Ziggy Marley... a true humanitarian


ziggy2.jpgZiggy Marley's life story is filled with changes and transitions. In fact, change has been the one constant in his life. From his earliest days, raised in Trench Town, Jamaica, to the present, he has been guided by his keen awareness and driving compassion. These qualities are the earmarks of his work and his journey.

The eldest Marley son is not one to let any moss grow under his feet. His 2006 release, Love is My Religion (Tuff Gong Worldwide), garnered a Grammy for Best Reggae Album at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards, giving him a total of four Grammy's as an artist. It was his second solo album, and the first to be released independently on the Tuff Gong Worldwide label.

The album's follow-up, an extended version including three live tracks, hit the streets on December 4, 2007. A live DVD, filmed during the Love is My Religion world tour, is scheduled for release in early 2008. A bold move launched an Independent distribution deal between Tuff Gong Worldwide and Ryko Distribution, allowing Marley to eschew the traditional record industry formula and big name labels.

"This album is from my heart," Ziggy says of the album, originally released in July 2006. 'Love' showcases Ziggy's keenly honed talents as a composer, producer, and musician. All tracks were written and produced by Ziggy and shared production on three tracks was with Grammy-winning producer Ross Hogarth. Marley also played the majority of the instruments on this album.

Written "all over the world," with some songs penned during his youth, "Love Is My Religion" expands upon the personal, social and political themes explored in Ziggy's debut CD, "Dragonfly." Its musical center is clearly reggae, peppered by African percussion and other flavors. Opening with the subversively danceable "Into the Groove," Ziggy delves into an upbeat meditation on finding one's self. On the title track, "Love is My Religion," his message is a unifying devotion to love. The notion of overcoming stereotypes and superstition informs the slinky "Black Cat," while the romantic "Make Some Music" finds a partner in the mid-tempo "A Lifetime."

Friendship is one of the album's recurring themes, whether as the core of monogamous and universal love or the connective tissue of global
brotherhood. "Friend" and "On the Beach in Hawaii" each offer an ode to love and friendship. In "Keep on Dreamin'," Ziggy extends the idea into the spiritual world, reconnecting with his father through dreams. The album's most political song, "Be Free," empowers the listener to reject the manipulating power of fear. Slavery and its continuing effects are explored on "Still the Storms," which laments the crises in nations like Sudan, Rwanda and Sierra Leone by analogizing the path of hurricanes with the path of slave ships. The album closes with the simple and the complex: an acoustic guitar version of "Love Is My Religion" and a bass-heavy, dub mix of "Be Free."

Tuff Gong was founded in 1965 by Bob Marley with the vision of producing, distributing, and promoting his music free from the constraints of corporate label politics. In a time that was decades before artist-owned record labels were commonplace, Marley's vision was characteristically ground-breaking. Now, nearly half a century later, his dream is being realized.

Born in Trench Town, Jamaica, Ziggy was surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Jamaican recording industry. Accompanying his father to the studio, he first sat in on recording sessions with his father at a tender age. He soon joined with his siblings to form The Melody Makers. The act enjoyed two decades of successful touring and recording, netting three Grammy Awards and worldwide renown.

Ziggy has contributed to a variety of soundtracks including "50 First Dates," "Dora the Explorer," the PBS children's show, "Arthur" and "Shark's Tale," in which he delved into acting for the first time, playing the character of Bernie, the Jamaican jellyfish. In addition to his skills as a singer, songwriter and producer, Ziggy founded U.R.G.E. (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a non-profit organization that benefits a wide range of charitable children's causes in Jamaica, Ethiopia and other developing nations. More recently he has lent his support to the Youth AIDS campaign.