by Howard Campbell
SWEDEN – This weekend, the Queen of Reggae, Marcia Griffiths travels to Sweden where she will perform at the Oland Roots Festival, an all-female event that began on July 10.
For Griffiths, who appears on closing night (July 13), working with an all-sister cast is a long time coming.
In fact, she describes it as “One of the greatest achievements of my journey to know that I will be performing with people, some of whom I inspired. I just want to share the stage with these ladies,” she said.
The Oland Roots Festival takes place on the Swedish island of Oland. It is a joint production between Morocco-born, Denmark-based Adil Nadri and Alexander Sjoback of Denmark.
Etana, Koffee, Ikaya and Ce’Cile from Jamaica, British singer Holly Cook, Dezarie from the United States Virgin Islands, and Swedish artiste Sister Sol are some of the acts for the groundbreaking event.
Such a bill was unheard of when Griffiths launched her career in the mid-1960s.
“When I started (in the early 1960s) you could count females (on shows) on one hand. You had singers like Hortense (Ellis) and Phyllis Dillon but they weren’t visible, people knew their songs but rarely saw them,” she said.
Like Griffiths, Ellis and Dillon had hit songs during the rocksteady era of the 1960s. While their careers floundered a decade later, Griffiths continued to flourish as a solo act as well as a member of the I Three, Bob Marley’s harmony group.
She had a number of hits in the 1990s which has helped keep her current. Recently, Timeless, Griffiths’ latest album, was released by Tads International Record.
In August, Griffiths embarks on a month-long tour of Europe.