THU, JUN 7
The Wailers & Gondwana (Chile)
@ Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St., SF
The WAILERS - Together with Bob Marley, the Wailers have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide. In England alone, they've notched up over twenty chart hits, including seven Top 10 entries. Outside of their groundbreaking work with Marley, the Wailers have also played or performed with international acts like Sting, the Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, and Alpha Blondy, as well as reggae legends such as Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and Burning Spear. As the greatest living exponents of Jamaica's reggae tradition, the Wailers have completed innumerable other tours, playing to an estimated 24 million people across the globe. They have also been the first reggae band to tour new territories on many occasions, including Africa and the Far East.
Their nucleus formed in 1969, when Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh recruited the Barrett brothers - bassist Aston "Family Man" and drummer Carly - from Lee Perry's Upsetters to play on hits such as Lively Up Yourself, Trenchtown Rock, Duppy Conqueror, and many more besides. Inspired by Rastafari and their ambitions of reaching an international audience, this is the line-up that pioneered roots rock reggae, and signed to Island Records in 1971. Bunny and Peter left two years later. It was at this point that the in-demand Barrett brothers - whose rhythms also underpinned innumerable seventies' reggae hits by other acts - assumed the title of Wailers, and backed Marley on the group's international breakthrough album, Natty Dread. Under Family Man's musical leadership, they then partnered Bob Marley on the succession of hit singles and albums that made him a global icon, winner of several Lifetime Achievement awards, and Jamaica's best-loved musical superstar.
Drummer Carlton "Carlie" Barrett died in 1987, leaving his brother as the main beneficiary of the Wailers' mantle. Subsequent line-ups have revolved around Family Man, who is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest bass players. Modest and unassuming, he was present on all of those unforgettable performances by Bob Marley & The Wailers from the seventies. He and lead singer Elan Atias form the main axis of the current Wailers - a group that's one of the last, great reggae institutions, yet which refuses to live off past glories. That's because whereas Family Man represents tried and trusted roots authenticity, Elan injects fresh excitement into a show that continues to attract enthusiastic audiences from around the world.
GONDWANA - While reggae might be generally associated with Jamaica and then Africa, the influence of Bob Marley and roots reggae has traveled the world, even into South America where it inspired the formation of Gondwana, a Chilean band that has slowly made an impact around the globe. Formed in 1987, during the years of the Pinochet dictatorship in their native land, the band had to keep a relatively low profile until the political climate eased, as the government wasn't too keen on a younger generation airing beliefs that didn't mesh with their own, especially if they involved Rastafarianism, with its peaceful approach to life. In some ways, that slow development was good, because it gave them a chance to work out their own sound, which, according to singer Quique Niera, became "very rockish, but we also have the South American traditional rhythms, like the bolero." That mix showed up to some extent on their debut Together in 1996, but really came to fruition four years later on their sophomore effort, Second Coming.