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Ziggy Marley - WOMAD, Charlton Park House, Malmesbury, 24/7/2019

  by Shirley Procter

published: 6 / 11 / 2019

Ziggy Marley - WOMAD, Charlton Park House, Malmesbury, 24/7/2019


While volunteering at the Womad festival, Shirley Procter checks out a powerful and passionate set from Ziggy Marley.

So, not content with going to Bluedot last weekend, this weekend I'm at Womad - World Of Music And Dance, in Wiltshire. This time, though, I'm volunteering with Oxfam, so I don't have much time to see bands. I steward at festivals with my family for Oxfam - we do Glastonbury, Womad and Shambala, but at the latter two we don't get much time to see bands. Volunteers stewarding at festivals raised around £1M each year for Oxfam, for the charity to spend on their vital work. As well as stewards, there are Oxfam shops staffed by volunteers, and campaigners, too. This year’s campaign is Second Hand September, encouraging people to pledge to only buy second hand clothes during September, as a response to the ridiculousness of fast fashion, both in terms of its cost to the people who make the clothes being paid very, very little, and to the impact fast fashion has on the environment. It's Friday evening, and my shift today started at 5.45am, and ended at 2pm, so after chilling in my tent for a while, I've headed out into the main arena, to see the Friday night headliner, Ziggy Marley. I'm a big fan of Bob Marley, but never saw him and the Wailers play live - I was a bit too young - so I'm really looking forward to seeing Ziggy. He opens with 'I Will Be Glad'. There's a big band of seven, plus two backing singers: two keyboards, drums, percussion, three guitars plus Ziggy. The song finishes and the arena cheers. Everyone is up on their feet. Ziggy says, "How're you doing. Yah man, it's good to be here, thank y'all", and moves into 'Rebellion Rises'. It's a beautiful uplifting song, about peaceful rebellion against pollution, spreading love, not hate. The chorus is "Who change times? We change times", and by the end the whole arena is singing the echo. Next up is 'Amen', a song that’s about not letting money be your master. Again, wonderful lyrics about working together to change the world for the better. He introduces the next song, saying: "Yeah, we're not talking about world war, we're talking about world revolution", which is called 'World Revolution'. Again, more lyrics about a peaceful solution to the world's problems. Ziggy’s children are on stage, singing with him. They're clapping out a reggae rhythm, and the crowd joins in. "Hey, y'all, I see those fake leaders out there," and the intro to 'See Dem Fake Leaders' starts. A song that calls out the leaders of the world and their hypocrisy, taking advantage of ordinary people. "Thank you, this is a cry for justice", and 'Justice' is next. One of the backing singers opens the song, while Ziggy is dancing in the background. The lyrics include the lines "Let the baby cry/Let the mother cry...for justice/We want it now not later, justice/They let the innocent die/The innocent die/Oh, how dem lie on Steve Biko" - incredibly powerful, passionate lyrics. Well, Ziggy is as political as Bob was: just listen to the lyrics on 'Exodus' or 'Redemption Song'. He merges 'Justice' into Bob Marley’s 'War', then 'Get Up, Stand Up', and next up is 'I am a Human', with these lyrics: "Yes, I am a child like her/And when you look into her eyes, I'm not a Christian/I'm not a Muslim/I'm not a Jew/I am a human". Wow. The opening bar of 'One Love' starts and the crowd roars its approval. It's like listening to his dad! Ziggy is back on guitar for this, and the backing singers are dancing as well as singing. Ziggy asks us to sing the chorus, the whole arena is, and the song ends to masses of applause and cheers. Ziggy tells us: "Let's do it, let's do it together, I've got to be true to myself, you've got to be true to yourself," and starts singing 'True to Myself'. Ziggy tells us "Oh, yeah, as we continue along this road you know, I know the majority of people want to be more unified, but we have to be willing to let the religious and the politicians and the racists know we will see our dreams, because 'We will see our dreams', and then sings us 'Circle of Peace', a song about standing together in a circle of peace to see our dreams happen. It's a beautiful song. I've just looked around. The accessible platform is full, the arena is completely full, the crowds reaching right up to the food stalls, I think the whole of Womad is here! And rightly so, this is an excellent performance by Ziggy Marley and his band. The whole arena is clapping along with the chorus of the song. Towards the end they play 'Jammin’, one of the first singles I ever bought! Utterly brilliant! The crowd whistles and roars its approval. Ziggy’s children are back on stage again, dancing along to 'Look Who's Dancing'. The older child is definitely a better mover than Ziggy! The backing singers are taking centre stage now, as they show us their moves, the whole crowd is dancing along, the energy levels in the whole arena are very, very high. They dance off the stage together after Ziggy thanks us all. There no encore, but someone announces that Ziggy will be doing a signing in twenty-five minutes. Wow, that was fantastic! I'm heading off to bed now, as I'm shattered.

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Ziggy Marley - WOMAD, Charlton Park House, Malmesbury, 24/7/2019

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