AFP It's been a rough couple of weeks for the Jackson family, what with all of…
- Posted on Dec 18th 2012 12:30PM by Shauna Farnell
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"The Wild and Free Tour, where we were at musically at the last shows, I wanted to document it," Marley says of Ziggy Marley in Concert, which was recorded during the nearly year-long world tour for 2011's Wild and Free. "All the time touring we just keep getting better in my opinion. There is still room to get better but the music live, we're emphasizing a spirituality in the music, an improvisation and jamming -- feeling good with the music and that continual process. Musically, it's a good place."
The live record, on Marley's own Tuff Gong Worldwide label, is set for digital release on iTunes Dec. 18 and worldwide Jan. 15. With four studio albums and now three live records, the five-time Grammy winner also has a hand -- and voice -- in several other projects. But music is still his key focus and if anything, his other pursuits add to the overall message in the tunes, particularly when he is reminded of the power of reggae in his father's day, like when he interviewed Jimmy Cliff on his show Legends of Reggae on Sirius XM's The Joint a few months ago.
"When you look at his and my father's generation, that whole generation, when reggae music was something new for the rest of the world, it will not compete ever again in history. It's been done," Marley says.
When asked if he can recommend any up-and-coming reggae artists, Marley simply says no. According to his assessment of the spirit and message that defines the genre, the best of it lies behind us.
"I've spoken to some of the other elders of the music. There is a spirituality over the generation, a magic within it that's not captured today," he says. "That's how I look at it. I'm trying to capture that thing in my music. I can be innovative, adventurous, that spirit I will try to always capture. But the root of it, that magic or that spirit, it's a little missing in the next generation. Good music is still coming out, but if we could get back that it would be much better."
Naturally, Marley brings back some of his father's tunes but he is careful to do it sparingly. Bob Marley's "War" and "Is This Love" are featured on In Concert, but Ziggy, as is his constant habit with his father's tunes, tethers them to his own songs, emphasizing that a subtle flow from one to the next is the most natural sort of delivery.
"I connect the dots with my music to his music," he says. "From my song 'Justice' I would go into 'Get Up Stand Up' and 'Is this Love' from 'Love Is My Religion.' I like to make a song that is a connection from my songs to his songs. What we feel also is that you can overdo it and then it's not special. We keep it as some specialty, people appreciate it more rather than a whole slew of my father's songs."
On this last tour, the audience's appreciation of the songs, all of the songs, was an experience Ziggy says often gave him shivers.
"The last couple of years we've been to so many places -- South America, the Middle East -- we get goose bumps from the audiences," he says. "The songs from Wild and Free translate very well live. They follow the love."
Of Marley's philanthropic activities, he is working with Rotary International to make significant strides in ridding the world of polio, a disease primarily afflicting children in Africa, and heading up his own organization URGE (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), which builds schools, operates health clinics and supports children's charities in developing countries throughout the world.
On top of that, there's his new food company, Ziggy Marley Organics. For the time being, it consists of a variety of different flavors of hemp seeds and also coconut oil, which Marley says is a staple of Jamaican cooking that he aims to impart to other parts of the world.
"Food is an important part of my culture: Good food, healthy food, organic and GMO-free. I have young kids and it's important what I feed them. The food product line is an extension of our philosophy to our music. It's a holistic approach and a life approach. We should strive to put in our bodies things that are natural and not too processed. I grew up with coconut oil in Jamaica. I used to buy it from the market. It wasn't manufactured. People brought it in to sell. You can use it like butter, cook many things with it. And hemp seeds are very nutritious. Hemp has very good omega oils. It is a miraculous plant in my opinion, no matter what you use it for."