Jah9 goes jazz

Entertainment

Jah9 goes jazz

Jah9 set to jazz it up

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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ROOTS-REGGAE singer Jah9 is looking forward to a memorable performance at Jamaica Jazz and Blues, scheduled for March 4-6.

She was speaking at the event's virtual launch yesterday.

“I was a part of the festival many, many, many years ago on their smaller stage and I remember thinking: 'Ah, this is something I would definitely like to be part of.' So now, we have the opportunity...and fortunately, it's going to be virtual so that I can get to share, even though I'm far away,” she said. “I'm really looking forward to giving a really, really awesome performance and something that everyone can feel that has a little bit of African vibes, but staying true to our Jamaica Jazz and Blues tradition.”

Slated to perform on the penultimate evening, she spoke from her base in the East African country of Tanzania.

Jah9, whose given name is Janine Cunningham, came to prominence six years ago as part of the neo-roots revival which includes Chronixx, Protoje, Kabaka Pyramid and Iba Mahr. She is known for songs such as Humble Mi, Note To Self, Love Has Found I, and Highly.

She was one of several acts billed for the three-night event who was introduced to the audience. The list included Tessellated, Bunny Rose, Zia Benjamin as well as several up-and-coming artistes like Eight The Band, Earth and The Fullness, Janine Jkuhl, Moon and Raven.

Marcia McDonnough, event producer and host, said there is a thrust to get more 'younger faces' on the 'Jazz Fest' stage.

“Our audience has to evolve, we have to evolve into our young people. So what we did was to choose people like Tessellated, people like Sevana, people like Zia, they all cross over. Their music is ageless and we believe that the people, my age, will enjoy it... And, at the same time, they [the younger acts] will bring in a new audience into the festival. We have to evolve to ensure the festival's future is ensured,” she said.

Organisers are hopeful the virtual broadcast will reach a target audience totalling in the “millions”.

Other acts billed for Jamaica Jazz and Blues are American-Cuban singer Jon Secada, Richie Stephens, Lila Ik, and Mortimer.

Launched in 1996, Jamaica Jazz and Blues (formerly Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival) was created to encourage tourists to visit Jamaica during a traditionally slow tourism period. The first staging had a stellar bill: Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, Toots and The Maytals, Ernie Ranglin, and guitarists George Benson and Buddy Guy.

Air Jamaica eventually faded from the Jazz and Blues Festival name, which had several venue changes while attracting healthy crowds and a number of popular acts like Al Jarreau, Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Air Supply, Maroon 5, Mariah Carey, Peter Cetera, The Pointer Sisters, Celine Dion, and Babyface.

It was last held in 2015 in Trelawny.


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