If anyone can incite change through song, it’s Ziggy Marley.
His immersion in music came at age 10 when he sat in on recording sessions with his father, Bob Marley. Taking the lead in the Melody Makers after his father’s death, Ziggy and his sisters Sharon and Cedella and brother Stephen recorded eight records and won three Grammys before 2003, when the Jamaican singer and songwriter kicked off his solo career.
Today, the eight-time Grammy winner, philanthropist and reggae icon has 13 solo albums to his credit, along with his own label, Tuff Gong Worldwide.
His newest, “Rebellion Rises,” was released May 18 and debuted in the No. 1 slot on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums.
Marley and his band kick off their “Rebellion Rises” West Coast tour at Uptown Theater in Napa and the Sunset Center in Carmel, California, then play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, in the Britt Pavilion, 350 S. First St., Jacksonville.
Portland neo-Americana band World’s Finest will open the show. Rutendo Marimba will perform at 6 p.m. in Britt’s Performance Garden. Tickets are $57 for reserved seating, $49 for standing room only, $39 for lawn seating, and $29 for ages 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at brittfest.org, at the box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford, or by calling 800-882-7488. No outside alcohol will be allowed at this performance.
“Rebellion Rises” marks Marley’s first studio release in two years, following his 2016 self-titled project which took home a Grammy for Best Reggae Album and marked his fourth consecutive debut at No. 1 on the Top Reggae Album Chart.
“Everything is connected,” Marley says during a telephone interview from Tuff Gong Worldwide in Los Angeles. “I see the work that I did on previous records and experiences I’ve had on previous records help to give this record the sound that it has. It’s all a part of the big picture. Ya, mon, it’s where we’re at today.”
Fully written, recorded and produced by Marley, this new collection of music passionately encourages people to stand together in activism through love. No track embodies the message better than the album’s title track and official first single. A manifesto with a chant-like chorus, the song emboldens its listeners to use the power we all have as instruments of positive change around the world.
The message resounds throughout every fiber of the tracks, from the grooves of “Rebellion Rises” and “Circle of Peace” to the guitars on “World Revolution” and “The Storm is Coming,” and the provocative lyrics on “I Am a Human.” Recorded primarily at his home studio, Marley threads together a vision steeped in reggae tradition marked by progressive thinking.
His brother Stephen sings on “Circle of Peace,” and his 11-year-old son Gideon raps on “The Storm is Coming.”
“We’re going to do a little bit (of performing) in America for a few weeks, and then we’re going to Europe for maybe a month, then back to America, and just try and get the message out to the people directly,” Marley says.
“I see (the tour) as more than a concert, more than entertainment. I see this tour as a rally, a rally for humanity. Instead of coming to a concert, you are coming to a rally for humanity, you know.
“The show is not a protest, but a rally,” he adds. “The songs from this new album represent a call to humanity to rise up and bring out the best in us. These shows are not a political rally, not a religious rally, not a rally for any special cause, but a rally for all of humanity to become aware and make this world a better place.”
Spreading that message, the good word, in America and at festivals in France, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Germany, Serbia and others, to name a few, puts Marley and his band in a global movement for world peace.
“Ya, mon. It is a worldwide movement that we are being a part of,” he says. “Even as bad as we see things now, we feel that it is a perfect time for humanity to stand up for the values of unification, the values of love, the value of sharing.
“We see ourselves playing a big part in this movement of humanity. It is a movement of the majority of people on Earth who want to live a more peaceful existence with each other. Most of us want that. Most of us don’t like this divisiveness. It’s only the minority likes it. So we are going to stand up for the majority of us on this planet, the majority of human beings who want to live in a better world and want to make the political poles, and the religious poles and the ideological poles know that this is our agenda.
“This is what we are going to achieve regardless of your divisiveness, your hate and your wars. Human beings are going to stand up for human beings.
“This year we’re going all over Europe, next year is the rest of the world,” Marley says.