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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reggae legend set to play at Pavilion

A musical legend will grace the stage at the Charlottesville Pavilion Sunday evening as reggae star Jimmy Cliff makes a stop on a rare United States tour. Other than Bob Marley, no other musician in reggae history has made such an impact and influenced so many others.

Like Marley, Cliff is a deserving member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Cliff had to wait longer for his induction, which took place last month. His songs are among reggae's finest contributions to popular music, including "The Harder They Come (They Harder They Fall)," "Sitting Here In Limbo," and "Struggling Man." Cliff's tunes have been covered by the likes of Jerry Garcia, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson and many others.
Cliff returns with his new CD, "Existence," a recording that covers human relationships, environmental concerns, international politics and the conflicting elements of love, poverty and greed.
Cliff first gained international star status with his involvement in the movie named after his song, "The Harder They Come." The movie, released in 1972, not only exposed his songs to the world but also provided Cliff a starring role and introduced reggae into the American consciousness before Marley's music became popular.

Cliff is the only living musician to hold the Jamaican Order of Merit, his native county's highest honor awarded for achievement in the arts and sciences.
Cliff was recently asked by about his role in the history of reggae, his induction into the Hall of Fame and his latest album.
"The way I look at it, in the genre of reggae music, I was there at almost the commencement of it, so I played my role there. Bob Marley came after, so I did a lot of things intentionally before anyone else. So I've always seen my role as one like a shepherd, one who opens the gate. So who opens the gate has to close it."
Cliff noted "Existence" is full of energetic young players from his homeland, adding the CD and shows will be full of life.
When asked who was working with him, Cliff wasn't specific, but he was enthusiastic.
"All young, creative Jamaican musicians. They're all young, they're all fresh and they're all just roaring to go. I love to do that. Throughout my career, I've always liked to touch on who's new," he continued.
Cliff has a movie project in the works with a Jamaican theme for which he is contributing music. As he said, his return to the United States is one of good timing and he's ready to play for his legion of fans.
"I wanted to come back to the U.S. on a new footing and the new footing now is I have a new album, which I'm very excited about. I have a movie planned, which may go into production this year. And with all of those things going on, I just feel like now is the time to go back to the U.S."


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