Reggae with Fredi Marley at Napi Orti

I climb the stairway that thumbs its nose at every building code ever written.  At the top, in the dim light of Napi Orti, I find some benches around a rough plank table. We sit then, five of us, one from Italy, one from Qatar, one English, one Balinese, and me. At the other end of the table is a group of seven young men and women from Spain. My eyes do a quick scan of the decor…they always do that. My years of interior design just won’t die. The ceiling vaults up to a peak where a fan slowly stirs the air. Art is mounted at a slant following the pitch of the ceiling. At about ten feet there’s a stunning black and white drawing of a bare-breasted woman. There are posters, landscapes, and dozens of origami fish skeletons hanging overhead.

I am here at Julie’s invitation to hear reggae music. But not just any reggae, tonight Fredi Marley and his band are performing. I hope that he will play Bali Holiday. Julie wrote the lyrics of that song. Fredi put music to her words and it’s on his latest album. My eyes continue their scan. It’s a mellow crowd and none of them look like Minnesota. I’m okay with that. The low hum of many languages confirms the international flavor.

Then he’s there, in front, and the first chords of his guitar vibrate through my soul. “Don’t worry…about a thing…’cause every little thing’s…gonna be all right…” Oh Fredi! How did you know that is my very favorite reggae song in the whole universe? Fredi and his backup guitarist harmonize on the vocals and pump out a perfect blend of fabulous. The djembe drummer in his blaze orange t-shirt and black mafia fedora nails the beat and the place rocks. There is no way to sit still to reggae. The body does something involuntary and it doesn’t matter what. A slim Japanese man, shirt unbuttoned and all in white, does tai chi on the dance floor. A round-faced Chinese fellow whirls a willing woman in a version of East Coast Swing.

performance
Fredi Marley

The crowd adores and Fredi delivers. Then Julie is clapping excitedly, “This is it! This is Bali Holiday!” (Click to listen) Suddenly it was like I was sitting next to a celebrity. Fredi’s voice is compelling, “Thirty days are not enough…60 days are not enough…90 days are not enough…still not enough…”  The message is one that speaks to me. No matter how long I am in Bali, it is never long enough. The band takes a break and Fredi walks over to our little group. He is glad I like his music, he says. Like every other Indonesian person I’ve met, he is warm and engaging. He shakes my hand. In a few minutes he’s back at his guitar for another round of irresistible sounds and rhythms.

The clock strikes midnight and the magic ends. However many hours it has been, it’s not enough. But Napi Orti is only about a block from my house. Fredi plays there often. I will go back.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Aug 21, 2012 @ 07:53:16

    Sherry, this sounds like you had a great evening. What a treat, and how wonderful to hear live music, especially something like reggae. I bet you lost yourself in there, that all time was suspended. How cool that Napi Orti is just a block away too – you must go back! 🙂 xx

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  2. Gloria Cullins
    Aug 21, 2012 @ 08:30:20

    Loved your blog about your experience at Napi Orti, Sherry. I was transported there with you by your description! I love reggae as well. Perhaps when I visit you, Fredi will be there performing again and we can hear him together.

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  3. karin
    Aug 21, 2012 @ 10:35:50

    Reggae is a favorite and the best was in jamaica the home of Bob Marley. Everyone high on gunga (weed ) and swaying and drinking ginger beer. THis is out of context but joyful just the same. Great tune kudos to Julie.

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