LONDON (AFP) — An Englishwoman from the quiet seaside town of Ilfracombe has been confirmed as a distant cousin of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley -- but she had never heard his music before, a report said Wednesday.
Carole Tovey, 66, who was born Carole Marley, said she prefers more middle of the road songs.
"I've never heard his music before today. I used to like people like Neil Sedaka and the Everly Brothers. No reggae. No heavy metal," she told the Times newspaper.
Listening to a song by Marley -- who brought reggae on to the world stage with hits like "I Shot the Sheriff" and "Get Up, Stand Up" before dying of cancer in 1981 -- she appeared less than impressed.
"It's all right," she said. "I wouldn't leave the room for it."
Tovey, who is white, has lived in Ilfracombe, southwest England, since she was six years old and has never travelled to Jamaica or smoked cannabis.
Her relationship with Marley stems from her great-great uncle, Albert Thomas Marley, who went to Jamaica in the late 19th century to make a living in the mahogany trade, the paper said.
He married Ellen Bloomfield and they had a son, Norval -- who had an affair with Cedella Booker, a 17-year-old girl of African descent, at the age of 50. The result was Robert Nesta Marley -- Bob Marley.
The family tree was confirmed by a researcher at a British literary festival where Chris Blackwell, boss of Marley's record label Island, is speaking Friday.
"It has always been a joke in the family," said Tovey. "People would always say: 'Are you any relation to Bob Marley?' and I would say: 'Yes, he's my cousin'. We would laugh about it. Now it turns out it is the gospel truth."
She added: "We've not been anywhere other than Ilfracombe for years. We're just country bumpkins."
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