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January 20, 2014
January 20, 2014

Young Reggae Makes A Statement


The legendary Bunny Wailer’s statements were almost prophetic on night one of Rebel Salute at Richmond Estate in St Ann, the veteran artiste pointing out that there was a host of young acts who could carry on reggae’s rich traditions. Though he spoke specifically about the children of legends like himself and Bob Marley, he would have been happy with what he saw from reggae’s youngest proponents.

On night one, Friday, Hempress Sativa, Jesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid were not just good performers, they provided the social commentary and rebellious leanings of reggae music of old.

Pentateuch opened the show, giving way to Natty Pablo,whose set was creditable, though it only lasted five minutes. Eljai had two minutes longer but he too was well received.

Damarah Danni put in an energetic 10-minute performance, alternating between deejaying and singjaying. Richmond Estate erupted when during his penultimate song, he announced that “Rebel Salute no support no ras weh a wear him locks wid extension”. He was followed by the very frisky Jah Cutta who performed a very entertaining set and then gospel singer Omari, who despite having major hits in Jehovah Guide Me and Father God Help, struggled to captivate his audience.

Hezron followed Omari, strolling on stage at 10:10 p.m. He had a commanding set, and was followed by the first female to grace the stage, Hempress Sativa who, stating defiantly in mid-performance: “big up Leonard Howell … mi see dem a try fi come occupy Pinnacle but dat can’t happen,” she said in apparent response to recent announcements that there were plans to remove Rastafari from that community.

other female

The only other female who performed on night one of the two-day event was Ikaya. Her set was marked by Hard WayAin’t Giving Up and Fly Away.

Jesse Royal, who followed Ikaya, commandeered the stage like a five-star general.

“So long Rastafari a call you” was the first line from his lips. He even took time out to issue reprimands for politicians whom he said ought to treat Jamaicans better.

“Tell Portia Simpson and Andrew Holness, disrespect and face disaster,” he sang.

“Nuh walk inna posse, mi nuh walk inna, gang and mi don’t fear no damn politician. Right yah now a people power wi a deal wid because if yuh wait pon politician fi make yuh happy, you die sad.”

Duane Stephenson followed Jesse Royal, but wasn’t able to maintain the pace that was set, and only elicited some response when he drew for his cover of Tyrone Taylor’s Cottage in Negril.

Spanner Banner followed with soothing hits including Michelle and Life GoesOn.

Kabaka Pyramid was to up the tempo again, demanding “we nuh want no capitalists … free Pinnacle!”.

Damion ‘Jr Gong’ Marley, during his hour-long stint, invited Christopher Ellis, son of the late Alton Ellis to do a rendition of his hit Beautiful, before doing a slew of Bob Marley songs including War and No More Trouble. He was to close with his award-winning hit Welcome to Jamrock.

Luciano would follow Jr Gong, closing the show with praises to Rastafari.


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