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Lambeth Country Show 2010

Lambeth Country Show 2010

Lambeth Country Show 2010

By on - Photos by Jane Garfield - Comment

Free concert by SISTA, Gappy Ranks, Tippa Irie and Twinkle Brothers in London's Brockwell Park.

Sampler

After Saturday’s mix of Brazilian funk (Saravah Soul), soul and dancehall-inflected pop (surprisingly good X Factor contestants Miss Frank) and just about everything else (Soul II Soul) the second day of Lambeth Council’s historic free festival in Brockwell Park offered quality reggae all the way. Culture PromotionsNicky Ezer was behind the bookings once more and had arranged a stellar line-up in SISTA, Gappy Ranks, Tippa Irie and Twinkle Brothers: taking in dancehall and roots, old and new.

Following an opening selection from Saxon Sound, the female fronted collective SISTA: Women In Reggae with Trilla Jena played a limbering up set that showcased both serious roots singing and quick-fire deejay chat. They got a lot of stage time considering the event was already running slightly behind the clock (given the council’s fairly unbending 6.45 curfew) yet the forceful execution of tunes like mission statement Focus left the audience, baking in the unusual British sunshine, primed for the day ahead.

SISTA then became the backing group for a short spot by VP and Greensleeves next home-grown star in the making, Gappy Ranks. He opened with his Chris Peckings produced Hot Milk banger Put The Stereo On before thanking us for supporting his big hit, on the Soul Rebel rhythm, Heaven In Her Eyes - which he duly sang to unite the crowd. Some tracks such as Stinkin Rich lacked something without the pitch correction that is par for the course in his recordings. Nonetheless, he proved a superb singer-deejay in the flesh. Huge thanks are due to Lambeth Council and Culture Promotions for bringing a potential icon of tomorrow to us for free.

“As you can hear I have a little cold” announced Tippa Irie as he took the mic. But the rawness only added to the vibe as he hammered out a crowd pleasing selection including Hello Darling and cuts from his outstanding new album 'Stick To My Roots'. The highlight, despite being backed by Saxon's turntable rather than a band, was lovesong to live music Horns Man Blow. Tippa's foot, injured over a year ago on tour, prevented him from moving too much. Yet even at less than 100 percent health he performed as if wishing to prove something to his fellow south Londoners: many of whom would have been following his career from the start. 

The formidable Twinkle Brothers band, composed of several local players, then took to the stage for a shortened but still ample helping of their rumbling judgemental Shaka style roots. Norman Grant and his musicians have the tunes to guarantee a solid evening’s entertainment and with Norman's voice in top form this showing was particularly inspired. The usual hits were played: from Beverleys debut Please Help Me through classics like Babylon Falling to recent Gussie P rig-monster Repent. Sadly Ralston Grant was not present but with the mighty Dub Judah on bass plus highly competent sound effects (the levels had been a source of mischief to the previous acts) it was only when Norman sang Jahoviah that his absence was felt.

A wonderful performance at the Barbican by Earl Chinna Smith's acoustic supergroup Inna De Yard meant United Reggae missed the remainder of the Twinkle set. However, the combination of one of the event's sunniest Sundays since the 80s, an impressive roster of artists, and many moving tributes to the departed Sugar Minott, meant this Country Show was surely a highpoint of the UK reggae year. Lambeth remains a beacon of music and value that reminds why Britain was once undisputed reggae champion after Jamaica. And with One Love Festival in Hainault as well as Tarrus, Bunny and Capleton at Brixton still to come the summer has only just begun...

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