“All on the same boat, swinging on the same rock,” Bob Marley sang in the 1971 Wailers classic “Don’t Rock My Boat.” Produced by the late great Lee “Scratch” Perry, the song is a request for unity according to the values of reggae music. “You have to be together,” Marley sang, “loving each other.” About forty years after its release, “Don’t Rock My Boat” became a sort of unofficial theme for the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise, an annual music tour created by Bob’s youngest son, Damian “Jr. Gong “Marley and his longtime manager, Dan Dalton. Of course, the cruise’s official anthem would be the Grammy-winning hit Jr. Gong,” Welcome to Jamrock. “
“How happy we are to have the opportunity to do this,” Jr. said. Gong in 2014, when the first Jamrock cruise departed from Miami to Jamaica, with a star line of Jamaica’s biggest reggae and dancehall stars on board. , as well as many of the best reggae sound systems in the world. “Everyone on the cruise is part of a historic moment,” Jr. predicted. Gong. “Both for ourselves and in the name of the reggae music genre.” Or as world-renowned artist and selector Shinehead said that first year, “I just fantasized about things like this. It’s like Rub-A-Dub Disneyland!”
Over the next six years, the Jamrock Cruise emerged as one of the major annual reggae events, hosting historic performances year after year and sold out so quickly that the organizers expanded into a larger ship. When the sixth cruise ended in 2019 with powerful performances from Koffee, Popcaan, Buju Banton and Skip Marley, the Jamrock team hoped to be able to sail smoothly. But then, when the new decade began, the whole world changed.
A worldwide viral outbreak shut down the cruise industry and many other aspects of life as we knew it before. Since then, two Jamrock Cruises had to be postponed and cruise ships were invited to refund their deposit. “But many of our loyal followers have maintained their reservations,” Dalton says. “I think people have longed for Jamrock more than ever. The community atmosphere on the boat has always been love, unity and diversity, celebrated under the umbrella of reggae music and Jamaican culture. This cruise is more than a “It’s not just a good time. Jamrock looks more like a food for the soul. Jamrock brings people together. That’s what reggae music always did.”
This week, Boomshots has announced the official lineup for the seventh Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, which includes two legendary early performers: Burning Spear and Shabba Ranks. Both artists have won two Grammys and represent the ultimate expression of their respective styles: heavy roots reggae and hardcore dancehall. Spear, who hasn’t played live for many years, is known for empowerment hymns like “Marcus Garvey” and “Slavery Days,” while Shabba, of course, took the dancehall to pop charts with energetic bangs like “Ting A Ling” and “Mr. Home Lover.”
For Jr. Gong, the return of the Jamrock Cruise couldn’t have been more timely. “It comes at a time when we need examples for culture,” he says. “Especially for the authentic part of the culture. We need some things to help us shore it up. We need to have platforms like this. “
Both Spear and Shabba have a special meaning for Marley for different reasons. “First of all, from the standpoint of being a big fan of this music, it’s a joy to know that we’ll be able to experience Burning Spear live,” says Jr. Gong. “I haven’t really had a chance to see him act like an adult.” As a child, Damian remembers attending festivals like Reggae Sunsplash where Spear would be part of the lineup, but he came to appreciate his deep cultural messages later in life. “Like bwoy likkle,” he says, “I was paying more attention to the dancehall.”
In his youth as an emerging artist, Damian Marley was directed by Specs-Shang, the same team that represented Shabba Ranks and Bounty Killer. Spending time on the road with two pop-up dancehall icons made a deep impression on Jr. Gong as he developed his own unique sound and style. “Shabba jokingly added that he knew Jr. Gong was more than a fan.” He certainly knew he was more than a fan, “Shabba recalls laughing. air conditioning! ”
On a more serious note, Shabba says that “young Jr. Gong was very curious, with a great desire to listen when he spoke to him about music. I told him that to be great at music, he had to go school. He had a sponge attitude where I could see that he was absorbing the information I was giving him about this music. And a date mek him so great. “
For her part, Marley feels a sense of satisfaction at welcoming Shabba to Jamrock for the first time. “Having one of my heroes come and experience something that I was part of building is a great feeling. This man has influenced me and here he is acting on a stage that I helped build. I’m sorry with all the artists, really, but Shabba Ranks is a little special to me. ” Shabba says Jamrock Cruise passengers should come prepared for “directly.” xabaologia. The ranks of the emperor will be there to shake the ship. With the authentic vibrations of the real. “
Damian Marley will also perform at this year’s Jamrock Cruise, which runs from Miami, Florida to Montego Bay and Jamaica’s Ochos Rios from December 7-12, with a lineup that includes a number of massive artists, including his brother great Stephen “Ragga”. Marley, Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Tarrus Riley, Cocoa Tea, Maxi Priest and Etana. “It’s not just about having great records,” Jr. says. Gong on what makes an artist suitable for the Jamrock Cruise. “It’s about being a great performer. This is something I think is great for upcoming younger acts. To grow and evolve to where you could be on this type of platform. It’s a good inspiration.
Few artists can provide greater inspiration than Burning Spear, which announced its retirement in 2016 but has remained active in the recording studio and returning to the people of Jamaica. Spear now says he will do “some shows here and there” this year culminating in the Jamrock Cruise, though he stresses that it is no a route. Spear also says he has a new album in the works titled No destroyer. “Mommy,” a single from the new project, was released late last year.
“The vibes came up, and I think it’s time to do it,” says Spear, who still sounds fresh and youthful even though he’s over 70 years old. “The energy just came to me. It’s not like I’m on a tourist bus driving from one state to another, from one country to another. But there are a lot of fans who were there to support I “Man over the years. So I think it’ll be fine. Lots of people who haven’t seen me in a long time, they’ll see me again. So I decided to do Jamrock. We’ll just do it. Wrap it up and rock it.” “.
In addition to being a fan of Spear, Jr. music. Gong sees the performance as part of “a general greeting to the elders.” The importance is underscored by the fact that so many legendary artists have died over the past two years, including reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert, bassist Robbie Shakespeare and Tabby Diamonds and Mighty Diamonds Bunny Simpson, all of whom have performed in previous Jamrock Cruises. “We’ve lost so many of our legends,” Jr. says. Gong. “We really make sure to greet the man who is still here with us. Take the time and, as the current saying goes, give them their flowers while they are still here to smell them.”
Burning Spear, whose name was inspired by the great Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta, will perform for the first time on any cruise ship, bringing its musical fire to the waters of the Caribbean Sea. The fact that this particular cruise was launched by Bob Marley’s son gives the event a special significance for him.
Spear and Marley were born the same year, just one month apart, and grew up in the same Jamaican parish of St. Ann. “That’s where it started for me,” Spear says. “Bob is the one who told I-man about Studio One.” Founded by the great Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, Studio One was Jamaica’s first black-owned recording facility, which fueled the careers of an entire galaxy of future stars. “I told Bob that I would like to express myself musically, where can I go? And he recommended Studio One in 1969. That’s where I recorded my first song, ‘Door Peep’. And since then , the Spear continues to burn “.