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The Wailers Bringing Reggae To Utah

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Vocalist Koolant Brown knew what he was getting into when he joined the pioneer reggae band The Wailers in 2010. The band, lead by original member Aston "Family Man" Barrett, is best known for its work with Bunny Wailer, and the two late Jamaican-music icons Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, has sold more than 250 million albums worldwide and have 20 charting hits, according Billboard magazine."I wasn't nervous about joining the band because I was born listening to their music and I believe that many are called but few are chosen and they chose me," Brown said during a phone interview from the band's stop in Lexington, Ky. "Even before I joined, I had been performing with many of these people, and the thing about the Wailers is they love playing these songs and I also love singing for the people."

The Wailers will play Park City Live, 427 Main St., on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Although Brown didn't feel any apprehension about singing for The Wailers, which is one of the bands that has introduced reggae and Jamaican culture to the American public, he did know that there would be a mantle of responsibility to maintain the quality of music.

"Yes, there is an importance to perform this music because I, myself, and the others in the band were put on this Earth to do this work," he said. "I think that Jah, the Most High, has put me here to spread the message of Bob Marley and the message of my own, too."

That messages are of unity and love.

"These messages are not new," Brown said. "They are the same messages from a long time ago that come down the years. And we, The Wailers, have to keep reminding people what they are. We need to get into people's minds."

Brown said that mission can be challenging, regardless that the band has been performing together since the late 1960s.

"Even though many people know who we are, we still have to work hard to reach more people," he said. "When we come up against something that tries to prevent us from spreading the message, we push even harder to get over it."

Even to this day, Brown said The Wailers are constantly trying to educate their listeners about the different styles found under the Jamaican-music umbrella.

"Some people have their information wrong and they confuse the styles of dancehall and reggae," he said. "Reggae is more joyful. We have realized that we need to inform people of the differences and keep them in line to learn about the culture. All they have to do is hear us and read about our history.

"Once they learn the truth, they will be able to tell others and help them understand," Brown said. "We don't mean to say that they must follow our ways, but to listen to what we have to say and make your own decisions after that."

In order to teach the public about the music and culture, The Wailers have worked with an array of pop- and main-stream musicians, including Sting, the Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Kenny Chesney and Alpha Bondy.

"I think in the music business, you have to be like a family if you are going to work positively," Brown explained. "You have to make music and do stuff with each other. People of the world like music, not just reggae music, you know, and maybe when we work with a folk artist or a country artist and do a song, people will see not the differences, but the similarities in our thinking."

Brown's own musical influences begin with his grandfather.

"He was a great singer and I used to listen to his records," Brown said. "I also used to listen to a lot of artists like Bob Marley and Jacob Miller that inspired and influenced me to do more work in the business."

Since The Wailers have secured their place in the music business, Brown said the band is content performing and spreading the positive vibes.

"There really is nothing new under the sun for us," he said with a laugh. "We just have to keep on moving on and making music.

"I do know 'Family Man' has a plan to make more new music and I'm honored to be a part of that plan," Brown said. "You have to make that first step because God said he helps those who help themselves and if you're not helping yourself, he can't help you."

The next step, however, is to play in Park City.

"We are also looking forward to coming there," Brown said. "Like I say to my family and friends out there we're of 'one love, one heart, one aim and one destiny. Just go through life with a hope in mind and believe in yourself.' That's all I wish for the people, you know? Good stuff."

The Wailers will perform at Park City Live, 427 Main St., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 8 p.m. Natural Roots and DJ Roots Rawka will open the show. Tickets are $20 and available by visiting www.ticketcake.com.

SOURCE: parkrecord

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