Beijing event marks Bob Marley anniversary

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 28, 2020
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A concert and exchange event was held in Beijing on Saturday to mark the 75th birth anniversary of the Jamaican reggae icon, Bob Marley.

Chinese musicians share their stories about Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley at an anniversary event held in Beijing, Sept. 26, 2020. [Photo courtesy of Universal Music China]

The Marley family, Island Records, UME, and Primary Wave Music Publishing have been working together to honor the legacy of Marley, commemorating his 75th birthday and his importance in the history of global music with a year-long celebration. 

The One Love celebrations encompass all things: music, fashion, art, photography, technology, sport and film, providing fans unprecedented access to archives from the legendary artist's estate in new, thoughtful and innovative ways. 

The celebration came to China on Saturday, with Long Shen Dao, a Chinese reggae band, performing a tribute concert. In addition, rock musicians, such as Xie Tianxiao, Jiang Liang, Guo Jian, and Zang Hongfei, attended the event to share their music perspectives and stories about Marley and reggae music.  

Marley has been influencing China's rock music since the 1980s, when rockers Cui Jian, Zhang Chu and Dou Wei all wrote reggae-style songs. 

"He's a legend," Guo Jian said, "People like him will inspire you. No matter where you live, what skin color you have or what race you are, you can influence the world if you have talent. People can still hear your voice."

Zang Hongfei agreed, "Bob Marley was the first global icon and superstar from a developing country. He has been inspiring musicians in China and in the less developed countries."

Born as Robert Nesta Marley on Feb. 6, 1945, the Jamaican musician increased the visibility of reggae music worldwide, making him a global figure in popular culture. His music continues to inspire generation upon generation, as his legacy lives on through his message of love and unity, a sentiment needed more than ever in 2020.

Chinese reggae band Long Shen Dao performs a tribute concert at an anniversary event held for Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley in Beijing, Sept. 26, 2020. [Photo courtesy of Universal Music China]

"Daddy's message has always been one of love and unity. For decades passed and for generations to come, his music serves to lift and inspire all over the world. We are so excited to come together at the One Love Hotel during Grammy week to celebrate and remind ourselves of the power of music and everything he stood for," his daughter Cedella Marley said in a statement.

To add to the festivities, an animated video for "Redemption Song" was released to commemorate its 40th year anniversary. The video was created by French artists Octave Marsal and Theo De Gueltzl, aiming to pay homage to Marley's contribution to the empowerment of black civilization, as well as his manifestation of hope and recovery for all mankind.

Zhang Youdai, a famous music DJ based in Beijing, called it "the song that makes me cry every time I hear it." "It is a redemption song we all need. We are always restrained by something in the world, but we need to be free," he added.

Marley's greatest hits album "Legend" was released in 1984 and became the best-selling reggae album of all time. He also ranks as one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with estimated sales of more than 75 million records worldwide. In 1994, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

"Bob Marley is unique in that he not only made his mark with his significant musical accomplishments but also communicated to his fans worldwide, bringing together people of all ages, cultures and races with his message. He exerted a tremendous influence on the style and substance of music and culture," said Bruce Resnikoff, president and CEO of UME, Universal Music Group's global catalog company. 

The cover art of the greatest hits album "Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers." [Photo courtesy of Universal Music China]

A Universal Music China spokesman told that besides the anniversary event, a vinyl LP of Marley's greatest hits album "Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers" will be released soon in China.

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