Bob Marley and the Wailers’ ‘Is This Love’ fills Westminster Abbey
Reggae music makes mark on Commonwealth Day
Last Monday was celebrated as Commonwealth Day in the United Kingdom and across the member countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe.
In Britain, shortly after King Charles III delivered his first-ever Commonwealth Day Message, the mystical sounds of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Is This Love reverberated through the ancient stone walls of the famous Westminster Abbey in London.
The song, which was released on Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1978 album Kaya, became one of the best-known in their catalogue and was part of the Legend compilation. It peaked at number nine in the UK charts upon its release in 1978. A live rendition of the song can be found on the Babylon by Bus live album from Paris in 1978.
Inside the abbey, Is This Love was performed by UK jazz saxophonist YolanDa Brown, whose parents are Jamaican. She was accompanied by a band. The nearly three-and-a-half-minute sprightly razzmatazz was followed by a sustained ovation. Enjoying the performance was a packed abbey that included senior members of the royal family, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, multi-denominational clergy and Commonwealth representatives.
Other musical performances came from New Zealand, Rwanda and Cyprus.
And, as if to add icing to Monday’s musical cake, the double MOBO Award-winning musician and broadcaster was conferred with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace by King Charles for her services to music, music education and broadcasting.
“I am really grateful to receive this award. My career continues to be eclectic and doesn’t fit in a box, so I am grateful to everyone who continues to walk with me as a musician broadcaster or campaigner for children and their access to music education,” Brown said.
She continued, “I dedicate this honour to my grandma, who passed away recently and taught me faith, belief and resilience, and also to my daughters as they fill the world with love on their journey,”
Brown, whose sound is a fusion of reggae, jazz and R&B, has performed in Jamaica at the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival and at Jewels Dunn’s River.