Reggae Wednesdays off with a bang
Musician Ibo Cooper (left) and Ewan Simpson, chairman of Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, at Reggae Wednesdays. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

AFTER a two-year hiatus due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Reggae Wednesdays was back in full swing at the Festival Marketplace in downtown Kingston. It is being held under the theme "Revolution: Celebrating the Crown Prince."

There was a slew of performances from the Aqaba Drummers to steel-pan player Samantha "Rissa" Williams, to vocalists like Miguel Walters of trio One Third, Shanice Sewell, Ras-I, Christopher Martin, and George Nooks.

Martin — a standout act — gave a groovy set with favourites such as Guaranteed, I'm A Big Deal, and Mama.

The venue was not packed to capacity, but the scores who turned out thoroughly enjoyed and sang along to his lyrics.

George Nooks aptly paid tribute to Dennis Brown, who would have been 66 years old on Wednesday, with numbers like Money In My Pocket, Tribal War and Zion Gate. However, the most poignant moment was his closing track God Is Standing By.

Marketing director of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) June Isaacs said she could not have been more satisfied with the performances.

"All the performances were good, actually. But, Christopher Martin stood out," she told the Jamaica Observer following the show.

Noting that planning for the occasion began last October, Isaacs said that it was a relief to be able to celebrate Reggae Month outdoors again.

"After two years of no audience, we're glad to be back. The new venue is more attractive. [It's] more central and we can have liquor here, unlike Emancipation Park — no alcohol. So I'm happy," she said.

She further said that Reggae Month is meticulously planned each year to ensure that it is well-executed.

"You know JaRIA is all about educating, entertaining and awarding, so there's a lot of us to do, but we have a nice board and we have a good committee and sub-committees that will take care of things," Isaacs added.

Reggae Month started in 2008 when the Government announced February as the month in which the music would be celebrated. Additionally, the month features birthdays of two prolific artistes — Dennis Brown, lauded as the crown prince of Reggae (February 1), and reggae king Bob Marley (February 6).

Christopher Martin in performance at Reggae Wednesdays held at the Festival Marketplace in downtown Kingston on Wednesday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Shanice Sewell
Miguel Walters of the trio One Third
A section of the audience at Reggae Wednesdays
This guest gets lost in the music
Samantha 'Rissa" Williams on the steel pan
George Nooks
Kediesha Perry

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