Photo by Diane'Livonn' Adams
I shall sing
as long as I live, As long as I live, I shall sing!- Marcia Griffiths
JA. born and bred Linneth Marcia (pronounced Mar-cee-ah) Griffiths O.D., started her
reggae education as a young teenager at Jamaica's "Motown", Coxsone Dodd's
prolific Studio One. Marcia's love of music was encouraged by her father, Joseph, a singer
and cabinetmaker and her mother, Beatrice, who also raised three other children. She was
born into a home full of love, faith, music and humility which are, Marcia says, the roots
of her personal and professional success.
Marcia is indeed an enduring
diva of roots reggae and rock steady music. Her pride, ambition and drive has enabled
Marcia to thrive and survive the often grueling music business. Her work which spans four
decades, and as many styles, began with her earliest work at Studio One where Dodd coupled
her with nearly every male singer there for a hit song. Her first hit, 1968's Feel Like
Jumping has become a reggae standard covered by many artists over the years.
After graduating from Studio
One's "reggae university", she collaborated with the prolific songwriter/singer
Bob Andy as Bob & Marcia which produced: Young Gifted and Black, Truly, Melody Life,
Tell Me Now, Mark My Word among others. Her first solo album, 1972's Sweet Bitter Love was
produced by Lloyd Charmers. In the summer of '74, while performing at New Kingston's House
of Chan, Marcia invited her friends Sister Rita Marley and Sister Judy Mowatt up on stage
to sing back-up. The I-Threes were born that evening, going on to sing back up for Bob
Marley and the Wailers until 1980, occasionally missing a few tours due to pregnancy.
Marcia thinks often and fondly of that time as a family affair, realizing and counting her
blessings of working together with Bob and the I-Threes as she was living it day to day.
During her work with Bob Marley, Marcia's concurrent solo career
produced the roots classics LP's Naturally, Steppin', the singles, Dreamland, and the
superb Peaceful Woman she made with Sonia Pottinger in the late 1970's for her High Note
label. One hit, Electric Boogie penned by Bunny Wailer, crested the disco wave of the
early 80's. A versatile performer, Marcia went on to work with almost every dancehall
artist during the mid-80's into the 1990's.
More recently, Marcia's efforts
include Carousel(produced by Jerks for Island), Marcia(VP), Indomitable, and Land of Love
(Penthouse) produced by Donovan Germaine. Marcia has over a dozen LP's to her credit,
scores of singles, and has vocal credits on a wide range of other artist's releases.
An integral part of the music
process for Marcia has always been the message. Her hard-hitting duet with Beres Hammond,
Should I Sing(Harmony House) asks us to listen to the critical messages of their songs,
and to not just dance around in false bliss. Marcia and Beres are also asking us if they
should sing another love song until they know they can depend on us to receive the
messages of the Most High about our own livity, challenging us to really stand in love,
peace and justice with one another.
Marcia Griffiths abundant life's
work is entirely devoted to the messages of the music she writes and sings, so let us
listen carefully to the important words of this exceptionally gifted Queen of Reggae.
Marcia Griffiths Links: