OVER the holiday season, Sizzla re-emerged as the most popular, in-form and hard-working headline act on the live circuit.
A casual glance at the flyers and advertisements, as well as show reviews, reveal that he not only performed at a majority of the large annual stage shows such as Sting and Superjam, but skilfully moderated his repertoire and approach for smaller, more intimate gigs like Resistance — a live tribute to late producer Fattis Burrell.
This is a subtle but critical aspect of performance careers, too often missing from our younger artistes. From all reports, Sizzla displayed throughout that he has reached a new plateau in mastery of his singing, audience rapport and stagecraft. In so doing, he has set the template and raised the bar for local performances going forward.
On two shows, Sizzla was ushered off the stage by police after the prescribed 2:00 am deadline for live events, in accordance with the Noise Abatement Act. Once again, this brings centre stage focus by the entertainment sector on the urgent need for its reform. It also drives home the dire consequences for the sector if government does not establish entertainment zones across Jamaica, as one of the new measures being explored to allow live music to thrive, especially during the peaks of our annual cultural calendar.
In the meantime, however, promoters will have to be more cognisant of the restrictions and time constraints imposed by this Act. They will have to better plan their event schedules, especially the running order of live performances, so that headline acts are given the time they deserve to delve into their repertoire for the patrons' pleasure.
This triumphant re-emergence of Sizzla is in keeping with a positive trend in our music that has been taking root over the last five years. Conscious and roots-style reggae are once again coming into their own amongst local artistes and music fans alike, gaining prominence on the live circuit, if not on local radio airplay. This movement has, in large part, been led by artistes such as Protoje, Kabaka Pyramid, Chronixx, Jah 9, Iba Mahr, Jesse Royal, Ikaya and bands like Raging Fyah, C-Sharp and Uprising Roots.
Billy Wilmot and his family should be given a lot of credit for the monthly Jamesia series, through which most of these acts continuously honed their craft while getting tremendous exposure.
Recently, Mr Vegas and Busy Signal grabbed news headlines when they both released albums, enhancing their personal profile and catalogue, while bringing even more international attention to the genre.
Most of these artistes will be appearing on Rebel Salute, which is being staged on January 18 and 19, at its new home in Richmond Estate, St Ann. The change of location to the North Coast and new format are bold moves by Tony Rebel and his family, so I wish them blessings and the best of luck.