It’s been more than 35 years since the death of songwriter and activist Bob Marley, yet his message and music remain prevalent. He would have turned 72 on February 6, and Springfield will celebrate his birthday as has become tradition at Outland Ballroom this Saturday. A full bill of reggae is on tap led by the chart-topping duo of Josh Heinrichs & SkillinJah with additional performances from Cas Haley, Hawaii’s Preston Lee and Patrick Mureithi.
417: Do you remember the first time you heard the music of Bob Marley?
Mureithi: I was in first grade when I heard “3 Little Birds.”
417: Josh Heinrichs has been throwing this birthday bash for years, and this will be your second time on the bill. What does the night represent for you and for the community?
Mureithi: It's a great honor. The Bob Marley Birthday Bash is an opportunity for people who love Bob's music to gather and celebrate his life and musical legacy, a wonderful time to "get together and feel alright."
417: What does 2017 hold for your music?
Mureithi: I'll be recording a new album. Adam Topol, drummer for Jack Johnson, will be featured on a few songs. I will also be playing three of the Wanderlust Yoga Festivals this summer. In the meantime I am always open to house concerts and other opportunities locally. I love playing music. It is healing in many ways for me and I hope others. I plan on continuing to play and share with people as often as I can.
417: It might be a by-product of the ukulele, but many of your songs have that roots-reggae feel. How would you categorize your music if at all?
Mureithi: There is certainly a reggae feel to some songs, but I also play the slide guitar and acoustic guitar. I have many delta blues and folk influenced songs as well.
417: The message in your music is frequently to do the things to stay in tune with yourself, one song directly speaks of treating yourself to consistent walks. If you could go back and take a walk with Marley, what would you ask him?
Mureithi: So much of the man's music embodied self care, self respect in order to find your voice and be of service to your community and the world around you. To this day his music speaks to countless people around the world dealing with so many varied situations from the personal to the political. When we listen to his music we are in a sense having a conversation with him. If I were to walk with him I would thank him for honestly expressing himself through the high and low tides, reminding us that no matter what we are going through we are not alone. Then we would proceed to walk in silence.
417: Where are your favorite places for walks in Springfield?
Mureithi: I just walked with my buddy Will Chiles at Phelps Grove Park this morning. The Greenways Trails are always good. Really anywhere we walk and pay attention to the environment, to the steps we are taking, to our breathing makes for a positive experience.