[REGGAE LION] In terms of bringing the sound of reggae to an international audience, nobody had a bigger impact than Bob Marley—but that was only after Jimmy Cliff helped pave the inroads. His starring role in the 1972 cult classic The Harder They Come
, along with his stirring songs on the film’s magnificent soundtrack, presented to outsiders the image of an impoverished, gritty but nonetheless eminently soulful Jamaica, which opened the door for the acceptance of Marley’s righteous, hopeful vision of his home country. Although blessed with the most honey-sweet voice on the island, Cliff could be as militant as his peers—check the Bob Dylan-approved war protest “Vietnam,” or “The Harder They Come,” whose defiant lyric “I’d rather be a dead man in my grave than living as a puppet or a slave” resonates even more powerfully when sung with such velvet smoothness. Tonight, as part of his Many Rivers Crossed
tour, Cliff performs with a stripped-down backing band in a Storytellers
-like format, discussing the history behind some of his greatest songs—including, one assumes, “Many Rivers to Cross.”
128 NE Russell St.