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Monday, May 31, 2010

Rita Marley's Studio And Memorabilia Gutted By Fire Cost US$20 Million

Rita Marley, widow of reggae legend Bob Marley, has told Ghanaian media that several valuable pieces of personal items were destroyed by a fire which gutted her state-of-the-art studio in that country last Saturday.

Marley said original master tapes of her husband's music were destroyed in the blaze, so too footage of him performing in concert. She added that the property and studio were valued at US$20 million.

Marley, the report said, had recently returned to the west African country. Work on the studio was completed in early 2009 and was due for commissioning later that year but was postponed because the Marley matriarch was away on business.

Marley did not speak of any plans to rebuild the facility but was reportedly critical of the response of the local fire station which, she said, was late on the scene despite its close proximity to the studio.

The Marley studio, which is located near Aburi in southeastern Ghana, is the latest high-profile complex to be destroyed by fire in Ghana, where Rita Marley has owned a home since the late 1990s.

The official bungalow of former president Jerry John Rawlings, the ministry of foreign Affairs building, Electoral Commission offices, ministry of information and Tema Oil Refinery have also been badly damaged by fire.

Initial reports

Ghanaian police have not said if the incidents are connected. Initial reports said the fire at the Marley studio may have been caused by an electrical fault.

Rita Marley, who lives in the city of Accra, has been involved in several musical and humanitarian projects in Ghana. The best known of these is the Africa Unite concerts which are staged by her Rita Marley Foundation.

The concerts include photo exhibitions of Bob Marley as well as symposiums examining his work. Africa Unite, which is held in February to mark the reggae superstar's birthday, was held in Ghana in 2006. It has also been staged in Ethiopia and South Africa.


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