Bob's boys

Ky-Mani and Rohan Marley commemorate their father’s birthday with a reggae Purim Ball.

Bob's boys (photo credit: Courtesy)
Bob's boys
(photo credit: Courtesy)
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 birthday.
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 week.
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 rock.
“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 swag.”
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 Coffee.
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 flavors.
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.