Bob’s music goes on forever

Dubmaster China is a highlight at Zula Bar's Bob Marley birthday celebrations tonight.

Dubmaster China is a highlight at Zula Bar's Bob Marley birthday celebrations tonight.

Published Feb 3, 2012


FROM Jamaica to Cameroon, Sweden to Turkey, from Mexico to Costa Rica to Cape Town, reggae will be blasting the beautiful skies with irie vibrations this weekend to honour Bob Marley’s birth on February 6, 1945.

But a bar and restaurant called Trenchtown that feeds off the cultural identity of Marley’s Jamaica is the only reggae bar in Cape Town not celebrating his birthday this weekend.

Thankfully tonight Dubmaster China celebrates the 7th annual Bob Marley in style at a triple storey music bash in Long Street at Zula, the Melting Pot in Muizenberg will showcase The Sons of Selassie tomorrow night, and Marcus Garvey in Philippi will be pumping tonight and every Friday night in a continuous wave of respect for Bob Marley.

“This annual celebration of Bob Marley is aimed at bringing people from different backgrounds together and to foster a culture of peace, love and understanding,” says Dubmaster China, the organiser of the tribute at Zula.

“Bob Marley was an ardent advocate for human rights and social justice, and we hope to keep his message alive by sharing it with as many people as possible, and hopefully this can also help us as South Africans, and people of the world, to understand each other better and hopefully promote love and unity to all,” he added.

“I was 10 years old when I first heard Bob Marley’s music.

“In 1979, my brother gave me Survival on vinyl and it was the song, Africa Unite that touched me and after listening closely, I strode with determination through the streets of East London clutching my library card.

“I was off to the local library to read more about him, specifically his philosophy on Africa.

“His intellect influenced me to get involved in student politics and inspired my music influence.”

This year China has made the Marley tribute massive, and he has stretched beyond just reggae and dancehall music, to progressively include what reggae inspired – dub, dub step, hip-hop and drum and bass.

“Reggae is only one form of music, said Bob and as reggae influenced dub step and drum and bass and early jungle, we’re celebrating it all tonight over three floors.

“And we’re throwing in some hip-hop too. But there will be no commercial songs as he has become a commercial interest nowadays and it’s hard to avoid it, but for me the aim is to unite people through his less commercial music and tonight is equally a chance to promote other people’s music,” says China.

Expect a beautiful chilled vibrational set from China who will play from Marley’s Survival and Uprising albums and spin rare releases and rare re-mixes of Marley’s early music and, to keep it fresh, some interesting material of Marley’s you probably haven’t heard before.

“I like collecting his rare works and playing his extended mixes and alternative versions,” says China.

“Other DJs tonight will be doing covers of Marley songs like by The Fugees, Groove Corporation, Stephen Marley, Freshly Ground, and many others.”

There will be three floors of music with Dubmaster China and Fletcher playing their chilled roots reggae and dub at the Upfront bar on the third floor.

The second dance floor will be dub step and drum and bass with Mix ’n Blend, Niskerone and Funafuji, who is Safiyya Bryce, a young female doctor who plays “wicked dub step”, reckons Fletcher.

On Zula’s first floor will be Teba’s project, Shumba Sound System with roots reggae, and Ras Danamite spinning dancehall and ragga.

The two live bands playing on this floor are The Little Kings, who play reggae rock, and The Rivertones, a band that does Bob Marley covers as a tribute show.

China says they expect an eclectic crowd made up of lots of tourists mingling with locals.

“It’s not just a reggae crowd, we also attract people who go to Mercury and The Assembly and it will be a cross-generational mixed crowd.

“I have never come across anyone who does not love Bob Marley and tonight it is just so great to put on a gig in his honour.”

l The Bob Marley birthday celebration starts tonight at 9 at Zula Sound Bar, 98 Long Street. R40 before 10pm and R60 after 10pm. Call 021 424 2442. See The Sons of Selassie pay tribute to Marley tomorrow night from 7pm at the Melting Pot, 15 Church Road, Muizenberg. Tickets are R50. Call 031 709 0785.

Also check out: The Marcus Garvey Community Dancehall and enjoy a home session with a local reggae artist with a reggae tour with The Coffee Beans Route For more reggae festival information, see

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