ZIGGY MARLEY with DJ CHOCOLATE and PATRICK ROOTS at the Guvernment (132 Queens Quay East), tonight (Thursday, August 31), 9 pm. All ages. $35.75. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
Though ziggy marley's playing the Guvernment just two days before Damian "Jr. Gong" hits the Molson Amphitheatre, the eldest of Bob's kids says he just won't have time to fraternize with his baby bro while in the T-dot.
"I gotta keep moving," admits Ziggy, chatting over a crackly cell connection amidst a frantic tour that'll sweep him as far as Lima, Peru, by early October.
This tour became particularly newsworthy when, earlier in the month, Ziggy decided not to cancel his show in Israel despite the conflict occurring in the country's north. Unlike rockers Deep Purple and Depeche Mode (who cancelled their Lebanon and Israel shows respectively), among others, Marley decided to press on, simply changing the venue.
"It was cool. You know, we were never really feeling the effects of what was going on," he says calmly of the experience. "I think in a time of war they appreciated a peaceful message especially at a time when a lot of artists were cancelling."
The move probably won't quell the rumours that Ziggy is seriously considering converting to Judaism, as the Jamaica Observer suggested in an article earlier this year, citing some Israeli lyrics in his (unreleased) song Salaam Shalom.
But according to Marley, he's found his own distinct faith that transcends the boundaries of any pre-existing belief system. It also happens to be the name of his long-awaited second album, Love Is My Religion.
"For me, that title kinda wraps up all of my years of trying to find spirituality and trying to find truth," he says. "I was always trying in some way to express my concept to people, and I finally found the right way to put it, which is Love Is My Religion.
"I believe I am doing the philosophy of God in a true way, because I believe that religion as we know it today and I'm referring to all the major religions in the world has been misrepresenting the idea of God. Because of that misrepresentation, there's been a lot of bloodshed and people losing their lives."
Ziggy's theme echoes his father's words, "All we need is love," on an album that, naturally, is bereft of negativity.
What's more of a surprise is the fact that as Marley delivers his romantic, affirmation-dense lyrics, he also traverses a number of genres, from the compas bounce of Into The Groove, to every touchstone of Jamaican music (roots rock to dancehall), to the more rock/pop stylings that won the Melody Makers bandleader some negative reviews for his last album, 2003's Dragonfly.
"My mind and my concept of music were always growing, and were never limited to what people think I should have been limited to which is what people call reggae music," says the singer of the theme from Arthur, the PBS kids' show about a lovable aardvark with real-life problems.
"My mind is open to music," says Marley, who's been listening to Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and his dad's albums on tour. "All music is inside of me; every beat, every type of instrument, it's inside of me. I don't limit myself.
"And as a musician, I know that every music is in every music. Music is music. Reggae is in every music. Blues is in every music. Hiphop... it's all one music. Why do we always have to divide it?"