Music on show at Grand Gala

Thursday, August 07, 2014

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Jamaica's music was on show at Wednesday's staging of the Independence Grand gala at the National stadium in St Andrew.

In addition to the pageantry which unfolded on the in-field. The event saw three icons of Jamaican entertainment being recognised by the government and people during the 52nd anniversay of independence celebrations

Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor and The Skatelites were all recognised for their contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

Faulty sound threatened to mar what was a great evening of celebration, luckily these were overcome each time it reared it ugly head, giving the thousands who gathered inside the venue a treat.

Colour, and movement and spectacle were the key words as the producers , with the assistance of a cast numbering 2000 depicted aspects of Jamaica, from the flora and fauna and the Maroons to the country's first national hero Marcus Garvey. Each tableau was set to a rich tapestry of music and movement.

Though beautiful and interesting, the masses really came to life once the live entertainment hit centrestage.

Singer Etana was first up and the moment she belted the opening lines of her breakout track Wrong Address the National Stadium resounded in cheers.

She would continue with Free, Roots, I Am Not Afraid, Jah Jah Blessing on which her partnered with vocalist Klyv Moncrieffe and Marley's I Wanna Love You.

The Alpha All Stars an aggregation of past students of the Alpha Boys School would pay tribute to some of their most celebrated alumni -- The Skatelites with a medley of some of their popular tracks.

The modern age of Jamaican music was represented by Agent Sasco who wasted not time in getting his act underway . Delivering Day In Day Out, Hand in the Air, Almighty Protect and Hand to Mouth, he went over well.

But it was up to the night's awardees to raise the entertainment bar.

McGregor was first. With his voice ringing through the stadium, flags waving and many out of their seats, he gave of his wide and varied catalogue.

Push Come to Shove, So I'll Wait for You, Let Them Try, Loving Pauper, Winner, Carry Go Bring Come all translated well before he wrapped up the performance with the gospel-tinged If I had the Wings of a Dove.

Leave it to Griffiths to bring the house down.

Her set included Dreamland, I Shall Sing, Closer to You and All my Life. She would then share the stage with fellow I-Three member Judy Mowatt and her daughter Shema for Thank You Jah, Three Little Birds, Iron Lion Zion, and Could You Be Loved.

Griffiths popular version of Electric Boogie would bring the curtains down and set of glittering fireworks to crown the evening.

— Richard Johnson





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