By Levi Michaels, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Currently touring the North American festival circuit, Jamaican reggae icons The Wailers will return to Rio de Janeiro on May 10th to perform at Fundição Progresso. Located in Lapa, the historic venue last hosted the band in 2012 during their South American jaunt with Steel Pulse. This time around they will be joined by Duane Stephenson, Monte Zion and Cidade Verde.
Originally formed in 1963 as a trio consisting of Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley, The Wailers are perhaps best remembered for their supporting instrumentals behind Marley’s vocals on classic tunes like “War,” “Stir It Up,” and “Get Up, Stand Up.”
With the addition of the famous Barrett brothers – bassist Aston “Family Man” and drummer Carlton “Carlie” – The Wailers produced a series of albums and singles that propelled Marley to the global limelight, earning him several Lifetime Achievement awards and the enduring status as an international symbol of Jamaican culture.
Long after Marley’s death in 1981, and Carlie Barrett’s in 1987, the legacy of The Wailers continues to thrive. Led by bassist and surviving member Aston Barrett, they reformed under the name The Wailers Band and solidified their line-up with the addition of Koolant Brown, a Rasta artist from St. Thomas, on vocals.
They have recorded two new singles together, including a song made on behalf of the World Food Program, and their live show continues to evolve as they team up with artists like 311, Pepper, Kenny Chesney and Duane Stephenson at venues and festivals around the world.
Their current line-up also includes Keith Sterling on keyboards, Drummie Zeb on percussion, Audley Chrisholm on rhythm guitar, Cegee Victory on background vocals, and Barrett on bass as the band leader.
“My legacy is to keep the music going because I am on the road officially from 1969 until now,” Barrett told indie blog Moe Train’s Tracks at Lollapalooza in 2007. “It´s good, you know, to be doing it before Bob, with Bob and after Bob.”
After almost forty years of creating music, The Wailers’ enduring legacy is something of a mystery in the digital music era, in which bands are encouraged to produce short-lived singles to maintain the attention of the public. With the self-proclaimed “Architect of Reggae” leading them in the post-Marley age, the longevity of The Wailers may be attributed to the religious conviction of Barrett.
“…What we really do, we come together as singers and players of instruments,” Barrett continued. “To carry on Jah Jah, the Almighty Message, and create the reggae music. I am the Architect of Reggae, and they know that reggae music is the heartbeat of the people. It’s the universal language what carry that every message of roots, culture and reality.”
Tickets are available on the Fundição Progresso website, R$36 half-priced and R$72 full priced, or you can purchase in person from the Fundição Progresso Box Office and other selection locations available on their website. Doors open at 10PM, but the venue does not recommend the show for those under the age of 18.
Who: The Wailers
Where: Fundição Progresso, Rua dos Arcos, 24, Centro
When: May 10th, 10PM
Entrance: R$36 half-price and R$72 full price