Formed in 1969 together with Bob Marley, The Wailers have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide. As the greatest living exponents of Jamaica's reggae tradition, The Wailers have performed to an estimated 24 million people and are undoubtedly the world's premiere reggae and world music group. The group continues on their worldwide promotion of peace, love and equality through the power of reggae and Rastafari, and will be bringing this to the UK once more when they tour in November. We spoke to Dwayne “Danglin” Anglin about spreading the message.
Danglin, how are you doing?
I’m great man, how are you?
I’m good thank you. It’s a wonderful sunny day here and it’s an honour to be speaking to someone who’s part of such greatness.
Give thanks, man, give thanks.
So The Wailers are still wailing, they’re still crying for the people yeah?
Yeah we’re still wailing man. There’s so much going on in the world right now, especially brutality by the police and all this uprising and stuff, of racism and hatred, so we need to trample that down and conquer that with some positive ambition.
For real. I mean we can see that these issues are very prevalent today and everything we see on the news in America, but how is life where you come from now?
Well I mean in Jamaica we battle with poverty, our biggest struggle and our biggest problem we got out here is poverty in certain communities. 90% of the island is struggling day to day. That is really the struggle in Jamaica.
Yeah, a lot of this will be a throwback from racism of days before.
Yeah I mean racism was always around, it just changed from being physical to being mental. I mean Marcus Garvey say “emancipate yourself from mental slavery”, if you emancipate the mind ultimately you emancipate the body. But the masses did not take heed when Marcus Garvey was uttering these words, that’s why it’s always possible for this kind of racism and this kind of hatred to resurface, because we didn’t get to the core of it and the people’s minds weren’t emancipated, it was just the physical things that were removed, the mentality still remains. Our mission as Rastafari and musicians in reggae is to elevate the people and get them to understand a higher meditation and a higher calling, and to focus on his majesty, focus on Marcus Garvey, focus on learning things in terms of Africa and history, the race of Africa. Not just the geographical significance but just the legacy, the dynasties of Africa that existed before slavery and before Western globalisation.
Wow. And Rastafari comes from a notion bringing black people back together again, is that right?
Well Rastafari is the elevation of Africans. I don’t say black because that is not a race, that is a colour. We say Africans, so Africa is the purpose of Rastafari, to help the African people but it’s to unite all people because all people come from one. All people come from one entity, and Africa is the birthplace of humanity and our civilisation, so the ultimate goal is to get Africa to come together again and to rise and to understand its place in history and how it determines the future.
It must be such a blessing for yourself, how does it feel to be able to represent Rastafari in the highest way?
Well I mean it’s a responsibility, whereby you have to figure out if you want to be a part of the solution or a part of the confusion, so I choose to be a part of the solution. Rastafari give that opportunity, reggae music give the medium of expression, to reach people and to spread the message and positive vibrations, and revolutionary goals and means of achieving justice for those who have been done wrong and who have experienced inequality and aggression.
Your messages are universal and they’re obviously useful and needed the world over, is there anywhere where you’ve been specifically where they are particularly receptive to your messages?
For the most part, in hindsight, people are receptive to the messages, but what I always tell people is that we don’t want you to just come to the show and to act as if the entertainment is the only thing that’s really available. Our goal is to educate people ad inspire people to be the better versions of themselves so when you leave the show your supposed to practice these things. We speak about one love, we talk about get up and stand up for your rights, these are things we expect the people that come to the shows to go and spread amongst the people, amongst their friends and their co-workers and their families. Don’t come to our show just to be entertained. You need to come in search of something, of inspiration, and when you get inspiration, you inspire others.
So when people leave your show they’re supposed to go and do something?
Yeah you’re supposed to go and do something positive and spread the message of love and unity and try to be a part of the solution, not a part of the confusion. You must first examine yourself, examine your role in society and see where you fall, and what are you doing to improve society. What are you doing to improve African and European and Asian, the world, global communication between people of different cultures and different races.
And talking about positivity, you said once you were on the way to Chile and you met a doctor who said he got married to the song ‘Is This Love’.
Yeah she was from Israel, flying to Chile, and she said the song that she got married to, ‘Is This Love’, because the particular line that says ‘I’m willing and able’, that was the line that really did it for her because she said that’s all her husband had to be, willing and able. Those are powerful words, those are the things she was looking for, and Bob just put it so eloquently and just simple. The simplicity of the song, really, really captured her heart so she got married to that song. Since then I’ve heard a lot of other people say the same thing.
Everyday people tell me about different songs that get them through rough times. I’ve had people talk about being near suicide and because of just having somebody introduce them to Bob Marley they get inspiration to carry on. I’ve actually heard that story more than once, so it’s always good to know that music will always find its people. People will need inspiration, people will need motivation so there’s always music for those people, the music will find them.
Can I ask you what song inspired you the most?
For me, I mean it just depends on what kind of inspiration I need because at anytime, any song can be the song providing opportunities. It just all depends on what I’m hungry for because everyday you’re hungry but you don’t necessarily need the same thing. Sometimes you need more protein, more carbs, more fibre, vegetables, so there’s different things. A meal cannot provide with all the essentials, the vitamins that you need, musically speaking, it’s like a musical feast. You have to know your cravings and your needs to know what you require and what kind of inspiration you need.
Nice. So I know everybody is really looking forward to the show here in November, you’re going to do one of your biggest UK tours to date right?
Yeah man, this tour is very important and we’re doing a lot of revolutionary songs because people need to get up, it’s time to get up.
For real. And London has a special connection for you right?
Yeah I mean London is the first place that The Wailers toured, it was the first place when we left Jamaica we arrived. Bob came here first by himself to do some acoustic performances and then later he brought the entire band, so England, London, is a very significant part of Wailers history.
And I’m sure the spirit of Bob travels with you everywhere you go.
It travels in his music, so once you have the music you establish a connection with the message in a positive way. Bob Marley’s always there.
Is there anything you can tell us that we don’t know about The Wailers?
Well I mean everything that you need to know is in the music, so you have to find it, you have to keep an open mind. And anything that has ever been said, has been said already, there’s nothing new under the sun, so we just keep on continuing and try to inspire people in the same way that they needed inspiration fifty years ago.
People obviously need you more than ever now, are you happy to hold that responsibility?
It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to be a positive part of the solution. Like I say always be a part of the solution never part of the confusion, so that is a responsibility.
The Wailers embark on their UK tour in November 2015. Grab your tickets HERE
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