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Prince Malachi's Album Launch in London

Prince Malachi's Album Launch in London

Prince Malachi's Album Launch in London

By on - Photos by Robbie Golec - Comment

Prince of Wales, Brixton, October 2nd 2015.

U.K. roots singer Prince Malachi launched fifth album Third Rock and his Love No Limit night in the small hours of Saturday October 2nd at Brixton’s Prince of Wales. An industry-heavy crowd witnessed a strong line-up of cultural veterans and lovers rock chanteuses, introduced by Vibes FM’s Daddy Ernie and crisp-voiced actress Allison Mason.

Showtime was advertised as midnight. Suffice to say, it began nearer half one and just squeaked past 5am curfew (with everyone contributing three to six tunes each).

Classy young Canadian Chelsea Stewart opened with covers of Goffin and King’s Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and Etta JamesAt Last. Her relaxed, vintage delivery and look made a good impression. The High Resolution band then assembled and warmed their chops behind fiery local scene stalwart Empress Ayeola. The diminutive Empress gave David Cameron's Jamaican penitentiary plan a well-deserved bashing between songs.

Empress Ayeola and Earl Sixteen

“I haven't passed through Brixton in a long time. Respect to brother Malachi for inviting me” said the seemingly ageless Earl Sixteen. The musicians locked tight as he laid his soft tones in improvisational style over classics Drum Song, Dennis Brown and Aswad’s Promised Land and his own Freedom. Despite it being the start of Black History Month there was no Malcolm X (although he did hail the departed Rico Rodriguez, RIP).

Upcoming singer Cassandra London took the spotlight to huge cheers. As well as breakout hit Just Cool (“the song that put me on the map”) she shared the unreleased Love Don't Play, from her forthcoming long-player, produced by Prince Malachi. Humble and professional in the face of her considerable vocal talent, she asked the band to fast-cut through her numbers, yet trombonist Henry Matic Tenyue refused - allowing the audience to show her love in plentiful supply.

The romantic segment continued via a standout performance from another rising songstress, Aysha Loren. Like an English Etana, her voice filled the room, with the title track off debut disc My Wishing Well, Peter Tosh’s Pick Myself Up and Louisa Mark’s Keep It Like It Is. Wearing her hair in striking red braids, she emanated newfound confidence on stage.

But the most impactful appearance came from the legendary Little Roy. Assisted on harmonies by George Dekker of the Pioneers, he caused the place to erupt with Tribal War, Prophecy, Christopher Columbus and his ska take on Nirvana’s Lithium. Ever forthcoming about the vicissitudes of the business he didn't miss a chance to set a few matters straight. "Original artist sing this" he said, alluding to Freddie McGregor's popular cover of Prophecy and "This was the first Christopher Columbus. Before any other artist. They’re all copy cats". Check the quality music on his crackly, dubbed-off-vinyl compilation - Blessed 1969-79 - and you can see his point.

The hardworking High Resolution took their leave so the Rasites could sing from their Reason Time EP including updates of Freddy McKay’s Picture on the Wall and Aswad’s Drum and Bass. Honorary mention should be given to the Tenyue brothers Henry and Patrick (trombone and trumpet), Kashta Tafari (guitar) and Adrian McKenzie (keyboards) who remained. Christopher Ellis and Stylo G, billed as special guests, did not appear.

Prince Malachi

This was probably for the best, as it was half past four when Prince Malachi got the mic. Although he could be seen checking his watch, his unmatchable intensity was in evidence during new album tracks Third Rock, Wait Too Long, My Life and a steppers remake of Gregory Isaacs if I Don't Have You.

"I'm glad everybody reached tonight,” he said “Also the launch of my night called Love No Limit devoted to home-grown musicians and artists. Sometimes we get overlooked so we have to do things for ourselves". As the lights went up he sang a slow rendition of anti-racist rebuke The Great Welcome, without time for an introduction. But given the month and reparations demands in the news the message spoke for itself.

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Reproduction without permission of United Reggae and Robbie Golec is prohibited.

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