While it was Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley who was celebrating a birthday, he was also the one giving out the goodies – dazzling music, sweet memories and insightful parenting advice – as he scored big on Saturday’s final night of Reggae Sumfest 2018 in Montego Bay.
This year’s Grammy winner of Best Reggae Album for Stony Hill worked like an inspired man, digging generously into his own catalogue while also evoking memories of his famous father, reggae’s king Bob Marley, dishing out a few of the legend’s everlasting classics. In reflecting on his journey to age 40, the lanky ‘Gongzilla’ paid rich tribute to his parents for giving him the life he now enjoys. He used the opportunity to encourage other parents to do the same for their own children.
“My parents worked hard for me to have a good life,” said Jr. Gong, whose own young son Elijah stole the heart of many Sumfest patrons when he strolled to centrestage and gave his dad a lyrical gift, singing Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called To Say I Love You. This had his father clearly bemused and his grandmother, former Miss World Cindy Breakspeare, who was singing along from side stage, beaming with pride.
Before going on stage, Jr. Gong said it was great to be home performing at Reggae Sumfest on his birthday. The artiste, who recently completed a European tour, said it is normal to perform on his birthday as “music is my life.” Having had the opportunity to perform worldwide, Marley said one of things he has learnt in his 40 years is to be true.