Merritone On The Beach set for March 25
Merritone's Monty Blake at the controls.(Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Next Saturday, when the music begins to strum at Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann, there will be a vintage feel to Merritone On The Beach, the second show in the opening season of Coveside Concerts.

Singer-bass guitarists Lloyd Parks and Benjy Myaz, Gem Myers, Whole Note Mento Band, and Silver Birds Steel Orchestra will constitute the vibrant line-up.

Vonni Koromanti, head of Koromanti Company and Coveside Concerts, are co-producers of the series which kicked off in February with Timeless, which featured Chalice, Ken Boothe, and Boris Gardiner.

"The series was conceptualised during 2021 as a diverse, creative offering of music, poetry, and dance. The concept is a year-long festival broken down into two seasons. Each season has four concerts," said Koromanti. is a culture-meets-tourism venture.

The Merritone sound system, which played its first dance in St Thomas in 1950, gets top billing. With Winston Blake — the second of four brothers who operated the 'set' — at the helm, Merritone was a force throughout the 1970s and 1980s at their Turntable Club on Red Hills Road.

Winston died in 2016, while Tyrone, third of the siblings, passed away four years earlier. Monte, youngest of the brothers, is still part of Merritone.

Koromanti noted that Coveside Concerts are geared toward a particular sector.

"It is a culture-meets-tourism venture. Our target market is mixed; tourists and Jamaican residents. We offer flights plus accommodation, plus concert packages. Our target audience are those who appreciate first-rate, world-class music. We aim to draw audiences 18-plus for Merritone On The Beach, we have a youthful, energetic orchestra [Silver Birds]," Koromanti added.

The third show in Coveside Concerts is scheduled for April 29 and is dubbed Murder She Wrote. Chaka Demus and Pliers, Tanya Stephens, Leroy Sibbles, and Richie Spice are the confirmed acts.

Season One concludes on May 20 with 'Life Is Just For Living', to be headlined by Gramps Morgan, Pluto Shervington and Ernie Smith.

Howard Campbell

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