x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Marley cancels Womad performance

Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, scheduled to be the closing act of Womad tonight, has cancelled his performance because of ill health

ABU DHABI // The reggae singer Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, who was scheduled to be the closing act of the weekend's Womad festival, has cancelled his performance because of ill health, just hours before he was due to take to the stage. The Jamaican American, the youngest son of the reggae legend Bob Marley, was to be the grand finale for the event but organisers had to make last minute alternative plans. Organisers chartered flights with Etihad Airways for all the artists, including Marley, performing at the festival to ensure the show would go on despite travel disruptions caused by Iceland's volcanic eruption. Marley, 32, made musical history in 2005 when he became the first reggae artist to win a Grammy outside of the reggae category, winning an award for the Best Urban/Alternative performance for his single, Welcome To Jamrock. He also won a Grammy for the Best Reggae Album category. Welcome to Jamrock peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart and has sold 764,000 copies. He was heralded by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 10 new artists to watch and is currently on a world tour to promote his new album which is released next month. The three day World of Music, Arts and Dance festival, held on Abu Dhabi's Corniche and in Al Ain, included Al Ayala, an Emirati traditional dance group; Trio Joubran, made up of three Palestinian oud-playing brothers; Faiz Ali Faiz from Pakistan, who played Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis of India and Pakistan; and Tinariwen, a troupe of Touareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. mswan@thenational.ae