THE third staging of Womanbition — the concert in celebration of International Women's Day — sent a timely signal that the male dominance of the music industry is fast coming to an end.
For the past two years, Denise 'Isis' Miller, Emprezz Mullings, Keteis Brissett, Nadia Stanley and Nelly Stharre have joined forces in hosting this all-female musical celebration highlighting the artistic, creative and professional abilities of women.
This year's renewal posthumously honouring Sandra 'Sajoya' Alcott, poet, lawyer, broadcaster and activist who passed away in December last year, once again showcased the power of women in music.
From the opening act of poet Chandis (the daughter of Sajoya) to the closing performance by Queen Ifrica, it was underscored that women in reggae are equal to their male counterparts, when it comes to satisfying an audience with real edutainment (positive entertainment).
As she did last year, in tandem with her mother, Chandis' poetic presentations were 'sexsational', with poems that called attention to gender imbalance.
At the same time a measure of caution was advanced such as when Ifrica wailed in her opening number Times Like These (Missing Our Heroes). In one of the most electrifying performances ever seen at the Redbones Blues Cafe, the lioness of reggae, after exciting the crowd with all her well known material, such as Daddy Don't Touch Me There, Nuh Boy Can't Draw Mi Roun nuh Corner among others, brought the curtain down with her exhortation to Jamaican women. "The Jamaican women can change back Jamaica to what it suppose to be," she said
On her second consecutive appearance on Womanbition, it was no ordinary show for singer Alaine. She gave her all on vocals and at times on the keyboards. She connected with the full house as she glided through We Rise, No Ordinary Love, and others from her rich repretoire.
Growing out her teen queen persona, Nadine Sutherland in an energetic performance asserted her maturity, musically and otherwise, with her anthem for older women Cougar. And she went on to demonstrate convincingly that as a grown-up she still knows how to deliver Action. It was a stint that reflected different moods of Sutherland as she also became reflective in her sombre composition in homage to her late friend Paul, Not My Baby.
Spoken-word performer Cherry Natural was her militant self. She evoked a wow moment during one of her poems with the line: "The older I get I have the ability to make you sweat."
But the lyrical missiles in her opening poem History Lesson, which she was performing for the first time, was really vintage Cherry Natural.
Stepping out of her alter ego as a performer of the spoken word, Italee was among the night's more soulful singers. Her original Beautiful Place At the Wrong Time, was well delivered, holding the attention of the audience.
From the island of Dominica, Marie Claire mixed opera with reggae on the 1962 El Tempos' classic Dreamland, made popular by Bunny Wailer. It was an enthralling performance from the artiste, who is in the island for a recording project being produced by Bob Andy.
Get used to the name Jah 9. She is definitely a future Jamaican sensation. With original works like My Own Designer, she is with her unique musical style designing a great destiny. She was pleasing, as she introduced her soon-to-be released Intention along with another original Keep Holding On.
Other noteworthy performances came from the veteran artiste Angella Stewart, who gave a short and spicey set with One Life to Live and Mother of Creation. The promising guitarist/vocalist of the Omega Band Janiney Jkuhl's interesting rendition included Premonition and Revolution. Sarina Constantine scored with Young Gifted and Black, Keteis Oyonde Brissett hit the mark with Marcia Griffiths' Woman and her own In the Name of Life.
The acts were backed by the Omega Band, the female aggregation from the Jamaica School of Music under the direction of Ibo Cooper.