Young trio chosen for Marley 2017 celebrations

December 06, 2016
Dre Island

Reggae artistes Dre Island, Jah9 and Runkus are the ambassadors for the Bob Marley 72nd birthday celebrations.

The announcement came on Saturday night as the 40th anniversary of the Smile Jamaica Concert was observed at the Bob Marley Museum.

Debbie Bissoon, of the Bob Marley Group, announced the trio and expressed confidence that they will participate extensively in the activities.

The trio represent the younger generation of reggae acts.

Dre Island, born Andre Johnson, used to sing in his church choir as a boy. After being introduced to the recording studio also at a young age, he developed the knack for building rhythms.

He became a producer, but in 2008, started the transition to becoming a recording artiste.

He is known for songs such as Whistle Away, What's Mine Is Mine, and Rastafari Way.

Jah9, born Janine Cunningham, started her career in poetry, but began recording music in 2009.

She has released two albums, New Name in 2013, and 9 and 2016. Her songs include The Marijuana and Feeling Irie.

Romario Bennett, stage name Runkus, comes from good musical stock, as his father is reggae artiste Determine, who had popular songs such as Kette Drum in the '90s.

But he is creating his own sound. He released the 11-track effort, Welcome Paula Son, last year.

All three performed on Saturday night, making new fans.

The night's performers also included Stephen, Ky-Mani and Damian Marley, Third World, and Kelissa and Uprising Roots Band.

Plans were also announced for two events honouring Marley next year, the marking date of the singer's 72nd birthday on February 6, and the large-scale Smile Jamaica concert for December 2.

The birthday celebrations for Marley, who died in 1981, will be held at 56 Hope Road, St Andrew, as was Saturday's concert.

Smile Jamaica 2017 will be held at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, St Ann.

The activities will be held under the theme Exodus, and in addition to the expected music, there will be a marijuana symposium.

As the birthday falls on a Monday, the concert staged along with Digicel and Red Stripe, will be held on Sunday, February 5.

Robert Bryan of Grizzly's, accompanied by Pratik Ruparell of PDP Entertainment, explained that Smile Jamaica will include overseas entertainers as well as Jamaicans.

Bryan gave a broad overview of plans to develop Grizzly's Plantation Cove into "the ultimate Jamaican entertainment experience", a major part of which will be the Bob Marley One Love Square.

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