Bob Marley Group of Companies has named its ambassadors to drive celebrations surrounding Marley’s 72nd birthday in February of next year.
Young reggae acts Runkus, Dre Island and Jah9 have been named to be the face of the observances and will be part of the annual birthday concert to be staged at the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road in St Andrew.
According to brand manager at the Bob Marley Group, Debbie Bissoon, these acts were chosen as their music and ‘livity’ are in keeping with the ideals for which Marley stood.
This marks the third year that artistes have been named as ambassadors for the birthday celebrations. In 2015 Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, and No Maddz were selected. Earlier this year, it was the turn of Kelissa, Jesse Royal and Iba Mahr.
“Over the years, we have been going for a young set of artistes and this group is no different. They are all in line with what Bob stood for — that righteous cultural music and vibe, which lies at the heart of reggae music. Their job will be to be at the forefront of the promotions for the February 6 concert and all the activities surrounding those celebrations,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
Runkus, son of ’90s deejay Determine, brings a dub-inspired flavour to reggae combined with thought-provoking lyrics. Jah9 created waves in 2013 with the release of New Name, her debut album produced by selector-turned-producer Rory “Stone Love” Gilligan. The work gave rise to the genre jazz on dub. A member of the reggae revival set, Dre Island has been making a name for himself in the past few years with his biting lyrics and energetic performances.
The celebration of Marley’s 72nd birthday will also feature a symposium and Bissoon noted that this year a symposium will be staged focusing on marijuana. This will look at by-products and other uses for the herb, for which possession of specified quantities has been decriminalised following an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Marley died in May 1981 of cancer. He was 36.
Bissoon notes that the February 6 celebrations will be based at the Museum. However, corporate giants Digicel and Red Stripe will stage another instalment of Redemption Live, the celebratory concert on February 5 at a venue to be announced shortly.