Hats off to A Hat Affair

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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THE life and legacy of Gregory Isaacs was celebrated at the Blue Essence, inside the Kings Plaza, in Constant Spring, St Andrew on Sunday night.

The event, A Hat Affair, was to celebrate the Cool Ruler's 63rd birthday.

The evening's anthem was Isaacs' big hit Love Is Overdue, which was performed first by rising female act Isha Bell, then other performers included it in their repertoire.

The other high point of this lovers' rock anthem came from the closing set by Junior Sinclair, who could top the list of Gregory's sound-alikes, but would have to settle for second place behind Lukani when vocal imitation is considered. Like Sinclair, who closed the show, Lukani also did a number of Isaacs' well-known songs to great responses from the audience.

Other acts who made remarkable impressions on the crowd were the duo of QQ and 17-year-old Ray (Isaacs), who made a strong attempt to match his uncle's stage appearance. The duo started their act with Wine and Roses, Number One and Hard Drugs.

New act Ras I went over well with Ragamuffin and Tune In. The more seasoned artiste Wildlife did an interesting take on a number of Isaacs' songs he dubbed Kulruler.

Current stars Hezron, Nature and veterans George Nooks, Carl Dawkins, Edi Fitzroy and Bongo Herman were all in good nick. But the most memorable of all the sets came from Mary Isaacs -- no relation to Gregory. She did not include any of the late singer's songs in her too-short performance. She left everyone wanting more after her superb performance of Willow Tree and Perfidia.

The three backing aggregations were Warrior Love, Lloyd Parks And We the People, and Roots Radics.

Affectionately called The Cool Ruler, Isaacs was born on July 15, 1951 in Kingston, Jamaica, and died in London, October 25, 2010. The concert staged by the Gregory Isaacs Foundation, in association with African Museum, Tads International Records and Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) was geared towards charities the artiste supported.

Items collected from the event will be distributed to the Walker's Place of Safety, Black Harmony Basic School, and St Barnabas Early Childhood and Preparatory.

— Basil Walters




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