Behind Aston “Family Man” Barrett’s congenial mask is at least a tinge of resentment about how his own nation has treated him. When asked about what the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence might mean to him, one of the last surviving members of Bob Marley and the Wailers is diplomatic but pointed.
“Well, it’s so good to know that they’re really taking these thing in action,” he told CBC Music in Quebec City, where the Wailers were playing Le Festival d'été in July. “But in the very near future, they must never leave out the forerunner who let it happen for Jamaica and the reggae music. At all time, they must get in touch with us first in advance so that we can [schedule] tour around that special time, so the Wailers can be there, as the head cornerstone.”
“It would’ve been really great to have been doing the concert, home-style,” says Wailer Duane Stephenson, smiling warmly. “But you know what? People are celebrating all over the world and we are where we need to be. Sometimes it’s not what you want but what the people need.”
Aside from losing their iconic leader, Marley, almost 30 years ago, the Wailers have suffered other tragedies, as members have passed on. For Barrett, it’s important that the band continues on, though, to keep the spirit of Jamaica alive.
“Well, you see, the reggae music is the heartbeat of the people,” he explained. “It is the universal language that carries the messages of roots, cultures and reality. And it is for all ages and all times, for the past, present and the future.”
Watch our interview with the Wailers below.
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on Aug 03, 2012