Jimmy Cliff: inspiring since 1962

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Speaking from Miami with New Zealand’s Sun Live, the legendary Jimmy Cliff offers a friendly “hello my friend” in a thick Jamaican accent that instantly puts you at ease. The often and rightly dubbed ‘godfather of reggae’ will be on stage in Tauranga when he plays the ASB Arena on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Jimmy will be supported on the night by Aotearoa’s own reggae royalty Herbs and Ardijah for what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime concert that’ll get people jammin’ till the morning light.

The 67-year-old is one of those beautiful musicians who shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, and will likely keep creating music for the ears and for the soul right up until they close his casket.

“My show is always about lifting the spirit,” says Jimmy. “I like it when people come to my shows, that they feel good when they go to work the next day, full of life and energy.

“That’s the kind of show I’ll put on, there will be some classics but also songs off my last album Rebirth and some new songs that have not been recorded yet.”

His career spans over five decades and 36 studio albums, plus countless musical contributions and collaborations with a diverse range of artists like Elton John and Joe Strummer from The Clash.

As reggae’s first superstar, Jimmy is also the only living musician to hold the Jamaican Order of Merit for his contributions to the arts and sciences.

He helped popularise reggae with the 1972 Jamaican movie ‘The Harder They Come’ in which he starred as lead character Ivanhoe Martin, plus his songs made up almost half of the soundtrack.

That film turned 41 this year and the impact it has had on not only the film industry but the music industry too is “quite remarkable,” he says.

“That movie has become a classic, a landmark, and the impact it had was due to the fact it was so real. The music was fresh and new to the majority of the people in the world.

“When it came out it captured the spirit of the time – not just Jamaica, but the spirit of freedom and the people of the time.”

Jimmy says it is this spirit that he has always strived to keep in all facets of his working and personal life.

A good example was his last studio album, 2012’s Rebirth, which won the Grammy that year for Best Reggae Album and was included in Rolling Stone’s ’50 Best Albums of 2012′.

“It wasn’t the album I was going to make,” he explains, “but having gone in the studio and sat with (Rancid vocalist and producer) Tim Armstrong and hearing what he was doing, I said ‘wow, I know this music’.

“I did one song and it sounded really great, so it just kind of flowed from there and I do feel good about that.”

Jimmy says he’s looking forward to returning to Aotearoa after years away – it’s been so long he doesn’t actually remember exactly how long it’s been.

What Jimmy does remember though are the “beautiful mixture of people” who have loved and supported his music over the decades, he says.

“I’m grateful for all the fans who have been with me over the years, and I’m grateful to all the new fans that have come along.

“I am absolutely looking forward to next year’s concerts. I enjoyed my time when I last came to New Zealand, and the people loved the music so what else can I ask for?”

Jimmy Cliff, supported by Herbs and Ardijah, will play the ASB Arena, 81 Truman Ave, Mount Maunganui, on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Tickets start from $59 + Booking Fee. VIP Tickets plus Corporate Packages are available and to purchase tickets visit:www.eventfinda.co.nz or call: 0800 289 849.

For the original report go to http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/89686-jimmy-cliff-inspiring-since-1962.html

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