Shillong, Oct 22 (IANS) Jamaican reggae band, The Wailers – comprising some of the remnants of the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers – are all set to make their India debut with a concert here on Saturday, and then long to explore Shillong, often described as India’s rock capital.
On their maiden visit to India, the band has promised a high-voltage performance at the annual NH7 Weekender Festival to be held at RBDSA Sports Complex here. They will also perform in Kolkata on November 1.
“This is our first time to India and we are longing to explore beautiful Shillong. We expect exposure to the ancient culture and all that it has to offer,” Aston Barrett, the bassist and frontman of The Wailers, told IANS over phone from Guwahati.
Barrett, who is one of the original members of the Bob Marley-led band, also promised: “As long as we are in India for the first time, we will try to play for as many of the people as possible.”
On his expectations from their first concert in India and that too starting from Shillong, Barret, who goes by the nickname ‘Family Man’, said: “The current Wailers band still maintains the standards that we established 40 years ago. We are looking forward to playing these songs for the people of Shillong and reggae lovers for the first time in India. It is a joy to spread the music to so many people around the world.”
Apart from “Family Man” Barrett, the band has Aston Barrett Jr. on the drums, Dwayne Anglin as the lead vocalist, Cegee Victory with backing vocals, Audley Chisholm as the lead guitarist, Melvin Glover on the rhythm guitar and Chaka Taylor on keyboards.
“The power of the music was made very clear when we were faced with attacks on our safety. Music always finds its people.. Reggae music doesn’t need recognition, it needs followers.. Reggae is not just music, it is the ‘Movement of Jah people’. It is a joy to spread the music to so many people around India and we hope you do the same,” said Barrett.
Asked if he was aware that there is also a sizeable reggae wave in India and particularly in Shillong, the 69-year-old bassist said: “There are many similarities with the Indian and Jamaican people and many Indians were settled in Jamaica. Carrying on the mission of spreading the music was our last promise to Bob and that is what we have been doing.
“Reggae music, it is the heartbeat of the people. It is the universal language what carry the message of roots, culture, and reality. Bob was a prophet and we are glad to hear about this.”
On how did he came up with The Wailers, Barrett said: “Bob was a prophet and a visionary and a relentless worker who gave his all to his music and the movement of Jah people, which is the assertion of basic human rights to all.”
“It’s always been about ‘Positive Vibrations’… reggae music represents the struggling man – oppressed and denied the right to live as god intended.. Since its creation, not much has changed… Therefore, those who best relate to the struggle will typically gravitate to reggae music. Reggae music is Rebel Music, that inspires people to fight for their rights…” he asserted.”
(Raymond Kharmujai can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)