, was the craze of the campuses in Kerala. Buffalo Soldier opened the world of Bob Marley to the Malayali youth.

On Sunday, the Bob Marley Samskarika Koottaayma launched a two-day programme to mark the 28th death anniversary of the musical legend at Comrade Abu Square at Fort Kochi.

Theatre person P.M. Antony opened a seminar on the ‘Responsibilities and challenges in the cultural field.’ Raghavan Atholi, poet, recited his own poems and the ‘Njaattuvela’ troupe presented a mix of folk songs, revolutionary songs and Bob Marley hits.

A documentary on Marley was also screened. On Monday morning, ‘Red Solo-mortuary vibrations’ will be presented by Shaji Kallayi.

In the evening, there will be a screening of Marley albums.

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