My favourite Bob Marley song is 'Redemption Song'. It always leaves me thoughtful and some days it can even make me feel sad. His music always stirs up a well of emotion in people, whether it be defiance, sadness or happiness. Bob Marley's impact on world culture is marked. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, people stood on the remains of the wall singing 'Three Little Birds' for hours that day.
We caught up with author Dr. Winston Sutherland in a gap in his busy schedule to find out about his new book MarleOLOGY, a word he invented to describe the study of Bob Marley.
Synopsis: This book is a resource for students of Jamaican culture, social anthropologists and for those who want to learn about one defining aspect of Jamaica's music and culture; Bob Marley. It simplifies the disparate and copious works on Marley into something more easily digestible. There are numerous other books, articles, films, biopics and publications on Bob's life and so this is not and exhaustive study. As far as I can ascertain there is no other work which brings together so many facets of his life and his work in such a coherent and accessible way. Some of what's inside: Three diagrams of Bob's family tree; Stories behind 130 of Bob's songs; 300 Bob Marley trivia questions and answers; The story about Bob's unrealised dream for football in Jamaica; Over ninety exam questions; Details of Bob's tours and live performances, Stories about Bob by people who knew and worked with him.
Dr Sutherland Thank you for allowing us to interview you. This is your second book and we are fast becoming fans of your work. Your first book Leadership Genius was a compelling read and we are very much looking forward to finishing MarleOLOGY.
What inspired you to write MarleOLOGY?
I have always been curious about Bob Marley. There isn't enough recognition of contemporary artists particularly in Afro-Caribbean culture so I decided to do some research on him, his life and his music.
What qualities do you admire about Bob?
His courage to write about contemporary social issues in Jamaica even though it meant that it made him unpopular with the ruling elite and those in the political sphere.
What were your first impressions of Bob Marley when you were a child?
As a child I could not actually sing Bob Marley songs because they were not approved of by the society which I grew up in. So I had to listen to them surreptitiously.
Where were you when you first heard his music?
When I first heard his music I didn't know it was Bob's music I just knew it was *shea-shea.
I sometimes heard it on the *pye radio or from the sound systems in the neighbouring village.
*Shea-Shea - local Jamaican music which was not acceptable music to be listening to*
*pye - old style wireless radio with a little blue light*
Did your parents approve of his music?
The rule was 'No that is not suitable music' and so it was never discussed.
If you were on a deserted island and you could only take one Bob Marley record which would it be?
That is a difficult question to answer now. If you had asked me six months ago before I wrote MarleOLOGY, I would only have been able to choose from 10 songs... now I can choose from 135 of Bob Marley's song.
What was your childhood ambition?
Like everybody else to be a medical doctor, but the way we learnt didn't facilitate application of knowledge. You were not allowed to ask questions or say I don't understand as you were then labelled stupid. I knew the theory and I could recite the theory but I couldn't apply it. I now hold a PhD so in some way I have achieved that ambition.
Do you remember Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica. What effect did it have on you and your peers?
I remember it didn't have immediate impact on me but I knew it was a big thing at the time.
Do you think it worth learning about Bob Marley in school?
Yes. Even if just to provide a different view of literary classics. We are accustomed to Shakespeare, Chaucer, Cervantes(Spanish), Webster and others. I think Bob's work is just as rich classically as these authors.
This is your second book. Do you think you will write more?
Yes. Once I get an idea in my head. I just start writing.
You can buy MarleOLOGY for only £12 here. I've got my copy(hugs book). Happy reading!!
Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity