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Old 12-01-2005, 10:04 PM   #1
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(12-01-2005) Jr Gong Praises the U2 Link -- Jamaica Observer*

Jr Gong Praises the U2 Link

Roland Henry, Observer staff writer

Damian "Jr Gong" Marley is praising his recent stint as the opening act for pop/rock supergroup, U2, as a boon for his own career.

Speaking in a phone interview with Splash last Wednesday from backstage a concert in Boston, USA, (he is presently touring as a headliner in his own right), Marley said the tour had enabled him to bring his music to a signficantly wider audience.

"With U2, it did well nice. you get to bring your music to a larger audience and meet a lot of people," he said, in speaking of the sold-out shows. The tour took Marley along US West Coast, through the southwest (Dallas, Houston) and to the east (including Pittsburgh).

"I'm coming to Jamaica to do some shows soon," Marley said. He will headline the Appleton-endorsed, Welcome to Jamrock concert to be held on December 17 at Cinema 2 in New Kingston, where he will perform material from the album. Come that date, he said, he will be nothing but his old self.

"I just plan to bring it to the people as I usually do. nothing super than what they're used to," he said.

Turning to his chart-topping album, Welcome to Jamrock, Marley said, "We've also just released the second single, Road To Zion, and that's been going really good."

The title song and its accompanying music video, with their graphic depiction of poverty and harsh conditions of life in urban Jamaica, had come under much criticism recently, by persons who labelled the piece as an anti-nationalistic expression.

"Jamaica is a lot of things," Marley explained in his now customary defence of the song. "I never said it [the video] was a hundred per cent representation of Jamaica.There are two sides of Jamaica and I chose to explore one." The infectious title track is built from a 1980s Ini Kamoze/Sly and Robbie rhythm and succinctly revisits some of the themes his father dealt with over two decades ago. Welcome To Jamrock is the 27-year old singer's biggest hit to date.

Marley's latest work includes a collaboration-Love It or Leave It Alone/Welcome To Jamrock-with R&B superstar and piano prodigy, Alicia Keys, featured on the MTV-produced, Alicia Keys Unplugged album released this year.

His own album has a series of collaborations with artistes that not only span several decades, but also genres. The list includes his brother, former Melody Maker Stephen Marley, 1980s pop/R&B icon, Bobby Brown, rap artistes Black Thought (of The Roots) and Nas as well as long-time deejay Eek-A-Mouse among others. The album's diversity is a testament to the universal appeal of the young Marley, much like that of his father.

Welcome To Jamrock features solid reggae but infused with pop, ska, dancehall, hip-hop and jazz influences.

Even with the impressive list of collaborations, the still-young artiste said there are other industry big names he would love to work with.

"I have a whole heap of people that I would love to do something with. there are a lot of names, too much to go into right now," Marley told Splash.

Asked to cite a favourite from the 14 listed tracks, Marley was somewhat non-commital.

"Bwoy, they're all mine so I can't really choose, but there are a couple of tracks that stand out, like There For You, Jamrock stands out also cause that's the biggest track, you'll always remember those tracks," he added.

Welcome To Jamrock is produced by Tuff Gong, Ghetto Youths and Universal Records and credits Marley, and his brother Stephen, who is set to release his own solo effort, as co-producers of 11 out of the 14 tracks.

--Jamaica Observer

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Old 12-02-2005, 10:41 AM   #2
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Damian Marley

Aside from Arcade Fire, he got the most love from U2 fans, at the shows I attended.


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Old 12-02-2005, 06:08 PM   #3
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GREAT article - thanks so much for posting it.

Damien Marley is successfully continuing the Legacy of his father by bringing the modern music of Jamaica to a worldwide audience.

And because of U2's love of Reggae music and their statements regarding the pivotal role that Bob Marley played in their musical and ideological formation as a band, Damien and his brothers (Stephen and Kymani) were PERFECT CHOICES as openers for U2.

I felt very honored to see the Marley brothers in concert as I had seen their father several times in concert before them.

And gabrielvox is correct - they did get an enthusiastic response from the concerts that I attended.

And everyone loved their Ethiopian flag waver.

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Old 12-02-2005, 06:11 PM   #4
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Big up Jr. Gong! Big up Jamaica! And big up U2!!!
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Old 12-02-2005, 06:12 PM   #5
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I'm very interested in his music, but I can't find anything here in Germany
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