It is undeniable that the Wailers’ legacy is inspirational and renowned, indelible and profound; in essence, the stuff that dreams are made of. The Wailers are the blueprint of reggae, the very foundation upon which reggae was built; and to this day, over 40 years after their origin, they continue to carry the torch. And even through tragedy and loss, the Wailers have persevered to spread their message of love and inspire millions around the world.
Aston “Family Man” Barrett, in addition to Bunny Wailer, is one of the last surviving members of the original Wailers and a living testament to their unstoppable legacy. Even through the untimely passing of fellow band mates and icons Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Carlton Barrett, their spirits are every bit as present through Family Man, the subsequent members of the Wailers, and their efforts to continue the mission. “Every year we tour and keep the spirit of Bob Marley alive,” explains Family Man. “We can’t stop reggae music; it’s international. It’s for all people, all ages, all cultures, and all times- past, present, and future.”
Responsible for most, if not all bass lines on Bob Marley’s greatest hits, as well as having been active in co-producing Marley’s albums and song arrangements- Family Man has been a part of some of the most memorable and legendary Wailer moments. “It’s a good experience we have over the years coming up from the late 60’s and 70’s musically. We have grown, inspired by many, and we always say one good artist always inspires from another. So we inspire other bands and artists as we improvise over the years. There’s no end to this music, as Bob says.”
No end to the music and the purpose behind the music. “I’ve been on the road from before Bob, with Bob, and after Bob. I’ve been on the road from 1969 to 2010,” Family Man reminisces. “The work has to be done. The message has to be spread to all corners of the earth. Wailers are chosen for the mission to spread music. I have a mission with reggae music. I feel good doing it. The Wailers band feels good doing what we’re doing… spreading our mission, and our message.”
More than just a reggae band, the Wailers use their global stardom and influence to help millions around the world who suffer everyday. Over 25,000 people die each day from starvation. Through I Went Hungry, a global initiative founded by the Wailers, the Wailers hope to eradicate world hunger and bring some relief to the global epidemic. “The Wailers are linked with the United Nations’ World Food Program. We’re trying to save lives and feed the children, clothe them and shelter them…embrace them. We do this, thanks to God, to make lives much better.”
With the help of fellow musicians, the Wailers “go hungry” by donating a portion of their tour catering to the campaign. According to the mission of I Went Hungry, “If you can give up one meal or snack and donate that money, then you can give a child a school lunch for as little as 25 cents which will nourish their bodies and their minds.” To date over 650,000 have been fed.
The beauty in the campaign is that everyone, no matter who they are and where the come from, can contribute and help end world hunger. One hundred per cent of all donations go to the World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian agency and the United Nations’ frontline agency for hunger solutions.
With 17 shows scheduled between now and July 10, 2010 in venues that span the United States, the Wailers show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. “Family Man and the Wailers don’t stop putting out music. I am the architect of reggae, and I want to spread the message for the four corners of the earth no matter the crisis.”
The current lineup of the Wailers, including Family Man on bass, is: lead vocalists Koolant and Danglin, backing vocalists Maria Smith and Racquel Hinds, rhythm guitarist Audley Chisholm, drummer Anthony Watson, and Keith Sterling on keyboard. They all proudly carry on the tradition and the unforgettable talent of the Wailers and do justice to the legacy of a band that has reached millions globally for over four decades.
“We are like soldiers on a mission that has to be mission possible, not impossible- mission possible. That is our mission- positiveness, righteousness. It’s good stuff. Fans over the years tell us that we change their lives, we give them hope. And as long as there’s hope, there’s life.”
In thanks to the Wailers, their social consciousness, and their dedication to the undying mission, millions have found hope.
To stay current on everything Wailers and learn more about their humanitarian efforts, visit their website at www.wailers.com.
Keldine Hull is a Skope Magazine (www.skopemag.com) staff writer and founder of the column “Beyond the Velvet Rope”. As the Gleaner’s United States’ correspondent for entertainment, her work will be syndicated in the both the Jamaica Gleaner and Skope Magazine.
Keldine Hull – firstname.lastname@example.org