Reggae may be synonymous with island music, but it's also got a rich history right here in the deserts of Arizona. As we reported a couple years ago in our cover story on Hopi reggae artist Casper Lomayesva, reggae acts from all over the world played reservations in Arizona throughout the 1980s. Among them were Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, and The Wailers. The Wailers will return to the Valley on Wednesday, August 10, for a show at the Compound Grill in Scottsdale.
As the backing band for the greatest reggae artist ever, Bob Marley, The Wailers have sold more than 250 million albums worldwide. Since Marley's passing, they've played with such venerable acts as Sting, Stevie Wonder, and Carlos Santana, in addition to other reggae legends like Burning Spear.
The Wailers' connection to Native American reservations in Arizona goes back to 1983, when they played (among other international artists) massive shows at the Hopi Civic Center on the Third Mesa of the Hopiland Reservation -- shows that drew up to 2,000 people.
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Although the band's stop in Scottsdale may not have such a draw, it's guaranteed to be a good show, one that showcases The Wailers' "one-drop" reggae sound and singer Aston Barrett's smooth vocal stylings. Barrett originally played bass for The Wailers (his brother, the late Carlton Barrett, drummed for them), and this tour seems like a good way for both Barrett and the fans to pay tribute to a legendary band.