Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981, 59 days after I was born to a pair of tree-planting hippies living in a tent in an Oregon forest, in the northwestern United States.The first song lyrics I ever sang, in my days as a diapered toddler, were “no woman, no cry,” from the classic reggae anthem of the same name by Bob Marley and The Wailers.The parents of a close friend boast his first words were “woots, wock, weggae,” from the Marley hit of nearly the same name (“Roots, Rock, Reggae”).
In March, I turned 25, and last week many around the world recognized the 25th anniversary of the death of Bob Marley, quite simply one of the greatest and most influential musicians in modern history.
In Costa Rica, fans will have the opportunity tomorrow to come together and witness a musical homage to both Marley and Peter Tosh – perhaps the second most significant reggae singer after Marley – at the Tosh Meets Marley Fest, in San José.
Twenty-five years after his death, the significance and reach of Marley’s music has hardly been dampened – if anything, it reaches farther and touches deeper than ever.H is songs speak of political struggle, freedom, peace and love in a way that reaches through barriers of class, race and culture to touch hearts and minds around the globe.
Anecdotal evidence: at an international volunteer work camp in Guatemala, I surveyed the collections of CDs brought by the various volunteers representing 10 countries, and the most prevalent CD found throughout the collections was “Legend,” by Bob Marley and The Wailers.
Peter Tosh (who’s real name was Peter McIntosh) has left his imprint as well. He and Marley first played together in the early 1960s in the band that eventually became known as The Wailers.Tosh, who earned the nickname Steppin’ Razor for his legendary temper, left The Wailers in 1974, and went on to call for rebellion, equal rights and the legalization of marijuana in a hot but fast career that was cut short when he was murdered in his home by burglars in 1987.
In tomorrow’s concert, to be held at the Tennis Club, on the south side of San José’s La Sabana Park, Marley will be represented by Junior Marvin, the original guitarist for The Wailers, as well as Andrew McIntyre, another former Wailer.
Representing Peter Tosh is his original bassist, George “Fully” Fullwood, and his band.
For info and tickets (¢15,000/$30), go to www.mundoticket.com or call 207-2025.