The UK and specifically London is steeped in Jamaican culture and being of Jamaican heritage the recent regeneration of Bob Marley way in Brixton was an important event in celebration of Jamaica's 50th year of independence, British Jamaican-culture and the impact of reggae star and musical icon Bob Marley.
Any music fan, regardless of genre preference will find it difficult to escape the influence of Bob Marley's music and the magnitude of his impact during his life and after his passing.
East London born, Irish bred singer and rapper Maverick Sabre who headlined the all day event that took place this past Sunday in Lambeth, south London, has even covered Bob's iconic "Redemption Song" for online music channel SBTV. Although this might seem an unlikely choice it is a fitting demonstration of the timeless relevance of Bob Marley's unifying music and message.
With direct backing from the Marley camp, their 1Love social action movement and Marley beverages, the community based street party was full of music and smiles and featured a fusion of heritage and contemporary musicians who all bought their touch.
Hosted by DJ Ras Kwame with Brixton hailing hip hop artists Ty and Logic, and DJ Snuff keeping the energy up, the day saw enthused performances from the likes of Lady Leshurr, Aruba Red, Kyra, MC's Sway, Devlin, Crazy Cousins, Trojan Sound System and the legendary Soul II Soul who the crowd embraced and warmed, something that can rarely occur at a music event.
Despite the intermittent rain showers everyone in attendance, mainly consisting of residents to the surrounding Brixton area, brought a real carnival vibe with help from the Jamaican food stalls and musical backdrop throughout.
The guest appearances from the humble Cedella and Julian Marley who graciously thanked everyone, only added to the authenticity of the celebration of Bob Marley Way's regeneration and also brought music and positive vibrations directly to a place where he spent many a time in.
Speaking to a comfortable Julian, he not only reminded me he was born in London so was used to the unpredictable weather (!) but expressed his love for England and our appreciation of reggae music and how London was a fitting place for him and his siblings to celebrate the Jamaican independence.
"I been feeling the love from England from way back, but everyone knows that England loves Bob Marley - out of everywhere in the world England always stands out. n London you have a lot of roots, musical and the roots of people - reggae music and roots are like twins. To me, its not surprising so many people have come out for the regeneration of Marley Way. Me and my brothers and Cedella had some shows at the 02 and we're spending a few weeks out here, I'm not into congestion or traffic though so no Olympics for me!"
In a part of London that often receives negative attention for live events and for a genre of music often misunderstood, the inclusive and positive atmosphere on the day quashed any perception that reggae music does anything but bring people together; this is what Bob Marley did through his music and did on the day.
Photography by Martin Smith.
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