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Mark’s Park Chronicles | When Marley's Spirit Takes the Stage

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by William Aura

In the heart of Playing For Change's innovative response to the pandemic, Mark’s Park stands as a testament to resilience and musical ingenuity. Initiated by PFC producer and co-founder Mark Johnson, it's become a platform where musicians can gather and create magic outdoors.

On January 30, 2024 this stage bore witness to history as the original drummer and bass player, Santa Davis and Fully Fullwood, revered figures from Bob Marley's band, took center stage for a soul-stirring tribute. My night unfolded in unexpected ways as I found myself aiding drummer Santa Davis in unloading equipment, a task that became a humble passage into the lives shaped by the incomparable Bob Marley.

It’s no surprise that Bob’s influence resonates globally. I've seen his energy in the remote corners of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Thailand, where Marley's face adorns stickers on buses and T-shirts worn by people in impoverished communities. Bob Marley spoke to the disenfranchised, lifting spirits with the mesmerizing groove and message of reggae music. His legacy, though cut short at 36, stands as one of the most profound in the realm of music.

The performance itself was transcendent. PFC artists Mermans Mosengo with partner Jason Tamba, and John McKnight on keys delivered a velvety soft, yet undeniably powerful reggae rhythm. It wasn't merely a tribute - it was a channeling of Marley's spirit.

This experience, witnessing musicians whose careers were entwined with Marley's, was otherworldly. As the rhythms echoed under the open sky, I felt compelled to share the gratitude I carry for being present during this historic tribute. Mermans and Jason, with their harmonious renditions, breathed life into Marley's classics. The spirit of Marley's music continues to uplift.

Watch the release of this special Mark’s Park episode, a celebration of Bob Marley's enduring influence.

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