Ziggy Marley lets reggae ‘Fly’ on new album

By Kyle Sutton

In the history of Jamaican roots reggae music, one family stands out as the genre’s pioneer: the Marleys.

In 1981, the world lost Bob Marley, one of the most influential musicians to walk the planet. However, his love and passion for music and the world lives on through his children.

Ziggy Marley, roots reggae legend Bob Marley’s eldest son, released his fifth studio album, “Fly Rasta,” April 15 through his own label Tuff Gong Worldwide. The 10-track album encompasses all that is Ziggy, taking the classic Jamaican roots reggae his father’s band, The Wailers, perfected in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and mixing it with the pop delivery he has become accustomed to during his nearly three decades as a musician.

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“Fly Rasta” begins with a NASA-influenced countdown moving into the sound of a rocket ship blasting off, propelling the album into the clouds on “I Don’t Wanna Live on Mars.” The song, a catchy upbeat rocking tune featuring Marley’s vocals floating melodically over a fun-loving drumbeat and a funky guitar riff, is a perfect start to the album. It’s an ode to Earth’s beauty as Ziggy explains how everything he needs is right here on Earth.

The title track “Fly Rasta” follows by taking listeners straight to the depths of original Jamaican roots reggae. The song features Jamaican vocalist U-Roy adding his common reggae style called toasting, the term for speaking melodically over a beat or rhythm. Marley continues this trend of original roots reggae on the album’s final track “Give it Away.”

Across the next two songs, the album’s tempo changes to a slower pace. On “Lighthouse,” Marley sings in a calm and collected manner on top of a nice subtle rhythm as he describes a lighthouse by the water’s edge with the words, “Holding up the fire, lighting up the sky.” “Sunshine” is another happy, slow song controlled by the classic offbeat guitar rhythm of reggae music.

“Moving Forward” acts as Marley’s transition to the album’s second half. The song hops on the back of upbeat percussion and rocking guitar riffs with Marley’s vocals explaining how nothing will stop him from battling through pain and hardship.

Marley brings the funk on “You.” The song acts as a soulful transition away from reggae to a bluesier tune. The song’s backbone is a dubbed-out, funky bass line with an organ blowing in the background.

“So Many Rising” strips down the instrumental excess, primarily relying on African drum percussion and acoustic guitar. Marley preaches about greed and how pure the world would be without it.

The album works as an inspirational motivator for people looking for the light in a dark tunnel. On “I Get Up” Marley addresses exactly that. The song speaks of pushing through the troubles of everyday life and keeping a positive look on what lies ahead.

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“Fly Rasta” shows the future of reggae music. Ziggy continues to use his father’s reggae roots upbringing and combines them with funk, soul, pop and R&B to spread a message of love, peace and respect.

“Fly Rasta” is available on Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.

Kyle Sutton can be reached at [email protected], on twitter @KyleSutton_DE or 536-3311 ext. 254.

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