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By Moyinoluwa Ayo-Ajayi, Bookartville.com

Of all the arts, it is music that penetrates most directly the heart of things. People speak of the profound effect a piece of music has had on them even as they struggle to put such an effect into words. Centuries of anthropology have revealed to us that music is a common thread running through all known human cultures. It is with an eye to this universal quality that the Golden Record, a varied compilation of humanity’s musical expressions, was sent into space. If we have any language that alien life forms might understand, it is music. 

Bob Marley was one of those rare musicians whose impact transcends music. Like Fela, with fans that are more like worshippers, his influence was/is similar to that of a religious leader. The adulation accorded him isn’t just a response to the music, great as it is. It is about the man himself, his presence and essence, of which the music he made was only a manifestation. For many fans, his music is the soundtrack to their lives, a constant refrain. 

Given the history of Freedom Park, it’s a fitting choice of venue for this event.

As there are now even more troubles in the world than ever, Marley’s music has grown in relevance. Either in hope or victory, people around the world continue to sing songs of freedom; more and more black people seek to free themselves from mental shackles; the movement of people has taken a worrying dimension; and, in all seasons, the righteous smell of kaya continues to fill the air like incense. His music resonates with younger generations, and he’s today the dead artist with the second largest following on social media. 

A commemorative sing-along to mark Bob Marley’s birth will be held at Freedom Park on the 6th of this month – what would have been his 78th birthday. Given the park’s history, it’s a fitting choice of venue for this event. While the dominant image of Marley on stage in many minds is of him playing in stadiums to extremely large crowds, he was equally at home in smaller venues. A Bob Marley concert at Freedom Park would have felt natural had both existed at the same time. The sing-along will aim to recreate some of that concert spirit. The event starts at 5 pm. 

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