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Rebel Salute 2013 (Chapter 1)

Rebel Salute 2013 (Chapter 1)

Rebel Salute 2013 (Chapter 1)

By on - Photos by Steve James - 1 comment

'The Preservation of Reggae' was most fitting as that mission was certainly accomplished.

Rebel Salute celebrated its 20th anniversary in fine style at its new home in Richmond Estate, Priory St. Ann on January 19th and 20th. Expanding to a two night event the show brought back memories of the first Reggae Sunsplash shows held during the eighties. On both nights the venue was packed. The crowd though expectedly mostly Jamaican included numerous overseas visitors. From the accents of the patrons it is safe to say the continent of Europe was well represented. The various food stalls kept to the policy of ‘no alcohol, no meat’. The natural fruit juice and health food stalls satisfied the thirst, hunger and in some cases the curiosity of many.  Popular seafood joint, Little Ochi highly regarded as the place to go for the best seafood in St. Elizabeth if not the island had several stalls all across the venue giving patrons a choice of lobster and their signature fish dishes (brown stewed, steamed, fried or jerked). The early morning rise of the sun with the ocean behind was a breath taking event on both mornings of the festival.

Rebel Salute 2013

On night one, with several artistes gracing the stage, singer Errol Dunkley was the first artiste to gain traction with the audience, delivering his popular hits OK Fred & Black Cinderella. Courtney Melody and General Trees took the audience back to the 80’s when they ruled the airwaves as one of the top singer and DJ of that period. Etana, resplendent in her Rasta coloured attire did several of her hits including her recent song Reggae proclaiming that reggae music is still alive and strong. Promoter of the event Tony Rebel made a brief appearance and whetted the audience’s appetite with favourites Fresh Vegetable and Reggae on Top before leaving to ensure the show was running smoothly. The Queen of Reggae, Marcia Griffiths graced the stage dressed in an elegant white outfit, delivered the enormously popular, Stepping Out of Babylon, I Shall Sing and Closer to You. The audience stayed with her every step of the way singing line after line of her songs.  During her performance she was joined on stage by Lukie D of L.U.S.T to do her rendition of All My Life.

Expectations were high from Shinehead as he had not performed in Jamaica for more than a decade. Given that he did not have any recent hits with which the audience was familiar, it was expected that his would be a vintage delivery. Although he delivered several of his popular songs including Strive and Gimme No Crack, he somehow did not connect with the audience.  UK based Aswad was next to perform and theirs was a good set, punctuated with a few of their hits like Old Fire Stick and Don’t Turn Around. Their performance was characterized by dub music which is seldom heard on a lot of our live shows today. For reggae connoisseurs the absence of lead singer Brinsley Forde was notable as they did not sing some of their biggest hits. Beres Hammond was his usual charming and smiling self. The moment he hit the stage, the upswing in the audience’s mood was easily detected. Those previously seated were now on their feet singing along. With numerous hits in his repertoire to choose from, he engaged the crowd throughout, and included Feel Good, Can You Play Some More, and What One Dance Can Do. Crooning to the ladies and encouraging the crowd to sing along, they responded and transformed the Richmond Estate into what could possibly have been the world’s biggest choir. He continued to engage the crowd until he sang the last note and departed the stage.

Tarrus Riley and The Black SoilCrew delivered a splendid performance. A true vocalist whose lyrics are always clear and message filled could do no wrong. Though the audience could sing along with almost every one of his songs, it was Lion Paw that it seemed every member of the audience knew word for word. Although a few young performers were left to take the stage, Mother Nature had other plans and sent showers of blessings close to the end of his performance and prematurely ended the show.

Rebel Salute 2013

On the second night, the likes of Pablo Moses, Icho Candy, Robert French, Tony Tuff, Bernard Collins of the Abyssinians, Cali P, Lady G, President Brown,  all seldom seen locally for a number of years. Pluto Shervington and Ernie Smith did a joint appearance, alternating their hit songs and keeping the audience fully satisfied as their performance was well received by the crowd that was twice as large as that of the first night.  Richie Spice’s   delivered songs like Free, The Plane Land and Grooving to an audience that was almost eating out of his hand. The big guns came out in the wee hours of the morning and new comer Chronixx (who was slated to perform on Friday night, but was postponed by the rains) showed his performance at STING 2012 was no fluke. His energetic set left no doubt in the minds of those present that they had just watched a young man throw off the moniker of ‘rising star’ and replace it with ‘star performer’. Queen Ifrica  sang Lion on the Rise, Daddy Don’t Touch Me There and introduced Wayne J a nine year sensation who had the crowd in smiles with his lyrics about staying in school and staying away from drinking.  When Busy Signal hit the stage, the audience was fully charged. Dressed in a military style outfit, he did a combination of his dancehall hits and popular reggae songs such as One More Night. He also did several new tracks encapsulating his last few months experience in the US. The distinction of bringing the curtains down on the two day show was given to Sizzla Kalonji whose performance was in full swing when the sun announced the arrival of another day. He was backed by the Firehouse Crew and did several of his hit songs. He was joined on stage by several members of the Rastafarian committee; together they brought the show to an end.

The successful staging of Rebel Salute 2013 removed all doubts regarding the change of venue and the two night format. Reggae history will record the show as one of the best concerts in its 20 year staging of the event. The positive change was evident in the ample parking available on the 170 acre venue and the ability to double the number of performers from the previous one night format. Tony Rebel and his team can now rest assured that the tagline of this year’s show, ‘The Preservation of Reggae’ was most fitting as that mission was certainly accomplished.


Reproduction without permission of United Reggae and Steve James is prohibited.

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Posted by ridwan on 02.10.2013

Comments actually desactivated due to too much spams

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