The Wailers in Abu Dhabi

Reggae musician Dwayne Anglin on the enduring appeal of Bob Marley

Dwayne ‘Danglin’ Anglin of Jamaican reggae band The Wailers speaks to Chanelle Tourish about the enduring message in Bob Marley’s music, and playing the bestselling 1984 compilation album Legend in full in Dubai.

Jamaican band The Wailers – formerly Bob Marley and The Wailers – need little introduction. Originally formed in 1969, the group have sold more than 250 million albums worldwide and are credited with being the biggest advocates of Jamaica’s reggae tradition. The band’s original members were Bob Marley and his vocal partners Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, alongside the Barrett brothers – Carlton on drums and Aston ‘Family Man’ on bass. Although Marley lost his battle with cancer in 1981, the group continued to tour over the years. While the line-up has changed, the anchor still remains ‘Family Man’ who co-wrote Marley’s finest works throughout the ’70s.

Since 2010, Dwayne ‘Danglin’ Anglin has taken up post as The Wailers’ lead vocalist after he achieved success with his first single, ‘Excuse Me Miss’ in Jamaica. ‘Bob Marley and The Wailers are a part of our culture in Jamaica, says Anglin. ‘For me, it’s a way of life. I’ve always been inspired by the conscious lyrics and the revolutionary attitude of the band’s music.’

Joining ‘Family Man’ and ‘Danglin’ in the current line-up is Aston ‘Family Man’ JR, Cegee Victory, Audley Chisholm, Melvin Glover, Keith Sterling and Anthony ‘Benbow’ Creary. ‘Everyone in Jamaica is musical,’ says Anglin. ‘Growing up, my father used to play a lot of old records. I remember every Sunday he listened to rock steady music. But although my family were big music fans, there aren’t many musicians or singers that I can remember except for Bob Marley and The Wailers.’

Singing iconic songs such as ‘Is This Love,’ ‘Buffalo Soldier’ ‘No Woman No Cry’ and ‘Get Up, Stand Up,’ Anglin has been keeping Bob Marley’s message of universal peace and equality alive while touring the world. ‘If Bob were alive I’d just sit and observe him. I don’t think there is anything you need to ask Bob Marley because he says so much in his song words. My main desire would be to see him perform live and just observe his everyday life – as a musician, as a father and a husband. I think his actions speak for themselves,’ he adds.

Despite his passion for music, Anglin says he was never interested in the industry growing up. Instead he joined the US Navy and served in Japan and South Korea from 2001 to 2005. It was during this time that he became truly inspired by Marley and his global appeal. ‘I’ve never wanted to be a musician, but I always loved music. Only through music do I find the joy and contentment that inspires me to achieve greatness. There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing someone positively affected by my music. The mood in it and its message – one love.’

The line-up may have changed, but the band’s message has remained the same for the near 50 years of its existence – to promote peace, love and equality through reggae and Rastafari. ‘Audiences continue to be there for The Wailers around the world, so the message is needed now more than ever,’ Anglin says. ‘My personal aim is to inspire those who have had a tough life or who have had to struggle – like myself – to become self-reliant. As the great Marcus Garvey once said, “Emancipate the minds of men and ultimately you emancipate the bodies of men.”’

The Wailers will perform live at The Irish Village on Thursday May 21 and are excited to be back in the emirate, having previously performed in Dubai in 2013 and 2014. ‘Anyone who goes to Dubai is there to celebrate and have a good time. You don’t need to get them in the mood because they are already in the mood. It’s going to be a party for sure.’ The band will perform Legend in its entirety. The compilation album originally released in 1984 has sold more than 33 million copies worldwide and, as of December 2014, has spent 342 nonconsecutive weeks in the Billboard album chart, the fourth longest run in history. ‘The songs will be performed exactly as they were written and in the same running order as the album,’ Anglin reveals. ‘We stay true to the music. It doesn’t need any embellishment; it’s perfect how it is. Family Man’s policy is that if it’s not broke there’s no need fixing it.’
With Legend ranked as the bestselling reggae album of all time, it’s safe to say that The Wailers have created a legacy beyond the years
of Bob Marley and that his legend lives on. Experience it now.

Dhs130. Doors open at 7pm; show at 9pm. Thursday May 21. The Irish Village, Garhoud (04 282 4750).

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