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Ziggy Marley on the Inspiration for his New Album

More than the critical acclaim and packed shows, a sure sign of a good Ziggy Marley album is the seal of approval from the artist himself. And on that score, his new record, the feisty Rebellion Rises, is one of his best. As Marley explains in an exclusive interview with The National hours before a sold-out show in Amsterdam – he rarely gives a nod to his own work. “This latest one is the only album that I enjoy listening to,” the 49-year-old Marley tells us. “The others, not so much, as I pick up certain things here and there that may annoy me, but this new one is the one that I can just pick up and listen to all by myself.” Interestingly, one of the reasons for Marley’s positivity about Rebellion Rises is how irate it sounds. Indeed, after nearly three decades of sunny reggae melodies married to ­introspective lyrics, this time Marley looks outward at the havoc wreaking the world today, and he is not happy with what he sees. “This is me getting a lot of things off my chest for this record,” he says. “In the past, I made up my mind that I don’t want to sing about the world and instead focus on the personal and spiritual. But to be honest, I am frustrated with humanity at the moment. I am frustrated at how the powers have taken advantage of us and the lack of resistance to what I consider is the destruction of our humanity.” Indeed, the album starts off with the sprightly See Dem Fake Leaders. As well as being a statement of intent ­regarding the album’s fiery spirit, it is also a poetic take down of demagogues attempting to split society through religious intolerance. “It is just so unnecessary for religion to be used for political means. It is unnecessary to pit humanity against each other,” he says. “The songs talk about how the only reason for such division is to give those who are in power even more power.” Marley, who is in the midst of an exhaustive world tour, sensed such sentiments bubbling up while on the road. “Being a travelling musician, and with the ability to connect with various crowds, you get to observe these things coming up,” he tells me. “I [have] been seeing these things – the injustices – for years now, and they have been brewing in the back of my consciousness, so it was time to let it out.” A plan of action But anger is not enough; Rebellion Rises also implores the listener to take action, and that’s about more than simply joining a picket line. Marley states, over the evocative and bobbing bass lines of the album track I Am Human, that any kind of change must also examine that way we address each other: “I’m not a Christian, I’m not a Muslim/I’m not a Jew – it shouldn’t matter to you/I’m not a capitalist and I’m not a communist/I’m not a socialist, I’m not the politics,” he croons. “Tell me, are these the reasons, you can’t live right?” Marley explains that he intentionally broke those elements down in a simple way to illustrate the absurdity of the identity politics used by demagogues across the world. “And it shouldn’t be that way,” he says. “What I am trying to get across is that as a humanity, we want to live in peace and love no matter what religion you are. But we have to go and make the world and leaders know that. Only the willing will achieve their dreams.”

For More Complete Reading, See the Complete Original Post at: The National

About Don Gor'gon

Rasta Routes Cultural Ambassador’s mission is to develop & enhance the worldwide image of Jamaica as a Cultural Immersion & Backpacker Tourism destination!

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