Smile Jamaica concert returns next year


Nine Miles, St Ann, birthplace of Bob Marley, will once again be the site for Smile Jamaica, the concert celebrating the legacy of the late reggae star. The concert will be mark the end of Bob Marley Week and will be a major feature once more of Reggae Month. The show, which is scheduled for Bob Marley’s birthday, Saturday, February 6, 2010, enjoys the support of the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica Cultural and Development Commission. Jerome Hamilton of Headline Entertainment, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, explained that “In 2007, Ghetto Youths International wanted to stage an event that would honour Marley and we decided to keep it in Bob’s hometown. In 2008, Smile Jamaica and Africa Unite combined for a memorable event, and Smile Jamaica took a break in 2009. Everything has its season, the timing wasn’t ideal last year but Ghetto Youths thought it prudent to stage it for 2010.”

“Although it may sound cliché, when the concert was held in Nine Miles it had a mystical feeling, Hamilton added. “In that location you get a more intimate feeling, close to Marley’s resting place and his birth place – you really feel connected. This year it falls exactly on Marley’s birthday and closes the week of celebrations. Each year we get a good representation, a wide cross section of persons, even as far as from Australia, and a lot of international media.”

Since the 2008 concert, the Marley clan has released a number of new material including Julian Marley’s album Awake, Ziggy Marley’s children-oriented Family Time, Stephen Marley’s acoustic version of his debut album, Mind Control, and Ky-Mani Marley’s Radio. Damian Marley, while working on a collaborative album with rapper Nas, has also released singles. Hamilton said when the brothers unite for the show it will be a memorable experience.

“It will be like Bob Marley’s music – timeless and always enjoyable. There will also certainly be overseas acts,” he said. The last Smile Jamaica at James Bond Beach saw performances by Rihanna, a guest appearance from then boyfriend Chris Brown and John Legend.

Part proceeds from the concert will go to the Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment (URGE) Foundation and the Ghetto Youth Foundation, the charitable arm of Ghetto Youths International founded by Bob Marley’s offsprings. The foundation provides support for schools and reading programmes in St Ann and Kingston. The organisation has also provided assistance to hospitals and clinics to benefit children of lesser means and greater need.

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