Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Marley family will be going all out to celebrate the 77th birthday of the King of Reggae, Bob Marley on February 6.

The theme for this year’s birthday celebrations is Roots 77 and a statement from the family said there will be seven days with seven main events to mark the occasion.

These include: a beach clean-up, a sound clash, music industry seminars, two art installations, and two concerts.  All activities will showcase various aspects of Marley’s legacy under the theme Roots 77. Fans worldwide are invited to join the festivities by tuning in to the live stream of Bob Marley’s 77th Earthstrong on the Tuff Gong TV YouTube channel on February 6 from 12 noon to 7pm.

“I am so pleased to have the opportunity to honour my dad each year – especially in a way that welcomes fans and well-wishers around the world to share this special occasion with our family,” said Cedella Marley.

“This year is particularly important to us with Jamaica celebrating its 60th anniversary. The theme we chose, Roots 77, is inspired by the song ‘Roots’ and as we go back to our roots, we get a chance to explore the growth of Reggae, Rastafari, and Jamaica,” Cedella added. 

Meanwhile, operations manager and legal counsel at the Bob Marley Group of Companies, Lecia-Gaye Taylor, said that until February 4, the Bob Marley Foundation will be accepting entries from young artists for the juried Roots 77 Art Exhibition that will be on show at the Bob Marley Museum from February to August.

One of the main attractions of the celebration will be the new ‘Rita Marley: Mystic of a Queen’ piece. 

The Berette S Macaulay-curated exhibition honouring Marley’s widow, family matriarch, philanthropist, singer-songwriter, cultural shaper, and entrepreneur will be a permanent fixture at the Bob Marley Museum. It will debut on February 6 with a private viewing by members of the political directorate, before opening to the public on weekdays from 10am to 4pm.

Another highlight is the Roots 77 Concert: ‘Celebrating the Roots of Marley’s Livity’, which will be broadcast live on SiriusXM from Tuff Gong International Studio on Monday, January 31, beginning at 5pm. This will include performances by Etana, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Gyptian, Bugle, Black-Am-I, Amanyea, and hosted by legendary MC Tommy Cowan.

Through the Tuff Gong TV YouTube channel, Bob Marley’s 77th Earthday live stream will be carried on February 6 between 12 noon and 7:00 pm. The full audio and video of the Roots 77 Concert from Jamaica to the East Coast and the West Coast of the USA will showcase additional musical performances by The Marley brothers, Minister Marion Hall, formerly known as Lady Saw, Sharon Marley, and grandsons Skip Marley, Jo Mersa Marley, and Elijah Marley. 

Marketing director of the Bob Marley Group of Companies, Julia Vaz, said a new and exciting feature of the Bob Marley birthday celebration is the introduction of ‘The 7 Roots of Marley’.  She explained that this was inspired by the ‘7 pillars of Kwanzaa’ and the video meditations will explore the reggae legend’s ideals and give insight into his natural mystic, well-roundedness, and far-reaching impact. The short daily meditations will air each day leading into his birthday and will include: Identity – Jan 30; Food – Jan 31; Creativity – Feb 1; Fitness – Feb 2; Rastafari – Feb 3; Human Rights – Feb 4; Music – Feb 5.

In explaining the comprehensive nature of this year’s offerings, Vaz said “The goal is to provide something for everyone and to emphasise different aspects of Bob Marley’s guiding beliefs and way of life. We want people to have a feel of who he was beyond his status as a reggae superstar.”

“True to this notion of going back to our roots, the soundclash is a throwback to when Reggae ruled the dancehalls. ‘Echoes of Sound Systems – When the Two 7’s Clash’ is a collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sports with the first airing on the Tuff Gong TV birthday live stream, February 6. 

Billed as the soundclash to end all sound clashes, it will see sound systems vie for the top prize and bragging rights. This celebration also forms part of the celebrations for Jamaica’s 60th year of Independence and will air weekly during reggae month (February) on Tuff Gong TV.

Other activities include:

A three-part series of music industry seminars on the business of music. In conjunction with the entertainment industry, JARIA, and IRIE FM, the Zoom seminars, will be aired live on Irie FM and Tuff Gong TV from February 1-3.

There will also be a ‘Roots Of A Riddim’ Beats Breakdown Workshop which will focus on music production and include a feedback session. Hosted by Nonso Amadi, an international artist signed to Universal, it is geared towards emerging music composers, producers and recording artists in Jamaica. For more information: gavin@quietaskept.cotrung@quietaskept.cojadeolubusola@gmail.com

On Saturday, February 5 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm will be the ‘Football is Freedom’ football clinic at St George’s College. It is a grassroots initiative to provide a holistic and safe environment in which young girls can learn soccer skills, life lessons, and foster friendships. The clinic will be overseen by FIFA licensed coaches.

Top Feature Photo: reggaeville.com