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Ky-Mani in the UAE: Bob Marley’s legacy lives on

The iconic singer, who would have turned on 73 on February 6, is being remembered with a concert in Abu Dhabi

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Ky-Mani Marley is back in the UAE to celebrate his father’s legacy and birthday, as part of the 5th annual Bob Marley Festival.

Ky-Mani’s father would have turned 73 this Tuesday. He died when Ky-Mani was only five years old. Now, Ky-Mani keeps his legacy alive with tribute concerts, such as the one taking place at Yas Beach, Abu Dhabi, on February 9.

The 41-year-old performer told Gulf News tabloid! why Bob Marley’s music remains so influential around the world, nearly four decades after his death.

Hi Ky-Mani — thank you for taking the time to chat to us. What do you have planned for your show in Abu Dhabi?

Greetings. The crowds can always expect a high-energy show, taking them on a musical journey of my songs along with a tribute to my father and his music.

You’re no stranger to the UAE. What keeps you coming back here to do shows?

The people keep me coming back. The energy and the culture. As long as the people keep inviting me, I will keep coming.

Of course, this is a tribute to Bob Marley. Your father’s legacy transcends generations and borders. What it is about him and his music that make him a staple in so many cultures?

I think it’s the message in his music, the positivity. The message he sang about is still relevant today.

What would your father have thought of this constant celebration of his life around the world? Do you think he would have expected his music and philosophies to live on in this way?

I was young when my father passed away, but I think he would have been proud that his legacy is being celebrated by people around the world and that the people are spreading the messages of his music.

What is your personal favourite Bob Marley song, and why?

I can’t pick one favourite song. My favourite Bob Marley song depends on my mood. They are all my favourite at different times.

When was it that you decided you wanted to become a musician? Can you tell us one of your earliest musical memories?

I wasn’t thinking about becoming a musician, it [happened] by fate. I was hanging out in the studio singing along to a song when someone told me I have good tone. It was after that conversation I started my musical journey.

What are your thoughts on reggae and dancehall in today’s music? It seems more and more mainstream artists are adopting elements of the genres.

Music is constantly changing and I’m enjoying it. I appreciate that others in mainstream are being influenced by the music and culture.

Finally, it’s the beginning of 2018. What are your main priorities this year, in terms of work or otherwise?

I’m working on new music to have an album out for the summer. I have acquired a football team in Jamaica named Falmouth United. This I’m excited about, as it from my hometown where I was born and the grounds I played as a youth. There are several other opportunities that are being presented, but too soon to speak on.


Don’t miss it

Early bird tickets to the 5th Bob Marley Festival on February 9 are Dh125. Tickets will be sold at the gate for Dh160. The event is 21+ only.


Bob Marley had 11 children with various partners. This includes four children with wife Rita Anderson, as well as two adopted from Anderson’s former relationships.

Several of Marley’s children followed in his footsteps: Sharon, Cedella, Stephen, Julian, Ky-Mani, Damian and Ziggy all grew up to be singers and musicians.

Aside from music, Bob Marley had an interest in association football, much like his son Ky-Mani. Marley played the sport, and recruited Allan ‘Skill’ Cole, a professional Jamaican footballer, as his tour manager. (Marley’s son, Rohan, is a former American football player.)

In 1976, two days before a free performance, Bob Marley, his wife and his manager were targeted in a shooting. The attack was believed to be politically motivated. Marley performed two days later, despite his injuries.

Bob Marley was a pan-Africanist and a follower of Rastafarian beliefs, and advocated for unity between African people inside and outside of Africa. He released political work, including his album Survival. His final album, Uprising, released in 1980, is considered one of his most religious records.