The Wailers keep Marley’s reggae alive

By BRIAN WRIGHT, Maricopa Monitor


MARICOPA — Bob Marley is synonymous with reggae music. But 34 years after his death, his legacy lives on through his recordings and the band he played with — The Wailers.

The Wailers will perform a free show at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino & Resort at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Wailers lead singer Dwayne “Danglin” Anglin recently talked from his home country of Jamaica about visiting Arizona, Marley’s legacy and what reggae music means to him.

The Wailers have been to Arizona before but haven’t played a ton of shows here. Anglin was asked what he remembers about the state.

“It’s hot,” he said, stating the obvious. But he said very good crowds always show up in Phoenix or wherever else they play.

The Wailers do an incredible amount of touring. Anglin said they played about 200 shows last year.

After the show at Harrah’s, The Wailers will continue a quick swing through the West Coast this month with shows in Las Vegas and California.

Later this year, the band will do extensive touring in Europe, including England, and India.

Marley became a cultural icon, and his influence remains today. It’s a legacy The Wailers keep alive by touring the world and spreading his music and message of peace, equality and freedom.

“To me, it’s truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of this legacy,” Anglin said. “It’s something that’s so important to people. Bob Marley is the symbol of peace and justice across the globe, and his music and his message are world-renowned.”

Anglin said one has to appreciate everything that Marley, who died at 36, accomplished in such a short period of time. He said Marley created “timeless music.”

“Legend,” a compilation album of Bob Marley and The Wailers released in 1984, has one of the longest runs of nonconsecutive weeks (more than 300) on the Billboard 200 album chart of all-time — a testament to Marley and the band’s lasting impact. It peaked at No. 5 last September, 30 years after its release, and has sold more than 13 million copies in the United States.

“That is proof that the music is widely appreciated,” Anglin said, adding the popularity of Marley is also evident today with his poster being perhaps the No. 1 poster on college campuses.

Reggae music has its own distinct style, which originated in Jamaica and combines elements of R&B, jazz and other styles.

“Reggae music is feel music — it’s not written music,” Anglin said. “It’s not typical to the rules or traditions of musical composition. It’s very different. There are no rules when making reggae music; it’s about the sound and the feel.”

Anglin said part of reggae’s distinct style comes from playing against the traditional beat, something he referred to as the “imaginary upbeat.”

“The way the organ is shuffled — that’s not done in any other kind of music,” he said.

Anglin said reggae music is instantly recognizable and puts the listener in a different mood than any other music genre.

However, Anglin has an eclectic taste in music. He often listens to music by artists from other genres, listing the Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones and Tracy Chapman as some of his favorites who have influenced his musical style. He also enjoys “stripped down” acoustic performances of singer-songwriters like Neil Diamond and James Taylor.

The Wailers have even collaborated with country star Kenny Chesney on “Spread The Love,” which proved a success.

“That was a great experience,” Anglin said of working with Chesney, adding it helps widen the audiences for both bands. “That’s why you do collaborations — to share a fan base. I’m sure a lot of Kenny’s fans were intrigued and entertained by the song and probably ventured out to seek some more Wailers cuts and hopefully became fans.”

Anglin is also in the process of recording a solo album, which he hopes to release next spring.


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