Love is Ziggy Marley’s religion.
Following in the legendary path of the man (Bob Marley) credited with popularizing reggae music, 38-year-old Ziggy Marley proudly keeps his father’s tradition alive.
Currently on his “Love Is My Religion” tour, Marley recently delivered another positively-themed message of hope to a near-capacity crowd at Hollywood’s Avalon Theatre.
His melodic performance had the packed crowd serenely swaying to the familiar reggae-style beat, which his father, arguably the greatest lyricist of all time, once perfected. Peppered with an audible array of percussion, nine additional musicians complemented Marley’s memorable sound. Drums and bongos, a bold bass, as well as multiple guitars and keyboards all came together in unison. Two back-up dancers also enhanced the look and feel of the performance. They contributed a perfectly subtle blend of background vocals.
Not to be totally overshadowed by his iconoclast father, Ziggy Marley combined his own soulful ballads of reggae with unique elements of what at times sounded like rhythm and blues, and at another point, a hip-hop balled skillfully rapped by his guitarist.
But it was Marley himself who conveyed expressions of spiritual focus throughout the electrifying show.
Before performing the song “Bee Free,” he first addressed the familiar social theme of governments gone awry.
“People should not fear their governments, governments should fear their people,” he transitioned to thundering screams of approval. And not more than three songs into his nearly two-hour set, clouds of smoke billowed throughout the theater. But unlike at popular venues, fans were left alone by security to practice their vices.
Perhaps some of the show’s more memorable moments occurred when Marley performed some of his immortalized father’s songs. Classics like “Rastaman Vibration,” “Is This Love,” “Jamming,” “Concrete Jungle” and “No More Trouble” served as impressive tributes to the memory of Bob Marley. There were uncanny resemblances – such as their voices sounding so much alike – between the way in which Ziggy approached the songs his father had made famous, and the overall sublime manner in which they were performed. Clutching the microphone with his hands, eyes closed at times, his neck angled toward the heavens, Marley – also a singer, songwriter and guitarist – had a knack of looking and sounding just like his father.
Marley capped the performance with the title track from his new album “Love Is My Religion.” The song poetically captures Marley’s ardent message of love.
“I don’t condemn, I don’t convert?this is the calling have you heard?” the song rang. “All my days I’ve been searching ? to find out what this life is worth ? through the books I’ve looked ? through time I’ve searched ? love is my religion.”
In the backstage dressing room area, a calm – at times difficult to make out due to his accent – Ziggy Marley confirmed the message of his music. His waist-length dreadlocks, sparse black beard, flawless skin and bright smile exuded a genuine feeling of peace.
“The message is generally about love,” he said while sitting on the armrest of a small couch. Marley expressed interest in CSUN’s whereabouts before posing for a picture with members of the journalism department and ultimately offering up words of wisdom to those preparing to make their way into the real world. He referenced a world of social evils before advising, “It’s up to you to make a change. In whatever you choose to do. Going into the press or being a photographer or anything else.”
Though the meeting was brief, Marley effectively promoted the very religion he said he is on this planet to convey. Love.