One of the most prominent international figures in today's reggae music recently graced the stage to perform unforgettable classic hits along with selections from his latest hit album. He has been recording music since childhood and has earned an impressive five Grammy awards, including the latest in 2014 for 'Best Reggae Album' with Fly Rasta. His name is Ziggy Marley and after decades of performing he still delivers a charismatic vibrant energy to the large crowds who eagerly attend his concerts. Ziggy is the leading figure within a family filled of highly talented musicians, with the most recognizable being his iconic father Bob Marley who remains revered around the world after his passing more than 30 yeas ago. He has continued his father's great legacy while also creating original hit records throughout the years with his family band The Melody Makers, as a highly successful solo artist and by running the deeply rooted Tuff Gong Worldwide record label. Outside of music Ziggy has also been an active supporter and trailblazer for many non-profit organizations and programs benefiting young children in need within many countries.
At this year's Summerfest music festival In Milwaukee, Wisconsin also known as the "The Big Gig" Ziggy Marley brought with him all the positive musical vibrations and goodwill you would expect from an artist who previously released an album titled Love Is My Religion. Equipped with his trademark guitar and a small talented group of performers assisting him, he wasted no time initiating the concert. As he stood on stage he warmly greeted the enthusiastic packed audience and later asked a seemingly unexpected but topical question; "How many of you wanna go live on Mars?" He smiled amusingly at their reaction and happily proclaimed "I love the planet Earth and would never go anywhere else!", immediately beginning the performance of the aptly titled track I Don't Wanna Live On Mars from his new album. Instrumentally the song prominently features non-traditional funky guitars and rock influenced sounds which shows the Jamaican reggae artist is not afraid of combining different elements in his music.
Ziggy also performed the crowd favorite Is This Love which was originally composed by his father Bob Marley and his band the Wailers in 1978. While the track remains notable today it is made even more timeless by Ziggy's passionate performance as he sings the vocals wholeheartedly investing much of his energy between lyrics and classic reggae sounds. Members of the audience could be heard singing along in unison as the jamming chorus signaled their participation. For fans familiar with the Marleys it is almost uncanny the manner in which Ziggy channels his father's natural dance expressions and movements on stage. It becomes clear he respects and fully embraces his rich musical heritage as he re-introduces the legendary songs to new generations.
Throughout the night he shared classic hits of his own as the beloved singer delivered a rendition of Rainbow In The Sky, an upbeat soulful piece supported by his female vocal back ups. Uplifting lyrics such as "There's a rainbow in the sky all the time don't be blind" are emphasized by traditional energetic dancing and the beautifully incorporated trumpets and reggae guitar riffs. Other previous classics performed by Ziggy included his popular track True To Myself from his critically acclaimed 2003 Dragonfly album that affirms self identity in it's message and is punctuated by the title lyrics at the conclusion of the song as the crowd cheers on.
During a brief exit from stage the audience was anxiously requesting more and were undoubtedly unprepared to say farewell. Fortunately, it was only an intermittent break as Ziggy again returned to the stage to perform one more hit. It was of course the title track and single Fly Rasta from his new album which helped him gain the number one spot on Billboard's Reggae Album chart for multiple consecutive weeks during it's recent release. For the first time that night he played the drums by hand during the opening of the song. The vibrant singer then commenced to recite the song's catchy chorus as the fans followed suit.
Although the biggest surprise and highest peak during the closing minutes came when Ziggy brought on to stage his three youngest children Judah Marley, Gideon Marley and Abraham Marley. The audience became especially animated when Abraham of age three was given a drumstick by Ziggy as he began striking the crash cymbals at exactly the right cues during his father's performance. Everyone involved and watching on became further immersed within the song, totally indulging the family themed joyous performance. It marked the upbeat ending to a wonderful night of musical immersion and impeccable reggae sounds of the always positively engaging artist.
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