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The Wailers

From singing at home in Jamaica as a boy, to focusing on music while in the US Navy, Dwayne ‘Danglin’ Anglin now fronts the band that made Bob Marley famous. He chatted with Off The Leash’s Liz Trevaskis about music, love and keeping the Rastafari message alive.

You’re fronting the band that made Bob Marley famous – but what were your early musical influences growing up in Jamaica?

The radio is a big part of our culture, and Jamaica is one of the few places that you’ll find people listening to the radio at home, not just in their vehicle or at work. And whatever’s being played on the radio isn’t just about music but represents the political, social and economic climate of the country. So growing up I used to listen to – of course Bob Marley and the Wailers – but also Peter Tosh, Alton Ellis, StrangeJah Cole, Hopeton Lewis, Ken Boothe, John Holt and Dennis Brown – all of the rocksteady music.

Did you ever dream that one day you would be singing with The Wailers?

To be honest with you I never had any aspirations of becoming a musician growing up. I just loved music, loved listening to music, loved the meditation of music and the way it helped me through the day. Music is like food, especially reggae music. We need it to sustain us, and to provide us with guidance and instruction, you know? So that was, that IS reggae music for me.

As a teenager I used to sing, but just as a show of appreciation to the song. So that was my thing. I just used to sing to get through the day, doing chores or cleaning up. It wasn’t until I was in the US military that I started to explore music – specifically writing music – as a hobby. You know, being on a ship…

Hang on – how did you end up in the US military?!

My family migrated to the US when I was about to go into the 9th grade, and then I joined the US Navy right after high school. I was stationed in Japan and that’s when I really started to pursue and explore music as a possible extra activity, something I could do to keep me centred. So that’s really when it started for me.

So from the US Navy to The Wailers – how did that happen?

I was in pursuit of a solo career and released a single in Jamaica in 2009, and I started to become very popular through video and through radio. At the time I think they were just looking for an additional lead singer and I was recommended through management. You know I really can’t explain why, sometimes The Almighty just gives you opportunities that you never really saw coming. So it was just one of those things where I was just recommended and then The Wailers liked what they saw.

I joined the band for two weeks just to observe and see what was going on and then I ended up performing four shows at the end of the tour in the mid-west in 2010 – and now I’ve been with the band for six years. I’m truly honoured and privileged to be part of the movement of Rastafari through the medium of music provided by Bob Marley and The Wailers. It’s truly a privilege.

Tell us a bit more about The Wailers message and what it is that you are trying to share with the world through your music.

The Rastifari movement is based on the teachings of His Majesty Haile Selassie, and like Bob said, the Rasta-man vibration is freedom. It’s natural, it’s earthly, it’s godly, it’s the stance of the warrior against oppression, against segregation, against separation, against inequality, against police brutality. So our mission now is to spread this message of positive vibrations to all the globe, to the people that we will be forever loving because the love of The Almighty is what transcends. That is why we continue to spread the message.

And so what should someone who comes to one of your shows take from the experience?

What happens is that when you come with an empty cup, you expect it to be filled. So whatever is in that cup after you leave is what you will drink. So that is all we expect our audience to come with an open mind, with an empty cup, so we can fill it with positive vibrations, with the message of Rastafari and the mood of Reggae music.

So when we say “One love” when we say “Everything’s gonna be alright”, when we say “The sun is shining the weather is sweet” – all these things – that’s just life. We’re just speaking about life and about the realities of life, and life is so important for people to embrace. To embrace love and unity and to reject negative thinking.

The Wailers | SAT 19 MAR | 7.45PM | Darwin Entertainment Centre

Click here for the event listing.

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