Legendary guitarist, Junior Marvin, renowned member of the famous reggae group, The Wailers, is on the verge of fulfilling a dream long harbored by the deceased King of Reggae, and the visionary leader of The Wailers, Bob Marley.
Junior Marvin, who for many years gave The Wailers the spicy instrumental tune needed to add flavor to their undying pieces of music, disclosed to the Daily Observer that he will be visiting Liberia very soon, and will do a live stage performance while here. And this, he said, is in fulfillment of the dream of their legendary leader, Bob Marley.
During the interview, Marvin was a recent guest of Liberian international curator and singer, Sarah Gusten Marr, in England, where he had gone for the filming of the video for her song, Forgotten. Marvin disclosed in an interview during his visit, “Liberia is definitely one of first places I will come to perform, and that will be very soon.”
He said Bob Marley had a dream to visit every country on the African continent before he met his untimely death in 1981; and he (Marvin) is on a mission to fulfill this dream of his former boss.
Born in 1949 as Donald Hanson Marvin Kerr Richards Jr., Junior Marvin is a Jamaican born guitarist and singer. He said it is “definitely” in his “agenda” to come to Liberia and meet its wonderful people. He added that Bob had always wanted him and The Wailers to be a part of Africa’s history moving forward.
He noted that Liberia is a very special country because of its name (Liberia) and because it was one of the first places made available for the repatriation of enslaved black people to get back to Africa. “This gave them the opportunity to develop themselves and the African continent through education, religion, infrastructural development,” he said.
He further indicated that while here, he would want to be involved in philanthropic works that will bring smiles to Liberians, especially the children.
Marvin is indeed due in Liberia soon because he is collaborating with international Liberian singer/songwriter, Sarah Güsten-Marr, on a video for her latest song “Forgotten” that will soon be release in Liberia.
“Forgotten” typifies the sufferings that the country and its people have endured as a result of war and disease.
The song is not meant to bring back bad reflections of the civil war but the writer and singer (Sarah) touches basically on this topic to extol the present state of Liberia on how they were able to overcome those misty days of wars and inhuman conditions. Sarah considers Marvin as a source of inspiration, especially for her music career, apart from being great friends.
“Marvin has been a wonderful mentor for me, and I’m so glad that I’m working with him during the creation of ‘Forgotten,’ a song written for my country, Liberia, the country of my birth,” Sarah told the Daily Observer in an interview.
The official music video is being shot at Sarah’s art gallery (Gallery GM) in the UK, and should be out officially some time soon.
She also revealed that she is working on another project, the “Great Nelson Mandela Project,” with Marvin.
Sarah Güsten-Marr was born in Liberia, West Africa, in 1970. An orphan baby, she was adopted by German parents and brought up together with her two older sisters in West Africa, Germany, USA and Italy. The family educated all three girls to become citizens of the world.
“This song is also to celebrate orphans across the world that might have gone through the same circumstances or even worse, that there are better days and they must strive to get out of their predicaments and make something meaningful for themselves and others around them too. I am an example of one of those orphans who was able to overcome all those eerie situations,” she said.
Marvin’s Love for Africa
The legendary guitarist said that he learned a lot while working with Bob Marley. While growing up in the United Kingdom, Marvin said he and other black kids never had the opportunity to hear about black kings and queens.
“I’m a historian and I love history, but the history of black kings, queens and emperors throughout the continent was never revealed to me.
“And I realized that black history was something that I would have to go and learn by myself. Because they will never teach me that in school and never encouraged me to know about myself and from whence I have come and where I’m headed,” he said.
He therefore made it a personal endeavor to learn about his people and himself. Marvin indicated that he considers himself a true African though he has some Jamaican Indian and European blood connections.
“Though I have some mixed Jamaican Indian and European connections, but my basic core is African. So anything that pertains to Africa is very interesting to me.”
He indicated that his involvement with Bob Marley also brought him in close contact with some prominent black personalities such as the famous Marcus Garvey and Emperor Haile Selasie of Ethiopia.
“Many people may not know but Bob and The Wailers, including myself as a member, were instrumental in the independence of Zimbabwe. We also went to Gabon, where we were invited, to play for President Omar Bongo’o’s birthday. The Wailers also visited Zimbabwe, while Bob also went to Ethiopia by himself,” he said.
He added that all of these are meant to say that, “We have always wanted to be a part of the history of Africa.
“The journey has to be continued because I promised Bob that I will make sure to do everything in my power to go everywhere in Africa, and Liberia is definitely one of those countries that I would love to visit and this will be very soon.”
He disclosed that he is doing a new album which is titled: “United time is right; Africa is calling.”
“This is a double title that urges Africans, both at home and in the Diaspora, to unite and take on the responsibilities of developing ourselves and the continent. No one will do it for us if we don’t do it,” he said.
He told the rest of his colleagues in the Diaspora, many of who have forgotten the African continent, “A man that does not know his roots is like a dust blowing in the wind,” he said, adding, “We need to know our roots and we need to develop the continent as the United State of Africa.
“Of course all the minerals and riches of the earth came from Africa, where life also started from.
“We are tasked with the responsibilities to make sure that our children coming up now get the nourishment, not just for their bodies, but their minds and education is key in this direction.
“Education is key; communication is also key, and travelling is also important as well. In this light Africa will be what it is supposed to be, but it is our responsibilities to make it happen.”
Meanwhile, Junior left The Wailers in the spring of 1997 to pursue a solo career in, of all places, Goiania, Brazil. There he formed a group called Junior Marvin and Batuka.