By DAVID BRINN
Ky-Mani and Rohan Marley commemorate their father’s birthday with a reggae Purim Ball.
The Barby Club in Tel Aviv is going to transform into the House of Marley on
February 20 and 21 when two of late reggae legend Bob Marley’s sons take the
stage for a reggae Purim Ball celebrating their dad’s February
While Ziggy Marley and his brother Damian (Junior Gong) joined
Rihanna for a tribute to their father this week at the Grammy Awards show, it
will be a different pair of Marley’s 11 children arriving in Israel next
Unlike Ziggy, Damian and Stephen Marley, who have treaded closely
in their father’s monumental musical footsteps, Ky-Mani and Rohan Marley have
largely forged their own paths.
Ky-Mani Marley’s music owes as much to
hip hop as it does to reggae. Ky-Mani is the second-youngest of Marley’s
children. His mother was table tennis champion Anita Belnavis, who had a brief
affair with the reggae great who was married to Rita Marley. Estranged from the
Marley family, Ky-Mani and his mother moved from Jamaica to a poverty-stricken,
crime-ridden area of Miami when he was nine.
“This is not the life I
would have had if he were my dad,” the 36-year-old Marley wrote in his 2010
autobiography Dear Dad.
As a teenager, Ky-Mani started rapping and deejaying, and by 1996 he had
released his debut album, Like Father Like Son. The following year he hooked up
with Pras from The Fugees and had his first major hit with a stirring rendition
of Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue.” More wellreceived albums have followed using
reggae as a base but branching out into dancehall, gangsta rap and hard
“The evolution side is where roots reggae meets kind of soft rock
meets alternative music,” Marley told the Prague Post recently. “And the
revolution side is where dancehall meets hip hop and that kind of urban
Ky-Mani’s brother Rohan is even more diversified, but not
necessarily in the realm of music. He’s a former college football star for the
University of Miami, and later a pro in the Canadian Football League with the
Ottawa Rough Riders. But the 40-year-old Rohan is perhaps best known for being
singer Lauryn Hill’s significant other for more than 15 years and fathering five
children with her before their break-up last year.
Now a successful
business entrepreneur, Rohan has furthered the Marley legacy by launching the
family’s charitable organization iLove, co-founding the clothing line Tuff Gong,
launching a collection of eco-friendly headphones and sound gear called House of
Marley and, most recently, inaugurating a line of “sustainably grown, ethically
farmed and artisan roasted” gourmet coffee under the name Marley
The shows in Tel Aviv will feature the House of Marley sound
system and samplings of another Marley family business venture, Marley’s Mellow
mood, an anti-energy drink available in a variety of fruit
Assuming there is enough time for music, the Marley brothers
will be performing their own material, as well as some of their father’s classic
songs. Opening up the evening will be the home-grown zany favorites Los
Caparos, the ska-reggae-Russian rockers who are celebrating the release of their
latest album, Life in Film.
Any way you look at it, there should be
something for everyone next week, and it will undoubtedly establish the right
frame of mind leading into Purim.