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In The Spotlight: Bob Marley's 66th Birthday Bash

In The Spotlight: Bob Marley's 66th Birthday Bash

In The Spotlight: Bob Marley's 66th Birthday Bash

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT joined the world to celebrate the 66th Earthday of National Hero Ras Robert Nesta Marley, February 6, 2011.

Bob Marley museum


The official celebrations took place on Sunday, February 6 at 56 Hope Road, the home where Bob lived and worked, now become the Bob Marley Museum. The spirit of Bob filled the entire yard, as the Nyabinghi drums and chants began the day’s celebrations of musical praise and tribute to the Most High JAH RASTAFARI.

The throng of Rastafari brethren and sisters in colourful traditional dress, exchanged greetings of Peace and Love, while IRIE-FM – the great reggae radio station – broadcast a live link of interviews with the many musical and Rastafari personalities present. A breakfast feast was served by the Legend Cafe, with aromatic Marley Coffee and fresh juices. A cake was cut.

The Nyabinghi drums rested, then Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith led his Inner Heights band and lead singer Sangie Davis, into live Marley music and the Marley legend showered blessings on all present. Artists such as Dean Fraser, Cherine Anderson and Tarrus Riley performed live in the space outside the famous house, and the grounds rocked with the joyousness of the music and the spirit.


Bob MarleyThe Marley Birthday tribute had begun days earlier, at a special event also held at the Museum. There popular cellphone company DIGICEL launched a contract to enable downloads of Marley ringtones on their phones. This is another coup by the company which also has promotional links with Olympic superstar Usain Bolt and stunning Miss Universe runner-up Yendi Phillips. Signing of behalf of the Bob Marley Foundation was Marley Museum Director Jacqueline Stewart and Donisha Prendergast of the Marley family.

A massive concert at Trench Town Culture Yard on the Saturday night, at which a host of artists paid tribute to Marley in the inner-city ghetto where he lived and made music. Other events included a massive free concert on Marley’s birth night at Emancipation Park.


The mood of this year’s celebration was heavily elevated by a new campaign for Marley to be declared a National Hero, this time led by IRIE-FM’s ‘Running African‘ radio show, whose host Andrea Williams has renewed this issue, particularly in light of controversy surrounding the recent naming of a new Jamaican aerodrome after the English author of the James Bond books, while Marley has received no similar national recognition.

Therefore the media and public comments about Marley circulating over the days leading to his Birthday focused on the many ways in which the Rastaman has earned the national tribute of Hero. By mid-morning of Bob’s Birthday the Minister of Culture Olivia Grange joined in the chorus and announced she would spearhead the public effort to have her government give Marley the honour he deserves. About time!!!


By popular request of fans of the Reggae Film Festival, the month of February will not pass without a taste of Reggae films. As such, the Jamaica Film Academy will host a REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW at the Bob Marley Legend Cafe, 56 Hope Road, on February 25. The event will show trailers of films already entered in the film festival, scheduled for May 23-27 at the Whitter Village, Ironshore, Montego Bay.

Reggae Film FestivalFrom the JFA archive labelled ‘The Best of the Reggae Film Festival’, COUNTRYMAN is a classic film by Jamaican director Dickie Jobson. A small plane flown by a young American couple crashes off the Hellshire coast and the police begin a hunt for what is assumed to be a ganja escapade gone awry. The couple are rescued by Countryman, a native fisherman and mystic, whose fire-cooked meal of Jamaican food he prepares for the couple has become a classic of reggae film scenes.

Jamaica Film Academy chairman, actor Carl Bradshaw does his usual good job of playing a major film role, this time as the police chief and will answer questions from the audience in the CineChat session after the screening.  Young Jamaican digital animator Reinardo Chung will showcase his film BAD INFLUENCE and talk about his film art.


The Jamaica Film Academy is proud to announce that BBC-TV has entered its first film in the Reggae Film Festival with REGGAE BRITANNIA, an exciting new documentary spotlighting some of the genre’s most influential and greatest artists. Reggae BritanniaPart of the highly successful and critically acclaimed Britannia series for BBC Four, Reggae Britannia explores and celebrates the impact of reggae on British music and culture from the Sixties through to the mid-Eighties.

The documentary delves into the world of reggae, examining everything from the music, the bass lines and the spliff, to black kids speaking brummie or cockney, the romance of Jamaica and the smell of British streets in the Seventies. Travelling through the years, the programme talks to the performers who brought their music to the UK from Jamaica, discusses how reggae helped forge Rock Against Racism, showcases the New Wave bands of the Eighties who were influenced by the genre and explores how the genre became a part of the British mainstream my the mid-Eighties.

Directed by Jeremy Marre, the programme hears from The Specials, Dennis Bovell, Chris Blackwell, UB40, Paul Weller, Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson, Dennis Alcapone, Boy George and many more.


The BBC entry will face stiff competition for the Best Documentary Honour Award, as it will compete with such films as HOLDING ON TO JAH, the long-awaited documentary tribute to Emperor Haile Selassie 1, and INTENSIFIED, the story of the British band that made Ska a popular musical phenomenon in the UK long after it was no longer the music of Jamaican reggae.

The surprising renewal of interest in the brass-bound, big band music of the Jamaican 50s that was revived by INTENSIFIED, provides historic interviews, stero-recorded soundtrack and an inside look at some of the people who love reggae music, even though they were not Jamaican, or even Black. Directed by Spanish film maker Jep Jorba, whose film on Rico Rodriques was an entry in the 2008 RFF, INTENSIFIED tells their interesting story.

Another interesting documentary entry is SUPERSTONIC DUB about film maker Don Letts (DANCE HALL QUEEN, Bob Marley videos) and his history as a DJ who introduced dub music to British clubs and radio. Historical footage and good interview.

FishboneEVERYDAY SUNSHINE is a surprising feature documentary about US rock band FISHBONE, who included reggae in their avant-garde, dynamic and revolutionary music that influenced such bands as No Doubt, Black Eyed Peas and more. Fascinating footage and story narrated by ‘Matrix’ star Laurence Fishbourne are certain to capture interest and viewer votes.

The Reggae Film Festival is a project of the JAMAICA FILM ACADEMY, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that is funded by private sector sponsorship.

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