A&E » Music

From control room to calling

“It is a duty, it is your life, it is your legacy.” Stephen Marley
on what music means to him. Photo submitted

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Who: Stephen Marley

When: Sunday, April 15, 4 p.m.

Where: Skiers Plaza, main stage

How much: Free

By Vivian Moreau

Stephen Marley is trying to tell this old-school white chick reporter about the vibe of his freshly-released, much acclaimed solo album.

“It has more vibe to me, is more of a vibe than a lyrical album,” he says.

There’s a pause and then as I am clearly not getting it, he explains how he put together the album. The Grammy-award winning producer and son of reggae giant Bob Marley was working on several other projects while putting together Mind Control and what resulted is an eclectic mix of jazz, R&B, even flamenco-infused reggae that covers political and personal ramifications of what it is to be a socially-aware dynamic artist.

I still don’t get it.

So then Marley provides the example of James Brown.

“James Brown wrote Please, Please, Please and that song, that’s almost all he says is (and here Marley sings the words) Please, please please — it is the vibe of the song, it is not the lyrics that is the spirit of the song.”

When he starts to sing, I get it, the same thrill from hearing his versatile, muscular voice over a crackly telephone line from Missouri — one stop on a 43-date North American tour that includes Whistler — as I did from listening to the 11 track-CD on my Bose.

Stephen Marley is the third of Bob Marley’s 10 recognized children and a five-time Grammy-award winning producer and sought-after studio musician. At 34, his first CD, released March 19, received a Rolling Stone rave review and debuted at number one on Billboard’s reggae chart. The album spotlights not only artists such as Mos Def, Mr. Cheeks and a soaring Maya Azucena, but also a lot of Marleys, including Damian, Julian, Cedella and two of Stephen Marley’s own 10 children, Mystic and Summer.

In town April 15 as part of the outdoor concert series for the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Whistler is one of only three Canadian stops on Marley’s tour, other dates being Vancouver and Toronto. Marley, who lives alone in his Florida home/studio had two of his sons by his side in Kansas City, and said he will be bringing a full band to the outdoor Whistler show.

Critics are hailing Marley’s debut album as “the sound of a man coming into full realization of his powers and his legacy,” and Marley echoes that sentiment, commenting on music that is both gift and calling.

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