VPAC Scoop: Spirit of Bob Marley comes alive July 5 with The Wailers in Beaver Creek
If you go ...
What: The Wailers perform.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.
When: Wednesday, July 5, 8 p.m.
Cost: $48 general admission.
More information: Visit www.vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497.
Editor’s note: From time to time, members of the Vilar Performing Arts Center community will provide insights into upcoming art, music and dance performances at the 535-seat theater in Beaver Creek Village. This week, the Vail Valley Foundation’s Tom Boyd previews the Wednesday Wailers show.
Few cultures have produced a sound as distinctive as reggae, and few genres have created as charismatic an icon as Bob Marley. Born on a Caribbean island, the sound and meaning of Marley’s music has created the global bedrock of world music for decades, even after the world lost Marley in May of 1981.
The vibe that makes Marley’s music so lasting is still alive and well today thanks to music made by his family, his close friends, his countrymen and women, and most of all to the band that helped create and spread the word of reggae with Marley beginning in the ’70s: The Wailers.
The Vilar Performing Arts Center welcomes the The Wailers on Wednesday. No matter where in the world you’re from, you’ve heard Bob Marley — but it’s been decades since some of the original members of the group have been all together, all in one place, as they will be at the Vilar Center Wednesday.
Wailers Reunited project
It’s one I’ve had circled on the calendar all summer: “Is This Love,” “Positive Vibration,” “Jamming,” “No Woman, No Cry” and so many more are all potential set-list songs for this remarkable show.
The show will be a sonic tour of more than five decades of reggae history. In the 1960s, Marley, along with Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston (aka Bunny Wailer), took their upstart vocal harmony group and grew it into a movement that would forever change the world of music.
In the late ’60s, percussionist Alvin “Seeco” Patterson booked the group an audition at Studio One, a session that would procure their first hit recordings — classic tracks such as “Simmer Down,” “Hooligan Ska” and, of course, “One Love.” But the real game changer came around 1969, when famed producer Lee “Scratch” Perry inspired Marley to sign on bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett and his drumming brother Carlton as rhythm section. The mixed styles of keyboardists Earl “Way” Lindo and Tyrone Downie were soon to follow, and guitarists Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey would later round out the squad.
It’s this crucial lineup that would stick with Marley until the end, making the Wailers Reunited project a historic occasion to remember — a milestone that is far from lost on Kinsey.
“What I could feel from the music was that there was a very positive energy,” Kinsey told the Miami New Times. “It was a different message in the music, and it was a different rhythm.”
Remember ‘the struggle’
That “different rhythm” also caught the ear of a young Josh Barrett, who later joined the band as a vocalist and guitarist in 2014. For Barrett, understanding the origins of reggae’s rhythm is the key to its legacy.
“It’s important that we don’t forget the struggle that brought about this music. Because of its popularity, it can easily become fanfare,” Barret told the Times. “When you hear the stories about the freedom-fighters in Zimbabwe who were inspired by The Wailers’ music, and young Rasta youth still coming out of Jamaica who listen to Bob Marley’s music and gravitate toward Rasta, the spirituality (of the music) is what helped during certain political struggles.”
It’s these struggles that still ring true today, making their message more relevant than ever. Even four decades later.
Through love, rhythm and extraordinary musicianship, The Wailers Reunited project will breathe new life into the culture of reggae it once launched — and live up to the legend it once lost.
Single general admission tickets are $48 and available now through the Vilar Center box office; by calling 970-845-8497; or by visiting http://www.vilarpac.org. The Vilar Performing Arts Center is located under the ice rink in Beaver Creek Village.