The Wailers will play a standing-room-only show at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge Friday as part of the Breckenridge Music Festival’s Blue River Series.
Together with Bob Marley, the Wailers have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide. In England alone, they’ve notched more than 20 chart hits, including seven top-10 entries. Outside of their groundbreaking work with Marley, the Wailers have also played or performed with international acts such as Sting, the Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana and Alpha Blondy, as well as reggae legends such as Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Burning Spear.
“The music is timeless,” said Dwayne Anglin, of the Wailers. “As long as there is inequality and separation and segregation, there will always be a need for the Wailers music. There will always be a need for reggae music. It’s like water: You need it to survive.”
As the greatest living exports of Jamaica’s reggae tradition, the Wailers have completed innumerable other tours, playing to an estimated 24 million people across the globe. They also were the first reggae band to tour new territories on many occasions, including Africa and Asia.
Origin of the Wailers
The band’s nucleus formed in 1969, when Marley, Wailer and Tosh recruited the Barrett brothers — bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett and drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett — from Lee Perry’s Upsetters to play on hits such as “Lively Up Yourself,” “Trenchtown Rock,” “Duppy Conqueror” and many others. Inspired by Rastafari and their ambitions of reaching an international audience, this is the lineup that pioneered roots rock reggae and signed to Island Records in 1971.
Wailer and Tosh left two years later. It was at this point that the in-demand Barrett brothers assumed the title of Wailers and backed Marley on the group’s international breakthrough album, “Natty Dread.” Under Family Man’s musical leadership, they then partnered with Marley on a succession of hit singles and albums that made him a global icon, winner of several Lifetime Achievement awards and Jamaica’s best-loved musical superstar.
“If you need that educational experience and that positive reinforcement, that high energy and free spirit, it comes from a lot of different things, but they are all positive,” Anglin said. “If you are looking for that extra motivation, come to a Wailers concert. Reggae music is the heartbeat — it’s people’s heartbeat. If you have problems, but you want to function and move around in a spiritual sense, we can give you that musical positive reinforcement that everybody needs.”
Anglin said Colorado is one of the greatest places to play reggae.
“They have a vast knowledge of reggae music an its purpose,” he said. “Every year, we do multiple cities in Colorado — Denver and Red Rocks. It’s always an honor and a privilege, and the crowd is always there and supportive of our music. We started our tour this year in Colorado. We brought in the New Year in Colorado; we love the fans there and the fans love us, so we’re always amped up and always excited to go to Colorado.”
The Wailers’ show is high energy, Anglin said, and will feature a lot of recognizable songs.
“Just come out with that open mind to just have a good time and be a part of the Rastafarian experience,” he said. “To all our fans, always stay positive — that is the message. Stay positive, we move forward, we never move backward, that’s our philosophy and we encourage everybody to stay in that positive state of mind.”
Tickets for the Wailers at the Riverwalk Center on Friday, July 5, are general admission and standing room only. For a complete Breckenridge Music Festival schedule or to order tickets online, visit www.brecken ridgemusicfestival.com.