June 27, 2010
FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility
Over the last month of Bono's recuperation and rehabilitation from his back surgery on 21 May, I have had a reprieve of daily U2 news. Personally, I have found this U2 "downtime" to be quite liberating, giving me the time and space to fill my days and light up my nights with other music.
Where I went on my musical journey is back to my roots - reggae music. This is the music which has been MOST INFLUENTIAL in my life. It was brought to me by Bob Marley, whom I was fortunate enough to see THREE times in concert in the 1970's before his passing. Bob brought me an awareness of Africa as a spiritual and cultural entity, whose presence continues in those living in the African diaspora around the world.
Brother Bob also brought me a sense of personal liberation in such songs as "Get Up, Stand Up", "Exodus", "I Know" and "Could You be Loved?". His exhortations to a world lost in a "sleepless slumber" resonated in my Heart and Soul and woke me up to the issues and troubles of poor people around the world.
Because no matter where you were in the world then, as now, people in the remotest places in the world know Bob Marley's music, sing Bob Marley's music and revere Bob Marley's music.
Since Bob's passing in 1981, I have followed his musical legacy as it has lived on through his children. All of them, to varying degrees, are involved with the music industry. Yet, three of Bob's sons - David (Ziggy), Stephen and Damien - have been the main forces keeping the Marley name and legacy alive musically.
Having seen the Marley brothers (David and Stephen) perform as "Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers" in the 1980's and 1990's and then having seen the Marley brothers, including Damien, perform as the opening act for several U2 concerts in 2005, I knew what magic their appearance onstage brings.
Thus, when I heard that Damien Marley would be performing with hip-hop master, Nas, in my city on their "Distant Relatives" tour, I was excited. I had just heard this new release of theirs and their conscious lyrics of African pride and social justice reminded me so much of Bob's music, that I knew I had to go.
The opportunity was given to me and another person to volunteer at the concert that night for (RED) - www.joinred.com - as Damien & Nas had agreed to make their Austin concert a (RED)NIGHTS concert. This meant that a certain percentage of their profits from this show would be donated through (RED) to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa (www.theglobalfund.org).
The concert was extraordinary. The music was loud and booming. Yet, the Marley presence was everywhere onstage as the young lion, the "Junior Gong" (Damien), sang lyrics which chastised & challenged the status quo yet left you with a feeling that things could be better. Damien's singing was completely complimented by Nas' adept rapping and dancing onstage. Together, the two of them gave a memorable performance and really bonded with their audience, which was GREAT to see.
We signed up a lot of people for (RED) and explained to them the connection of (RED) to Africa, especially with the current FIFA World Cup games in South Africa, and everybody was excited about the fact that they would be a part of saving people's lives in Africa from HIV/AIDS simply by attending this concert!
At the end of the evening, as people were exiting out of the venue, I got the chance to be backstage with Damien & Nas as they were taking photos with (RED)NIGHTS ticket holders.
I didn't know if I was going to be given an opportunity to say hello to the artists and to briefly share with Damien the TREMENDOUS impact that his father has had on my life (which was responsible for bringing me to his concert) or not.
After all the other photos were taken, one of Damien's entourage ( a man whom I had spoken with earlier in the evening about Bob Marley & his influence on my life) looked at me and called me to take a picture with the artists!
I briefly checked with everybody to make sure that this was alright and then stepped up next to Damien and Nas for a quick conversation and photo. It was a surreal moment for me - a moment blessed by the Almighty - and I will always be grateful for the chance to reconnect with the "Word, Sound, Power" of the music of my youth - given to me by the next generation of the Marley family.
by Deborah Kreuser - firstname.lastname@example.org
This column is part of Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb. The words and pics are by Debbie Kreuser.