Why Bob Marley will be the soundtrack of the summer

Kiwi artists explain why the time is right for an all-star tribute to Bob Marley - and why his music endures to this day.
Stir It Up, an all-star tribute to Bob Marley, features Kiwi artists covering classic songs by the reggae icon.
Stir It Up, an all-star tribute to Bob Marley, features Kiwi artists covering classic songs by the reggae icon.

For Tiki Taane, the decision to contribute a song to a Bob Marley tribute album was an easy one to make.

"Bob Marley is one of the most inspiring and influential musicians in my life," says the singer-songwriter about the iconic musician, who is credited with crafting some of the biggest reggae anthems.

"To be able to record my very own version of one of his songs was an exciting challenge that I couldn't refuse."

Taane is one of the many Kiwi musicians taking part in Stir It Up: Aotearoa's Tribute to Bob Marley, released tomorrow.

Tiki Taane covers Bob Marley's Get Up Stand Up for the album Stir It Up: Aotearoa's Tribute to Bob Marley.
Tiki Taane covers Bob Marley's Get Up Stand Up for the album Stir It Up: Aotearoa's Tribute to Bob Marley.

The album features well-known names giving their own take on Marley classics, with Aaradhna singing Could You Be Loved, Hollie Smith performing No Woman No Cry, and Anika Moa taking on the classic Three Little Birds.

Other artists involved in the 15-track album include Tomorrow People doing Buffalo Soldier, Unity Pacific singing Exodus and Bic Runga choosing Redemption Song.

Taane, who has covered Get Up, Stand Up regularly during live shows, admits he was nervous about choosing such an iconic song to cover.

"I wanted to approach my version with love and respect, and to have an energy that Bob would've been proud of," he says.

"As a youth and as an adult, I'd often turn to this song when faced with adversity. Even though I've changed the chords and tempo, it still has the same message which is what's most important."

Anika Moa says her mother used to sing her to sleep with Marley's classic, Three Little Birds.
Anika Moa says her mother used to sing her to sleep with Marley's classic, Three Little Birds.

Moa has a different connection to her song choice, the "slow, harmonic and raw" anthem Three Little Birds

"My mother used to sing this song to me to help me sleep and then I would sing it with her in her band, Illusions," she says.

"His music connects because we are of the same cultural harmony within our music. Of course there are the marijuana references but we are also lovers of the land, beaches and the mountains and that speaks to us in a very unique way."

David Grace covers Natural Mystic for the Tribute to Bob Marley album.
David Grace covers Natural Mystic for the Tribute to Bob Marley album.

Likewise, David Grace has lengthy ties to Natural Mystic, a song he "used to play a lot" during live shows.

"Bob Marley was a spiritual man, like a prophet, but also a healer because his words were so simple, not complicated," he says.

"It was as if he was talking to you at a time in your life when you needed to hear words of wisdom or encouragement and his music was preparing you for the message."

As well as the album, two unrelated Marley tribute shows featuring some of the same artists are being held in December.

The one-day festival Marley: NZ All-stars will be held at Tauranga's Wharepai Domain on December 9 and Hawke's Bay's Black Barn Vineyard December 10.

It features Taane, Boh Runga, Logan Bell, Ria Hall, Laughton Kora, Jason Kerrison, Anna Coddington, Fran Kora and P Digsss performing Marley's biggest hits.

LOWDOWN
What: Bob Marley tribute album Stir It Up: Aotearoa's Tribute to Bob Marley
Featuring: Cover versions of Marley classics by Tiki Taane, Anika Moa, Aaradhna, Trinity Roots and House of Shem
Also: Unrelated Bob Marley music festival Marley: NZ All-stars being held at Tauranga's Wharepai Domain on December 9 and Hawke's Bay's Black Barn Vineyard December 10.

- NZ Herald

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