Hail queen MARCIA!

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

Saturday, February 01, 2014    

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IT was definitely a case of 'all hail the queen' — the queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths, that is, on opening night of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival Thursday.

The singer, who is celebrating 50 years in the music business, was the toast of the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium.

Griffiths, who is using the festival to launch her year-long golden anniversary celebrations, swept her subjects by delivering a trove of musical treasures.

With the help of 'friends' Nadine Sutherland, Tony Gregory, Tony Rebel, Bob Andy and I Three sister Judy Mowatt, Griffiths had the audience dancing and singing throughout the set which lasted for more than one hour.

She opened with the inspirational Shining Time and then performed a virtual soundtrack to her career from the 1960s to the present.

Along the way, Griffiths dropped tunes including Feel Like Jumping, Stepping Outta Babylon, Dreamland, the exciting Electric Boogie and I Shall Sing. This was followed by duets with her guests.

She seemed to have the most fun with Mowatt , with whom she did a medley of Bob Marley anthems -- No Woman No Cry, Buffalo Soldier, Iron Lion Zion and Could You Be Loved.

Both singers relived moments when they performed with the reggae king. Through slick choreography and perfect timing they gave a tight and fitting climax to the presentation.

The set culminated with Griffiths and her friends rendering Marley's Exodus, but not before organisers presented her with a commemorative plaque lauding her achievements over the past five decades.

Fast-rising act Chronixx had a great 2013 and if his performance on Thursday was anything to go by, 2014 could be a banner year for the singer.

He wasted no time in doing what fans wanted — the songs which have made him an in-demand act for the past year.

He did Start a Fire, They Don't Know, Never Give Up, I'm Alright, Somewhere, the much-adored Smile Jamaica and Behind Curtain during his one-hour stay.

The performances by Griffiths and Chronixx made it difficult for Beenie Man to close the show.

Performing under his given name, Moses Davis, the artiste expanded this alter ego with the inclusion of horns and violin in his band, as well as high-kicking dancers.

However, his set started at approximately 1:30 am and with patrons battle-weary, his efforts were not as appreciated.

Ever the consummate entertainer, however,this did not stop Davis from performing his material with flair, even as the weary made their way out of the venue.

Gyal in a Bungle, Wickedest Slam, Girls Dem Sugar, Feel It Boy, Blackboard, Street Life and Dancehall Queen were some of the songs he did.

Earlier, Leiba Hibbert, Bryan Art, Chalice and Christopher Martin all gave good accounts.

The low turnout associated with opening night materialised yet again, but that did not diminish the quality of the performances.

The festival closes tonight with The O'Jays, Chaka Khan, Aaron Neville, Crystal Gayle, Beres Hammond and Della Manley.





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