Ziggy Marley brings ‘Fly Rasta’ to DC!

As we discussed with Ziggy Marley in our recent interview, he brings his Fly Rasta tour to The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD .  His recent live performances on the festival circuit give every indication that Ziggy is at the top of his game right now.

Check his impressive performance of his father’s timeless tune “So Much Trouble In The World” at the California Roots Festival in Monterey, CA on June 24, 2014.

CLICK HERE to watch his entire performance!

Ziggy was last in DC in June 2012 where he played the historic Howard Theatre.  CLICK HERE to check my review of that show.


GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!  Its sure to be a sellout!

5th Annual California Roots Festival




The 5th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival will take place at the historic Monterey County Fairgrounds from May 23-25, 2014.  This year’s impressive lineup combines the best talent from the progressive US Reggaescene with SOJA,Rebelution, 311, and Pepper with Jamaican favorites including Steel Pulse, Ziggy Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, and many more.This annual festival has come a long way in just four short years.  Festival Director Dan Sheehan enthusiastically states, “We have worked so hard over the last few years to really put this festival on the map not only in California but nationwide.  The event started off as a one day event back in 2010 with about 1200 people in attendance to a festival that is now 3 days with over 10K people coming through the gates each day.  We work year round on this event and our North Carolina event and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”  The art side of the festival is equally important.  Dan adds, “Live painters on stage has become part of the California Roots Festival since year one and it just keeps getting stronger.  We look at it as part of the overall experience of the event and the fans and bands really get into it.”For more than a decade, U.S. Reggae artists have been organically building a solid foundation from the Hawaiian Islands to the west and east coasts.  This new generation of Reggae artists like Rebelution, SOJA, and The Green continue to reach new heights of success through prolific music releases, relentless touring, and collaboration.  The budding American scene will make you sit up and take note with impressive album sales (charting in the Billboard 200), sold out shows in top tier venues (The Catalyst, The Warfield, Fox Theater, The Greek in Berkley, Fillmore, Club Nokia) and savvy social media skills (SOJA has over 3 million followers).  The California Roots Music and Arts Festival was the first major event to take these likeminded artists and showcase them in a festival setting.

California Roots Festival uses social media year-round, engaging fans, bands, artists, and brands.  They showcase a variety of content, mixed media, and contests through networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Curtis Bergesen of Rootfire, co-manages Hawaii-based band The Green and leverages social media in strategic ways.  He says, “Digitally connecting with people through a shared passion for music is an incredible thing. Social media has allowed The Green to grow their fan base across continents, in real time.  Whether it’s sharing a new photo, or replying to a fan’s question, being active online has been vital to the band’s success.  The Green recently won a Hawaii Five-0 fan built episode contest, beating out much larger artists The Black Keys and Switchfoot.  They achieved this by engaging their audience through social media, and motivating passionate fans to vote for them.”

Jamaican Reggae artists have also recognized the potential in the flourishing US scene and have embraced collaboration with stateside artists and co-billing on tours and festivals like Cali Roots.  Well-respected reggae label VP Records, who has been at the forefront of Jamaican reggae and Caribbean releases, have recently been releasing compilations highlighting more stateside artists like their Dub Rockers, Vol 1.   “VP Records is excited to be a part of the California Roots Festival and help to create a unified global Reggae scene through the Dub Rockers label,” says Zack Reed.

The festival sold out last year so the organizers had to expand into a bigger area of the Monterey County Fairgrounds, home to the famous 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, where Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire and Janis Joplin rose to prominence.  The 5th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival looks to be on its way to selling out again, due to its strong brand and reputation as a top tier national festival.

The 5th Annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival
Dates: Friday, May 23, 2014 – Sunday May 25, 2014
Time: 10:00 am – 11 pm PDT
Venue: Monterey County Fairgrounds
Address: 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey, CA 93940
Admission: Varies (see: https://californiarootsfestival.eventbrite.com)
Age restrictions: All Ages

Cali Roots Website
Cali Roots Facebook
Cali Roots Twitter


Ziggy Marley talks Fly Rasta and freedom with MIDNIGHT RAVER

Grammy and Emmy-award winner Ziggy Marley, who recently released his fifth solo studio album titled FLY RASTA, takes a break from his current tour of the west coast summer music festival scene to talk with MIDNIGHT RAVER about his new album and current projects.


In 1979, an eleven year old Ziggy and his siblings Cedella, Stephen, and Sharon made their recording debut with their father, “Children Playing in the Streets”.  The Melody Makers’ debut LP Play The Game Right and Hey World!  followed in 1985 and 1986, respectively.  However, it was 1988’s critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Conscious Party that made Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers a household name.  The group would go on to release six more studio albums between 1989 and 2000 before Ziggy embarked on a solo career.   Since going solo, Ziggy Marley has released five studio albums, including FLY RASTA, each featuring the musician’s eclectic and evolving sound which contains elements of reggae, rock, pop, folk, and world.

Along the way, Ziggy has allotted six Grammy awards (three since going solo) and a Daytime Emmy Award for his 2013 song titled “I Love You Too”, which was featured in the Disney Channel animation 3rd & Bird!.  In 2009, Ziggy released a childrens  book titled I Love You Too based on the song of the same title from his 2009 Grammy Award-winning children’s album Family Time. The Marley name has long been associated with activism and charity and Ziggy Marley leads the charge with his U.R.G.E. Foundation, which seeks to make enduring contributions to the lives of children in Jamaica, Africa, and throughout the world.

To read more about Ziggy Marley’s music and activism visit www.ziggymarley.com.

So yesterday MIDNIGHT RAVER caught up with Ziggy on his west coast tour.

MR:  Greetings.  How are you?

ZM:  “Me good mon.  Me good.”

MR:  So big year for you, coming off another Grammy win for last year’s Live In Concert.  The new album hit the streets on April 15 and its now available at most shops in CD and vinyl and online stores as a digital download.  FLY RASTA…What is the significance of that title?

ZM:  “The title I think, you know, the title is something that came to me very quickly and not something that I spent a lot of time thinking about.  It is something that I’m still getting an idea what it means.  So for me it kinda mean expansion, it means like consciousness expanding.  It means evolution.  Yeah, yeah it means evolution of the ideas and expansion of the consciousness.  Right now that’s what it sounds like to me you know.”

MR:  As someone who has followed your career it seems that your music has really evolved since going solo thirteen years ago.  Each new album sounds very different at times than the one before, but you still seem to be grounded in reggae.  What are your thoughts on that?

ZM:  “I am not limited.  That is where this come from.  I am open-minded.  I am a musician first, a musician first before you fi label me any ‘ting else.  Listen, jus like before you call me a black man, or a Rastaman, I am first a human being.  As we all are.  And so this is the way I a look at my music.  I am first a musician, before you go call me a reggae musician, or this musician, or that musician.  Just call me a musician first, and understand what that means.  That means the whole galaxy of music is mine.  I am a part of it.  I am never separated from music because as a musician every beat is in me, every riddim, every melody, every note is in me.”

MR:  Are you bothered by being labeled as a reggae musician or that your music is labeled “reggae” music?  Is this something that bothers you?

ZM:  “No man, nah man, dis fine.  Because reggae was before me so I have taken on reggae as my foundation, as where I deal from, as my roots, you know.  People have labeled this sound “reggae.”  This is the sound where I am coming from.  Still, it does not limit me.  Just because it is where I’m coming from and it is my roots, it does not limit me.  I’m not limited to anybody’s idea of what that is.  Because I am an artist, I am a musician.  I am free.  My mind is open.  So, for example, on this album I decide fe anything that I can imagine, I must be unafraid to put it in the music.  Unafraid of what people may say.  Unafraid of what critics may say.  Because it is freedom and reggae music talk bout freedom all de time and this is freedom.” 

MR:  Your family being the musical family that it is…it seems that you involve them in your music in some way.  There are always contributions from your family on your records.  For example, on FLY RASTA you feature [sisters] Cedella and Sharon as background vocalists.  You even brought in Rica Newell (formerly of Melody Makers and Wailers) to do some background vocals as well.  Neville Garrick did the art direction and layout for the album.  Does this make the music stronger?

ZM:  “Yeah, well yeah, it is true because even the musician that I use they are not…they are musicians I have known, and even if it’s the first time I meet them there is a connection.  So de ting is dat lets call “family” a connection.  We are connected in a way that we can feel each other.  That is what family is to me is a connection with each other.  So it really mek de music better when you have a connection.  See if you don’t have a connection then de music is not right.  So with my sister and as you said Neville, and all de musicians I’ve worked with, they are family because we are connected.  We have a connection that goes beyond even blood.  You know there is something else going on that make a family a family.  Its not just blood, you know, it’s much more.”

MR:  So you will be in DC in July.  You always come through D.C. when you do a tour.  Actually, you are playing The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD on July 26, 2014.  The Filmore is a great venue, like a theatre you know?

You’ve got one of the best live sounds I’ve ever heard.  This is evidenced by last year’s Live In Concert, which at times can sound almost like a studio album.  The production on that album is superb and the mixing at your live shows is really phenomenal.  How do you maintain the consistency and such a high level of sound quality and musicianship?

ZM:  “Well, its discipline.  Its discipline and it’s what I’ve learned from my parents is that we have a standard.  We have a certain standard that we don’t go below.  We have a certain way that we think about this music and a respect for music.  Work, you know.  It’s hard work.  A lot of rehearsals and keeping a focus on what need to be done fe get the music the way you want it.”

MR:  Some people may not know that you’ve been touring since before you could walk.  You have literally been touring your entire life.

ZM:  “Yeah true” (laughing).  “Yeah mon fi sure.”

MR:  Do you still enjoy it?  I mean with the family and the kids, is it something that you still enjoy?

ZM:  “No mon me love the adventure.  Every ‘ting still fascinate me.  I’m still fascinated by the trees.  You know I am a child and every’ting still fascinate me.  The birds fascinate me still.  Nature, and meeting different people.  I’m still learning and I am inquisitive about de world and every ‘ting that is happening around me.  Travelling is a way fe expand your mind and expand yourself as a human being, you know, being around different people from different cultures is how you expand as a human being.”

MR:  Something else that you are passionate about is diet and maintaining a healthy intake of natural foods.  Foods that are not genetically modified or processed.  So tell the people a little bit about Ziggy Marley Organics and your thoughts on diet.

ZM:  “Well that is a likkle business venture we took on.  See we communicate our message and an idea or philosophy or bring to light our ideas using music and whatever else we can use whether its de comic book or de food line.  We have hemp seeds and coconut oil.  We talk about hemp a lot educating the people about the other uses of the plant, not de smoking side, but the nutritional side. Also the industrial uses of the plant, this give me dat platform where I can speak about it in a different light.  We get to talk about the GMO issue.  We know dat de best ting for us as human beings is natural tings.  It is not food that has been manipulated by scientists or in laboratory experiments.  Our body were not made for dat.  It like you have a vehicle mek fi run pon gas and you put water in it fe run.  The vehicle wasn’t made to run pon water it was made fe run pon gas.  So when you fe put de right ting inna our body fe mek our body work right we mind, cuz de food effect we mind too you know.  Mind..body..spirit.  The food we put in our body is very important.”

And its not just what me hear you know, me see de benefit of it.  When I was young my father he mek some concoction with some juices and as a child me seh ‘no me no want that’ and him seh ‘just drink it!’ (laughing).  But now its the same ting me do with my kids, me seh ‘drink it!’ (laughing).”

MR:  You bring up your father.  It is difficult to put into words his influence and the impact he had in the world.  I mean, when I was younger, when I was in high school, he was the biggest thing on the planet.  His spirit is just so present.  In fact he is twice as popular today as he was when I was first listened as a youth.  His spirit and influence just continues to grow.

ZM:  “My father did…the works dat he was meant to do (pause).  It is a higher force (pause). It is a higher calling.  So, his music…his message…what he has done…(pause)…unselfishly…will continue to grow because it is not just…of man.  It is not something that is just…not something that is just (pause)…of this world.  It is something that come from beyond this world…beyond this realm.  You know…I don’t like talking bout it like this…but the truth really is that it is Jah works.  People call it God, you know, whatever, Allah, Yahweh. My father is one of those.  He is one of those.” 

MR:  Without a doubt.  Without a doubt.

So I know you gotta full day ahead of you.  How can the people link with you and keep up with what you are doing?

ZM:  “Just visit my website www.ziggymarley.com.  Every ‘ting is there.”

MR:  Alright Ziggy.  Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.  We’ll see you in DC in July.

ZM:  “Yeah mon.  Definitely.  Cool, cool mon.”

Hit Ziggy Marley on Twitter @ziggymarley and at instagram http://instagram.com/p/ngAasJnVMN/ 
Also visit his FB page at www.facebook.com/ZiggyMarley

Ziggy Marley will perform at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD on Saturday, July 26, 2014.  CLICK HERE for details and tickets.