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Rebel Salute 2013 (Chapter 2)

Rebel Salute 2013 (Chapter 2)

Rebel Salute 2013 (Chapter 2)

By on - Photos by Sista Irie - 1 comment

Tony Rebel's "Preservation of Reggae Music".

Tony Rebel has long been recognized as a Cultural Ambassador for reggae music. His professional history includes a pivotal change in Jamaican music that occurred shortly after the revived dancehall scene exploded in the mid to late 1980’s. What was once a thriving ‘foundation reggae’ explosion fueled by the international fame of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Toots Hibbert and Jimmy Cliff, was eroded and replaced by slackness, drum machine and lazy production. It was in the early 1990's when Tony and close friends turned a negative lifeless music into an amalgamation of roots, conscious lyrics and dancehall riddims. Lyrically potent and articulately delivered, Tony and other artists such as Garnet Silk, brought back musical activism laced with Rasta theology. The sing jay style was born while poetic lyrics rode dancehall riddims re-energizing a slowly dying art form and igniting an evolving energized reggae re-birth.

Rebel Salute 2013

Tony's success led to a broadening of professional skills leading to Flames Productions and the Flames Record label. Rebel not only initiated a new movement in reggae music, he began producing new artists and established one of the most relevant and inspiring stage shows in Jamaica. Rebel Salute was launched in Mandeville and quickly grew into an annual event celebrating Tony's birthday at the Port Kaiser Sports Arena, Alligator Pond, St. Bess. For many years, Rebel Salute attracted not only a large crowd of Jamaican fans but also a small growing community of foreign devotees, many coming year after year as a spiritual trod. Rebel Salute maintained a commitment to roots and cultural lifestyles as evidenced by the infusion of Rasta livity (no meat, no alcohol) and sponsorship by aligned businesses such as TruJuice. Rebel Salute attracted foundation reggae disciples even as reggae music went through another downward spiral. The vibes of the time demonstrated a powerful growing interest in dancehall slackness, as well as lyrics loaded with judgmental self-righteousness, Tony continued to promote and showcase the best of reggae music. Artists such as Queen Ifrica, Tarrus Riley, Etana, and Richie Spice were given a platform to launch their careers while reggae's favorite rootsman and Jah Messenjah, Luciano, often brought up the sun in reggae gospel style.

There is universal consensus and little debate that reggae music has suffered greatly through the past twenty years. Factors include the slackness style of reggae promoted across the airwaves as well as poor and unreliable artist management, lack of artist creativity, reckless promotion, and irresponsibility at all levels of the reggae music industry. Lack of sponsorship and poor government support plays a massive role adding to the growing problem. It is unfathomable to foreigners who see and hear the influence of reggae music across the world that Jamaica has not done everything possible to capitalize on this unique cultural right already laced with international acceptance and respect. This is not to say there have not been hardworking artists with extreme talent who could help repair the loss of so many foundation artists passing away through the years. The fact is their work is diminished and downplayed by the lack of support that surrounds them.

Rebel Salute 2013

The Preservation of Reggae Music as a theme for Rebel Salute 2013, combined with the move to a larger arena could not have come at a better time. There is little doubt that Tony Rebel took a risk with this move and even some of his biggest fans worried that the rootical atmosphere might be replaced by a less authentic Jamaican experience. Fortunately, after a rainy first night, the show blossomed into a wide appreciation of Jamaican music and artistry not to be underestimated.

The authentic Jamaican experience came with a uniquely packaged combination of reggae talent. From the electric performance of early mento legends, The Jolly Boys, to a roots explosion punctuated throughout featuring the Abyssinians, Errol Dunkley, Carlton Livingston, Ernie Smith, Pluto Shervington, Mighty Diamonds, Nadine Sutherland, Pablo Moses, Aswad and Marcia Griffiths, appropriate recognition was given to the stalwarts of reggae music. The legendary continuum expanded to include lovers rock artists, Tony Tuff and Hopeton James while old and new time djs Shinehead, General Trees, Lone Ranger, Professor Nuts, Lady G, Louie Culture, Little John and Terror Fabulous took the audience down a sentimental journey of lyrical murder. These brilliant artists were perfectly accented by some of today’s leading reggae artists, Tarrus Riley, Etana, Queen Ifrica, Richie Spice, Busy Signal, Prezident Brown, Tony Rebel, Singing Melody, Chezidek, I-Wayne and the mighty Beres Hammond. Musical spice included Abitau, Icho Candy, Cali P, Davi Honour, Little John, Courtney Melody, and dancehall icon Sizzla.

Rebel Salute 2013

There is one group of artists that require special mention. These young and creative performers are the future of reggae music. They give credence to a unified effort to embrace and preserve the music while highlighting the positive elements of Jamaican culture. The movement is defined by a strong return to intellectualism and ultimate professionalism. Rootz Underground, No-Maddz, Di Blueprint, Raging Fyah, Jah 9, Kabaka Pyramid, Hempress Sativa, Iba Mahr, Izral and Ras as well as rising stars Chronixx and Protoje are re-igniting the reggae torch.

Their dedication and artistry is resulting in international recognition that reflects as much beauty in the artistic sensibilities of the Jamaican people as the intrinsic beauty of land and sea. My heart swells with appreciation that there is a youthful movement set to return reggae music to a towering height of national pride.

It is with a renewed sense of hope I pay tribute to Rebel Salute, Tony Rebel, Flames Productions and crew, the many, extremely talented musicians and singers, mc's, local and international media and fans. This strong community is obviously working hard to re-establish faith in Jamaica's greatest resource, the voice of the people, reggae music. The Preservation of Reggae Music is a responsibility of all who love and believe in the power and glory of reggae. As the movement takes root, my hope is all who work in this industry continue to make a joyful noise, oh ye JAH.


Reproduction without permission of United Reggae and Sista Irie is prohibited.

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Read comments (1)

Posted by matty "dread" on 02.17.2013
Nice review and photos. Truly blessed to attend Rebel Salute 2013! It was good chatting with you Sista Irie at Circle B. Hope to see you next year! Please stay in touch :) Matty

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