KAILUA-KONA — Last Thursday, a big crowd of reggae fans on the Big Island experienced a performance from music royalty.
Fans of Ky-Mani Marley packed the musician’s concert at Laverne’s Sports Bar in Kailua-Kona to hear their favorite songs from the longtime singer-songwriter, but were also treated to a few hit songs from his father — the famous Bob Marley.
The crowd loved it, and that love was returned by Ky-Mani Marley, who said he has missed performing in Hawaii.
“I love the Hawaiian culture, I love the people, I love the vibrations and I love the spirit of the people,” Marley said before his concert. “When I come to Hawaii, I try to bridge cultures, enjoy it and enjoy the history and the people.”
Marley’s tour of the Hawaiian islands was a celebration of his father’s birthday, which would have been Feb. 6. Bob Marley died in 1981 from melanoma, when Ky-Mani Marley was only 5 years old.
“I really think music was something that was embedded in me, because I grew up around it,” Marley said. “Even though a lot of my life I wasn’t around my father, losing him very young, I still had my brothers, I still had my grandmother and I still had very tight friends that did music. So my entire life was spent around music.”
Marley’s many siblings are musicians too, including his brother, Ziggy.
“It’s a great experience just to be able to share music and to grow with a majority of your siblings,” Marley said. “To see their common interests and share that. And not only share that in private, but to bring that to the masses as well. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
The Marley family and reggae music have found lasting popularity in Hawaii, which Marley attributes to the similarities of the Hawaiian islands and Jamaica, as well as his own authenticity when creating music.
“I think people are really into music when it comes from my true feelings,” Marley said. “When it comes from a true place, when it comes from a sincere place, people can relate to the things that you’re saying and that turns them on to the music.”
Marley’s last album, “Conversations” a collaboration with the artist Gentleman, was released in 2016. Marley said he is currently working on a new album, to be released later this year, although specific details can’t be disclosed.
Marley said the inspirations behind his songs are simple — life and people.
“Every day is a new story, and every day is a new challenge that we face,” Marley said. “Every day that we are able to go to sleep and wake up for another day, that is an inspiration for me.”