Roots 77 show to feature melody of live performance, tributes
Concert highlights Bob Marley’s birthday anniversary celebration
A host of entertainers from various musical genres and locations came together to honour a legend and entertain the world in the virtual Roots 77 Concert. Produced and presented by the Bob Marley Museum and Tuff Gong, the line-up featured new talent as well as several local and international favourites, including Etana, Queen Ifrica, Gyptian, Tony Rebel, Kes the Band, Bugle, Black Am I, Casely, and Amanyea. The show was anchored by two generations of Robert ‘Bob’ Nesta Marley’s own acclaimed reggae dynasty: daughter Sharon Marley, grandsons Elijah, Yohan, and Skip Marley, with The Marley Brothers (sons Ziggy, Stephen, Ky-mani, Julian, and Damian) closing the show.
This year’s event reflected the theme ‘Celebrating the Roots of Marley’s Livity’ in honour of the 77th anniversary of the birth of the international reggae legend on February 6. Originating from studios in Jamaica, California, and Florida, the pre-recorded event will be broadcast at noon via the Tuff Gong Television YouTube channel and Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio via the North American satellite platform, Sirius XM.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Top master of ceremonies, Tommy Cowan, demonstrated that he is as charming virtually as he is in person by fluidly transitioning between acts and coordinating the flow of events across all three sites for the live stream.
Guests from around the world enjoyed the virtual settings at the Tuff Gong recording studio during the Kingston-based segment. Amanyea, a newcomer, launched her set with a cover of Pimper’s Paradise, followed by No Dibby Dibby and Top Girl. Following that was Black Am I, who performed On The Edge, Living Dread, and Spliff Haffi Bun. Bugle then ramped up the pace with Toxicity, Exercise, Rasta Party, and Eyes Red before Gyptian arrived with singles like Beautiful Lady, Serious Time, and Hold You. Tony Rebel followed with Love Fountain, Swing Easy, and By Your Side. Queen Ifrica, who brought the vibes with Heroes, Predators Paradise, and the chart-topping Lioness On The Rise, paved the way for Etana. The Grammy-nominee gave a tremendous performance of Malika, I’m Not Afraid, and a lovely rendition of Three Little Birds.
The Miami chapter of Roots 77 opened with young Elijah Marley demonstrating his growing talent as a singer/DJ and percussionist with an impressive drum solo before doing his bloodline proud with his grandfather’s acclaimed classic, Three Little Birds, a reggae mashup of Blake Shelton’s God’s Country and John Lennon’s Imagine, and finishing the set with his dad’s Mr Marley. His aunty Sharon and cousins Yohan and Skip Marley then took control, bringing us a short but spicy family set that included Sharon’s rendition of her mother Rita Marley’s classic Just One More Morning; Yohan performed rhythmic love ballads Stay With Me and Goodbyes; and Skip Marley performed his latest hit, Vibe before honouring his grandfather’s musical legacy with a soulful, bluesy rendition of Johnny Was.
Formerly known to the world as Lady Saw, Minister Marion Hall’s vocals brought everyone to attention with an a cappella version of a Negro-spiritual-meets-ballad opening song she wrote, Freedom When Will You Come. She delivered emotive and highly charged renditions of her songs, I Had Jesus and If I Was Famous, interspersed with inspired preaching, and ended her presentation with a strong message, ‘Love me now, because I got Jesus’.
Other highlights in the live-stream came from R&B superstar D’Angelo, rising soca star, Kes the Band, and Casely, who all performed unique versions of their favourite Bob Marley songs. Casely gave us a soulful acoustic version of Zion Train. Kes paid tribute to the Caribbean’s greatest entertainer with a series of Marley mashups where the young singer merged his own hits with Marley classics. The inspired pairing of his newest release Jolene with Waiting In Vain is not to be missed! Lastly came a live performance from D’Angelo, backed by The Roots, of Burning and Looting. Taken from his live set at Afropunk, the R&B crooner said he was “honoured” that the Marley family wanted to share the performance for the live-stream show.
Overall, the Roots 77 Concert delivered outstanding performances for a fitting tribute to the legendary Bob Marley on his birthday. Highlights from this year’s show and other celebratory activities during the week-long event may be viewed on the Tuff Gong TV YouTube channel.