7 February 2018

Rwanda: Natty Dread to Headline Bob Marley Birthday Concert

This February marks 73 years since internationally acclaimed reggae music icon Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley was born.

Marley was born on February 6, 1945 in Nine Mile, Jamaica. He passed away on May11, 1981.

Every year, different festivities are organised across the globe both in honor of his birth day and that of his death.

In Rwanda, fans of the reggae music and cultural icon will celebrate his would-be 73rd birth day on Thursday, February 8, in a concert dubbed "73rd Bob Marley Earth Strong".

The concert will take place at Inema Art Center in Kacyiru.

The show will feature in the popular Inema Thursday Happy Hour, a weekly live music jam session that happens every Thursday night at the Kacyiru-based art gallery.

"Reggae music will never die. It will always play forever and ever. Reggae music is the music for kings and queens," explained Natty, a reggae musician who will headline the concert.

"We will be remembering the birthday of Bob Marley, because people only tend to know the day when he passed away- May 11, 1981, but we also have to remember that Bob Marley was born before he passed away. So we all have to remember him and come together and feel good and celebrate his life and his legacy," he added.

Natty Dread is one of the local reggae artistes whose music journey was deeply influenced by Bob Marley, and speaks very highly of him.

"Bob Marley sacrificed his life for the African people to emancipate themselves. He died for us like Jesus died for Christians. His music is living music, unlike some of today's music that plays today and tomorrow it's forgotten. But the DJs don't play it in the clubs, they only play it when people are leaving," he said.

Natty Dread first took part in the Bob Marley birthday anniversary concert in 1983, two years after his passing.

"The breakthrough point came in the early 1990s when we started touring under a project called We Remember Bob Marley. We did worldwide tours which sometimes involved Marley's family and sometimes The Wailers Band. 1995-1996 is when I came with Bob Marley's mum to Kenya, Uganda and finally Rwanda for the Safari Reggae festival," he noted.

Other artistes that will perform at the concert include Ras 2T, Ras Mike and Ras Paul. The Holy Jah Doves reggae band will be at hand to back up the artists.

The evening will kick off at 6p.m, with DJ mixes that will be dominated by Bob Marley music. Thereafter, live performances will commence.

"Later it will turn into a jam session where anybody interested will participate. Anyone that can sing a Bob Marley song the band will back you because it's a party so we have to share. That was exactly Bob Marley's message. He said Africa Unite so this is to fulfill his dream," Natty added.

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