Did you “ketch de riddim”? Reggae Month, 2021 was terrific. What better way to begin closing the curtains on a successful month than with two free nights of stellar performances from Reggae’s best? The line-up and combination of acts for the Global Reggae Nights created a buzz and left social media talking.
The entertainment industry is still struggling to recover from the impact of COVID-19. However, event organisers have found creative ways to ensure the world still has access to entertainment in this pandemic. In the past year, the nation has proven how true the famous phrase “We likkle but Tallawah” is. We have witnessed the ‘true’ creative side of these curators. Organisers islandwide have had to step outside the box to ensure that their patrons could still enjoy their event.
For the first time since its inception in 2007, Reggae Month went 100% virtual. The month consisted of exciting activities that were broadcasted over several platforms and social media. Following the official church service at Fellowship Tabernacle, activities included reggae exhibitions, documentaries shown online, and Bob Marley’s birthday celebration. Symposiums and panel discussions, which included a mixture of local and international panellists, were held weekly.
International entities and organizers also joined the Reggae Month train and hosted their own events. An example included The Iconic Reggae award in The City of Miramar. Reggae Ambassadors Third World and pioneering businesswoman Patricia Chin, co-founder of VP Records, were the recipients of this year’s awards.
Global Reggae Night
Both veteran and young artistes took the viewers on cultural journeys. They spewed hits, introduced new singles and lit the stage on fire. The two nights were full of positive energy and good vibes. Mistress of Ceremonies, Yendi Phillips, kept the viewers engaged and vibed with Dean Fraser and the Black Soil Band. Entertainers gave their best in the hybrid broadcast environment. They all performed as if they were in front of a sizeable intimate audience.
Night One left viewers anxiously waiting to experience Night Two. The Reggae Month dancers were the first to perform and set the bar high for the others. Multiplatinum recording artiste Omi was the next to perform with his personal “cheerleaders”. The smooth voice of Leroy Sibbles followed his energetic performance. The audience got the chance to revisit 1984 when the Heptones released their hit single, “Party Time”. He reminded us to “live life the best we can” while swimming in the “Sea of Love”.
The final two performers left the stage in flames. “Grammy Kid” Koffee treated us to hits like “Toast”, “Rapture”, and “Lockdown. She reminded us about her roots and described her brilliance to us with the fiery lyrics from “Raggamuffin” and “W”. Closing the show was Mr “Fire-Man” himself, Capleton. King Shango definitely “Slewed Dem”. He had the band dancing along, and he asked the viewers to get up and participate. His performance was seamless and a great way to end the show.
The exciting and powerful Reggae Month Dancers and the exceptional Black Soil Band opened our appetites for the upcoming performances. Reggae songbird Tessane Chin took us to her “Hideaway”, all while reminding us that “Anything is Possible”. Paying tribute to the late great Bob Marley while honouring the Reggae Month celebrations, she performed her rendition of “Redemption Song”. Our Italian Reggae Ambassador took the baton and wowed the virtual world. He entertained us with his chart-topping songs and left us amazed by the life-changing and “cultural barrier-breaking” powers of Reggae.
The next performer has been making waves globally for more than half a century. After almost 60 years in the music industry, the Queen of Reggae has not lost a beat. She holds the record for the “Highest selling single” of any female reggae artiste of all time. Yes, you guessed correctly, the next performer was the legendary Marcia Griffiths. She serenaded us with her smooth, soft voice while performing hits after hits.
“Singy-Singy” Tarrus Riley gave us a mixture of old and new hits. He performed songs such as “Just the Way You Are”, “She’s Royal”, “Simple Blessings”, and one of this latest singles, “Lighter”. The singjay reminded the women of their worth and encouraged the nation’s men to cherish and protect our women. I-Octane, who is affectionately called the “Hot Ras”, ended the show with a bang. He had the perfect combination of vibes, energy, charisma and engagement. He encouraged the audience to participate and received much “forwards” in the comments section. Admitting that he cannot perform without giving God thanks, he delivered his favourite song, “Walk with Jah Jah”. What a beautiful way to end the night.
The staging of the Global Reggae Nights was a success. We must congratulate the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports and their partners for their efforts to pull off such a dynamic showing of our culture. This experience left the world excited for next year and sent the organisers to the drawing board to figure out how to top this year’s experience. After this month, it is safe to say that there is nothing like Jamaica’s Reggae experience. Long live the vibes.
If you missed the performances, you can find them using these links: