If the first in the series of the Reggae Wednesdays concerts being held at the Emancipation Park on Wednesday evenings is an indication of what is to come, then reggae music lovers are in for a worthwhile treat.
The concerts, put on by the Jamaica Reggae Music Industry Association JaRIA, will be held throughout the month of February in celebration of reggae month.
Each concert features a splendid selection of seasoned reggae artistes and upcoming acts.
On Wednesday evening, the sounds of the Akwaaba Drummers reverberated throughout the park, alerting passersby, and those who came out early that they were in for an experience.
The soft rhythmic sound, almost prayerful at first, created a somber, worship like atmosphere. It quickly picked up pace, and the audience followed suit, moving in unison with the beats of the drums.
Excitement in the park
The excitement in the park went to a higher level, when the band from Westmoreland, Higher Grade took the stage. They ignited the conscious side of the audience, awakening them to the issues of reparation, and marijuana legalisation.
Afterwards, Jah Wiz captivated the audience with his rendition of Barrington Levy’s Vice Versa Love.
He got people out of their seats with his rendition of Dennis Brown’s Many Rivers To Cross, and kept them there as he paid homage to the late great Bob Marley with Could This Be Love.
The Montego Bay based artiste also used his performance to speak out against violence against women and later told BUZZ that he’s certain that his music and message resonated with the audience. “You have a very organic audience here, it’s a nice mix a people. These people are true lovers of reggae music,” he said.
Feluke then delivered a powerful set. His passion-filled delivery of his original song, Israel, mellowed the audience after Jah Wiz’s energetic end to his performance.. Feluxe explained that that song chronicles his healing journey after being diagnosed with stage four cancer.
But the mood swiftly changed as he serenaded women in the audience with his love songs.
Papa Michigan, one half of the duo Michigan and Smiley, came on stage next, and further ‘nice up di area’. He got the crowd singing and dancing to his old hits like Nice Up Di Dance, and Diseases. He even freestyled at one point in his performance which sent the audience in an uproar, wanting more.
Worth the wait
More was provided by Abbey Dallas, who showed off her strong vocal range as she performed her songs.
2006 Digicel Rising Stars winners One Third hit the stage next with a song they’ve made their own- Away In Africa.
Their very synchronized performance kept the crowd dancing, and rocking in their seats, as they took them on a journey through ‘good music’ while paying homage to reggae greats like Bob Marley, and Dennis Brown.
At 9:50 PM, George Nooks, took over the stage, and proceeded to ‘warm up’ the audience with his renditions of songs like Hero, and Rest Your Love On Me, before moving on to classics like Tribal War.
His smooth vocals, and the ease at which he delivered was worth the wait. The evening ended just how it started; on a somber, prayerful note. Expressing that he was humbled by the response of the audience to his music, George Nooks, reminded them that God Is Standing By, and encouraged them to Hold On To Jesus.