Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that has curtailed gatherings across the world, Bob Marley's annual birthday celebration is moving with the times and still going strong.
The Bob Marley Museum is on Saturday hosting the reggae legend's 76th Birthday Celebrations at its compound, his former residence at 56 Hope Road in Kingston. Themed ‘Survival’ in recognition of his 1979 album, with the title track with the same name, this year’s day-long events are without the usual large audience, but instead are being viewed online.
Among the activities that have already taken place on Saturday is the blowing of the abeng and a performance from the gospel artiste Kevin Downswell, who did a remix of his song ‘Stronger’ with Jamaican entertainers, including dancehall heavyweights Bounty Killer, Beenie Man and Wayne Marshall.
There were also performances from school children from Holy Childhood High, Mona High, St Andrew Prep, Liguanea Prep, Alpha Institute Charlie Smith High. They all took turns to sing and dance to Marley’s songs.
The morning sessions also included messages from various reggae industry stakeholders including Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.
There was also a guided tour of the Bob Marley Museum, which was narrated by Ricky Chaplin and performances from the One Love Youth Camp and Manifesto Ja, with the latter having a video feature on the individuals in the group’s musical journey.
Among the scheduled activities later are a performance mash-up featuring the Marley brothers and third-generation Marleys, a Survival Cypher performance featuring Skip Marley, Jo Mersa, Tifa, Kabaka Pyramid, Agent Sasco, and Tanya Stephens and performances from Papa Michigan, Richie Spice, and Beenie Man.
The celebration of the reggae legend's birthday is a major highlight of Jamaica's Reggae Month celebrations, a month-long series of events to celebrate Jamaica’s musical influence locally and internationally.