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The Wailers

May 30 at 8:00 pm

On Thursday, May 30th the Community Center for the Performing Arts proudly welcomes The Wailers to the WOW Hall.

The Wailers

Early Life and Musical Roots

Aston Barrett Jr., born into a family deeply immersed in the reggae music scene, is the torchbearer of his father’s legacy—Aston “Family Man” Barrett, the renowned bassist for Bob Marley & The Wailers. Hailing from a lineage steeped in musical prowess, as the nephew of drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett and the grandson of Joe Higgs, who mentored Bob Marley. Raised in Kingston, Jamaica, amidst the harmonious blend of Rasta and Christian beliefs within his household, music was more than entertainment—it was a way of life. Guided by his mother’s influence, he developed a spiritual and moral compass. Aston fondly recalls, “I have an ear for music. Music is in my blood. I was born for music, and I live for music.”

An Early Glimpse into Fame and Legacy

At the tender age of four and a half, Aston experienced a profound revelation that would shape his life. While watching The Wailers perform during a 1979 concert in Santa Barbara on television, he bridged the gap between the images of Bob Marley from his upbringing to the global icon revered by millions. This poignant moment became a turning point, sparking a deep sense of identity and purpose within him.

Musical Journey and Early Pursuits

Inspired by his father, Aston delved into music by choosing the bass as his inaugural instrument. Recognizing a natural talent, his father assumed the role of mentor, imparting the intricate nuances of bass playing. This mentorship laid the foundation for Aston’s disciplined approach to music. Remarkably, by age seven, he was already leaving an impression, becoming part of an all-girls high school band in Kingston—a clear testament to his prodigious talent. The trajectory of his musical journey took a significant leap when he relocated to the United States. In Miami, he joined a school jazz band, broadening his musical repertoire to include the drums, paying homage to his uncle’s enduring legacy.

Professional Debut and Academic Achievements

Aston began his professional journey in high school by playing bass for Julian Marley and The Uprising Band. This pivotal period played a crucial role in shaping his career path as he deftly balanced a burgeoning music career with academic excellence, ultimately graduating high school with honors. Aston’s exceptional talent did not go unnoticed, catching the discerning eye of Lauryn Hill and paving the way for a significant collaboration that spanned over two years.

Continuing The Wailers’ Legacy

In 2009, Aston’s odyssey completed a full circle as he embarked on a touring venture with The Wailers, sharing the stage with his father, which unfolded as an apprenticeship, immersing him

in the intricacies of band leadership, stage management, and the art of performance. By 2016, he ascended to the occasion, assuming leadership of The Wailers. Fueled by a mission to propel the band’s legacy into a new era, Aston took the helm, steering The Wailers toward a future defined by innovation and enduring musical impact.

Grammy Recognition and Artistic Collaborations

In 2017, Aston received well-deserved recognition for his impactful contributions to the reggae genre. A Grammy certificate was bestowed upon him as Producer with Damian Marley on the track “The Struggle Discontinues” from the Grammy Award-winning album “Stony Hill.” The subsequent year saw him uniting talents with Alborosie to create the album “Unbreakable – Alborosie meets The Wailers United.” This collaborative project showcased his versatility and underlined his unwavering commitment to the genre.

Beyond his musical endeavors, Aston wears the hat of a co-owner at BAD Lions Productions, LLC., where he has successfully established a vibrant hub for musical creativity in Pompano Beach, Florida. This platform serves as a melting pot for collaboration, bringing together a diverse array of artists under Aston’s visionary leadership.

Continuing the Legacy

Aston Barrett Jr.’s path unfolds as more than a tale of musical prowess; it is a narrative woven with dedication, reverence for heritage, and an ongoing transformation of the reggae genre. His life and career are a testament to the enduring impact of his family’s musical legacy, a heritage that he proudly carries forward with reverence and innovation.

Venturing into Acting with ‘Bob Marley: One Love’

Aston Barrett Jr. boldly expanded his artistic horizons by stepping into acting, embodying his father’s role in the biopic “Bob Marley: One Love.” Helmed by director Reinaldo Marcus Green and co-written by Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers, and Zach Baylin, the film presents a comprehensive portrayal of the life of reggae legend Bob Marley, chronicling his ascent to fame and his journey until his untimely death in 1981. The stellar cast includes Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley, Lashana Lynch as Rita Marley, Jesse Cilio as Norval Marley, and James Norton as Chris Blackwell.

“Bob Marley: One Love” promises an immersive exploration of Marley’s life, delving into his musical career, personal life, and the profound impact he left on the world. The ensemble also features Michael Gandolfini, Nadine Marshall, and Anthony Welsh in undisclosed roles, contributing depth and diversity to portraying Marley’s vibrant world.

The project, developed by Paramount Pictures, was unveiled in March 2021, featuring a meticulously crafted screenplay by a team of accomplished writers. The selection of Kingsley Ben-Adir for the portrayal of Bob Marley followed an exhaustive, year-long global search,

emphasizing the film’s unwavering dedication to authenticity. In August 2022, Lashana Lynch joined the ensemble, breathing life into the character of Rita Marley.

Producer Ziggy Marley officially announced the film’s title at CinemaCon in April 2023. Principal photography for the film began in December 2022 in London, setting the stage for a movie that promises to be both visually and emotionally compelling.

“Bob Marley: One Love” debuted at #1 in the United States and many countries on February 14, 2024, by Paramount Pictures to coincide with Valentine’s Day, offering a unique celebration of Marley’s legacy of love and unity through his music and life story.

Aston Barrett Jr.’s participation in the film marks his acting debut and acts as a conduit, linking the true essence of The Wailers’ music and the Marley family legacy to the cinematic depiction of Bob Marley’s life. His participation infuses an authentic connection and profound depth into the narrative, resonating with both devoted fans of Marley and those discovering his lasting legacy for the first time.

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