Rebel Salute ends on virtual highMonday, January 18, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
ARTISTE and festival promoter Tony Rebel took it upon himself to close the final night of his annual festival Rebel Salute which was staged virtually last Friday and Saturday. His 'live' acoustic set — which was preceded by a short performance by Imeru Tafari, son of reggae songstress Queen Ifrica — gave viewers a taste of the catalogue he has amassed over close to three decades.
Tony Rebel's performance on Saturday night culminated six-and-a-half hours of music which has spanned the 27 years of the festival, which was first held at the Fayor's Entertainment Centre in Mandeville, then moved to Brook's Park, also in that town, then on to the Port Kaiser Sports Club in St Elizabeth, before settling at Grizzly's Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann, since 2013.
Like the previous night, Saturday's sets were also flashbacks of performances over the years divided into cleverly crafted themes and segments.
Rebel Salute has always been associated with the conscious, reggae chanters, and, therefore, the penultimate set of performances which was dubbed 'Moments of Fire' was most appropriate as it showcased acts who are generally associated with blazing performances.
The producers drew on sets from acts such as I-Wayne; Mr Gash Dem and Light Dem, Chuck Fenda; Richie Spice; Sizzla; and, of course, the “Fireman” himself, Capleton. The performances showcased on Saturday were drawn from as far back as 2004, as in the case of Sizzla, to Richie Spice's 2018 appearance on the festival. As expected, it was Capleton who brought this segment to a close.
However, despite its preference for the conscious acts, Rebel Salute has opened its stage to the more contemporary dancehall performers. As Tony Rebel explained as he introduced the dancehall segment, “The Jamaican artiste is extremely versatile and knows how and when to perform what and where.” For these acts, over the years, Rebel Salute has chosen to bill them using their given names. The performers included Moses Davis (Beenie Man), Rodney Pryce (Bounty Killer), David Brooks (Mavado), and Andre Hugh Sutherland (Popcaan). Deejay Agent Sasco also performed during this segment with a flashback to his 2005 appearance on the festival when he still used the moniker Assassin.
The festival has never hidden its connection to Africa, and, over the years, the line-up has reflected a steady stream of acts from the continent, such as Nkulee Dube, daughter of the late South African reggae artiste Lucky Dube, who graced the stage in 2018. In 2019, the Rebel Salute audience was treated to two African acts, Patoranking from Nigeria, who had the massive global Afrobeat hit, My Woman, and Ugandan Bobi Wine, who just last week was unsuccessful in his bid to become the president of that country.
Last year, Africa was represented by South Sudan's Dynamq Sound. The energetic selector provided tons of entertainment for the audience during his much-talked-about clash with the legendary Jack Scorpio. He also did a 'live' segment for Saturday's show.
The night's other two segments were dubbed 'Staples' and 'Gospel'.
The Staples showcased some of the acts on the festival who have become favourites over the years. Past performances by artistes such as Luciano, The Abysinians, and Queen Ifrica were showcased for the 2021 audience.
Tony Rebel noted that in a bid to become more inclusive, gospel acts have been included over the years.
Christian performers such as Omari (2014), Glacia Robinson (2018), Stitchie (2014), and Jermaine Edwards (2018) were presented. The highlight of this package was the performance by Marion Hall, the former Lady Saw, who performed in 2017, which was her first local performance since her December 2015 conversion and baptism.
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