STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
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Perhaps the most popular reggae band of all time is Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Iconic reggae bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, a member of The Wailers ever since being recruited by Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh in 1969, said in a press release that “sharing this music with so many people around the world was my last promise to Bob, and here we are.”
Tosh and Wailer departed the band for solo careers in 1973, Marley passed away due to cancer complications in 1981, and Barrett’s brother, Wailers drummer Carlton “Carlie” Barrett, died in 1987.
Dedicated to keeping Marley’s legacy alive, in 2014 The Wailers celebrated the 30th anniversary of the compilation album “Legend,” which has sold an estimated 30 million copies worldwide. More than 100,000 people witnessed them performing at 2014’s Glastonbury festival in the UK. Last year, they were one of the headliners of the XPoNential Music Festival. On Feb. 13, however, you have the chance to see them in a much more up-close-and-personal setting at Havana in New Hope. This concert comes shortly after a series of tour dates in South America.
In the current lineup of The Wailers, Barnett’s son, Aston Jr., plays organ; Anthony “Benbow” Creary drums; the guitarists are Audley “Chizzy” Chisholm, Joshua David and Melvin “Ras Mel” Glover; Chaka Taylor plays keyboards; and Cegeee Victory is one of the singers.
Dwayne “Danglin’” Anglin, one of the band’s lead singers, took a few minutes to chat on the phone before boarding a plane. He said that it’s important for The Wailers to continue to perform Marley’s messages of peace, love and equality in a time when there’s “a lot of confusion” politically and culturally in America. Anglin said The Wailers are out to “bring clarity to the situation” and “put aside cultural differences of color and race” with sets that include songs from Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 and 1978 albums “Exodus” and “Kaya,” plus, in Anglin’s words, “what the people demand and what they want to hear.”
Besides their work with Marley, over the years The Wailers have also played, or performed on stage with the likes of Sting, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Burning Spear, Kenny Chesney, Eve, Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. Anglin called those collaborations “an eye-opening experience.”
He also said: “I look forward to coming to Pennsylvania; it’s always a treat. I grew up in Jersey, so I’m very familiar and very aware of performing in front of a Philadelphia crowd. That area is so rich in talent, that you can’t be mediocre in your performance. It’s a great challenge. Any great artist should want to perform where people demand perfection.”
“Gather together and celebrate the music,” Anglin said, offering an invitation to enjoy some sun-splashed, Jamaican-born sounds.