Ziggy Marley / Michael Franti and Spearhead

Liberty Hall Cinema

The oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley picked up his father's torch to the tune of three Grammys with The Melody Makers, a band with three of his siblings that toured throughout the 90s. Ziggy's now stepped out on his own and though his maturing voice sounds more and more like his father's, his music gets further and further from the reggae mainstream with threads of rock and hip-hop beats. Michael Franti and Spearhead are likewise removed from rap's mainstream with lyrics laden with a social conscience, honesty and soul.Official bio :: After two decades as the driving creative force behind The Melody Makers -- a triple Grammy-winning act which includes his brother Stephen and two sisters Sharon and Cedella -- Ziggy Marley has stepped out on his own with his first solo album.Dragonfly, a work of startling originality and musical diversity released on Private Music. Never content to rehash the success of his past, Ziggy uses Dragonfly to explore new ground and create his own distinctive musical identity as a solo artist. "Working on my own gave me a chance to take my time and experiment a lot," says Ziggy. "It took one year to finish this record -- it's the longest I've ever worked on one album. It's different when you're on your own. At some point it's scary, and then at another it's a drive that makes you focus more."Ziggy also felt it was time for a change of scene. He wrote the album's songs in Jamaica but recorded them in Miami and Los Angeles. "As an artist I need to experience different things, to see the world and have different energies. It helps me grow as a person to be outside my element."Evidence of that growth is everywhere on Dragonfly, a record with strong messages including the title track, which belies its sprightly, upbeat rhythms with a story told from the perspective of animals seeing what mankind has done to the Earth. On the funky reggae tune "I Get Out," the lyrical focus is on breaking free of bondage, whether it's artists being creatively pigeonholed by record companies or people freeing their minds from stereotypes and other limitations. An irresistible fusion of reggae and hip-hop drives "True to Myself," a charming celebration of self-respect, while the hard-rocking "Shalom Saalam," tackles the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (the title juxtaposes the Hebrew and Arabic words for peace). In "Looking," Ziggy turns up the Jamaican sunshine factor while reflecting on an endless quest for happiness and spirituality. "In The Name of God" is a no holds-barred assault on the global hypocrisy of religious warfare, a driving rock song that surges with an emotional plea for an end to the separation of people by religions of any name.Dragonfly's focus on political as well as personal strength is further plumbed in "Rainbow," using a syncopated reggae groove and funky horn arrangements to deliver a message of hope and self-determination. The album's most personal song is "Melancholy Mood," whose slow groove matches its introspective lyrics examining Ziggy's struggles with heartbreak and sorrow, and his meditative approach to healing these emotions. "Good Old Days," is a much-needed dose of anti-nostalgia, a wake-up call that today will soon be the past, and that the present must be savored in the moment. "Never Deny You" is a prayerful love song that fuses elegant cello arrangements and a steady R&B beat to communicate Ziggy's own undying commitment to his Rastafarian faith. "Don't You Kill Love" brings the album into its most dreamy moments as the music shifts into swirls of keyboard pads, sitars and breathy synthesizers in a prayer for non-violence.A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Ziggy first sat in on recording sessions with his father's band, legendary reggae troupe Bob Marley and the Wailers, when he was ten years old. Joining with his three siblings to become The Melody Makers, Ziggy crafted his own soulful sound blending blues, R&B, hip-hop and roots reggae. After their first two albums, Play The Game Right (1985) and Hey World! (1986), The Melody Makers earned their first Grammy (Best Reggae Recording) for Conscious Party (1988), an album produced by Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth which included the hit songs "Tomorrow People" and "Tumbling Down."Subsequent albums included the Grammy-winning One Bright Day (1989), Jamekya (1991), Joy and Blues (1993), Free Like We Want 2 B (1995), their third Grammy winner Fallen is Babylon (1997), Spirit of Music (1999) and Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live, Vol 1 (2000), which featured some of their biggest hits as well as a cover of Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved." While selling records by the millions and selling out countless concerts with the Melody Makers, including a recent European tour, Ziggy Marley has never lost sight of his foundation of faith, fellowship and family.


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