Before Ky-Mani Marley arrived to 239 Acoustic Affairs™ (sponsored by Poetry Over Music) at the Lion’s Den for his first book signing party in Fort Myers, Florida you could already sense his presence. Once he walked in (accompanied by his beautiful family and a seemingly obstinate manager) an instant calm fell over the entire room. Although voices were buzzing and beautiful blends of mainstream, old school and Reggae music by DJ Ray was playing, his aura was the most massive component in the venue. The son of a legend had arrived, acoustic guitar in hand with an undeniable cultural nostalgia steaming from his every step. It was our pleasure to present an event that bridged a racial gap in a city where I’ve witnessed constant division for over 3o years of my life. This is absolutely a common bond shared by 239 Acoustic Affairs Poetry & Arts Open Mic, the Lion’s Den Restaurant and the Marley legacy.
Ky-mani (which is a East African name meaning “adventurous traveler”) was personable, warm, genuine as he dropped firm hand shakes and gentle hugs along his path to the stage. After a light-hearted and sincere Q&A segment where ALL audience members and press were able to have their individual questions for him addressed directly, he being to gently strum and tune his acoustic guitar and served the diverse audience of fans LIFE with smooth melodies such as “Armed & Dangerous”, “Dear Dad” and his enchanting ballad “Rasmantic”. He even ad-libbed the ending to a song with the line “Aww Fort Myers” in respects to our city! ❤
Immediately following his set; he settled in his seat behind a table to chat briefly with fans as he signed every single purchased copy of his latest book “Dear Dad” and even posed for multiple pictures by the hired photographer L.M. Pullicino or even on the camera phones of all patrons there. The people swarmed into the Lion’s Den anxious to stand in the line that curved around the entire restaurant. Mr. Marley completed interviews with Pulse Magazine and 239 Acoustic Affairs as he waved & flashed an incredible smile to fans knocking on the window outside the venue peeking through a slim space near the red neon “OPEN” sign. Once the ice broke away, even the manager joked, laughed and instantly bonded with fans and staff and assured the whole Lion’s Den family they’d be back in two months to join us for Lee County’s biggest and most diverse Reggae and fashion festival “Riddim Runway” in September 2010. It was an experience like no other and we were more than happy to accommodate Mr. Marley and his crew!
About “Dear Dad” by Ky-Mani Marley (via Amazon.com)
Born in Falmouth, Jamaica in 1976 as the tenth son of legendary reggae icon Bob Marley, Ky-Mani Marley discovered his musical talents late in life, rising to become an international music artist and film actor. Ky-Mani has not only written and performed songs of redemption around the world, like his famous father, but has lived and survived to recant his own personally redemptive story in the face of some very stark urban realities unbefitting any human, let alone a ‘Marley.’
Dear Dad, is an arresting narrative of a son locked out of his iconic father’s shelter for the first half of his life and forced to survive the poverty-stricken, predator-infested streets of one of Miami’s most violent ghettos, Liberty City. Initially estranged from his siblings and cut off from any financial benefit of the Marley Estate, young Ky-Mani’s gritty ascent from a bullet-riddled life to the world stages he now commands as a Grammy-nominated recording artist are chronicled in this gripping biography.
Today a dedicated father and family man traveling to all corners of the world, performing no less than 100 shows per year, Marley knew he¹d reached a plateau of transformation in his life when he was named ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Better World Awards.
His life is truly a ‘redemption song.’
Check back soon for more performance videos, interview and book review on Dear Dad coming soon…
The Queen’s personal favorites: