Julian Marley- 'A Time and Place'- One Tuff Gong (Copyright ©2007)

IslandWhere, December 2007

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To many, ‘Marley’ and ‘music’ are inter-connected, and it comes as no surprise when one of the youngest members of the Marley family takes centre stage, trodding on to new and exciting territory.

There is a time and place for everything, and for thirty-two year old Julian Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley, the time has come. Fulfilling his father’s prophecy that his music will live on through his children, Julian Marley, like his other siblings, is indeed making his mark on the reggae scene, exuding positive vibrations through his music.

On this particular Saturday night, I had very little exposure to Julian Marley’s music. When I entered the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, I was not quite sure what to expect, apart from the obvious fact that there would be pounding reggae rhythms, conscious melodies, and, for me, a deep feeling of nostalgia. In a world thirsty for conscious and uplifting tunes, which provides redemption for the masses, Julian Marley takes up the mantle wholeheartedly and continues the journey where his father left off.

Celebrating the release of his second album, ‘A Time and Place’, Julian is charged with energy, and a certain aura you will only understand if you know the history of the Marley family.

A self-taught musician, Julian Marley was born into musical royalty. Born in London in 1975, Julian recorded his first song at the age of five, at the Marley family home in Kingston, Jamaica. Today, his music reflects the true Rastafarian values he was born into, while he flirts, bravely, with newer styles, blending reggae music with jazz, samba and hip-hop.

A veteran performer, Julian had the crowd chanting to the choruses of tracks from his new album which most of them had never heard before. With his slim build, identical to Bob Marley’s, and the raspy voice of the king of reggae, the haunting wail and the raw message that was Bob Marley’s trademark came so naturally to the young Gong, it seemed like it was an apparition of Marley senior.

At the end of what I would call a soulful concert, Julian received a legend’s applause from his adoring new fans who seemed to be truly moved by his sterling performance.

I was fortunate enough to have a one on one chat with Julian Marley, where he shares the experiences of his musical journey, and what it’s like to be an integral part of the Marley legacy.

MEM: Congratulations on the release of your new album, ‘A Time and Place’. How satisfied are you with the feedback from the public?

Julian: Yeah mon, I’m getting a good vibe from the people, you know, yeah, much love...

MEM: You’ve decided to create your own style, thereby incoporating a bit of Jazz, R&B, and Hip Hop . What would you say influenced this bold move?

Julian: Well just love of music, you know, I listen to alot of music, growing up, you know, listening to people like Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder, various music, you know, it’s a thing that’s been always there, you know.

MEM: You appeal to lovers of all musical genres with this style, was this your intention?

Julian: No, it wasn’t intended, it just naturally happened, you know, it’s just music, no boundries.

MEM: What sort of message do you want to deliver through your music?

Julian: Well the message is all about togetherness, you know, um...A Time and Place, you know a lot of songs that are all about people together, and you know, positive living.

MEM: Who do you have in mind when you sit down and put pen to paper?

Julian: All people. No matter where you come from, you know, we all have the same blood through our veins, it’s the same thing where, Jah create it you know, so, any person, anywhere you are on earth we all feel the same thing, so you know...

MEM: No segregation.

Julian: No... (Laugh)

MEM: The opening song, “Father’s Place” on your new album is a favourite of many...

Julian: Yes...

MEM: Tell me a little about this song, how did it come about?

Julian: Well, ‘Father’s Place’, um... when we say we’re going to our Father’s Place now, we can say, it can be Africa, you know... Father’s Place can be in your meditation, you know when you get away, you get away, you get away, you get away from all the confusion, you know, so... when we say Father’s Place now, it’s all about, you know, freeing yourself from that same mental slavery, you know, yeah. Sometimes you find yourself drifting, you know, what you gonna do to divert that problem, you know in time of troubles, where you normally go, you know, to your Father’s House so... you know everything is linked.

MEM: Some might say you refer to Jah, while others think you call out to your own father, the late Bob Marley, what do you say?

Julian: Yeah we say ‘Our Father’ meaning Jah you know. And then, any way you check it, you know, even a yout, still what you go through you know it’s the same, wan go to your Father’s House, so anyway, either it’s your father’s father, you know, it’s all the same, you know.

MEM: Would you say you’re a spiritual person?

Julian: Yeah

MEM: What does ‘Rasta’ mean to you?

Julian: Life... (Laugh)

MEM: How do you explain what it’s like to continue your father’s journey through your music?

Julian: Explain...unexplainable, you know, it’s just...it’s Jah work, you know so, you cannot explain Jah work, you have to just trod it. Once you have that inspiration, that message.

MEM: Another hit on your new album is the song entitled ‘System’. What about the system?

Julian: System...Well you know systems were made to divide, rule and abuse the people, you know so we all know what the system is about so what we need to really do with that knowledge is togetherness, you know, yeah. System is just acknowledging what they do, divide and use and abuse, you know. But the main ting we have to deal with now is unity.

MEM: You were brought up in a multi-cultural community in London, where you were born.

Julian: Yeah.

MEM: How has the experience of growing up in London impacted on your spirituality and your musical being?

Julian: ...there’s no real spiritual difference, that inspiration that you get from certain music, people. When you check it anywhere you go it’s the same thing. Same feeling, same struggle, you know what I mean, only the music is different, but the mentality is the same.

MEM: At the age of 17 you moved to Jamaica.

Julian: Yeah.

MEM: What was that like for you?

Julian: Well, it was normal, it was, you know. We always used to go there every summer. It was normal, but the start in music um...and using it professionally, that was a great start and experience.

MEM: Travelling is a huge part of promoting your music. Would you say you’re based anywhere in particular?

Julian: Well, we base where we base, you know, from London to Jamaica, you know, yeah.

MEM: On the subject of home, you once said, ‘home is in the temple, in the spirit. Everywhere you travel you are at home, because you’re with your ownself’, couldn’t be put better.

Julian: Exactly, true true , yeah, mon.

MEM: What do you like best about what you do?

Julian: Bringing the people together, and spreading something positive.

MEM: Is it coming together, as you see it?

Julian: Yeah mon.

MEM: Do you feel you’re reaching out to the people?

Julian: Yeah we’re trying, we’re going out there and reaching out, yeah.

MEM: So what’s next with Julian Marley?

Julian: A whole heap a work. More albums, all kinds a tings... more collaborations with our brothers and things like that.

MEM: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I wish you all the best with your music.

Julian: Respect, yeah.

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