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It’s a bob story

Jazz artist Graeme Hamilton on his love for Bob Marley.

music Updated: Feb 05, 2010 00:38 IST
Rajesh Ahuja Rajesh Ahuja

Paying a tribute to the lord of reggae is a daunting task. Do you have anything special lined up as part of your set?

I’m really looking forward to my gig in Delhi. It’s an honour for me and I hope that we unlock that certain ‘energy’ which seems to come when people listen and dance to music. If that happens, it’ll be special.

What is it about Bob Marley that inspires the musician in you?
I reckon Marley is one of the most inspiring musicians, simply because his lyrics represent people’s aspirations and dreams. He seems to be speaking on behalf of all people, breaking down the barriers that divide us. I also love him for his ability to put the right melodies to those lyrics that are infectious and universal.

You’ve played with bands such as UB40, Five Young Cannibals and Simply Red. How difficult is it to adapt to different genres?
Even though genres have different names, it’s still music. So there’s no difficulty. If anything, it’s locking into the energy that each music style has. Though there is a common vision, the energy varies at times.

Any fond memory of touring with UB40? Do they have plans of touring India with you?
Once, Fine Young Cannibals and UB40 shared a tour in the US. For me, it was pretty special as both bands originated in my home city of Birmingham, England, and it just felt great that we were all from the same place and now playing together. As for touring India, it’s hard to say but I never say never.

You’ve spent years in Goa. Tell us something about your relationship with the music scene there.
Goa is pretty unique. Music is a big part of the Goan culture. If you took music away from Goa, you’d take a large part of Goa with it. I feel music must always be developed and grown with new generations. Goans are now more exposed to outside influences, so it’s increasing the varieties of musical styles, which is a good thing. There are many gifted Goan artists and they’ll go places.

The jazz culture in India is bubbling with musicians experimenting with it in films as well as private albums. Comment.
I’ve jammed with some jazz artists in Goa, and man, those guys can play! I saw Bras Gonzales play and he just knocked me out. He sounded like John Coltrane. Jazz with a strong Indian influence is here to stay.

Your music has figured in compilations and soundtracks in the past. Are any new projects in the offing?
I plan to complete an album I started with my father and hope to land some new film soundtracks. I have also penned some songs that I wish to record.

Graeme pays a tribute to Marley at The Love Hotel at ai, MGF Metropolitan mall, Saket at 9 pm tonight