Today is Bob Marley Day. Marley, born February 6, 1945 is the musical genius who put Jamaica and reggae in range of the world’s radar. Starting today through Sunday, there are various festivals and celebrations occuring around the globe as a way to honor Marley and enjoy his music. Here’s a link that lists several events. Five of them are in the United States. The United Kingdom, Finland and Russia are among the others.
When I lived in The Gambia, I remember dancing to “Three Little Birds” one night at a tourist hotel in Fajara. It was a real sanity saver. Difficulties and upset fell away with each note and word. As you’re heading towards the weekend, stand up, close your eyes, listen and move. Except, if you close your eyes, you will miss this charming animated video where Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil and Marley sing the song in a duet. In that case, play this twice–once to watch the video. The second time, close your eyes.
Bob Marley’s birthday was February 6th. Even though that date has passed, it’s not too late to celebrate his life and music legacy by taking in a Ragga Muffins Festival. This festival pulls in top reggae artists from around the world. There are three different locations with several of the artists performing at each one. The first is in Long Beach, CA, February 17-18. Then it moves to Santa Cruz, CA, February 22-23 and San Francisco, February 24.
Steel Pulse, Benny Wailer and Midnight are just a few of the performers making three separate appearances. The festival in Long Beach is more than a concert. Deemed one the best international reggae festivals, according to this article that I came across in the LA Weekly, it includes “North America’s largest international crafts and food fare.” That certainly caught my attention.
If you can’t make it to one of the festivals you can enjoy samplings of the artist’s music on the festival’s website. It seems that these are perfect times for remembering Marley’s work towards human rights and world peace.
Sit listening to my music collection on party shuffle for an hour and you’ll find I’m all for jarring sound transitions. Follow me closely here. Music is about movement. It’s about the flowing, swaying, and gyrating movement of bodies rocking harmoniously on packed dancehall floors in places with little ventilation. Sometimes it’s sudden and spur of the moment while others it’s calculated. Most of us find music takes away in the comfort of our homes allowing our limbs the freedom to burst out in the most unlikely body gestures and some will set adrift to discover music exotic places. I’m for the later idea.
Here’s a few of my own top music picks to help you skip to the islands this summer including concert and festival happenings around the area: 5. Sail to: Portugal’s Azores islands, Europe When: July & August – several music events happening throughout the islands. Song:Island of Wonder – Nelly Furtado (album: Folklore) 4. Sail to: Barbados, West Indies When: July & August – for the island’s popular five-week Crop Over festival with origins tracing back to the 1780’s. Song:A Girl Like Me – Rihanna (album: A Girl Like Me)
2. Sail to: Ibiza, Spain When: July & August – Clubs and clubs galore! Dance in the day or dance at night. If you’re a bit on the mellow side, lay out in the sun at Playa de Ses Salines where DJ is sure to be spinning a record or more. Song:Wake Up With Me – Be Noir (album: Undiscovered Ibiza) 1. Sail to: Jamaica, West Indies When: August 3-6, 2006 – The world’s greatest Reggae festival, Reggae Sunsplash, returns and the roster looks as promising as ever. What better island to be jammin’ on than Jamaica? Song:Sun is Shining – Bob Marley & the Wailers (album: Kaya)
Music lover’s, Hippie’s, Rasta’s, wannabe’s, groupie’s, and Bob Marley fans across the globe; pack your bags and head over to Addis Ababa. NOW! Though no official date has been set, the longstanding wishes of the legendary Bob Marley will be carried out by his widow, Rita Marley, as she makes plans for his re-burial in Ethiopia. IOL reports, Addis Ababa, capital Ethiopian city, will host the 60th birthday “Africa Unite” celebrations that kick off Tuesday. They estimate somewhere around 200,000 visitors including the reggae superstar’s 80-year-old ma who arrived last week. The festival takes place on February 6th, 2005. If ever, there was a genie in a bottle waiting to grant a few wishes, I’d ask for two tickets to Ethiopia. One for me and one for you.