Buju's triumphant walk into Europe

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

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Buju Banton's Long Walk To Freedom Tour touched down in Europe last weekend and, according to his management, it was a triumphant return to the continent.

On Saturday, Banton performed at Summerjam in Cologne, Germany, the largest of the European summer festivals. The following day, he was headliner for AFAS Live in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Donovan Germain, his mentor and long-time manager, said the Summerjam performance was “mesmerising”, and described his set in Amsterdam as “excellent”.

“The people were spellbound; rain started and not one person moved. They were calling his name after the show,” Germain told the Jamaica Observer Sunday, following Summerjam.

Europe was a happy hunting ground for Buju Banton for many years, even when promoters were forced to cancel dates in the United States due to pressure from gay rights groups who were angered by his anti-gay lyrics.

Summerjam and AFAS Live were the latest shows in his 'Long Road' performance line-up which kicked off with a triumphant homecoming at jamaica's National Stadium on March 16.

Banton was released from Federal prison in the United States last December, after serving just over eight years on drug-related charges.

He has since performed in The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Suriname, Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and St Kitts.

Germain, who produced some of Banton's early hit songs, including Browning, believes his set gets better with each show.

“Everywhere he has gone thousands of people turn up to see him — and he hasn't disappointed. He's giving his all to reconnect with his fans and make new ones,” he said.

Buju Banton's next major show is Reggae Sumfest on July 20 in Montego Bay. He returns to Europe late this month and in August for gigs in Switzerland, Portugal, France and Belgium.


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