Image via Flickr user: murdelta
Ever the cultured one, Henry has been listening to old Bob Marley and the Wailers LPs through a vintage player he picked up on eBay. Naturally, this has got our travel senses tingling with nostalgia for the Caribbean, giving us an urge to revisit the Caribbean years after our first experiences there (we travelled with Kenwood Travel Jamaica Holidays and would travel with them again). The music of Bob Marley has brought us to considering a trip not just because of this nostalgia though, but also because the music has reminded us that we can sometimes miss the point entirely.
The Bob Marley of the albums and the Bob Marley of popular culture are two entirely different people. The intense religious and political feeling of Bob Marley’s albums wasn’t new to us, but after years away it jolts you awake to hear him singing of oppression, police brutality, the legacy of slavery and with the militant sounding lyrics of his ‘most Rastafarian’ songs.
It’s shocking because the Bob Marley who gets so much airplay, who is constantly mentioned in marketing blurbs and is pasted onto beaming posters and greatest hits compilations is an entirely uncontroversial one (save for his smoking). This is the whimsical Bob Marley of ‘Three Little Birds’, the mellow Bob of ‘Jamming’ and the hopeful Bob of ‘One Love’. It’s a rather vicious declawing, the ultimate insult probably being the fact that the Labrador puppy in twee Rom-Com Marley and Me is named after him.
Image via Flickr user: Abeeeer
It happened to Che Guevera too, but it got us thinking about how, as tourists, we think of the Caribbean in a rather reductive way. Even having been to Jamaica, specifically visiting the dirty, bustling (brilliant) capital Kingston, I think we remember it more for the friendliest locals, the purest sandy beaches and the stunning, glittering waters. A perfect holiday brochure version of the country. The reality wasn’t disappointing in the slightest – like Bob Marley’s album tracks, we were shown a multi-faceted modern nation with a troubled past and a hopeful future. A nation that we’re now really aching to see once more!