The son is shin­ing on

Ziggy Mar­ley has fol­lowed in the mu­si­cal foot­steps of his leg­endary fa­ther, and he also has the strong­est Ja­maican ac­cent Brian Boyd has ever heard

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

As the el­dest son of Bob Mar­ley, it’s per­haps no great sur­prise that David “Ziggy” Mar­ley has twin de­vo­tions to reg­gae mu­sic and the herb. Due to play live twice in Ire­land over the space of a few days, at the Sea Ses­sions Surf Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Bun­do­ran (June 24th to June 26th) and then at Dublin’s Vicar Street (June 27th) he has a new al­bum, Wild And Free out this month and also a new comic book, Mar­i­jua­na­man. You’ve two big shows com­ing up in Ire­land – what do you know about our coun­try? All I know is I’ve never been be­fore. I think it’s time to show my­self! I do know a bit about your his­tory and the strug­gle in the past. I have this idea in my head that it’s a very pic­turesque place.

Is your mu­sic strictly reg­gae?

In a sense, yes. But re­ally it’s a con­tin­u­ous evo­lu­tion of who I am. From the early bands I was in in Ja­maica up to now, per­form­ing as a solo artist, I see it as my job to bring the reg­gae sound to new au­di­ences. And I’m up­dat­ing the sound as well – I think. Keep­ing it rel­e­vant for to­day’s au­di­ences. The ti­tle track of the new al­bum has a lyric about “hemp fields grow­ing wild and free”, which was used in a cam­paign for le­gal­is­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana use. How’s that cam­paign go­ing?

The cam­paign has pro­gressed a lot – we’ve taken big steps. It’s now ac­cepted by the med­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment that cannabis can be used for med­i­cal pur­poses – that is a break­through. Cannabis had been crim­i­nalised and de­monised for too long. What the al­bum is about, or parts of it any­way, is try­ing to get the truth across about cannabis. There’s more to it than just the smok­ing you know. What’s the comic book about? Or is that a stupid ques­tion?

Mar­i­jua­na­man

all

It came out on April 20th [4/20 – a sym­bolic date for cannabis users]. It’s about a su­per­hero who comes to Earth. His pow­ers are con­nected to the plant. It’s a sort of a metaphor in that the mes­sage there is to use cannabis wisely and cor­rectly. The idea be­hind it was to take away

the stigma of the plant. The new al­bum is more roots reg­gae than any­thing you’ve done be­fore.

It’s quite po­lit­i­cal and deals with themes of op­pres­sion so I felt the roots reg­gae style suited. I’ve never made ra­dio-friendly mu­sic, to me the most im­por­tant thing is play­ing the songs live. I’ve been on the road quite a bit and wanted to be able to do all of these songs live with­out hav­ing to use any tech­no­log­i­cal tricks. I want these songs to res­onate with peo­ple. You’re based in Florida now. How im­por­tant does Ja­maica and its mu­si­cal cul­ture re­main to you?

I get back as much as I can. Ja­maica is a huge part of me. I grew up there, it’s a very big deal for me. The mu­sic there in­formed who I am and what I do to­day How dif­fi­cult was it as the son of a le­gend to try and forge your own mu­si­cal ca­reer? My fa­ther’s role and sta­tus in the reg­gae world was never go­ing to have any ef­fect on what I did with my life. I was never naive about how im­por­tant he was to the reg­gae world but I knew in the very early days that I had to do this on my own. In a sense, I didn’t re­ally have to try with mu­sic – it was just a part of me from the fam­ily I grew up in. But you do be­come your own man over time. I re­ally love what my fa­ther did for Ja­maica and for reg­gae. I’ve never, ever tried to dis­tance my­self from him.

Sea Ses­sions is in Bun­do­ran from June 24 to 26, seases­sions.com. Ziggy Mar­ley plays Dublin’s Vicar Street on June 27

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