Bunny Wailer, the reggae legend who was one of the original Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, will tour for the first time with a new generation of Marleys.
Wailer will play alongside Marley’s sons, Stephen and Ziggy, on the Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival, a month-long tour that opens Aug. 6 in Redway, Calif., after a year hiatus. Ozomatli is also on the bill.
The 59-year-old Wailer, whose real name is Neville O’Riley Livingston, said he considers it his “responsibility and duty” to tour with the Marley family. “I’m the foundation of all of this stuff,” he said. “And I remain; someway, somehow I’ve been sustained to be here. And there’s a new generation that’s now being established musically that’s coming from the Wailers’ family.”
Wailer, who last released the album “Communication” in 2000, is the lone surviving member of the Wailers. Marley died of cancer in 1981; Tosh was murdered in 1987.
As such, Wailer has long been an elder statesman to the Jamaican music scene. Of the Marley children, he remembered, “In our time, they were babies. This is like another dimension,” he said. “The legend continues — let’s put it that way.”
While Stephen and Ziggy Marley have combined new musical styles to fit their father’s reggae, Wailer also fused genres through the ’80s and ’90s, and plans to continue to do so.
“A lot of people have been hearing Bunny Wailer singing reggae music, but they’re not aware of other musical cultures that Bunny Wailer is inclined to present,” he said. “I have to at least let the new generation know that I’ve been listening.”
Wailer said he’s been steadily writing music and has recently been working on an album to be titled, “Cross Culture,” that will include hip-hop and R&B influences.