by Jodee Brown
On May 11, 1981, Reggae and the music world in general lost one of its pioneers as Bob Marley passed away at the tender age of 36 after a long battle with cancer. Now 31 years since his death, industry observers may be plotting a way to bring him back to the stage.
During the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the United States last month, fans were stunned when a realistic version of late rap legend, Tupac Shakur appeared on stage and performed. The image was created through a holographic projection, making it appear as if Shakur was revived given that his motions, vocal tone and physical appearance resembled that of the real life rap superstar.
After the success of that project, Jamaican music industry players are speculating about whether to bring back Bob Marley in a similar fashion. According to the island Youth Ambassador for entertainment, Graham Rowe, creating a holographic image of Marley would garner unlimited interest for pure Reggae fans, but could somewhat diminish his effervescent aura.
“A holographic Bob Marley would have been both beneficial and negative; this technology could re-stimulate global interest in reggae music. People would get a chance to see a Bob Marley performance and that is magnificent. However, some things can get played out easily and you don’t want to play out one of Jamaica’s biggest icon. There is a concept that scarcity increases value, so perhaps if a holographic Bob Marley was allowed to go on a tour, that could reduce his legendary status, but nevertheless, I would love to see Bob Marley performing again. We could also include current reggae artistes to improve their international exposure,”he told the Jamaica STAR.
Meanwhile, prominent Jamaican lighting director, John DaCosta explained how the projection used to create the realistic image of Tupac worked and how it function should the same be done for Bob Marley.
“It is a projection called the Musion Eyeliner which is a high definition video projection system designed to create the illusion of three-dimensional moving images, using a high definition projector to throw the image on a reflective surface which bounces the image back on-stage. This system makes it possible for real people and virtual persons to share the same stage,” he said.
According to DaCosta, while the lighting aspect of this projection would be easy, creating a holographic representation would take a lot of professionalism, patience and money as the cost of production would cost around US$100,000.
Nevertheless, fans hold out hope that such an innovation would help bring back the King of Reggae, at least for one day; a sentiment shared by media personality and technology expert, Carlette DeLeon.
“I saw it (Tupac Shakur’s performance) and I thought that it was a nice thing for the fans that had never seen him perform before. It would be a good medium to honor Bob Marley and not just for him, other legends that have passed away,”