Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An Unrivalled Legacy Lives on at the O2; THERE WILL BE AN EXODUS TO THE O2 ACADEMY NEWCASTLE THIS WEEKEND, AS ALAN NICHOL REPORTS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An Unrivalled Legacy Lives on at the O2; THERE WILL BE AN EXODUS TO THE O2 ACADEMY NEWCASTLE THIS WEEKEND, AS ALAN NICHOL REPORTS

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN NICHOL

IT is a huge testimony to the enduring work of Bob Marley, who died nearly 36 years ago, that audiences continue to pack venues to hear his music.

That opportunity presents itself again on Sunday night at O2 Academy in Newcastle when The Wailers, with two of Marley's key lieutenants at the helm, prove just how timeless that appeal is.

The current Wailers line-up is: Aston "Familyman" Barrett (Bass), Julian Junior Marvin (Lead Guitar & Vocals), Donald Kinsey (Lead Guitar), Aston Barrett, Jr. (Drums), Joshua David Barrett (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar), Shema McGregor (Vocals & Harmony), Owen "Dreadie" Reid (Rhythm Guitar & Bass), Javaughn Bond (Keyboards & Vocals), and Marley sound engineer Dennis Thompson.

Long-serving bassist Barrett (a co-founder of the band and recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by Bass Player magazine) and Marvin were with Marley for years, of course, but drummer Aston Barrett Jr - as the name implies - is the son of "Familyman" and hence the nephew of original drummer, Carlton Barrett.

Marley's legacy includes international fame via an estimated 250 million record sales since the early 70s. Time magazine cited his album, Exodus, as Best Album of the Century and the BBC named One Love as Song of the Millennium.

In addition, the New York Times named Marley "the most significant musician of the century". It is quite a list of accolades and there are plenty more besides.

The fact that Familyman Barrett has overseen the numerous personnel changes within the band over several decades and managed to blend the "old-guard" lifetime experiences of the likes of Junior Marvin (a successful musician well before he joined Marley) with a new generation of reggae's finest is a telling and respectful homage to his late companion.

Given that the band is rooted in that unique history and is propelled by some added second-generation enthusiasm, the magically timeless Marley/Wailers repertoire is in the safest hands.

Also on Sunday night, across in Sage Gateshead's Hall 1 there is music of a quite different hue. The Canadian singer/musician, Loreena McKennitt, brings her successful and distinctive Celtic-folk variant to the region. Born in Ontario of Scots-Irish heritage, it is not surprising that she has tapped into that wealth of Celtic traditional song to inspire her. McKennitt has sold millions of records since her debut album, Elemental, was released in 1985.

Several of her recordings have been registered as "gold" and have charted around the world with Book of Secrets (1997) - all original songs - probably her most successful with around four million sales.

She brings her trio of Brian Hughes (guitar) and Caroline Lavelle (cello) while McKennitt brings her bell-like soprano plus harp/piano/ accordion skills. …

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