In Jamaica, plans are in high gear for the 76th birthday celebrations of reggae superstar Bob Marley on February 6. Activities include a global virtual birthday celebration hosted by the Bob Marley Museum, a Bob Marley Tribute live stream by Stephen Marley, a limited-edition release of Songs of Freedom: The Island Years, and a day of specialty programming on SiriusXM’s new Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio channel. In addition, Ziggy Marley will join author Malcolm Gladwell in conversation about his book, Bob Marley: Portrait of a Legend. The Jamaica Observer reports:
According to the Marley family, Bob Marley remains one of the most followed artists nearly four decades after his death, and, therefore, this year’s activities serve to bring his music and message to the digital foreground, reaching new audiences and perspectives with innovative content and groundbreaking technology.
“Bob Marley’s music continues to inspire generation upon generation, as his legacy lives on through his message of love, justice, and unity, a sentiment needed more than ever in 2021. In conjunction with Tuff Gong and UMe, a division of the Universal Music Group, the Marley family will continue to ensure the highest quality, integrity, and care is taken to honour Bob’s legacy and to celebrate one of the 20th century’s most important and influential figures,” the family said in a statement.
A raft of activities are being coordinated to mark the date, including a global virtual birthday celebration hosted by the Bob Marley Museum, a Bob Marley Tribute live stream by Stephen Marley, a limited edition release of Songs of Freedom: The Island Years, and a day of specialty programming on SiriusXM’s new Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio channel.
In lieu of the live annual birthday celebration that usually takes place at the museum, the Bob Marley Foundation will be hosting a global virtual event inspired by the Bob Marley album, Survival, which is aso the theme of the events and activities.
The twelve-hour celebration will mirror the usual festivities beginning at 7:00 am, and comprise messages from the family; a Miami performance featuring the Marley brothers and third-generation Marleys; Survival cypher performance featuring Skip Marley, Jo Mersa, Tifa, Kabaka Pyramid, Agent Sasco, and Tanya Stephens; ‘More Family Time’ with Ziggy Marley; memorial tributes for Toots Hibbert and Betty Wright; and performances from Papa Michigan, Richie Spice, and Beenie Man.
The Bob Marley Foundation noted that despite being a virtual presentation viewers will still be able to experience the traditional segments which the annual event is known for.
The morning ceremony will commence with the blowing of the abeng and nyabinghi drummers. Other presentations include ‘In the Marley Kitchen’ featuring chefs Brian Lumley from the R Hotel and Kush Tafari of Kushites Vegetable Cuisine, storytelling, yoga, a children’s singalong and more. Hosted by ZJ Sparks and Ity Ellis, the reggae jam sessions that comprise the second half of the day will feature a blend of pre-recorded performances by the likes of Marcia Griffiths, Capleton, Jesse Royal, and Koffee. These presentations will be on Tuff Gong Television and its YouTube channel, as well as all the social media platforms of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports.
In addition to these activities, Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio on SiriusXM will also join in the festivities with a special ‘All Bob, All Day’ format playing only music from the late icon’s repertoire in-between a series of special programmes that begin with a new children’s show hosted by Ziggy Marley and inspired by Ziggy’s Grammy-winning album Family Time and the recently-released follow-up More Family Time. Additional programming will feature an exclusive Survivor 76 party mix from DJ GQ, as well as highlights of the annual concert, which traditionally closes the annual birthday celebrations at the Marley Museum in Kingston.
Marley’s eldest son Ziggy will join author Malcolm Gladwell in conversation about his book, Bob Marley: Portrait of a Legend. The oversized book showcases more than 150 photographs that celebrate the life and influence of the “King of Reggae”. The virtual Live Talks Los Angeles event will also take place on February 6.
Just in time for Marley’s birthday, the highly acclaimed Songs of Freedom: The Island Years, an extraordinary six-LP set, as well as a three-CD set, will be available worldwide on February 5. A limited-edition, coloured, six-LP set featuring two red, two green, and two gold vinyl LPs is also available. Streamlined to the period of Bob Marley’s emergence and stardom, with rare tracks on vinyl for the first time outside Jamaica.