Entertainment

Reggae history in the park

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, February 08, 2014    

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ENGINE behind Reggae Month celebrations, Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) kicked off its weekly live concert series at the Emancipation Park in St Andrew last Wednesday.

The event, billed Genesis, was a virtual history lesson tracing Jamaican music development.

A fair-sized audience converged at the heart of the city's popular green space, to see some of the new, up-and-coming, as well as the established exponents of the music.

The genres covered included classical, folk, ska, rocksteady and reggae as well as dub poetry.

The acts which were well received included the ska aggregation Ska La Reg.

This group of musicians from various local backing bands is working at keeping the genre of ska alive in Jamaica. Their presentation included popular tracks Eastern Standard Time and Guns of Navarone by ska giants The Skatelites, as well as original pieces. Their set ended dramatically with each member of the five-man horn section leaving the stage and taking the music into the audience.

The popular music section was undoubtedly the most eagerly anticipated with the likes of Nature, Prophecy, Leroy Sibbles and Jah Cure taking to the stage.

Nature's spirited set captured his audience as he delivered on Revolution, World Peace and Trying Man and paid homage to fallen soldiers Bob Marley and Garnett Silk.

Prophecy delivered Body Bags, Can't Keep Still and Too Little Love. Sibbles was in a teaching mood and shared his vocal and bass-playing skills with Emancipation Park. His set included Equal Rights, Book of Rules, Party Time, and Rocksteady as well as his bass work on the iconic Sattamassagana and others.

Only a small fraction of the audience remained for the closing act. Nevertheless, those who stayed were not disappointed by singer Jah Cure's presentation.

Bursting on the stage in a form reminiscent of Bob Marley, he dropped Who the Cap Fit before launching into a short, tight set of his on tracks, That Girl, Love Means, his breakout hit Longing For and the soothing Unconditional Love.

Next Wednesday will see a production tracing reggae's influence in gospel music.

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