“Woke up this morning, smile with the rising sun
Three little birds, pitched by my doorstep
Singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true
Singing, this is my message to you…”
With the passing of Bob Marley’s birthday, just a few days ago,we thought we’d take a minute to reflect on his influence in Belize. Accepted as a cultural icon as widely here as he is in his homeland of Jamaica, you can see his face in murals, on t-shirts and on merchandise throughout the country. Seine Bight Village and Placencia Village are no exception- with his sunny smile and hair flowing back, his face jumps out at you on fences and on the walls of our streets and pathways. His music, largely reggae and soca, can be heard playing in the tortilla vendors kitchen, from a boombox in a local’s backyard and in the live music jams at the local beach bars.
Born Robert Nesta Marley on February 6, 1945, Bob would have been 74 years old this week had he not died of melanoma at the young age of 36. Spiritually aligned with the religion of Rastafarian, Bob believed in a single deity referred to as Jah. He believed strongly in living naturally, in eating organic, locally grown food and smoking cannabis as a sacrament. When walking the sidewalk in Placencia, you’re sure to see many like minded rastas selling their wooden crafts, their dreadlocks swaying like the palm trees on the beach behind them, adorned as a means of identifying themselves in accordance with their beliefs. When dancing to the live music at Tipsy Tuna, you’re sure to spot a rasta with his knees skipping high into the air and arms swinging back and forth in Bob Marley’s signature prancing style. Eating locally and organically couldn’t be easier anywhere than in Belize- everything comes from the local farms and is brought to the fruit and vegetable stands by the farmers themselves, in most cases.
From his love of football (“soccer”) to his laid back, smiling ways and “no worries” attitude, we can see Bob Marley’s reflection all around us here in Belize. It’s a beautiful, slow paced and peaceful way to live and we’re grateful for his legacy, example and music.
A few little known facts:
His first songs were released under the name Bobby Martell
He recorded “I shot the sheriff” in 1973 before Eric Clapton
His final words were “Money can’t buy life.”
He was buried with his guitar.