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UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival 2011

UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival 2011

UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival 2011

By on - Photos by Jan Salzman - Comment

May 30, 2011 was the Reggae Day of UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival in California.

This year’s festival marked the 25th year that the UCLA student body volunteers produced this fabulous day of fun in the sun. There were lots of vendors, art projects and of course the much anticipated performances of some of reggae music’s finest entertainers.

I arrived early and had lots of walking to do to get my press credentials and VIP armband. We photographers were corralled to the side of the stage and were ushered into the photo pit for the first three songs of each artist. The VIP lounge was quite a walk from the press area so I used some of the time during the opening artists to get some nourishment and rest before the main artists were to perform.

First up on my agenda was The Wailings Souls, a veteran reggae band that has had multiple reggae Grammy nominations. The opened with their rocking reggae hit “She Pleases Me”.  They performed such classics as “Old Broom” and “Picky Picky Head”. They had the massive sold out crowd on their feet dancing right from the start.

Next, the very sultry and sexy, Tanya Stephens, had the crowd winding to her charming dancehall style. She loves to talk to the audience, especially addressing the males in the audience, telling them how much women appreciate them. Some of her most popular songs performed were: “These Streets” and “It’s A Pity”.

Now it was time for all the girls’ favorite boyfriend, Gyptian! And all the girls did scream as the very popular Gyptian took to the stage. He opened his show with “Nah Let Go” and all the girls, especially, sang along to every word of his song. Some of the other mega hits he performed were “Hold You” and “Beautiful Lady. The girls swooned as he pranced across the stage, sometimes flashing his locks. He gave an outstanding performance!

Finally, headliner and Grammy winner, Steel Pulse took to the stage opening with “Find It… Quick”. The UK’s finest reggae artists performed flawlessly and always have fantastic stage presence. Lead singer and main creative force within the band, David Hinds, flashed his hip-length locks and belted out the lyrics to his many hit songs, including…Chant A Psalm”, “Blues Dance Raid” and “Stepping Out”. I was able to get backstage at the end of the day to chat with some of the members of Steel Pulse and give out some photos. BIG UP Steel Pulse, you have been close to my heart for many years. Thanks for the inspiration.

I drove home listening to 'True Democracy' to keep the vibe going!

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